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The new Local Plan for Tunbridge Wells borough will provide the basis for determining the suitability of development proposals across the borough to 2038.

Much has changed since 2010, when the current strategic plan (the Core Strategy) was adopted, in particular the increased levels of housing and economic development need.

The role of the Local Plan is to set out the spatial vision and strategic objectives for the borough, as well as the development strategy needed to meet those objectives. It details overarching place shaping policies for each parish and settlement within the borough, as well as specific site allocations to deliver the strategy, and detailed development management policies to be applied to all new developments across the borough.

It aims to strike a balance between:

  • growth to meet current and future housing needs
  • safeguarding the borough’s important natural and historic environments

Stages of the Local Plan

The new Local Plan has been through three previous periods of public consultation, as indicated on the flow chart below. These have related to an Issues and Options (Regulation 18) stage, a Draft Local Plan (Regulation 18) stage and most recently a Pre-Submission version of the Local Plan (Regulation 19). The council is currently undertaking a fourth public consultation as part of the Examination, focussing on the proposed changes to the Submission Local Plan following the Inspector’s Initial Findings in November 2022. There will be a further, fifth consultation on Main Modifications in due course, following further examination hearing sessions later this year.

Flow chart showing the stages of the Local Plan

Further detail about these previous stages of the Local Plan is available.

The Local Plan was submitted on 1 November 2021, along with all supporting documents, to the Secretary of State for independent examination. The Local Plan remains subject to this examination stage.

Further information is available on the Examination of the Local Plan page of the website.

The process and overall timetable for the Local Plan, as well as for other planning documents, is contained in the council’s latest Local Development Scheme (December 2023).

When finally adopted, the new Local Plan will replace the existing 2006 Local Plan, the Core Strategy (2010) and the Site Allocations Local Plan (2016).