Sevenoaks District Draft Local Plan Consultation July 2018

Draft Local Plan July 2018

Foreword from Cllr Piper, Portfolio Holder for Planning

I am pleased to be able to introduce the first draft of the Local Plan for Sevenoaks District which will guide housing, employment, retail and other infrastructure needs up to 2035. We have produced a Plan which will provide much needed homes for our children and grandchildren and offers more opportunities for first time buyers, the old seeking to downsize and more affordable homes.

This is an important step in a process that we hope will lead to the new Plan being examined and adopted during 2019. This Plan will replace the existing Core Strategy (2011) and the Allocations and Development Management Plan (2015).

This is now your opportunity to make your views known on policies and sites within the Plan and to contribute to what we hope is an ambitious and appropriate plan for the district over the next 15 to 20 years.

Last year we sent a survey to every home in the District asking for your views on the ‘Issues’ facing the area over the next twenty years and our suggested ‘Options’ for dealing with them. We had a magnificent response – over 15,000 of you took part – and overwhelmingly you supported our ideas, which have been incorporated into this draft of the Local Plan.

You said…

We are proposing to…

Continue to protect the Green Belt which accounts for 93% of the area

Continue to protect the Green Belt and only support development in ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ (as set out by government) where it provides significant social and community benefits

Build new homes on brownfield land

Focus new housing in existing settlements and on brownfield land in the Green Belt

Deliver new and improved infrastructure where and when needed to support new housing, particularly new schools and medical facilities

Take advantage of the opportunities for new and improved infrastructure where needed, funded by developers. We will work with partners to ensure the timely delivery of improvements

Build new housing at higher densities in existing urban areas

Allow new homes to be built at higher densities in our existing settlements to help us to continue to protect the Green Belt

The Government has instructed us to aim to build nearly 14,000 homes between 2015 and 2035 to meet local need. To put this into context, our current adopted Core Strategy aims to provide 3,300 new homes over a 20-year period, so this is more than a four-fold increase.

First and foremost, we are prioritising land in our existing built up areas and land that has already been built on for new homes. However, at best, this would provide only half the new homes needed. So we have no choice but to look at other areas, known as ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ sites, which have been put forward by landowners. But these sites in the Green Belt have the potential to secure significant funding from developers giving us all a once in a generation opportunity to improve our local infrastructure and community facilities.

Despite these national pressures, our draft Local Plan includes proposals to continue to protect 99% of our existing Green Belt and the rural nature of our District together with space for jobs, retail, leisure and open space – all essential components for the future prosperity of our District.

Last year you gave us your general views on opportunities and challenges within the district, now we’re seeking your views on the detail. We’re keen to hear what you and your family think of the plan – whether you support our proposals for new homes or if you have comments on the possible sites for new development. Over to you.