Changes to the local plan process: have your say
The Government is proposing changes to the planning system, brought together in the White Paper, Planning for the Future. The consultation ‘Changes to the current planning system‘ closed on Thurs. 1st October.
The overarching white paper, Planning for the Future, consultation closing 29th October.
- A faster local plan process, 30 months from end-to-end. Currently, the public gets consulted at Section 18, when the principles are being drawn up, and at Section 19, just before the whole plan is sent off to the Inspector. There is also consultation about individual panning applications. Under these proposals, the public gets consulted as the ‘zones’ are drawn up (see next bullet) and after the plan has already been sent to the Inspector. Less say for you about what is built where! Less say for our elected councillors.
- Land in planning districts designated either as 1. Areas for Growth, 2. Areas for renewal or 3. Protected Areas. Hopefully, the Kent Downs AONB should ensure that Westerham’s Green Belt remains in a Protected Area, where development is restricted. In Growth Areas, outline approval for development would be granted for types of development specified in the local plan. Renewal areas would be subject to “gentle densification”.
- Sustainability Assessment and Environmental Impact Assessment procedures would be ‘streamlined’. Details to follow.
- The rule book, the National Planning Policy Framework is to get some rewrites.
- The threshold for requiring developers to contribute towards affordable homes to be raised from the current 1:10 dwellings to 1:40 or 1:50 dwellings, allegedly, to help out smaller developers temporarily.
- There would be no more Section 106s or CIL to get affordable homes built. Instead, a levy on developers’ profits, which they wouldn’t pay until the house-buyers moved in. How would the supporting roads, schools and surgeries get built in good time? Good question! The document suggests that Local Authorities could borrow money to build these, in anticipation of receiving the proceeds of the levy. Read more here.
- Other changes: Extension of Permission in Principle to larger sites. Speculators wanting to raise money to develop a larger housing site, say, would be able to apply for Permission in Principle without having to supply any plans save for the number of dwellings and extent of commercial premises. Once granted, they’d then need to acquire Technical Details Consent, obtainable in 10 weeks for planning permission to be granted.
- The Government is also promoting its 30% of market-price First Homes initiative, requiring all affordable homes planning to have a 25% component of this.
This is how the white paper could change local plans.
This link sets out eleven proposed key changes.
If you have the stomach for it, twenty-eight key points from Planning for the Future.
Keep Westerham Green is currently preparing a response to the Planning for the Future consultation. We urge you to make your individual response by clicking on this link. Westerham Town Council will be glad to hear your reactions to the white paper, as they will responding on the community’s behalf.
For more information and updates, please follow http://www.keepwesterhamgreen.co.uk and on the Facebook KeepWesterhamGreenGroup.
Force Green Lane Doggie Day Care approved by Sevenoaks District Council
Read more about this here.
Work on M25 continues until November
Read more about this here.
The Tandridge District Council Local Plan 2033
Tandridge District Council has failed in its bid for funds to improve Junction 6 of the M25, a precondition for the Bletchingly Garden Village being approved by the Inspector. To read more about the bid for funds to improve M25 Junction 6 (in connection with the proposed housing development at Godstone), please click here.
No news on the Covers Farm Quarry infill proposal
At 28th September there is no news about the application for the stabilisation/restoration of the Covers Farm Quarry – no timescale announced for KCC planner’s report, no date for a decision point. In April, along with Westerham Town Council we put some questions to the KCC planner. Hopefully at least these will be addressed in the report. Conventionally, members of the KCC Planning Committee would conduct a site visit prior to the decision meeting. Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 has curtailed this sort of activity. It has been suggested that a drone might be used instead of an actual visit, though please see below the wide impact that the Covers Farm infill would have. KCC planning decisions have been going ahead without site visits. Let’s hope that this won’t be the case here.
No site visit scheduled
Conventionally, members of the KCC Planning Committee would conduct a site visit prior to the decision meeting. Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 has curtailed this sort of activity. It has been suggested that a drone might be used instead of an actual visit, though please see below our proposed site visit list showing the wide impact that the Covers Farm infill would have. Some KCC planning decisions have been going ahead without site visits. Let’s hope that this won’t be the case here. Questions to KCC April 2020
For more background to Covers Farm please click here.
KWGRG’s appeal for funds
We’re still trying to raise funds towards seeking expert opinion and producing campaign materials. If you are able to make a donation – £ 30, £10 or anything at all – it will make a big difference in the fight to protect Westerham’s Green Belt and to prevent the town from becoming a building site for 20 years.
There are three ways to donate:
Drop in a cheque payable to ‘Keep Westerham Green Residents Group’ or cash to
‘Hunters’ 1A Fullers Hill, Westerham, TN16 1AF. Receipts will be noted.
Make a bank transfer to account name ‘Keep Westerham Green Residents Group’ at Barclays, sort code: 20 88 13, account number: 43902846.
A £10 donation via PayPal using a Debit or Credit Card.
The Keep Westerham Green Residents Group is an unincorporated residents association.
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