Sevenoaks District Draft Local Plan Consultation July 2018

Document Section Draft Local Plan July 2018 Protecting, Conserving and Enhancing Green Belt, Landscape and the Natural Environment Protecting our Countryside [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID DLPP170
Respondent Theresa Durrant ID-6142 [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 29 Aug 2018
Current Status Accepted

"The most important attribute of the Green Belt is its openness and the fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to keep land permanently open. The 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."

As with my previous comments on this consultation document, the term "exceptional circumstances" is far too abstract and provides little reassurance that the green belt land will continue to be protected from development in the future.  SDC state that the 'exceptional circumstances' must be 'clearly defined' before development will be considered, but the fact that no indication of what would or could be deemed as exceptional makes it impossible to clearly define when it is exceptional.  This wording is far to open and affords little or no protection for our green spaces. 

 In addition to this, the policy appears to weaken the 50% rule in respect to development of existing buildings within the green belt.  Just as new developments will detrimentally impact the openness of these open spaces, so too can replacement of existing buildings where their foot print is larger than the original building.  Throughout the district we are seeing houses being replaced by much larger buildings, or extensions that appear excessive in bulk and appearance which all eats into the open views along the valley, and in some cases creates infilling between buildings.

I feel the policy should be amended to reinforce protecting the openness of the green belt from future development and further development of existing sites.