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 Landscape and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Policy 3 - Landscape and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID DLPP285
Respondent Kent Downs AONB Unit (Katie Mi… [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 04 Sep 2018
Current Status Accepted

The AONB Unit welcomes the inclusion of a policy which specifically relates to AONBs.  We are concerned however that the proposed policy offers significantly less protection to AONBs than that currently provided in policy EN5 in the current Allocations and Development Management Plan,  and LO8 from the Core Strategy despite a strengthening of AONB protection in the revised NPPF and in particular paragraph 172.

The policy should reflect the national importance of AONBs, which has been reaffirmed in the recently revised NPPF with the re-inclusion of the sentence ‘which have the highest status of protection’ (in relation to landscape and scenic beauty), which was omitted in the draft revised NPPF, March 2018.  As drafted, the policy does not refer to major development not normally being acceptable within AONBs and that development within such areas should be limited in scale and extent only.  It Is not only the character of the landscape of the AONBs that needs to be conserved and enhanced but their other special qualities as set out in the relevant AONB Management Plans and this should be referred to in the policy.   It is also considered that insufficient protection is provided in the wording ‘consideration must be given to’ and that should that this should be amended to ‘proposals will be supported where’ with an appropriate revision to the subsequent wording. The AONB Unit would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with Sevenoaks District Council, perhaps in conjunction with the High Weald AONB Unit.