Sevenoaks District Draft Local Plan Consultation July 2018

Document Section Draft Local Plan July 2018 Executive Summary 1. Finding Places for New Homes [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID DLPP432
Respondent Simon Giles [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 09 Sep 2018
Current Status Accepted

In my view greenbelt is sacrosanct and I don't agree with Cllr Piper's comment that this is "a once in a generation opportunity to improve our local infrastructure and community facilities" any more than I would regard selling one of my kidneys as a once in a lifetime opportunity to fund a new conservatory. We are fortunate to live within striking distance of London, which has the most populous metropolitan area in the EU, but far enough outside of it that we are surrounded by green open spaces and can enjoy a rural lifestyle. Just about every facility imaginable is available a short train ride away, while we are able to escape many of the problems and stress associated with urban living. For me it's hard to imagine a more perfect setting and for as long as I have ever known it has gone without saying that it will remain protected. Yet we now have a backdoor to development marked "exceptional circumstances" to justify and prioritise development to meet housing demand and profit over protection of the reasons why everyone wants to live here. A four-fold increase in development is unrealistic and unsustainable and this should be strongly resisted not dressed up as an opportunity to try and swindle us into giving up our most precious commodity in exchange for things we don't need and that experience has shown often end up not being delivered anyway.

If "exceptional" can be defined as rare, unusual or seldom occurring then it should not be a universal justification that is used to facilitate enormous developments that dwarf existing settlements and fundamentally change the character of areas of the district, or that result in large numbers of residents feeling that their way of life is under threat.