Sevenoaks District Draft Local Plan Consultation July 2018

Document Section Draft Local Plan July 2018 Supporting a Vibrant and Balanced Economy Economic Land and Development Policy 13 - Supporting a Vibrant and Balanced Economy [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID DLPP1161
Respondent Lichfields (Sarah Fabes ID-3226) [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 02 Oct 2018
Current Status Accepted

The aspiration to protect non-residential uses under draft Policy 13 (Supporting a Vibrant and Balanced Economy) in the interest of supporting and maintaining a vibrant and balanced economy is supported.

However, the policy wording is particularly onerous for proposals seeking to redevelop non-allocated, nonresidential sites where alternative uses would be a more appropriate. This approach conflicts with the NPPF (para. 121) which states that local planning authorities should "take a positive approach to applications for alternative uses of land which is currently developed but not allocated for a specific purpose in plans, where there would help to meet identified development needs".

As it stands draft Policy 13 could have a stifling effect on development (particularly in town centres) resulting in the underutilisation of previously-developed land and buildings and, in turn, increasing development pressures on greenfield and Green Belt sites.

Given the acknowledged challenge of meeting housing need within the District (Draft Local Plan para. 1.6), Policy 13 should be revised to better reflect the more proactive approach established by the NPPF (Chapter 11) and encourage the co-location of employment and residential uses on non-allocated employment sites, particularly where this would help facilitate regeneration and improve the vitality and viability of town centres.

In respect of non-allocated non-residential sites, we suggest that the policy wording is revised as follows: "The redevelopment of employment sites other non-residential, employment generating uses which are no longer fit for purpose will be supported where the alternative uses will help meet identified development needs and be compatible with other policies in the Local Plan.

Mixed-used development will be encouraged to retain the economic and employment capacity of the site. Residential development will be permitted in areas of high housing demand provided this would not undermine key economic sectors, sites or the vitality and viability of town centres."