Sevenoaks District Draft Local Plan Consultation July 2018

Document Section Draft Local Plan July 2018 Supporting a Vibrant and Balanced Economy Visitor Economy Policy 14 - Town and Local Centres [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID DLPP1132
Respondent Montreal Park Residents' Assoc… [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 01 Oct 2018
Current Status Accepted

We suggest that in the second para of the policy the words “save exceptionally” be added at the end. This is because there are locations, such as for example the Farmers site in the London Road, Sevenoaks, where retail at ground floor level is almost certainly unviable.  For the same reason we also suggest the addition of a further sentence:

‘For larger developments the quantum and type of different uses should be demonstrated through a suitable Needs Assessment.’

We suggest that the third para is redrafted as follows:

‘New development in the town centre should be sensitive to the existing character of the centre and should contribute to improving the quality of the town centre environment especially for pedestrians. New developments should be self-appraised with Design Impact Assessments and significant applications will be reviewed by the Design Review Panel. Town centre car parking will be managed to ensure adequate and convenient provision for shoppers and minimise additional provision for long stay car parking to encourage sustainable transport choices. Charging points for electric vehicle charging will be provided where possible.’

The reason why we think that additional provision for long stay town centre parking should be minimised is because we believe it is easier to encourage town centre commuters to work, who have regular journeys, to use more sustainable means of transport. It is more difficult for shoppers and other short term visitors to the town centre to travel by public transport as their trips tend to be one off and they may well be carrying shopping. We should also like to see the Council re-investigate the options for park and ride.

To the final para of this policy add a further bullet point:

  • The impact on local residents

Chapter 7

Opening statement Replace “aim to” with “will” to make setting up a Design Review Panel a firm commitment.

Para 7.1 Add after “…live, work and relax”:

“It is recognised that good design adds value to the local economy, culturally, socially and environmentally.”

Para 7.2 Locally Listed Buildings should be included in the list, so it reads:

“The built and historic heritage of Listed Buildings, Locally Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas…”

Para 7.4 We suggest that specific reference should be made to ‘passive design’, and also to ‘well-being’.

Para 7.7 At the end of the first sentence, we suggest adding: “where this is on a significant scale or in a sensitive location”. It is absurd to use the design panel for all developments.

Para 7.8 First sentence, delete the words “It is expected that”, which are otiose and weaken the meaning.

The Design Review Process should be onerous if a planning proposal is badly designed. We suggest that the final sentence reads:

“…and how the process will work to ensure that the process is not onerous for well-designed projects, and positively encourages development so long as it is well designed.”

Para 7.11 The phrase “…areas where noise will not be such an important consideration…” needs further explanation/qualification.

Para 7.14 Light pollution can detrimentally affect town environments as well as countryside settings.

Para 7.15 Add ‘multi-storey car parks’ as another example of a community facility which can need external lighting.

Screening devices can also mitigate the impact of lighting on adjoining sites.