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 Green Belt Policy 4 - Development in the Green Belt [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID DLPP740
Respondent Berkeley Group (Ronan Kirrane… [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 18 Sep 2018
Current Status Accepted
Response Type OBSERVATIONS
Comment

The District is highly constrained in terms of Green Belt with 93% of the District area
being within the Green Belt
4.2 As allowed for in the NPPF Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in
exceptional circumstances, through the preparation or review of the Local Plan. The
need to significantly boost the supply of housing and meet the housing needs of the
District represents an ‘exceptional circumstance’.
4.3 As evidenced within the Local Plan Green Belt boundaries need to be amended in
order for the District to meet its housing needs.
4.4 The strength of the Green Belt varies greatly across the District as is evidenced
within the Green Belt Study that was produced by the Council in January 2017.
4.5 Of the 101 parcels assessed 77 were found to be strongly meeting the Green Belt
purposes, 21 moderately and just 3 as weak. The Green Belt Study then
recommended 31 pieces of land for further assessment. Under stage two the
recommended areas were assessed against landscape sensitivity and on-site
constraints.
4.6 The land at Ash Place Farm has not been included as a recommended area. The
land forms part of the vastly wide parcel 81, which is categorised as strongly meeting
the purposes of the Green Belt. Berkeley believe that this parcel is oversized and the
assessment of the parcel as a whole does not give a true representation of the extent
to which individual sites within this parcel met the Green Belt purposes. Parcel 81 is
over double the size of Sevenoaks town itself and due to the variance in landscapes
and topography it is largely inappropriate to apply a broad brush score to the entirety
of the parcel. The study found that the parcel most strongly meets the purpose 2 of
the Green Belt, which relates to the merging of settlements.
4.7 We have made our own assessment of Ash Place Farm against the purposes of the
Green Belt, which is provided for below. We believe that this gives a more accurate
picture of how the land performs against the purposes of the Green Belt.


Green Belt Review Criteria Assessment
Check unrestricted sprawl
of large built up areas
Existing built development and sports fields lie to the north of
the site and along the western boundary that abuts Ash Road.
Ash Place Farm and its accompanying buildings along with St.
Peter and St. Paul Church provide for partial development along
the southern boundary of the site. The strong boundary
vegetation that lies to the north, west and part of the south
eastern part of the site will be retained and enhanced providing
strong defensible boundaries to the south, east and west of the
site, which will allow the development of the land to consolidate
the existing built form of the settlement and as such would not
constitute unrestricted urban sprawl.
Prevent neighbouring towns
from merging into one
another
As the site is bounded by existing built development, we believe
that the site would act as a natural extension to New Ash Green.
Although the village of Ash lies to the south of the site, part of
the land on the western part of the site will be left undeveloped
and used as a landscape buffer to Ash. This space will function
as a green wedge and allow for the appropriate separation
between New Ash Green and Ash to be maintained.
Assist in safeguarding
countryside
from encroachment

As already mentioned the surrounding area already includes a
number of urban elements including the Church, existing
residential dwellings and the local sports club. Encroachment is
prevented by the well contained nature of the site provided by
the sites existing built and natural features and their ability to
provide long-term well defined and defensible boundaries. The impact of the development would be negligible due to the existing strong boundary vegetation and through a well-planned
and designed scheme.

 

Preserve setting and special
character of historic towns
It is our opinion that New Ash Green is not a historic town and
therefore this purpose is not relevant.
Assist in urban regeneration The availability of land within Sevenoaks, including brownfield
land, is limited and in order to meet the local housing need
Green Belt land will be required to be released for development.

It can be concluded from the above assessment that the Ash Place Farm site performs weekly
in relation to the purposes of the Green Belt. The site serves a much lower function in
comparison to the wider parcel and to the rest of the District, a large proportion of, which is
environmentally constrained by the AONB. It is Berkeley’s assessment that the land at Ash
Place Farm is warranted for removal from the Green Belt and suitable for allocation for
residential development.

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