Sevenoaks District Draft Local Plan Consultation July 2018

Draft Local Plan July 2018

4 Ensuring Well-Connected Communities are Supported by Appropriate Infrastructure

 

Improving Health, Schools and Transport

Our Local Plan aims to make health, transport and education facilities better. We want to reduce traffic congestion and protect our existing public transport services. We will also ensure that any new housing has up to date technology.

 

Supporting Evidence

  • Infrastructure Delivery Plan
  • Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule
  • Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Regulation 123 List
  • Viability Evidence
  • Swanley Transport Study 2018
  • Strategic Transport Assessment 2018
  • Sevenoaks Economic Development Strategy 2016-2019
  • Associated Kent County Council documents
    • Local Transport Plan 4
    • Growth & Infrastructure Framework

www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/localplan 

Infrastructure

4.1 We recognise in this Local Plan that the delivery of our housing and employment needs are intrinsically linked to infrastructure and transport delivery. This can be the provision of new facilities and services or upgrading existing infrastructure. Therefore, it is fundamental that places and communities are well connected with each other, the surrounding areas and beyond, for the purposes of employment opportunities and access to day-to-day services and facilities for future generations.

4.2 Infrastructure can be identified as the various services and facilities that are necessary to help build sustainable communities, which includes the delivery of new infrastructure or the upgrading of the existing facilities to accommodate additional capacity from either new or existing developments which includes:

  • Transport schemes;
  • Flood defences;
  • Water quality;
  • Education;
  • Health and social care facilities;
  • Police and emergency services facilities;
  • Community facilities;
  • Communications (including broadband); and
  • Blue green infrastructure

4.3 Government policy and guidance is clear on how infrastructure planning should be identified and delivered over the course of the Plan period. The guidance states that a Local Plan should be positively prepared but realistic with what can be achieved in relation to infrastructure provision by accounting for the level of infrastructure provision needed, while considering the type and level of distribution of development. National guidance also encourages Local Plans to make it clear what infrastructure is required for at least the first 5 years of the Plan period, who will provide the infrastructure, the funding required and how it aligns with the anticipated timescales of development coming forward.

4.4 An Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) identifies the types and scale of infrastructure that is needed to help to facilitate the delivery of the Local Plan, based on the District's needs. It also provides details of existing capacity, methods for forecasting any additional need for capacity. Crucially, the IDP provides details on funding requirements to deliver improvements, whether any existing capital funding has been committed to a scheme and the identification of funding gaps.

4.5 The Local Plan provides a framework to help determine where infrastructure improvements are required according to the development strategy. The responsibility of infrastructure and transport is generally shared between central Government, its agencies (i.e. Highways England, Network Rail, Environment Agency, NHS etc.) and local authorities and providers (i.e. Kent County Council, NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, AONB units etc.). We depend on infrastructure providers to engage with the District Council throughout the Local Plan process in order to understand their needs and any future requirements to meet the future needs of Sevenoaks District.

4.6 TrainDelivery of infrastructure can be brought forward by direct funding from central Government bodies and partners to provide strategic and local infrastructure schemes. Other organisations such as the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) and Kent & Medway Economic Partnership also provide cases for better strategic infrastructure where required. An alternative way of funding infrastructure is the use of planning obligations or legal agreements for individual planning applications. Theses are usually reserved for site-specific improvements but can be used to fund local infrastructure improvements in the wider local area or District.

4.7 Where new infrastructure or infrastructure improvements are required as a result of new development, the planning system allows, through planning obligations, for developers to provide or appropriately contribute towards, the provision of this new or improved infrastructure through delivery partners.

4.8 Following the introduction of the CIL Regulations 2010, the Government has set how planning obligations will work between S106 Agreements and where a local authority is charging the Community Infrastructure Levy.

4.9 CIL allows local authorities to set rates on specific types of development to raise capital for the purposes of delivering infrastructure for the area. The local authority's Charging Schedule, sets out what the levy rates for development are and how the contribution is calculated. The Charging Schedule gives developers a clear understanding of what contributions are expected to fund infrastructure across the District.

4.10 The purpose of CIL is to provide capital funding for infrastructure, to address a funding gap to deliver a scheme. This means that CIL will only be used as a "top up" and will not be used to meet the full cost of infrastructure delivery. The allocation of CIL will be guided by the Council's Regulation 123 List, a document that sets out a list of projects or types of infrastructure that the District Council intends to fund, or may fund, through the levy. The allocation and spending of CIL receipts gathered from qualifying development will be administered by the Council's CIL Spending Board to ensure that local infrastructure requirements are addressed.

4.11 Section 106 agreements will continue to be used for site-specific, on-site infrastructure improvements only. This may include (but not limited to) open space, highway improvements, flood mitigation or sustainable transport improvements.

4.12 We intend to continue to use CIL to fund strategic infrastructure across the District to create balanced, sustainable communities, while still securing Section 106 obligations for site-specific infrastructure in accordance with the NPPF and any subsequent revisions following the outcomes of the Government's consultation.

Transport

4.13 The Local Plan will seek to reduce traffic congestion, seek to protect public transport services and enhance future opportunities for sustainable transport solutions by connecting developments to services, facilities and other points of interest. Improving transport is also inherently linked to other aspects of the Local Plan, such as improving public health and wellbeing, and encouraging healthy, active lifestyles which can offer an alternative experience to heavily relying on private vehicles and reducing harmful vehicle emissions. Opportunities should include improving access to railway services and other public transport (i.e. buses) to help minimise congestion and improve air quality.

4.14 jb119In recognition of increasingly sedentary lifestyles, national policy recognises the health benefits of alternative sustainable modes of travel and encourages initiatives which seek to improve health and wellbeing, reducing dangerous air particulates from tailpipe and improve air quality. This includes the promotion of safe, high quality pedestrian and cycling routes to important locations (i.e. shops, community facilities, GP surgeries, schools etc.) and transport interchanges with bus and rail networks. The Sevenoaks District Cycling Strategy promotes a number of safe, convenient cycle routes across the District, with the objective of promoting healthy lifestyles, reducing traffic congestion for short trips and improving air quality. It also promotes the inclusion of accessible cycle parking and the creation of new routes and linkages away from busy roads and junctions.

4.15 Although the potential for using public transport and non-recreational walking and cycling is more limited in small rural communities, the same overall policy approach should be applied, including potential measures and schemes that help to improve the quality of rural transport opportunities.

4.16 The responsibility of transport is generally shared between central Government and its agencies and Kent County Council. However, we also have planning responsibilities, which can have important transport considerations, for example, by ensuring development takes place in locations that have good existing access to a variety of transport modes, rather than creating a dependency on private vehicles. Working in partnership with Kent County Council (the local highway authority), Highways England, infrastructure providers and public transport operators (railway, bus operators), we will facilitate the delivery of transport improvements to support the growth proposed by the Local Plan.

Electric Vehicle Charging

4.17 Vehicle Charging Point1There is increasing support for electric vehicles as an alternative to traditional combustion engines. Electric vehicles have zero tailpipe emissions and can help to reduce pollution emissions which contribute to poor air quality. They are also considered a green technology as they can be powered from renewable energy sources either directly or via the national grid. A range of electric cars are now available including standard hybrids, plug-in hybrids or fully electric cars.

4.18 Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids can be charged easily at home using a standard 3-pin plug but as this usually takes around 6-8 hours it is mainly used for overnight charging. Many electric car owners have 7kW home charging points which can reduce the charging time for fully electric cars to around 4 hours. Rapid chargers, such as those found at motorway service stations, can charge a car to full in about 30minutes, perfect for short stops.

4.19 If the use of electric vehicles is to increase, the District needs to have more readily available and faster charging options both at home and out and about. The most appropriate type of charging point will depend on the location and the expected length of stay, for example, 7kW chargers may be suitable for long stay car parks and workplaces, whereas rapid chargers may be more suitable for short stay car parks, supermarkets and leisure facilities.

Viability

4.20 While we will continue to use planning obligations (both Section 106 agreements and the Community Infrastructure Levy) to deliver infrastructure across the District, we must also ensure that these costs do not compromise the deliverability and scale of development over the course of the Plan period.

4.21 It is critical that we are able to demonstrate that the Local Plan is deliverable and will not render development that comes forward unviable. The NPPF explains that the issue of viability for the Local Plan is crucial to understanding the deliverability of sites, with a clear understanding of the economic conditions and market factors that affect development within the local authority area. To make this assessment, local evidence including local land values and infrastructure costs should be accounted for in line with the development strategy proposed and sites that are likely to come forward. However, this should not undermine ambitions to create wholly sustainable and balanced communities which provide greater social and environmental benefits to be enjoyed by all and future generations.

4.22 In late 2017, the Government consulted on potential revisions of the NPPF, including proposals to amend national policy on viability assessments for both plan-making and decision-taking. In terms of plan-making, suggested proposals seek to place additional expectations on Local Plans and how they will deliver infrastructure improvements, as well as affordable housing and the contribution thresholds that are expected. 

 

Policy 7 - Transport & Infrastructure

Working in partnership with Kent County Council (as the local transport authority), Highways England and other transport delivery partners, the Local Plan will mitigate any adverse travel impacts created by new developments, including impacts on congestion and safety, environmental and noise impact, air quality and impacts on amenity, health and wellbeing. This may mean ensuring adequate provision is made for integrated and improved transport infrastructure with other appropriate mitigation through direct improvements and/or developer contributions.

Promotion of safe and convenient cycle routes must be considered, where development is situated in sustainable locations with access to day-to-day services and facilities. This may include:

  • Provision of new cycling routes to key locations and transport interchanges;
  • Enhancing existing cycling routes and improving the existing cycle network within the vicinity of the development;
  • Adequate cycle storage that is accessible and secure.

Electric Vehicle Charging Points

All non-residential development proposals with car parking must include electric vehicle charging points for use by employees or customers. In addition, all schemes must include publically accessible rapid electric vehicle charging points where possible and appropriate. The number of points to be provided will be determined by:

  • The size of the new development
  • The number of expected employees, customers or car parking spaces
  • The accessibility of the location
  • The expected length of stay

Within new residential developments all new houses with a garage or off street parking must include an external electrical socket with suitable voltage and wiring for the safe charging of electrical vehicles.

Schemes for new apartments and houses with separate parking areas must include a scheme for communal charging points. The number of points to be provided will be determined by the number of housing units to ensure charging points are readily available.

Management arrangements should be in place for all publically available or communal electric vehicle charging points to ensure charging points are working and readily available. This may include:

  • Regular maintenance to ensure points are not faulty
  • Ensuring any faulty points are fixed quickly
  • Maximum charge times and sanctions for users who block access to a point for other users.

Infrastructure Delivery

Where new development creates a requirement for new or improved infrastructure beyond existing provision, developers will be expected to provide, or contribute to, the additional requirement.

Where new development occurs, developers will be expected to ensure that development is technology-ready, including the provision for high quality telecommunications and broadband connections.

The development of infrastructure facilities required to resolve existing deficiencies will be supported, in relation to the scale and distribution of development proposed in the Local Plan.

The Community Infrastructure Levy will continue to be used to secure contributions to help fund strategic infrastructure and facilitate sustainable growth throughout Sevenoaks District. Any strategic infrastructure projects that are identified as "critical" will be identified on the Regulation 123 List.

The Infrastructure Delivery Plan supports the implementation of the Local Plan and outlines how and when necessary infrastructure schemes will be delivered.