Sevenoaks District Draft Local Plan Consultation July 2018

Document Section Draft Local Plan July 2018 Ensuring Well-Connected Communities are Supported by Appropriate Infrastructure Improving Health, Schools and Transport [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID DLPP84
Respondent Cameron Clark ID-707 [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 20 Aug 2018
Current Status Accepted

H2e New Ash Green Village Centre

As well as providing essential retail opportunities within walking distance of a large population, the village centre is the location of other commercial and community activities which provide both employment and facilities for local people including the village hall, public house, gym, dance studio, veterinary surgery and offices so these should be retained in any redevelopment in accordance with the policy requirement for equivalent replacement community facilities equally accessible to the population served.  There is concern locally that the owners of the shopping centre are deliberately driving out tenants or discouraging new tenancies by failing to maintain the property, raising rents to unaffordable levels and offering leases of such a limited length as to make further investment unviable.  Provision must be made in the Local Plan for a sufficient range of shops and other facilities to serve a community of the size of New Ash Green and its hinterland, even if some of the present businesses have been unable to expand or continue, and new businesses have been unable to establish themselves, because of the actions of the landowner.

The identified area on the plan also includes the Youth and Community Centre, Library, Village Hall and several health facilities which must be protected.  Car parking in the village centre for the shops and other businesses and community uses is already heavily used; it cannot be reduced, while additional housing will create a further demand in addition to the existing provision.  The principal pedestrian access to the Primary School and vehicular access to several residential properties require people to use the car parks or roads within the designated area so these constraints have to be taken into account; the main village bus stop at North Square is also in this area.

It is important to ensure that any provision for regeneration or redevelopment in the Local Plan takes all these issues into account.  It will also be essential to ensure the continuation of shops and services, including car parking, before and during any works so that essential businesses and facilities are able to continue operating throughout the process and then take up units in the new development at affordable rents.