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 DLPP659
Respondent Now Planning Ltd (Nora Galley… [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 10 Sep 2018
Current Status Accepted

CIL and S106

8. Paragraph 4.11 is not consistent with the CIL regulations. There may well be instances where

infrastructure is necessary for development to be permissible in planning terms (e.g., because of

transport impacts or air quality effects) - but may not qualify for a 'critical' list. One of the biggest

criticisms of CIL, and a key reason for the Government¡¯s review of CIL, is the effect it has of

divorcing development from its impacts. While these can be corrected by a full S123 list, there is

no indication in the drafting of para 4.11 that such specificity from the Council for its new Local

Plan will be forthcoming. It may also be the case that the district generally or a specific

community particularly would benefit from S106 obligations in lieu of CIL and it is within the

Council¡¯s gift to zero rate such developments where that would be the case. Put plainly, the

categorical statement with reference to S106 (¡°for ¡®on-site¡¯ infrastructure improvements only¡±)

removes the flexibility the Council would be wise to retain in the public¡¯s interest (which is of

course why the CIL regulations allow for this).

9. One such example, where we would argue that flexibility is in the community¡¯s interest, is the

relief road for the A25 through Westerham town centre which forms part of the Which Way

Westerham (WWW) proposals. The reasoning is this:

The relief road is needed over the Local Plan period based solely on current and

projected background traffic levels (i.e., with no account, for example, of the traffic that

would be generated by SDC¡¯s estimated yields from ¡®maximising supply¡¯ and developing

¡®brownfield¡¯ land, or for the Tandridge Local Plan¡¯s proposals or for any other

developments proposed by plans in preparation and still to be adopted), and KCC¡¯s

county highway authority acknowledges that a relief road is the only available solution to

resolving the problems of the London Road/A25 junction which is already operating

above its capacity.

The construction cost alone of the relief road is greater than the value of CIL that would

be levied from the 600 dwellings.

There is no other source of funds for the relief road that CIL could ¡®top up¡¯.

Any additional development in the town, including unplanned, incremental increases that

might occur from ¡®maximising supply¡¯ and developing ¡®brownfield¡¯ land, would add to the

already problematic traffic levels and the increases that will arise over the Local Plan

period from background traffic growth alone (i.e., traffic generated by developments that

are already in adopted plans but have yet to be built and excluding the traffic effects of

development still to be allocated by new plans).

Already, SDC's Retail Study 2016 notes the adverse effects of the traffic levels on the

town centre¡¯s accessibility and SDC's Historic Environment Review 2017 remarks on the

harm caused to the centre's dense concentration of heritage assets. The Town Council's

draft design guide decries the traffic effects on both.

Exceptionally, all of the land for the relief road is owned or controlled by Squerryes

Estate (save for land that would be needed in the public highway), and thus there are no

delivery constraints.

Squerryes is already committed to the creation of a community trust to hold the funds for,

and oversee the expenditure of, the part of the relief road cost which is attributable to the

town centre improvements that are needed to capture the benefits for the town centre's

vitality of removing c 70% of the traffic (69% of cars and 80% of HGVs - only 6% of

which is even a candidate for passing trade). There is no reason why the Town Council,

for example, could not be represented as a Trustee; the same applies to SDC.

10. It also needs to be made clear when the Council will review its CIL charge and S123 list and

whether the revised proposals to account for the new Local Plan will be examined alongside and

at the same time as the new Local Plan.