Sevenoaks District Draft Local Plan Consultation July 2018

Document Section Draft Local Plan July 2018 Executive Summary 2. Protecting our Countryside [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID DLPP355
Respondent Luke Partridge ID-3345 [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 06 Sep 2018
Current Status Accepted

In relation to the request for comments on the Draft Local Plan, my first comment is that the process undertaken to date has been open, informative and balanced for which we are grateful.

I am generally supportive of the overall approach to the consultation.  In particular I support your guiding principle that development with the Green Belt would be considered only in the most exceptional circumstances.  As can be seen by the overwhelming feedback that the Green Belt should be protected from your earlier survey, there is broad consensus throughout the district on this point.

I'm therefore please to see that the sites HO120 and HO177 have been excluded from the current plan, being not only part of the Green Belt but also falling in part within the AONB.  Green Belt sites that abut existing settlements, such as these, are to my mind amongst the most important Green Belt sites to protect in order to control the generalised urban sprawl that would result without them. 

I am concerned however that these sites were even considered to be potentially appropriate at the early stages of the consultation (particularly with respect to HO120 where the conclusion suggests it would be in part deliverable on the northernmost tip).  I understand that the independent Arup review commissioned by your office concluded that both of these sites are strongly performing Green Belt, meaning that the boundaries of the Green Belt could only be revised in exceptional circumstances.  There are no such circumstances in that would justify this.

Furthermore, Brittains lane is anyway deeply unsuited to support further development for a number of reasons including, inter alia:

- it is a road that already suffers from issues with traffic, particularly at peak times.  It is not uncommon for the traffic line running back from the  Braeside Avenue/ London Road junction to stretch almost along the whole length of Braeside Avenue back to the Braeside Avenue/Brittains Lane junction.  At the South end of the Road, the Oak Lane/Brittains Lane junction is frankly quite dangerous already, with limited visibility necessitating drivers edge out into the path of oncoming traffic in order to determine whether the route is clear with no apparent opportunity to improve the situation;

 - on top of this, Brittains Lane is in parts a narrow lane, particularly along the section south of Downsview Road where 2 vehicles are barely able to pass one another.  As a result, even with the current traffic levels it is common to see multiple traffic queues at 'choke points' along the lane, which is only exacerbated when, for example, a delivery or refuse collection is underway;

 - further south along the lane, there is a substantial section without footpaths.  Given this is the shortest route to London Road & the station for residents, there is often pedestrian traffic on the road itself.  Given the lane is barely wide enough to accommodate 2 vehicles as it is, the presence of pedestrians is often enough to bring traffic to a halt whilst they proceed down this section;

The distinct character of Brittains Lane is that it is a country lane bounded on one side by agricultural land.   Increasing development along this lane would dramatically alter this character, increase risks to pedestrian traffic along the road, and exacerbate the existing traffic issues.

Kind regards,

Luke Partridge