Proposed Submission Version of the Local Plan

Sevenoaks District Local Plan Proposed Submission Version Regulation 19 Consultation (including Appendices 1-4)

Chapter 1 - A Balanced Strategy for Sustainable Growth in a Constrained District

 

Supporting evidence

  • National Planning Policy Framework 2018 (NPPF) including standardised methodology for calculating Local Housing Need 2018
  • Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA) 2015
  • Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (SHELAA) 2018
  • Green Belt Assessment 2017
  • Settlement Hierarchy 2018
  • Statements of Common Ground
  • Site Allocations appendix 1

www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/localplan 

  

Policy ST1 - A Balanced Strategy For Growth in a Constrained District

Development will be focused within the boundaries of existing settlements, including building at higher density on non-Green Belt land. Mixed use developments which intensify the use of land by incorporating housing will be supported and encouraged, particularly on sites that are close to services and facilities and/or well-connected by public transport, walking and cycling.

The four towns within the District - Sevenoaks, Swanley, Edenbridge and Westerham, will be the focus for development, with more moderate development within the settlements further down the Settlement Hierarchy. Development proposals for the four towns will be expected to comply with the place-making proposals and priorities listed in the supporting text.

We will encourage the re-use of previously developed 'brownfield' land, including land in the Green Belt, where it is situated in sustainable locations.

We will promote sustainable patterns of development by permitting development in the Green Belt only in 'exceptional circumstances'.

Where development will result in a significant improvement in the sustainability of settlements through the provision of social and community infrastructure, in areas currently lacking such facilities, we will alter Green Belt boundaries to enable sites to be removed from the Green Belt and to be allocated for development.

We will continue to work with neighbouring authorities under the Duty to Co-operate as set out in the Statements of Common Ground.

1.1 The revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF, July 2018) set outs key national priorities to ensure that the planning system delivers sustainable development. The golden thread running through the planning system is the presumption in favour of sustainable development. This includes three dimensions; economic, environmental and social. Local Plans should positively plan for the development needs of their area, including housing, infrastructure, employment and retail.

1.2 This Local Plan considers how best to meet identified development needs. The headline needs for this District are: 13,960 homes (a figure provided by central government), 11.6ha of employment land and 32,000m² of retail floorspace.

1.3 Meeting development needs, particularly housing needs, within a constrained environment is clearly a defining factor for this Plan. But just as important is the need to place a high value on the varied and distinctive places and communities that make up Sevenoaks District and ensure that any new development respects these differences. We want to create healthy communities, not just houses, and these places need to be supported by services and infrastructure, so people and future generations will choose to live and work in these sustainable locations.

1.4 We are working closely with our town and parish councils whom are preparing Neighbourhood Plans for their areas. Where site allocations are proposed in areas that are developing a Neighbourhood Plan, the Local Plan will set the high-level strategic aims in terms of land-use and the approximate quantum of development and the Neighbourhood Plan can provide more detail in terms of design, infrastructure and local character and distinctiveness.

The following table sets out our proposals and priorities for the four towns within Sevenoaks District.

Town

Residential

Employment

Place-making

Sevenoaks Urban Area

Focusing on the existing Sevenoaks Urban Area and land at Sevenoaks Quarry

Retain existing employment sites and potential for intensification/expansion at Vestry Trading Estate and around the "Dunbrik" A25 area

Support the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan and traffic and transport studies

Promote and enhance a vibrant town centre with redevelopment of land East of the high street, vacant and/or undeveloped sites and other opportunity areas for retail, high density housing and community uses

Protect the distinctive character and heritage of the urban area and prevent coalescence with adjoining settlements

Promote quality and increased density of development at gateway locations, such as at train stations, and in the town centre

Swanley

Focusing on the regeneration of the existing town centre and considering land at Pedham Place as a broad location for growth

Retain existing employment sites

Support the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan

Mixed-use regeneration of Swanley town centre to better meet the needs of the population it serves

Infrastructure improvements (including better quality leisure and medical facilities) and promotion of sustainable transport modes to address congestion

Protect the physical and community identity of the adjoining settlements, preventing coalescence

Edenbridge

Focusing on the existing urban area and land off Four Elms Road

Retain existing employment sites

Support the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan - focusing on provision of health and education facilities

Promote and maintain the mix of retail and service uses that contribute to the vitality and viability of the town centre

Westerham

Focusing on the existing urban area, avoiding areas liable to flood and harm to the AONB

Retain existing employment sites

Infrastructure improvements (including medical facilities/provision for young people)

Promote and maintain the mix of retail and service uses that contribute to the vitality and viability of the town centre

Protect the distinctive character and heritage of the town and ensure that development conserves and enhances the Kent Downs AONB

 

1.5 In respect of the identified housing need, the government has introduced a standardised assessment methodology. The Local Plan must take account of this methodology, which is based on the latest published household projections produced by the ONS that are then adjusted to take account of affordability issues. For Sevenoaks, this means the provision of 698 homes per year.  To put this figure in context, this would triple the approximately 250 homes which have been delivered each year over the past 10 years, and quadruple our existing Core Strategy target of 165 homes per year. Rolled forward, the Council's housing need for the entire Plan period is 13,960 homes, plus a buffer dependent on delivery rates.

1.6 Our ability to meet this housing need within our District is a key challenge for this Plan. National planning policy sets out that we should aim to meet the 'Local Housing Need' figure provided by central government unless the adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits. This is a highly constrained District with 93% Green Belt and 60% AONB and therefore, despite exploring a range of different options including Green Belt release, we have been unable to meet our housing need in full.

1.7 In terms of spatial strategies to accommodate our need, we have investigated a number of different options, including five approaches that we considered as part of the Issues and Options consultation in 2017.  Our preferred option, which received 92% support at consultation is summarised below:

  • Focus growth in existing settlements, including at higher density
  • Redevelopment of previously developed 'brownfield' land in sustainable locations
  • Development of greenfield Green Belt land only in 'exceptional circumstances', particularly where social and community infrastructure is being proposed, which could help address evidenced infrastructure deficiencies in the area

 

1.8 Our previous Core Strategy focused development within the existing settlements in the District, in the 7% of land which did not fall within the Green Belt. That provided our starting point for this Local Plan. Although the 'Local Housing Need' figure provided by central government represents a huge challenge for this constrained District, we have interrogated all potential sources of housing supply before considering any amendment to Green Belt boundaries. Essentially we have looked at the potential of land within existing settlements to understand the capacity of non-Green Belt land. The Green Belt boundaries are drawn tightly around the 24 settlements in the District that have defined green belt boundaries, which naturally restricts settlement capacity. We have focused on 'maximising the supply' in existing settlements, including through optimising density in sustainable locations and through urban regeneration.

1.9 We have not been able to meet the 'Local Housing Need' figure provided by central government purely by focusing within our existing settlements. Therefore, we have been consulting with our neighbouring authorities, to understand whether they can help to meet some of our need, through a process known as the Duty to Co-operate. We have fully considered capacity within the West Kent housing market area (HMA) and adjacent housing market areas. Officers and members have been regularly meeting with neighbouring counterparts to establish a robust process of co-operation, in some instances supported by the Planning Advisory Service (PAS). We have produced a number of Statements of Common Ground with these authorities. We also have a Memorandum of Understanding with Maidstone, to explore Duty to Cooperate issues which might not be able to be met within the HMA. To date, none of these discussions or processes have led to any authorities being able to assist Sevenoaks with unmet need. Clearly there needs to be a balance between how much can be achieved within the highly constrained Sevenoaks District and what might be achieved elsewhere, and discussions will continue as the Local Plan progresses to examination.

1.10 Having therefore fully examined all other reasonable options for meeting our need, we have considered the potential contribution of Green Belt land. We are committed to protecting the Green Belt which is highly valued by our local communities and its importance continues to be recognised by Government through the NPPF. Green Belt boundaries can only be amended in 'exceptional circumstances'. Meeting housing and other needs is an important target, but the overriding requirement is to ensure that development is sustainable. A 2017 study assessing the District's Green Belt finds that all areas continue to perform against at least one of the five purposes of Green Belt making its continued designation appropriate unless exceptional circumstances are clearly identified.

1.11 The NPPF does not provide a general definition of what constitutes the exceptional circumstances to justify the release of Green Belt as they vary according to locally specific needs and circumstances. The case of Calverton Parish Council v Greater Nottingham Councils [2015] EWHC 10784 provides recent case law on the matter of exceptional circumstances. It sets out that the planning judgements involved in the consideration of exceptional circumstances in the context of both national policy and the positive obligation located in section 39(2) of the Planning and Compulsory Act 2004 should, at the very least, identify and grapple with the following matters;

  • the nature and extent of harm to this Green Belt (or those parts of it which would be lost if the boundaries were reviewed); and,
  • the inherent constraints on supply/availability of land prima facie suitable for sustainable development
  • the acuteness/intensity of the objectively assessed need (matters of degree may be important);
  • (on the facts of this case) the consequent difficulties in achieving sustainable development without impinging on the Green Belt;
  • the extent to which the consequent impacts on the purposes of the Green Belt may be ameliorated or reduced to the lowest reasonable practicable extent.

1.12 We have considered the above five matters and have identified the following considerations as being also relevant in the determination of exceptional circumstances:

  • The extent to which land meets the purposes of inclusion in the Green Belt, namely the five key tests set out in paragraph 134 of the NPPF
  • Whether the release of land will result in the delivery of infrastructure to meet an existing evidenced based need; and
  • The overall sustainability of the proposals, as assessed by the Sustainability Appraisal of the Local Plan

1.13 It is clear that not all Green Belt land performs to the same degree. Indeed, not all Green Belt land is actually ‘green’ and, as directed by the NPPF, we have first looked at Previously Developed Land (commonly known as brownfield land) in the Green Belt, provided it is situated in a sustainable location, close to services and facilities. We have also considered other developed land, such as agricultural complexes, plant nurseries and minerals workings, provided they are situated in a sustainable location, in order to maximise the potential of land that has been subject to some form of development.

1.14 In terms of the broad spatial distribution for potential green field Green Belt development, we have used our settlement hierarchy, which ranks our settlements in terms of sustainability, with reference to their services and facilities. There are four towns in Sevenoaks District - Sevenoaks, Swanley, Edenbridge and Westerham, which form the top tiers of our settlement hierarchy. We have looked broadly at these four settlements in terms of compass-point directions of growth, and the relative constraints and opportunities presented by each of these settlements.

1.15 Based on this consideration of 'directions of growth' and land availability, we consulted on a Draft Local Plan (summer 2018) which included 12 potential greenfield Green Belt sites. This plan allocates two of those sites for development, Sevenoaks Quarry and Land South of Four Elms Road in Edenbridge, and removes them from the Green Belt. Both of these sites are next to a top tier settlement, are either fully or partially on weak-performing green belt (as assessed through by our Green Belt Assessment 2017), are not in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), provide infrastructure that is sought by the local community to meet an existing need and compensatory environmental improvement and are considered deliverable or developable.

1.16 In addition, Pedham Place (MX 48) is identified as a ‘broad location for growth’, but is not removed from the Green Belt. This is in accordance with the NPPF which outlines that ‘broad locations’ should be identified for the later years of the Plan period. Further consideration will be given to the release of the site from the Green Belt when the Plan is next reviewed in five years time. The site has the potential to deliver a comprehensive infrastructure offer that could assist in the regeneration of Swanley. Whilst the proposals have the potential to perform well against sustainability objectives, further information is required in a number of areas and the site is located on strongly performing Green Belt and within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Taking these factors into account, the land to the east of Swanley and the M25 is identified as a ‘broad location for growth’. 

1.17 Further details of these strategic sites are set out below, and further information on the sites that make up our housing supply are set out Appendix 2 including design guidance.

Strategic Site

Site Name &
Reference

No. of units

 Site
Area (Ha)

Social and Community Infrastructure

ST2-13

Sevenoaks Quarry, Bat and Ball Road, Sevenoaks

 

600

93

Recreational/leisure uses in conjunction with ‘Greatness lake’

Lake-side park and network of green spaces

Mixed use lake-side facilities for sports, recreation and leisure

New pedestrian and cycle connections within and beyond the site

Improvements to Bat and Ball junction

Supporting local community and social infrastructure - Bat and Ball Station / Greatness Recreation ground

Reason for allocation:

Weakly performing Green Belt. Land has been subject to previous development. Site is located on the edge of Sevenoaks (Principal town in the District) and is considered to be in a suitable location for mixed-use development. Discussions with Infrastructure providers and local representatives indicate that the infrastructure offer will benefit local community. Benefits of the development considered to outweigh harm to the weakly performing greenbelt.

Phasing:

Some extraction is still taking place on the site. The Council is satisfied that there is a reasonable prospect that it will become available. As such, it is considered ‘developable’. Phase 1: years 6-10 and phase 2: 11-15, subject to confirmation of mineral extraction programme.

 

ST2-13 - Sevenoaks Quarry, Bat and Ball Road, Sevenoaks

LP_PreSubmissionSite_ST2-13

 

Strategic Site

Site Name &
Reference

No. of units

 Site
Area (Ha)

Social and Community Infrastructure

ST2-33

Land South of Four Elms Road, Edenbridge

ST2-34

Land East of Bray Road, Edenbridge 

340

28

Land for medical services (combined GP surgery and hospital)

Land for educational use – secondary school and playing fields

Transport improvements including better connectivity to station and disabled access - level disabled access including pedestrian footbridge and lift

New station car park

Community facilities (scout hut)

 

Reason for allocation:

Partially located on weakly performing Green Belt. Land has been subject to previous development. Site is located on the edge of Edenbridge (top tier settlement in the District) and is considered to be in a suitable location for mixed-use development. Discussions with Infrastructure providers and local representatives indicate that the infrastructure offer will benefit local community. Benefits of the development considered to outweigh harm to the partially weak performing greenbelt.

 

Phasing:

Discussions with the developers indicate a proportion of the units could be delivered in the first 5 years of the plan. The remainder are expected to come forward in years 6-10.

 

 ST2-33 - Land South of Four Elms Road, Edenbridge & ST2-34 - Land East of Bray Road, Edenbridge

LP_PreSubmissionSite_ST2-33_34

Broad location for growth

Site Name &
Reference

No. of units

 Site
Area (Ha)

Social and Community Infrastructure

ST2-28

Land at Pedham Place, Swanley/Farningham/
Eynsford

c2500

118

Education – 2 x 2FE Primary, Secondary School, SEN school

Redevelopment or replacement of White Oak Leisure Centre

Play-space, green space, allotments

Primary care hub

Hotel

Transport improvements, including park and ride and ‘link’ bus

Employment and retail – local centre

 

Reason for identification as a Broad Location for Growth:

Site has the potential to deliver a comprehensive infrastructure offer that could assist in the regeneration of Swanley. Discussions with Infrastructure providers indicate that the infrastructure offer will benefit the local community. Whilst the proposals have the potential to perform well against sustainability objectives, further information is required. Site is located adjacent to Swanley (top tier settlement in the District), on strongly performing Green Belt and within the AONB. Taking these factors into account, land to the east of Swanley and the M25 is identified as a ‘broad location’ for growth. Further consideration will be given to the release of the site from the Green Belt when the Plan is next reviewed

 

ST2-28 - Land at Pedham Place, Swanley/Farningham/Eynsford

LP_PreSubmissionSite_ST2-28

The following chart outlines the housing supply components:

Revised Housing Supply 2015-35 Diagram v2

 Housing Supply Diagram Revision (December 2018)

Policy ST2 - Housing and Mixed Use Site Allocations

The following new housing and mixed use sites, are allocated for development.

These sites will provide for a range of housing types, density, mix and tenure and are subject to the site areas and design guidance.

Unimplemented housing and mixed use site allocations from the ADMP (2015)  have been carried forward into this Local Plan and are also listed in the table.

 

Ref

Settlement/Site

No. of units

 

Sevenoaks Urban Area  

1

Delivery and Post Office / BT Exchange, South Park, Sevenoaks

100

2

5 Crownfields, Sevenoaks

20

3

15 St Botolphs Road, Sevenoaks

12

4

School House, Oak Lane and Hopgarden Lane, Sevenoaks

56

5

Johnsons, Oak Lane and Hopgarden Lane, Sevenoaks

54

6

Sevenoaks Hospital, Hospital Road, Sevenoaks (replacement facilities to serve the local community to be provided on-site or nearby as part of any redevelopment scheme)

73

7

Sevenoaks Community Centre, Otford Road, Sevenoaks

75

8

Cramptons Road Water Works, Sevenoaks

126

9

Sevenoaks Gasholders, Cramptons Road, Sevenoaks

98

10

Sevenoaks Town Council Offices, Bradbourne Vale Road, Sevenoaks

32

11

Sevenoaks Adult Education Centre, Bradbourne Road, Sevenoaks

30

13

Sevenoaks Quarry, Bat and Ball Road, Sevenoaks

600

15

Chaucers of Sevenoaks, London Road, Dunton Green 11
 

Swanley  

16

Swanley Centre, Nightingale Way, Swanley

250

17

Bevan Place, Swanley

100

18

Bus Garage and Kingdom Hall, London Road, Swanley

74

19

The Woodlands, Hilda May Avenue, Swanley

66

20

White Oak Leisure Centre, Hilda May Avenue, Swanley (as part of a leisure centre replacement programme)

80

21

Land between 16 and 32 Alder Way, Swanley

20

22

Former Birchwood Primary School, Russett Way, Swanley

39

23

Upper Hockenden Farm, Hockenden Lane, Swanley

25

24

Harringtons Nursery, Highlands Hill, Swanley

71

25

Swanley Village Nursery, Swanley Village Road, Swanley Village

6

26

Land rear of Cedar Lodge, Wood Street, Swanley Village

6

27

Land south of Wood Street, Swanley Village

10

28

Land at Pedham Place

2500*

*Identified as a broad location for growth

 

Edenbridge 

29

Station Approach, Edenbridge

30

30

Open space at Stangrove Estate, Crouch House Road, Edenbridge

15

31

Kent & Surrey Driving Range, Crouch House Road, Edenbridge

7

32

Edenbridge & District War Memorial Hospital, Mill Hill, Edenbridge

30

33

Land South of Four Elms Road, Edenbridge

270

34

Land east of Bray Road, Edenbridge

70

 

Westerham  

35

Currant Hill Allotments, Westerham

26

36

Land between Granville Road and Farleycroft, Westerham

10

 

New Ash Green  

37

New Ash Green Village Centre, New Ash Green

70

38

The Manor House, North Ash Road, New Ash Green

35

39

The Forge, Ash Road, Ash

29

40

Oast House Nursery, Ash Road, Ash

20

 

Otford  

41

Otford Builders Merchants, High Street, Otford

7

 

Hartley  

42

Land south of Orchard House, Ash Road, Hartley

10

 

Other Settlements  

43

Chelsfield Depot, Shacklands Road, Badgers Mount

100

44

Land west of the roundabout, London Road, Badgers Mount

27

45

Calcutta Club and Polhill Business Centre, London Road, Badgers Mount

66

46

Highways Depot, Tonbridge Road, Chiddingstone Causeway

8

47

Land rear of Brickyard Cottages, Tonbridge Road, Chiddingstone Causeway

18

48

Middle Farm Nursery, Cray Road, Crockenhill

30

49

Wested Farm, Eynsford Road, Crockenhill

10

50

Gorse Hill Nursery, Gorse Hill, Farningham

55

51

Maplescombe Farm, Maplescombe Lane, Farningham

35

52

Fawkham Business Park, Fawkham Road, Fawkham

31

53

Grange Park Farm, Manor Lane, Fawkham

32

54

Highfield Farm and Knocka Villa, Crow Drive, Halstead

20

55

Deer Leap Stud Farm, Knockholt Road, Halstead

13

56

Oak Tree Farm, London Road, Halstead

37

57

Fort Halstead, Crow Drive, Halstead

300 (plus 450 with planning permission)

58

College Road Nurseries, College Road, Hextable

9

59

Egerton Nursery, Egerton Avenue, Hextable

30

60

Oasis Academy, Egerton Avenue, Hextable

190

61

Rowhill Farm, Top Dartford Road, Hextable

16

62

Top Dartford Road, Hextable

29

63

Gills Farm, Gills Road, South Darenth

16

64

Land at Oakview Stud Farm, Lombard Street, Horton Kirby

42

65

The Cottage, Holmesdale Road, South Darenth

9

66

Land south of West End, Kemsing

20

67

Land south of Noahs Ark, Kemsing

22

68

Meadow Cottage, Goathurst Common, Ide Hill

14

69

JD Hotchkiss Ltd, London Road, West Kingsdown

31

70

Florence Farm Mobile Home Park, Main Road, West Kingsdown

16

71

Rajdani, London Road, West Kingsdown

20

72

Terrys Lodge Farm, Terrys Lodge Road, Wrotham

5

 

 

Performance Indicators for A Balanced Strategy for Growth in a Constrained District

Housing Supply - to show recent housing delivery levels and future levels of housing delivery (to maintain a 5 year housing land supply, housing trajectory for the plan period, and to meet the Housing Delivery Test)

Progress on delivering new housing on allocated sites (Timely delivery of completed housing on allocated in line with policy ST2)

Number of completed housing sites with a net loss (No completed housing sites to have a net loss during the plan period)