The Sevenoaks Society rejects proposals

The Sevenoaks Society: Statement in Response to Sevenoaks District Council’s Proposals in the Stage Two Local Plan Consultation.

 

The Sevenoaks Society joins with others in strongly opposing development in Brittains Lane and other Green Belt sites around Sevenoaks which we believe should be protected.

 

Preface

The Society has responded in detail to the District Council’s consultation on meeting the District’s housing needs and has submitted its considered views on the options put forward. It recognises that at the national level there is a housing crisis and locally a severe shortage of affordable homes, and all attempts to meet government targets pose considerable challenges. The Society has carefully examined all the options including the base-line sites, and given its local remit has expressed particular concerns regarding the potential impact of sites in Sevenoaks town and immediate areas, three of which are in the Green Belt.

 

The Sevenoaks Society rejects proposals for expanding the town into the Green Belt

In its response the Society has warned that based on SDC’s figure of the need for a total of 10,680 homes in the 15-year period to 2040, two of the three options on which the Council are consulting would mean an increase of up to 30% in the size of Sevenoaks town. Based on the sustainability assessment undertaken by SDC’s consultants (AECOM) and consideration of infrastructure provision and the impact on the landscape, the Society’s firm view is that Option 2, a new settlement at Pedham Place, is preferable.

Society Chairman David Green said: “An increase of the size proposed for Sevenoaks over such a short period of time would require some form of dedicated change management unit akin to a development corporation. The District Council doesn’t have that capability. What is needed is a new settlement with development planned and coordinated with provision of adequate infrastructure.”

“None of the three proposed Green Belt sites on the edge of the Sevenoaks urban area (Brittains Lane, Bessels Green and Chipstead) can properly be described as ‘sustainable’ and all are, for a range of reasons, unsuitable for development”.

The Society’s response welcomes policies on affordable housing but it remains concerned by the Council’s conspicuous lack of success in recent years in achieving this, particularly social rented homes. It believes a far more robust approach is needed to challenging and reviewing developers’ viability assessments.

The Society recognises the crucial importance to local people of the timely provision of suitable and appropriate infrastructure and wishes to see a plan in place which instead of being merely aspirational is hard-wired to delivery.

For readers wanting more information please email the Society at [email protected].

 

The Sevenoaks Society 8th January 2024

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