Sevenoaks District Draft Local Plan Consultation July 2018

Document Section Draft Local Plan July 2018 Providing for Housing Choices Homes to suit all incomes [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID DLPP861
Respondent Sevenoaks Town Council (Linda… [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 05 Sep 2018
Current Status Accepted

Sevenoaks Town Council expresses concern that staff working at schools in Sevenoaks are forced to

commute into the town from outside the area, owing to a lack of affordable housing. In periods of

heavy snow, schools are often forced to remain closed to pupils through lack of staff. Sevenoaks

Town Council would be sympathetic to on-site delivery of Key Worker housing, suggesting that it

should qualify as 'exceptional circumstances'.

Sevenoaks Town Council believes that a 40% affordable housing target must be adhered to, but also

wishes to raise the issue of a tendency for housing developments in Sevenoaks Town to be

comprised of a small number of units. Small developments such as these are not required to make

on-site provision in line with targets and financial contributions are collected by Sevenoaks District

Council which, historically, have remained unspent. STC would welcome more powers enabling Local

Authorities to directly deliver and manage affordable housing, believing that Local Authorities are

better placed than Housing Associations to meet the longer term needs of the area and ensure

effective allocation of homes.

With regards to various affordable housing options, Sevenoaks Town Council is firmly of the opinion

that socially rented housing should be prioritised, especially where Essential Workers are concerned.

STC also wishes to assert that that such housing should be located where the need is greatest (i.e.

within Sevenoaks Town) even though other areas of the district are more attractive to Housing

Associations due to their significantly lower land values.

Sevenoaks Town Council is aware that the District lacks a clear path of housing progression for an

increasingly ageing population. STC would welcome increased provision within Sevenoaks Town, i.e.

close to facilities, but would advise against the creation of a retirement village, emphasising the

need to retain a diverse mix. STC agrees that downsizing should be encouraged, as this would free

up larger homes for younger families, but equally notes that around 80% of older people currently

live in owner-occupied properties, which could impede this process.

Where the development of new smaller (1-2 bedroom) homes is concerned, Sevenoaks Town

Council recommends that maximum plot sizes be restricted to ensure that such smaller properties

are retained in perpetuity. This would limit the possibility of subsequent extension into 3/4/5

bedroom homes, as currently often occurs due to high land values in Sevenoaks making it financially

attractive. Sevenoaks Town Council strongly supports the delivery of small 1-2 bedroom homes on

small plots.

STC wishes to underline the need for mixed housing developments, which offer a variety of options

with regards to tenure. STC also cautions against the ¡°commuter village¡± effect, especially in the

light of the current trend of outward migration from London.