Policy AL/CA 3: Land at Capel and Paddock Wood
This response report contains comments received on Section 5: Place Shaping Policies – Capel section.
Policy AL/CA 3: Land at Capel and Paddock Wood
Object/support/support with conditions/general observation
how are all these people going to fit on a train from paddock wood when they are currently at capacity??
NHS West Clinical Commissioning Group
The CCG notes the policy details that together with land outside Paddock Wood parish (in Capel parish, immediately to the west of Paddock Wood the settlement), provision will be made for a proportion of approximately 4,000 new dwellings and that health facilities have been referred to within this to be delivered on land referred to as land at Capel and Paddock Wood (Policy AL/PW 1), and in Paddock Wood Town Centre (AL/PW 2).
The proposed development will require capacity c 10,000 new patient registrations in general practice (c12000 when including existing permissions). Given the scale of development there will be a requirement for a new general practice premises to ensure the growth can be accommodated.
There is currently one practice located in Paddock Wood and a small number of other practice boundaries also provide currently coverage to all/part of the area. Capacity does not exist to accommodate the proposed growth and whilst the information has been shared with general practices a detailed strategic assessment has not been undertaken at this stage. The CCG has been included in early discussions regarding the comprehensive approach to master planning and expects to be fully involved as this develops in order to strategically assess and identify the requirements for general practice capacity. Critical to this will be the phasing of development, availability of contributions and the timing of the delivery of required infrastructure.
Planning for growth in general practice is complex; physical infrastructure is one element but alongside this workforce is a critical consideration both in terms of new workforce requirements and retirements. Any plans developed need to support delivery of sustainable services for the future.
It is noted that :
The need will be defined as part of the master planning approach.
Mrs Suzi Rich
I object to this policy because the expansion of Paddock Wood can be achieved without using Green Belt land at East Capel for housing. 4,000 new dwellings in Paddock Wood is excessive given the scale of recent developments and overambitious, and Green Belt land in a neighbouring parish should not be taken to provide for this.
[TWBC: See comments DLP_8189-8214 for full representation]
The proposed extension of Paddock Wood is extremely sensible. It is one of the few areas of the borough that can absorb the proposed number of additional homes relatively well, from a spatial planning perspective. There will be significant challenges in bringing forward such a transformational allocation; but if it is well master-planned and supported with strong infrastructure delivery and an integrated, holistic, approach to delivering that the additional roads, jobs and services required to support the housing numbers it will be worth the effort involved. Given the likely need for the use of CPO powers to delivery this allocation - I would recommend excluding it from the policy on two year implementation periods for planning consents that is included in section 6 of the plan.
I am writing to object to TWBC plan to build houses on green belt land in Capel. We are a community of 900 houses and there is no infrastructure to support these houses. The green belt land is there for us and future generations to enjoy and not to build on. There is no information that proves we need more housing in Capel as there are newly built houses for sale that have been up for sale for many months, and many more houses for sale in Paddock Wood and Tonbridge our nearest towns.
I have chosen to live in a small community as have many people in Capel. Building more houses on green belt land is not the only option. If each community in TWBC area have the ratio of houses built in it we would have around 40 more which is sustainable There are options to build on brown belt and down the A21 corridor which are far more suitable. I feel TWBC has put this plan forward as the easy option for them, dealing with one landlord and not many. They do not seem to have investigated fully these other options.
To spoil such a beautiful area feels like a criminal act against nature and the wishes of the majority of our community.
Tonbridge Civic Society
Tonbridge Civic Society – the largest amenity society in Tonbridge with almost 500 members – objects to the above proposals, which would have a big impact on Tonbridge and the countryside near it.
We oppose very strongly on environmental, amenity and infrastructure grounds the proposal to build up to 2800 dwellings at Tudeley, which is less than 2 miles from Tonbridge (indeed, it is much closer to Tonbridge than to Tunbridge Wells):
The impact on Tonbridge would be in addition to that of the extensive new development which has recently taken place in the town and which is proposed in Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council’s own plan.
The fact that one landowner has accumulated a great deal of land round Tudeley with the aim of developing it is not a reason for allowing this proposal to go ahead. The proposal needs to be looked at objectively, not regarded as a matter of convenience for the Council and the landowner. Looked at objectively, the case against it is overwhelming.
It would make much more sense to develop the large tract of unbuilt land on the north-eastern edge of Tunbridge Wells between Pembury Road and the A21 which would offer easy access to the centre of Tunbridge Wells, including its railway station and to the railway station at High Brooms, both of which are much less busy than that at Tonbridge.
The Civic Society also objects to the building of a new secondary school on the eastern edge of Tonbridge. Tonbridge already has one of the highest concentrations of secondary schools of any town of its size in England. It will be a major traffic-generator, drawing yet more people from the east and south-east of the town towards Tonbridge.
Moreover, urban sprawl east of Tonbridge is undesirable and will impinge visually on Somerhill and its park. If Kent County Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council judge that a new secondary school is needed in west Kent, it should be built at Paddock Wood or Pembury.
I wish to object to your Local Plan developments in the Parish of Capel and for Tudeley.
This is Green belt Land which is so vital to our countryside and originally designated to stop the fingers of encroaching building engulfing good farm land, small hamlets and villages into urban sprawl.
The infrastructure of the proposed developments, with access roads joining the already over full country lanes leading to Paddock Wood, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, the A21, railway stations and schools, will be a nightmare.
There is also the problem of water, drainage and sewage on the low lying land near the river Medway which is already suffering from pollution, and possible flooding.
I cannot think of a more unsuitable area to consider building houses. STOP THIS PLAN NOW.
Objection to Policy STR/CA1, AL/CA2, AL/CA3, AL/ PW1
The reason for this objection is summarised below:
1) Duty to Cooperate
Duty to Coperate:
OJEU- Is a legislative process that all local authorities must go through regarding public procurement; due to the most unusual partnership the council has adopted with the landowner to jointly promote the masterplan.
Lack of engagement between KCC and TWBC- No signed Statement of Common Ground Letter (SoCG) to KCC regarding KCC Minerals & Waste Draft Plan and no commentary regarding KCC Policies DM7 and DM8.
Part of CA 1 development was until recently included within the KCC Minerals and Waste Draft Plan.
TWBC have previously made robust objections and commentary to KCC regarding previous and current quarry proposals within the Kent Minerals and Waste Draft Plan including -
Considering CA 1 is closely situated to M:13 Stonecastle Farm Quarry and M:10 Moat Farm it is very confusing that TWBC does not consider all the above commentary it has made relevant for its CA 1 development proposals.
Planning Application reference : 18/01767/FULL - Erection of building 6 B&B rooms associated with the Poacher, Hartlake Road Tudeley Tonbridge TN110PH
(1) The proposal would constitute inappropriate development within the Metropolitan Green Belt, which by definition is harmful to its openness. There is insufficient evidence of the necessary ‘ very special circumstances’ to overcome this harm.
Lack of Detail / Clarity within the Infrastructure Plan
The Plan preparation process did not initially include CA1 & CA2 (Tudeley Sites) until the Issues and Options Process Stage, therefore many of the processes and procedures that were undertaken with other sites have not been completed due to timing constraints, for example NO detailed Green Belt study has been undertaken, which given this is the largest identified site within Green Belt it should have been paramount and a requirement that such important analysis should have been concluded before any submission to the plan.
NPPF paragraph 173 also states that that in order to ensure both viability and the deliverability of development, careful attention to viability and costs in plan-making and decision-taking is required.
1) Ensure there is adequate drainage provision. This will ensure that surface water is appropriately controlled within the development site, flood risk is managed on-site and off site, and any existing flood risk, in the locality is not exacerbated: and
2) Avoid inappropriate new development within such areas at risk from flooding, or mitigate any potential impacts of new development within such areas whereby mitigation areas measures are integral to the design of buildings.
How has surface water runoff been considered in the scheme?
Policy EN: 28
Proposals for new development should contribute to an overall flood risk reduction, and development will only be permitted where it would not be unacceptable risk of flooding on the site itself, and there would be no increase to flood elsewhere.
There is no evidence within the plan that demonstrates that the above policies have been addressed therefore the plan is not sound.
Potential Funding Sources;
2.27 New Development is generally expected to meet the needs for infrastructure that are generated from the development itself. This can be in the form of connections to utility services or the building of new roads, junctions, schools, and open space areas. Provision can be delivered directly by the developer or by way of financial contributions to a service provider/ third party.
2.28 The Council will use a combination of Section 106 and Section 278 agreements, alongside Community Infrastructure Levy if the Council decides to pursue this option. Whatever the process is, developers will continue to be expected to meet the needs of the development.
It is understood the Council has entered into a Joint Masterplan Agreement with the landowner of CA1 and CA2, this highly unusual strategy for a LA to partner with the landowner, who has no development experience or track record, it is most concerning that the Council will be reliant on deliverability of one of the most ambitious development projects within the history of the borough, with many questions remaining unanswered regarding funding, delivery and execution.
4.56 The Council recognises that in certain instances the provision of infrastructure, including that related to flood storage ( both to mitigate the impact of new development and to provide ‘betterment’), and new transport routes will negatively impact on land, residences, and businesses which otherwise would not directly affected by the Development Strategy of this Plan. This has been considered in the formation of the Development Strategy.
All of the roads, roundabouts, bus lanes and cycle lanes are in the Infrastructure Delivery Plans as post 2025 items.
New roundabout at the Junction of Hartlake and Tudeley Road cost of £100-£500k
Other costs will be negotiated with developers at planning application stage, water supply, sewage, energy, broad band and flood mitigation.
These estimated infrastructure costs of between £102.5-£125.9m.
If you take into consideration of the last major infrastructure project completed in the area, the A21 dualing project between Tonbridge and Pembury the original budget of £23m -£25m with the completed cost in excess of £70m.
Policy STR 6
This policy states that future development will be delivered within close proximity to accessible locations of existing settlements across the borough to help reduce the need to travel. Where travel is necessary, active travel (walking and cycling) will be prioritised, particularly in the urban areas, and then public transport (rail, bus, car club car share and taxi) as alternative means of transport to the private car.
Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government Garden Communities Guidance Document August 2018 page 7 (f)
Transport - integrated, forward looking and accessible transport options that support economic prosperity and wellbeing for residents. This should include promotion of public transport, walking and cycling so that settlements are easy to navigate, and facilitate simple and sustainable access to jobs, education and services.
Capel and Tudeley
The current road infrastructure is already at capacity and during peak travelling hours is barely coping with existing daily traffic volumes with long delays, these proposals will further increase the traffic congestion situation within Tonbridge and Paddock Wood.
National Practice Guidance (Housing and economic development needs assessments) defines need for housing as “the scale and mix of housing and the range of tenures that is likely to be needed in the housing market area over the Plan Period – and should cater for the housing demand of the area and identify the scale of housing supply necessary to meet that demand.
If you combine Housing Targets for TMBC and TWBC Draft Local Plans nearly 20,000 dwellings are proposed, with 80% of these houses within a 5.82 mile radius of Capel/ Tudeley.
Kent Economic Indicators Report 2019 KCC
Tunbridge Wells ranks well above the national median in five indicators, most notably resident earnings, knowledge economy employs and NVQ4+ which are within 20% of all English authorities. It does however, rank below the national median for 3 year business survival rates, 5 year employee change and employment rate.
The Council (KEAs) Key employment areas in the borough, as defined in the Core Strategy are.
All of the above sites already have existing infrastructure and good transport hub connectivity with the exception of Capel/Tudeley, which currently has no infrastructure and very poor transport hub connectivity.
The potential closure or substantial reduction of several thriving businesses within the area such as Moat Farm, Adrian Scripps has been successfully farming this area since 1960, today farming 750 Ha, with 320 Ha of Apples, Pears and Blackcurrants, it is now recognised as one of the Uk’s largest fruit growers, supplying many of the national supermarket chains.
Local shops and businesses in Five Oak Green could suffer substantial income losses or closure.
In recent years Golden Green, Tudeley and Hadlow have enjoyed a positive economic environment as it has firmly established itself as a popular tourist destination in Kent, with people visiting the area from many UK and world destinations, including Australia, USA, South America, India, Hong kong, Singapore, South Africa (Trip Advisor)
It has become evident that such iconic buildings as Hadlow Tower, Tudeley Church, Hadlow Church, Hartlake Bridge, Hadlow Agricultural College, The River Medway, Tonbridge Castle are extremely popular visitor attractions which has led to a noticeable economic uplift to local businesses in the area in recent years.
Policy STR 4
The release of Green Belt land has been undertaken through this Local Plan, and is detailed where relevant in the place shaping policies in Section 5
In order to protect the remaining Green Belt, as defined on the draft Policies Map, the Council will consider the proposal against the relevant policy in the National Planning Policy Framework, or national planning policy at the time a planning application is being determined.
Substantial Green Belt boundary alterations are proposed in the Local Plan to enable land to come forward for development. National policy is clear that Green Belt boundaries should only be altered in ‘exceptional circumstances’. Even where such exceptional circumstances are demonstrated to exist, consideration must also be given to the nature and extent of the harm to the Green Belt (or those parts that would be lost), and the effect on Green Belt objectives.
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Constraints Study Page:16
Section 4: Green Belt 4.1 The Metropolitan Green Belt covers 22% of Tunbridge Wells borough. It should be noted, however, that the Green Belt is not an environmental constraint but a policy consideration.
*to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas
The Council has not demonstrated any reason why the permanent removal of this Green Belt which also serves a fully functional flood plain ( one of the largest natural flood storage areas within the UK) and is in fact dismissing the substantial environmental value of Green Belt Land which it brings to the area, including significant biodiversity and heritage assets, providing space for water storage to prevent flooding, Carbon capture from acres of mature trees, hedges and historic woodlands.
Policy STR/CAI The Strategy for Capel Parish.
13.Sites outside AONB but within the High Weald National Character Area, or close to the boundary of the designated ANOB landscape, will have similar characteristics and are likely to contribute to the setting of the designated landscape. The AONB Management Plan and any supporting guidance will be a material consideration for these sites.
[TWBC: for image see full representation].
The AONB boundary is currently defined by the B2017 road, this boundary should be reassessed as this is a boundary that has been defined for convenience rather than actual functionality, and does not adhere to the above policy.
The Current Far Reaching Views from the B2017. Any development would have severe scarring within the Medway Valley and the Downs.
The provisional allocation of CA1 and CA2 will result in significant urban sprawl, diminishing a majority of the Green Belt countryside borders between Tonbridge and Paddock Wood.
Risk Management & Development Strategy Masterplanning
The Local Plan does not demonstrate the adoption of a robust risk management strategy, allocating 60% of its total housing allocation within a 3 mile radius, bordering another borough of which will result in TWBC receiving all the income from the new developments and TMBC left with all liabilities and ongoing cost of the all the relevant infrastructure and public services that will be required.
The Plan preparation process did not initially include CA1 & CA2 ( Tudeley Sites) until the Issues and Options Process Stage, therefore many of the processes and procedures that were undertaken with other sites have not been completed.
Despite CA1 being located within a designated flood zone area, and locally well know as a flood vulnerable area, within a designated fully functional flood plain ( one of the Uk’s largest natural flood storage areas)
No Green Belt Assessment
The Local Plan mentions a comprehensive masterplan approach, but does not provide any detail of implementation or costings, however the Council state that they have agreed a highly unusual strategy of jointly promoting the masterplan with the landowner.
Already there are many questions and issues, including Southern Water announcing recently that the proposed sewer upgrades at Paddock Wood have been abandoned due to lack of funding and commercial viability, this has led to the suspension of the construction of further developments within the Paddock Wood area as the current sewer infrastructure can not provide any further capacity.
The proposed extension of Stonecastle Farm Quarry and additional Quarry at adjoining Moat Farm, within Kent County Councils Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-2030 has not been fully considered within the CA1 development plans.
Potential individual site viability influences relating to likely highly variable abnormal development costs and also to matters that will only impact in certain instances (such as Flood Risk (FR) mitigation and/or Air Quality Management (AQM) related requirements have not been specifically accounted for at this stage.
The evidence that has currently been presented within the local plan highlights the financial instability and potential cost volatility, as any CIL / Section 106 payments still leave a substantial funding gap to fund all the necessary infrastructure costs.
There are some heritage assets of strong community importance within close proximity to the proposed CA1 & CA2 sites including Somerhill, All Saints Church, Tudeley, Hadlow Tower, Hadlow Agricultural College, The River Medway, Mereworth Castle, Roydon Hall and Roydon Church.
The National planning Policy Framework defines the setting of a heritage asset as the surroundings in which it is experienced. The extent is not fixed and may change as the asset and its surroundings evolve. Elements of a setting may make a positive or negative contribution to the significance of an asset; may effect the ability to appreciate that significance;
Historic England Guidance on the setting of Heritage Assets ( Good Practice Advice) advises that the setting may be more extensive than the curtilage and views of or from an asset are an important consideration. It also advises that local planning authorities must consider the implications of development which will materially detract from the assets significance and economic viability.
Several of these heritage properties will have direct views of the CA1 and CA2 sites which will directly effect their setting, residential amenity of these listed buildings permanently.
The proposed development area lies in an area of archaeological importance associated with the Medieval and Post- Medieval period connected to the historic iron industry. Records show there is a recognised Monument named Rats Castle Forge which dates back to the Medieval period, potentially the site of the Tudeley ironworks of the mid- 14th century.
Hartlake Bridge was known to exist in 1460 as in 1451 John Tatlyngbery who lived in Barnes place left money in his will for the repair of the road and bridge at Hartlake, as did Henry Fane in 1533.
The setting, significance, and importance of historic buildings can be seriously harmed by inappropriate neighbouring developments and /or uses. Therefore, for any proposals that would have an impact on the setting of a listed building, applicants will be required to submit technical and illustrative information about the proposed development and its relationship to its setting as part of a heritage statement and/ or design and access statement.
The Council refers within the plan that many conservation appraisals within the borough are no longer fit for purpose as they were conducted over a decade ago, one would hope such appraisal for CA1 and CA2 will prioritised due to the sheer size of the development proposals as well as TMBC recognising the River Medway Valley as a conservation area within its Local Plan.
Climate Change -
Climate change is a serious problem with far reaching consequences. The Local Plan polices, Policy EN 5 lack any detail or clarity and should be far more robust.
NPPF 14 Meeting the challenge of climate change, flooding and coastal change.
148. The planning system should support the transition to a low carbon future in a changing climate, taking full account of flood risk and coastal change. it should help to:shape places in ways that contribute to radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, minimise vulnerability and improve resilience; encourage the reuse of existing resources, including the conversion of existing buildings, and support renewable and low carbon energy and associated infrastructure.
Planning for climate change
149. Plans should take a proactive approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change, taking into account the long- term implications for flood risk and coastal change, water supply, biodiversity and landscapes, and the risk of overheating from rising temperatures. Polices should support appropriate measures to ensure the future resilience of communities and infrastructure to climate change impacts, such as providing space for physical protection measures, or making provision for the possible future relocation of vulnerable development and infrastructure.
So far the local plan demonstrates the complete reverse of the NPPF Climate Change Policies,
1) Greenhouse gas emissions and Carbon reduction will increase substantially over the development period, with the large number of HGV’s, and various construction machinery accessing the site as well as the local road network, and the proposed quarry extension at Stonecastle Farm and additional quarries at the adjoining Moat Farm will all have a detrimental effect with local air quality and carbon emissions.
2) Long term flood risk implications- This is currently unknown as the Council has not conducted a flood risk assessment of CA1 and CA2, despite NPPFs guidance in section 155, Inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided by directing development away from areas at highest risk (whether existing or future). Where development is necessary in such areas, the development should be made safe for its lifetime, without increasing flood risk elsewhere.
3) Policy EN 5 (2) Reduction in flood risk and provision of infrastructure to protect vulnerable communities and habitats, and minimisation of water consumption, so far the plan makes vague references to ‘ensure there is adequate drainage provision’ but does not provide any detail on how this would work in practice. ‘This will ensure surface water is appropriately controlled within the development site, flood risk is managed on-site and off-site and any flood risk in the locality is not exacerbated’. Climate Change is predicted to increase rainfall intensity in the future by up to 40%, this will increase the likelihood and frequency of surface water flooding.
How can the Council even consider these sites suitability as they have not provided any evidence or produced sufficient polices to demonstrate the effects of Climate Change, especially as CA1 borders one of the countries largest natural flood plain storage areas, lack of detail and evidence regarding man-made storage facilities to compensate the loss of flood plain and the reliance of the increased capacity at the Leigh Barrier does not result in sufficient flood and Climate Change mitigation. Avoid inappropriate new development within areas at risk of flooding.
Landscape and Amenity
Capel Parish has not been included in any of the Landscape sensitivity analysis produced by the Council and its consul-tees, and as per other important issues that have not been addressed in any detail. This analysis is fundamentally important to determine the identified sites are suitable for development, without such information how can such sites be included within the Local Plan?
However with the limited information available publicly, the Landscape Sensitivity Assessment of the Countryside of Tunbridge Wells assess the borough and addresses the Landscape Sensitivity Issues within a traffic light scoring system. Following this principal with Capel one can assume that all the scorings for Capel demonstrate an extremely high sensitivity scoring (RED).
Landscape Sensitivity Assessment of Countryside around Tunbridge Wells Report - LUC Feb 2017
CA1 is within 1 Km AONB buffer zone so is entirely unsuitable for development of this scale, the associated proposed infrastructure will have a further damaging impact.
The surrounding landscape makes a significant contribution to the North and South Downs with far reaching views over the Medway Valley. Any development upon the ridge of ANOB would be severely impacted with permanent scarring of these views which would be very detrimental to a significant area of the Kent Countryside.
CA1 borders ANOB, this border has been assumed by the division of the road B2017, this should be re-evaluated as it is a border of convenience and does not consider the prominent and valued views across the Medway Valley.
It is totally unacceptable practice to identify sites for development without providing suitable landscape assessment.
There is no assessment of the visual impact of developments, which given the setting and the contribution of natural beauty to the surrounding areas again demonstrates further fundamental flaws and unacceptable practice within the Local Plan.
The character of the local area, Capel,Tudeley, Golden Green, Whetsted, Five Oak Green villages, which are all situated within Green Belt, would be virtually destroyed by the cumulative effect of these developments, together with the quarry extensions, and the removal of more than 1,000 acres of agricultural land.
CA1 overlies a significant Aquifer of which is SPZ3, for public water abstraction, this is an important local water supply further development of this area may impact water supply options.
The Aquifer and natural springs within the site will seriously hinder excavations for building, sewage, drainage as suitable mitigation schemes will have to be implemented to avoid puncturing the natural clay membrane that protects the Aquifers.
The Groundwater Protection Zone (GSPZ) situated at Hartlake Road serves public water supplies to South East Water Customers of Pembury and Tunbridge Wells.
The Draft Local Plan has not considered the potential environmental issues around the Hartlake Aquifers and with rising nitrate and pesticide levels that have already been identified, any penetration to the Aquifers would lead to further significant human health risks.
Draft Local Plan -Water
Policy EN 26 Water Quality, Supply and Treatment
The Council states the protection of ground water resources is particularly important in Tunbridge Wells borough, since the majority of the public water supply is abstracted from water-bearing strata or aquifers. The quality of ground water is easily polluted, directly and indirectly and can pose a serious risk to public health.
Water: In Kent we are already using most of the capacity in the county and in some places already exceeding it. This water stress will be exacerbated by growing population and climate change. In addition, the quality of our water effects our health, our economy and our natural environment but is under increasing pressure from pollution, reduced river flows and physical modifications to water bodies.
Clearly CA1 is situated within an area where its water resources are already under serious stress, and currently there are a number of issues outstanding with the Environment Agency, KCC and local residents.
In 2002 KCC refused planning permission for quarry extensions at Stonecastle Farm (M:13) on the grounds of potential pollution and contamination to the Aquifers, as well as concerns of public health risk, as the Hartlake Aquifers are a source of public and commercial water supply.
Recently 2 former landfill sites closely situated to CA1 have been suspected of possible contamination into the surrounding land and waterbodies, which has led to the Environment Agency to announce a they will be conducting a investigation to establish if any contamination has penetrated the Aquifers and surrounding waterbodies.
Land Contamination Draft Local Plan
6.289 - “ Any land contaminated with hazardous or toxic materials is a potentially a serious cause of pollution, as well as a threat to human health; it can also migrate into watercourses, impacting not only the water quality, but biodiversity. Contamination can derive from previous uses, such as industrial processes involving chemicals, intensive agricultural , or closed waste disposal sites where landfill gas and leachate are still present.”
Part IIA of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 requires the Council to identify contaminated land that is posing an unacceptable risk to human health or the wider environment, and to secure remediation of that land.
The draft plan does not identify the neighbouring 2 former landfill sites of which have had millions of tonnes of household, industrial rubbish deposited there in the 1980’s and 1990’s, given the historical issues regarding previous mineral workings, and the major concerns of further pollution to the surrounding aquifers it is very concerning that the Council have not appeared to have considered the potential environmental and health risks prior to submission of CA1 to the Draft Local Plan.
Air Pollution and Air Quality
Dark Skies and Outdoor Lighting
NPPF -15. Conserving and enhancing the natural environment.
a) protecting and enhancing valued landscapes, sites of biodiversity or geological value and soils (in a manner commensurate with their statutory status or identified quality in the development plan):
The LP does not demonstrate any enhancement to the valued landscape, combined with the proposed further mineral extractions within the area, will permenantly remove 1,000’s of acres of Metropolitan Green Belt, Prime Agricultural Land. Surrounding, current fertile soils will be removed and replaced with overburden and gravel pits.
The loss of the current valued landscape will have catastrophic consequences for the current rich ecological and biodiversity habitat that are evident in the area. No amount of mitigation, compensation will provide such a rich and fertile environment currently enjoyed by the wildlife and plant-life today.
b) “recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside, and the wider benefits from natural capital and ecosystem services-including the economic and other benefits and most versatile agricultural land, and trees and woodland:”
England’s protected landscapes are amongst its finest and most treasured landscapes. The landscapes we see today are cultural landscapes- the result of thousands of years of human influence on the countryside as people interact with nature. They continue to be living and working landscapes and the people who manage the land today safeguard their special qualities.
d) “Minimising impacts on and providing net gains for biodiversity, including by establishing coherent ecological networks that are most resilient to current and future pressures:”
The LP mentions Policy AL/CA 1 5. iii “ Existing habitats and species and opportunities for landscape scale improvements for biodiversity to ensure a net gain for biodiversity focused on key locally important habitats and species (see policy EN:11 Net Gains for Nature; biodiversity and
Policy EN 11-Net Gains for Nature: biodiversity
1) It can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Council through the application of an acceptable method of measurement, or impact assessments, that completion of the development will result in a measurable long term net gain for biodiversity:
It is most concerning that as to date the Council has been happy to proceed with the Inclusion of CA 1 and CA 2 within the LP based off very vague and generalist desktop study which takes a borough- wide assessment - Biodiversity Evidence Base for Draft Local Plan- Regulation 18 Consultation September 2019.
NPPF Habitats and biodiversity
174.To protect and enhance and geo-diversity, plans should
b) ” promote the conservation, restoration and enhancement of priority habitats, ecological networks and the protection and recovery of priority species; and identify and pursue opportunities for securing measurable net gains for biodiversity.”
The adjoining Farm, Moat Farm is bordered to the north-west by Ancient Woodland, with further Ancient Woodland situated on the site to the south-west.
The most diverse habitat within the area which contains a nationally rare plant, True fox sedge, this rare species of plant is associated with wetland habitats, such as floodplain, meadows, ponds, ditches and rivers,
Kent has not met its Biodiversity 2010 targets and with biodiversity continuing to decline, it is likely that we will not meet its Biodiversity 2020 targets without targeted interventions. A healthy natural environment, rich biodiversity, provides more effective services; the economic impact that degraded habitats have on ecosystem services, for example through the decline in pollinators, is increasingly recognised.
The last century has seen major losses and decline of species within Kent. Amongst the most important drivers of biodiversity loss in Kent are: the direct loss of land of value to wildlife to built development which has reduced and fragmented populations; and effects of climate change.
Indirect impacts to ancient woodland are likely to result from the proposed allocation and further clarity on how the impacts will be avoided and fully mitigated should form part of the site allocation process if this allocation is progressed.
The River Medway
Landscape Character: Dominated by the floodplains of the River Medway and its complex network of small streams and tributaries. An undulating landscape of clay vales, fields within the floodplain are of a medium scale and more regular in form having been amalgamated through loss of field boundaries, and riparian vegetation. Small woodlands, historic hop gardens and orchards are common land uses.
1 The most significant features are the courses, tributaries and floodplains of the River Medway, Beult and Teise. The floodplains support species rich meadows or floodplain grassland and grazing is a significant landscape feature and management practice.
2 Associated habitats include ponds, and gravel pits (former quarry workings). small areas of woodland, including mature ancient woodland, and fen.
3 Key species include otter, depressed river mussel, white clawed crayfish and river lamprey.
The River Medway, the River Bourne and their tributaries pass through the Borough and have significantly influenced the history and development of the area. An extensive area of the Borough lies in the floodplain of the River Medway, the potential impact of which in Tonbridge is reduced to some extent by the Leigh Flood Storage Area immediately west of the town. Much of the floodplain is also of significance for biodiversity with extensive areas of the lower Medway Valley being designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council recognises within it’s Local Plan the importance of the River Medway Valley, and acknowledges the importance and many benefits this area brings to a wide community, highlighting the area within its Green Infrastructure and Ecological Report which commits to further preservation and conservation.
2 Pursue opportunities for creation of wider river floodplains with riparian corridors around natural drainage channels.
Green Infrastructure and Ecological Networks – March 2018
3 Pursue opportunities for the delivery of catchment improvement work, including enhancing, restoring and creating fen, wet woodland, reed-bed and wet grassland and action for key species such as otter.
4 Secure the appropriate conservation management of all existing Lowland Meadows. Enhance at least 50ha of species-rich neutral grassland to bring it to UK BAP priority habitat Lowland Meadow quality.
5 Pursue opportunities to create new species-rich neutral grassland, particularly close the Marden Meadows SSSI and south of Sevenoaks, in blocks of 2ha or more, where this will contribute to meeting the county target of creating 37ha by 2020.
6 Enhance or reinstate woodland management, and extend and reconnect fragmented woodlands where this would not conflict with grassland conservation and enhancement.
7 Continue to encourage the positive management, restoration and re-creation of hedgerows, particularly where this would reconnect other habitats or enhance the landscape, in particular where these have been removed due to agricultural intensification.
8 Improve the management of invasive species in and alongside water courses.
9 Maintain, restore, recreate and buffer ponds, particularly to establish networks of sites to support great crested newt.
10 Action for naturally widely dispersed habitats (ponds, traditional orchards), wildlife associated with arable farmland, and widely dispersed species such as great crested newt will need to focus across the whole of the area and not just within the Biodiversity Opportunity Area boundary.
With the proposed development of CA1 and the new Quarry and its extensions will seriously impact the conservation, and targets that have been outlined within Tonbridge and Malling Local Plan as well as potentially reducing it is designated Green-space and Green Infrastructure allocation.
Hartlake Bridge is a key component to open Green Space, providing connectivity via riverside walks to Tonbridge, East Peckham and Yalding, enjoyed by many people who travel far and wide to enjoy this area, it is a key leisure hub, providing many activities such as angling ( Tonbridge Fishing Club) Canoeing, leisure boating,horse riding birdwatching, cycling, running, dog walking, walking, picnics and simply a wonderful countryside outing for families enjoying these very popular public footpaths with all of the current development proposals this could compromise this whole area.
Hartlake Bridge is a memorial site for families who each year visit the area to remember previous generations, who lost their lives on 20th October 1853 in a tragic accident on the bridge where 30 hop-pickers lost their lives in the river, this is know as the Hartlake disaster. There is a dedicated memorial situated on the bridge as well Hadlow Church to remember these families.
Quarries - M13 Stonecastle Farm Quarry extension and M10 Moat Farm
Stonecastle Farm Quarry-M:13
Historically Stonecastle Farm has operated as quarry, waste landfill and cement manufacturing facility since the 1970’s. In 2000 the operator Lafarge applied to Kent County Council for planning permission to extend its sand and gravel operations over a further 600 acres of prime agricultural, Metropolitan Green Belt Land. This planning application was rigorously rejected by the planning authorities for a number of reasons including noise, dust, additional flood risk, the permanent removal of agricultural land, lack of mitigation to neighbouring listed buildings. The key concern was the effect further quarrying would have on the Water Aquifers and the high probability of contamination to public water supplies.
In 2008 the operator suspended existing operations at Stonecastle Farm, under section 26 cessation act of the planning consent, KCC granted temporary suspension for 2 years, the operators reasons for the closure/ suspension was due to the current economic climate it was not financially viable to continue with its quarrying operations.
This closure/ suspension of the quarries continued until 2018, the site had been left abandoned for 10 years leaving all the rusting dysfunctional plant machinery in situ, contaminated oil and fuel bins, the site over the years suffered considerable contamination, vandalism and theft as it was left unsupervised and unsecured.
December, 2017 a small number of local residents were contacted by the KCC, requesting comments on their Kent Mineral Sites Plan which formed the basis of KCC Draft Early Partial Review of Kent Minerals and waste Local Plan 2013-2030 (KMWLP). Included within the KMWLP draft plan were proposals to extend Stonecastle Farm Quarry as per the rejected proposal of 2002, as well as additional new Quarry situated at neighbouring Moat Farm. These 2 identified sites are the only sand and gravel sites remaining within the KMWLP and if consented will provide 2.5million tonnes of sand and gravel over a 30-60 year period.
August 2018 KCC contacted a small number of local residents who lived close to the existing operations informing them that the operator had submitted a pre application with a revised scheme to resume operations at Stonecastle Farm Quarry.
On 28th October 2018, a planning application was submitted to KCC with a revised scheme of working for the already consented workings for phases 1,2,4 and 5 pursuant to condition 3 of planning permission TM/00/1599. The proposal declared there had been an improvement in the market conditions and the applicant would now like to recommence extraction at the site in 2018, further revisions included changes of the working arrangement within Phases 1 and 2, mineral working to be undertaken ‘wet’ using a long reach excavator (ie below the water table without dewatering); Relocation of the internal haul road to follow the southern boundary of phase 1 to avoid previously restored areas of the site along the northern boundary of phase 1 and: Campaign working to change from 3 months to 6 months each year- reducing the intensity of extraction operations whilst avoiding wetter periods.
KCC granted planning permission to the revised scheme and with immediate effect the operator began the removal of 1000’s of mature trees and shrubs, breaching further planning conditions to make way for the revised haul road. In March/ April 2019 the operator removed all the existing dysfunctional plant operations machinery, along with all the site buildings.
At the time of writing this submission quarry workings have not resumed and a forthcoming planning application is expected for the installation of new plant equipment.
The Kent Minerals Waste Local Plan is currently being assessed by the Inspectorate under Regulation 19 and the Inspectors report will only be available after the end of this Regulation 18 consultation on the Draft Local Plan.
A number of key issues have arisen during the KMWLP Plans examination which are very relevant to TWBC’s Local Draft Plan, including additional flood-risk, further loss of Green Belt, Green Belt Special Circumstances,Landscape and Visual Impact, Contaminated Land, Contamination of local water courses and Aquifers, Urban Sprawl , Biodiversity, Health and Amenity and Heritage.
Historic Landfill at Stonecastle Farm
The Mineral Planning Authority (MPA) permitted the importation of various waste materials at Stonecastle Farm in the early 1970’s under condition (xii) of planning permission TW/79/753 and subsequent other conditional consents continued through the 1980’s and 1990’s.
The landfill area comprises of two large parcels of land which were backfilled with these waste materials following the completion of mineral extraction. These areas are located to the north of and south-west of the previous processing area.
Condition (iii) (h) of the planning permission TW/79/753 states “ measures to minimise the accumulation of groundwater and generation of leachate within cell being backfilled, and removing such groundwater and leachate as does arise from the site for appropriate treatment and disposal”.
Monitoring information obtained from the Environment Agency has demonstrated that the landfill sites have recorded volatile and excessive leachate, methane gas and nitrate readings in recent years, as well as the possibility of the leachate escaping from the contained cells into the surrounding water courses and aquifers, especially during severe flood events.
There is extreme concern within the community, especially as the area has historically flooded. Local residents have requested a comprehensive independent investigation with detailed analysis and to seek assurances that all contamination risk and health risks have been mitigated.
TWBC was not represented at the recent Inspectorate hearings for M10 Mote Farm and M13 Stonecastle Farm and No Statement of Common Ground between KCC and TWBC has been agreed or signed and was noted by the KCC and the inspector. This raises serious concerns about the fulfilment of “Duty to Co-Operate” requirements and whether either of these plans meet the test of soundness.
Considering the many implications that both the housing and quarry developments will bring, as who will want to purchase a house that looks straight into a quarry?
It is surprising and very concerning that TWBC have chosen not to consult with the KCC to date.
Both Capel/ Tudeley and Paddock Wood have a long and documented history of many flooding events both from fluvial and pluvial flooding with some of the worst flooding in 1960,1963,1968, 2000, 2009 and 2013.
Some areas are flooded more regularly such as Hartlake Road and Crockhurst Street, Hartlake Road is regularly closed for long periods due to over topping of the Medway, and was closed last year for a period of 4 weeks due to severe flooding. Crockhurst Street suffers severe flash flooding regularly, both areas border the proposed CA1 developments.
“Plans should take a proactive approach mitigating and adapting to climate change, taking into account the long-term implications for flood risk”.
“Inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided by directing development away from areas at the highest risk ( whether existing or future). Where development is necessary in such areas the development should be made safe for its lifetime without increasing flood risk elsewhere”.
NPPF- Section 157:
“ All plans should apply a sequential, risk based approach to the location of development- taking into account the current and future impacts of climate change- so as to avoid, where possible, flood risk to people and property...seeking opportunities to relocate development, including housing, to more sustainable locations.
PW1- Capel East - Increased Flood Risk - The Provision of approximatley 4,000 new dwellings.
* The SFRA understates the impact of climate change over the > 100 year horizon for residential development. appropriate cautionary allowances have not been made.
* The dwellings would need to be protected from a potential breach of new water storage or reservoir facilities
* Polices STR/PW1 and AL/PW1 Capel East - The proposed development will increase the flood risk both within the development and to the existing communities in Paddock Wood, Five Oak Green and the surrounding areas.
* The SFRA prepared in support of these polices is not fit for purpose because it does not adequately quantify the flooding risk, does not include comprehensive flood mitigation measures and does not provide detailed specifications of those measures that have been included.
* These development proposals are very reliant on additional storage capacity at Leigh and do not provide any contingency plans should the barrier be breached again as in 2013.
* There have been several developments recently in Capel where the EA has insisted on raised floors and containment (tanks,swales etc) with restricted discharge. In at least one case, the EA have specified the inclusion of a void below the raised ground floor level to allow flood water to run and sit below the ground floor accommodation, at least one of these developments have become unsaleable due to the flood risk.
* The identified parcels are not currently protected by formal flood defences and the SFRA admits that the development will cause increased flood risk. Given that the proposals remove so much floodplain storage by building on it, and the SFRA identifies that some of the parcels of land are extremely vulnerable to flooding, following NPPF guidance these sites should not be considered for any development at all.
* Loss of floodplain connectivity within the rural and upper reaches of tributaries which flow through and around the development site will increase flooding to the area.
* The SFRA does not conclude that the limited mitigation will eliminate future flood risk or provide any evidence of ‘betterment to existing properties within the area.
* Development / removal of one of the UK’s largest floodplains is not appropriate, especially when considering recent events happening across the UK. Fishlake village in Yorkshire where over 400 homes have been flooded as the River Don overtopped, 1,200 properties have been evacuated. The Whaley Bridge Dam in Derbyshire where more than 1,000 homes were evacuated in August 2019..Somerset Levels spent much of the winter of 2103-2104 underwater, villages were isolated, many homes evacuated.
* The Level 2 SFRA states “ it has been stressed that the purpose of this part of the study is to demonstrate that the principle of development can be supported at the parcel.” The analysis performed was not to identify preferred options or optimum solutions.” The report again highlights that even with flood mitigation the parcels will still be vulnerable to flooding. The data assumptions for the modelling is guess work as there is no data available and recommends that understanding of the flood risk within Paddock Wood would be supported by data which helps analyse how the watercourses respond to rainfall. NO calibration or verification of the modelling has been possible, and the flood flows resulting from the design input cannot be sense checked against historic event rarity.
* The current Paddock Wood sewer infrastructure is already operating over capacity, expected upgrades to provide further capacity have recently been abandoned by Southern Water due to its economic viability. Residents have experienced many incidents of sewer flooding, as the current infrastructure cannot cope with the existing housing demands. The issue has now been take up with Local MP Greg Clark who has requested the intervention of the Housing Minister and further discussions with Southern Water.
* In conclusion the proposals are to increase flood flows from the Leigh barrier with further storage facilities, and decrease flood flows at Tudeley and Paddock Wood with partial removal of the natural floodplain, potentially installing dams and water-storage facilities. Importantly, any flood risk management measures will require substantial upfront capital costs and then ongoing costs to support maintenance and perhaps reconstruction once its design life is passed. The issue here is who is going to be responsible for these costs? How is this going to be funded? and who will be responsible for the ongoing management and maintenance.?
* It is very concerning to local residents that despite the evidence produced and all the mitigation proposals there is still a strong possibility that flooding may still occur within the area. and the Council are appearing to put their own housing requirements before human lives.
CA1 Tudeley Development
Flood Policy Statement AL/CA1
* Tudeley: the provision of flood storage/attenuation/mitigation areas to reduce the flood risk to particular existing residential areas in Five Oak Green and Paddock Wood; There is no mention of other surrounding villages such as Golden Green East Peckham, Yalding all of which are reliant on the floodplain which currently provides some flood protection, any removal will have implications for these villages.
* The masterplanning for this site be linked with the strategic delivery of infrastructure, including in relation to surface water, multiple benefit Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems, foul water, etc.;
*The development on the site should demonstrate that it will not exacerbate flooding elsewhere in the vicinity, particularly from the Alder Stream at Five Oak Green, and that as part of the wider delivery the development delivers storage/attenuation/mitigation, to reduce the flood risk to particular existing residential areas in Five Oak Green. This is also one of the justifications for the release of Green Belt land;
*Regard should be given to the Groundwater Source Protection Zone which falls within the north of the site and the Environment Agency should be consulted on any planning applications coming forward .
* There is NO SFRA assessment for CA1 although parts of the site reside within a floodplain. This is despite the Policy Overview stating “Flood Zones 2 and 3 in northern part of Tudeley”. It is well known that many parts of the site are regularly subjected to flooding.
Given the absence of information regarding the development parcels within the allocation, unlike PW1 Capel East, the consideration of Policies EN26-EN29 covering Water Resources, Drainage and Flood Risk cannot be adequately made. A full SFRA, with parcel analysis, for the proposed site CA1 is required for several reasons, including:
* The northern section of the proposed development CA1 includes areas within the floodplain as shown in the EA current flood risk map even before any adjustment for climate change.
The CA1 Tudeley site consists of approximately 400 acres of substantially undeveloped agricultural land which already sends vast amounts of water northwards to the fully functional floodplain and aquifers. the proposed development will effect the flood risk without extensive mitigation measures.
With the floodplain already under stress from the existing surface water issues, combined with the increasing river levels of the River Medway a majority of this area becomes an extension of the river and can remain under water for lengthy periods during a flood. Adding further run-offs from the construction of buildings, roads, driveways and other impermeable areas and potentially further gravel pits from mineral workings will substantially increase the flood risk to the immediate and surrounding areas.
The loss of floodplain connectivity within rural upper reaches of tributaries which flow through and surround the site will again significantly increase flood risk.
A further key risk and defined within the Minerals Plan is contamination from pollutants in run-off flows to the GSPZ aquifers at Hartlake and other watercourses. There are also 2 water extraction licences within the area, with further anticipated capacity requirements of water resources this could have further consequences in dry periods for the aquifers.
The Policies STR/CA1 & AL/CA1 TUDELEY do not provide any detail on how the proposed development will provide mitigation and merely state that this will be determined in masterplanning. This means that this plan cannot demonstrate that it is sound or deliverable. The flood policy statement is also unsound as it only includes Five Oak Green and Paddock Wood and does not consider the more immediate impacts on Tudeley residents nor the effects on Golden Green,East Peckham, Yalding and further downstream from the barrier.
Strategic Storage: Many of the development proposals throughout the Draft Local Plan are very reliant on additional storage capacity at Leigh to provide flood mitigation and do not provide any contingency plans should there be a repeated breach. The planned further storage capacity upriver at Leigh will increase river flows down river when under stress causing significant risk to human life.
Flood defences: There are no formal strategic flood defences at these sites and it is important to understand the consequences if the design standard of any new defences is exceeded or if they fail.
It will need to be demonstrated that the defences will not have a resulting negative impact on flood risk elsewhere and that there is no net loss in floodplain storage that could cause flood water levels on adjacent land to be elevated.
Policies STR/CA1 & AL/CA1 have not identified the measures necessary to mitigate the flood risk within the development and the stated ‘betterment’ of flood risk to the existing residential areas would need to be evidenced with a suitable guarantee that would satisfy insurance underwriters. This report has highlighted the many inconsistencies within the Draft Local Plan and, considering the evidence, it seems incomprehensible that the Council has not conducted a SFRA for CA1, unlike other identified flood vulnerable sites. The presented Plan is neither sound nor deliverable and does not provide the necessary justifications for the release of Green Belt land.
“ The Local Planning Authority seeks to protect best and most versatile agricultural land from significant, inappropriate or unsustainable development. Where development of agricultural is required, applicants should seek to use areas of poorer quality agricultural land in preference to that of higher quality except where this would be inconsistent with other sustainability objectives.
Planning applications that would result in the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land will need to justify why the loss of agricultural land is acceptable and also assess the impact of loss of the agricultural land on the wider farming resource and ecosystem services. Where site specific ALC studies are not available The Local Planning Authority will assume that the site is classified as best and most versatile”.
CA1 and surrounding land is considered to be Agricultural Land Classification Grade 3a and Grade 2, therefore considered to be part of the best and most versatile agricultural land (BMVAL) and extremely worthy of preservation. All the current development proposals will permanently remove in excess of 1,000 acres of Prime Agricultural Land which currently provides a number of cereal crops, soft fruits and orchards. This is extremely important food supply source and should not warrant the ability to make way for housing development outweighing the need to preserve good quality farming land.
Policy EN 30
“ Residential and other noise sensitive development will only be permitted where it can be demonstrated that users and occupiers of the development will not be exposed to unacceptable noise disturbance from existing or proposed uses, as set out in the Councils adopted Noise and Vibration Supplementary Planning Document”.
Noise and Vibration Supplementary Planning Document:
Section 1: “This supplementary document (SPD) seeks to ensure that there is sufficient mitigation for noise to prevent substantial loss of amenity at development stage. There are statutory provisions for noise beyond planning legislation, including the Control of Pollution Act 1974 that deals with construction site noise and legislation such as Environmental Protection Act 1990 that deals with statutory nuisance”.
1.6 NPPF Planning Polices and decisions aim to:
* avoid noise from giving rise to significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life as a result of new development
2.3 In addition to requirements under EIA, the Borough Council will require an assessment in situations where;
3.26 Railway noise emanates from a variety of sources. For noise from operational railway lines, the noise levels found in tables 1 and 2 will be appropriate. Local noise from station activities, freight distribution, depots and marshalling yards should be treated in the same way as noise from industrial and commercial sources.
3.27 The likelihood of significant ground-borne vibration will depend on the nature of the ground and the types of train. Ground-borne vibration can occur close to railways and sometimes next to some types of industry. The possibility of vibration and re-ratiated noise caused by trains running in tunnels should not be overlooked. Advice on acceptable levels of vibration can be found in BS 6472 1-2: 2008 Evaluation of human exposure to vibration in buildings.
Noise from aircraft
3.28 Noise from aircraft has not been a significant planning issue to date within the Borough although with recent changes to flight paths approaching Gatwick airport in particular this situation could change and this situation will continue to be monitored.
Local residents that live within the Medway Valley are concerned that the CA1 development proposals would substantially increase constant noise levels as the surrounding land is flat being at the base of the floodplain valley, and any noise travels from the high ridges across the valley. This would give rise to significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life as a result of new development.
There has been a significant increase in aircraft traffic over the last 2 years and is set to further increase directly over CA1 if Gatwick Airport is successful in increasing flight path traffic.
No consideration for the increase in noise pollution from the proposed mineral workings and machinery, along with the proposed development machinery residents will experience a significant increase in noise pollution- Significant adverse impacts on health and quality of life.
Development proposals for CA1 and CA2 are completely unsuitable for a garden settlement as both sites have a mainline railway line running through the middle of them ,with very limited access. Only 2 access crossings which are not fit for purpose to service such developments as they are via Hartlake Road/ Sherenden Road (CA1)which are weight restricted country lanes, the railway access is so narrow that only one car can pass at a time under the railway embankment.
Access to CA2 Railway Bridge is limited via a single track private road, the bridge has significant vertical cracking to its structure showing that existing traffic reverberations from trains is damaging its structure. It is anticipated that Network Rail would have serious objections to additional volumes of traffic crossing the railway bridge as it would represent a massive increase in the structural load being placed on an already fragile structure.
It is understood there are no further proposals by Network Rail to provide any further access to CA 1 or CA 2 due to the high capital costs and the long term delays that would be have to be implemented on the mainline connectivity between London and Kents Coast.
CA 1 will be 2 settlements divided by a railway line with extremely limited access neither which satisfy garden settlement principles.
Network Rail South East Route Kent Route Study ( May 2018)
* Highlights capacity issues
School allocated for six form entry secondary school
Policy AL/ CA 2
This site allocation is wholly unsuitable for a secondary school due to the location, mainline railway running through the centre of the site, ancient woodland, road network already at capacity and often at peak travel times grid locked, poor air quality and car emissions will be a severe health risk to children, flood risk as the area often floods, unsuitable transport links to Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells town centres.
The proposed plans for Tudeley and Capel highlight the challenges, dangers, risks and extraordinary costs that any development would have to overcome to proceed to become a successful sustainable development.
1. I strongly object to the idea of building an additional 4000 dwellings around Paddock Wood. It will be like urban sprawl and ruin the character of the town.
Strongest Possible Objection
These sites are largely Green Belt , AONB or green field sites and should not be developed.
Refer to comments for STR/CA1
This is much too much development - howevere done it will enormously enlarge Paddock Wood and destroy far too much of the countryside in the process. This is unthinkable and misguided.
It is noted that this development, together with the proposed secondary school and proposed new village at Tudeley will result in development stretching from Tonbridge in the west right through to the east of Paddock Wood – approximately some seven miles long.
CPRE recognise that, even if the OAN is not met in full because of NPPF paragraph 11(b), given the housing figures that the borough is likely to have to accommodate, in addition to building more densely in the towns there will need to be some major green field development. We agree with the Council that major development should not take place within the AONB – and object to all proposed major developments in the AONB which are identified in this draft local plan (see also the comments of CPRE Tunbridge Wells district committee on Cranbrook and Sissinghurst, and Hawkhurst). Because of the presence of the railway station and the fact that Paddock Wood is an existing town with many services already present, this strategic allocation within the green belt may be the most sustainable way of meeting the housing requirement. Nevertheless, we have concerns about it which mean that we must object to it at present.
It is considered that all strategic development should be built at high density, demonstrating excellence in design and environmental sustainability - especially with regard to carbon emissions.
There needs to be careful assessment of the impact that this development would have on the setting of the High Weald AONB.
Policy AL/CA3 does not set out what the site area is for the proposed urban extensions at Paddock Wood and how much is designated green belt. Figures provided in the appendix to the Distribution of Development topic paper should be included in the policy for clarity – and with an explanation of why more land is to be released from the green belt (148.19ha) than is allocated (123.97ha). Bearing in mind that a large part of the borough is not green belt it is felt that the disproportionate loss of green belt in this location (which sits at the eastern most extremity of the large swathe of green belt east of the A26 running from Wateringbury to Tunbridge Wells) would undermine the five purposes for green belt designation as set out in paragraph 134 of the NPPF.
The western side of Paddock Wood falls with Broad Areas 3 and 4 in the Green Belt Study Stage 2. Stage 2 figure 1.1 indicates that there would be a very high level of harm caused by the release of these broad areas. Given the findings of the study and the absence of an assessment of all the Paddock Wood allocations there is no evidence to suggest that it is appropriate to release these sites from the green belt and allocate them for development.
It is difficult to understand how the Council’s stated aims of optimising density (to minimise loss of green belt) has been applied. Will these urban extensions be built out at low, medium or high density in the interests of minimising green belt release?
The Council’s SHELAA set out that this site has a gross area of 307.79ha, of which the developable area is 269.65. With an anticipated final yield of 4000 units density would be less than 15 dwellings per ha. This is far lower than the density usually associated with suburban development of 40dpa. On this basis it is not clear how this demonstrates optimised density and efficient use of land in compliance with paragraphs 122 and 123 of the NPPF. Agricultural land has a vital role to play in absorbing carbon and preserving biodiversity, including the biodiversity in soils. Once it is built over the soil biodiversity is lost. Therefore, to minimise land take, it is essential that density of developments on green field sites is as high as reasonably possible.
With 5.35% of green belt in the borough being released for development, CPRE Kent is concerned that the Council does not intend to designate additional land as replacement green belt – and seeks clarification as to why this is. CPRE Kent considers that replacement green belt should be designated at Paddock Wood, in order to ensure that future residents have access to green spaces.
In any event, assurances are sought as to how compensatory improvements to environmental quality and accessibility of the remaining green belt will actually be delivered (policy STR4).
Paragraph 149 on the NPPF places an onus on the Council to ensure that it takes “a proactive approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change, taking into account the long term implications for flood risk”.
A high proportion of the land in this proposed allocation lies in in flood zones 2 and 3. While it is noted that the proposed policy requires that development will not exacerbate flooding elsewhere (potentially at Five Oak Green, Whetsted, Paddock Wood and further afield) and should deliver flood storage/attenuation/mitigation measures, it must be questionable whether development in an area at risk of flooding, and which could exacerbate flooding further afield, should be permitted in this location, especially in the light of impending climate change. Moreover the policy does not at the moment appear to require building standards and designs that will make the new dwellings and other development resilient to any flooding that may occur despite the flood storage/attenuation/mitigation measures.
Given that we understand that building work has currently stopped on the approximately 1,000 new dwellings already allocated at Paddock Wood, because of existing problems with foul drainage and lack of sewerage capacity, it remains to be seen whether there will be sufficient sewerage capacity provided in time for a further 4,000 dwellings. We question whether Southern Water can raise the necessary funds. This is a matter of crucial importance. Unless there is clear evidence that the necessary infrastructure will be provided before the new dwellings are inhabited, this allocation should not be permitted.
Paragraph 170(b) of the NPPF requires planning decisions to contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by recognising the wider benefits from natural capital and ecosystem services – including the economic and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land. With paragraph 170b, footnote 53 stating that “where significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary, areas of poorer quality land should be preferred to those of a higher quality.”
The allocated land is classified as Grade 2 and 3 – which is at least in part best and most versatile land. There appears to be no evidence that the Council has sought to identify areas of poorer quality agricultural land for development.
CPRE Kent is concerned that development of the site will increase and intensify the extent of light intrusion in this and the surrounding areas.
NPPF 180(c) requires planning policies to limit the impact of light pollution on intrinsically dark landscapes. The CPRE Dark Skies map https://www.nightblight.cpre.org.uk/maps/ shows that Paddock Wood is in the darker skies category (one up from brighter) and the AONB to the south and the river plain north to Hadlow are both in the next to darkest category. The scale of the development will introduce light pollution into the area of dark skies contrary to the NPPF.
The Council’s OAN is 13,560 of which 1,552 have been completed, leaving the need for 12,008 to be provided. Some of this will be in the form of existing permissions, outstanding site allocations and windfall allowance. The remaining 7,593 will be from new allocations of which 1,900 will be at Tudeley and 4,000 at Paddock Wood. These two sites will provide 49% of outstanding new housing.
The Housing Supply and Trajectory Topic Paper for Draft Local Plan (September 2019) at paragraphs 4.5.2 and 4.5.3 states that the Council will further engage with developers to review past and future progress of housing delivery; and will ask developers to comment presumptions about lead-in times and delivery rates. This indicates that the present housing trajectory is draft. It may well change, and with reliance on just two sites for almost half of the borough’s housing requirement, may not deliver at the anticipated rates.
With regard to build-out rates the Trajectory Topic Paper sets out at paragraph 4.13.4 that national studies for urban extensions in the south of England demonstrate that delivery rates have been in excess of 120 units per annum. It is not clear which studies are being referred to or when they were published, nor the location and scale of the urban extensions. Paragraph 4.13.5, again referring to national studies, states that sites will exhibit lower completions in their first and second years before construction on the site becomes established. At paragraph 4.13.9 gives a build-out rate of 128 for developments of size 1000-2000, and 299 for developments of 2,000+.
Table 9 of the Trajectory Topic Paper at page 30 sets out assumptions for the delivery of the 4,000 dwellings at Paddock Wood. It assumes that 333 dwellings will be delivered from 2024/25 delivering all 4,000 dwellings by the end of the plan period. This is likely to require groundworks in 2023/24. CPRE Kent queries whether there is sufficient time to prepare and agree a masterplan and outline application. These figures do not seem to have made an allowance for lower completions in the first two years as set out in paragraph 4.13.5 of the Trajectory Topic Paper.
Development at Paddock Wood does have the merit of being close to a railway station. In the event that this allocation goes ahead it is considered that provision should be made for a public swimming pool. The nearest pools are at Tonbridge, Cranbrook and Tunbridge Wells, meeting need locally would be more sustainable and, as an added advantage would be a useful focus as a meeting point for young people. Consideration should also be given to providing a venue for a small cinema.
The road system in the centre of Paddock Wood needs to be improved. There needs to be additional public parking space and/or new, very frequent public transport from the surrounding villages (including East Peckham in Tonbridge & Malling and Yalding, Laddingford and Collier Street in Maidstone) - as Paddock Wood lies at the junction of three boroughs - to ensure that the residents of outlying villages who will continue to need to rely on Paddock Wood as their local service centre are not excluded by the vehicles from the additional 4,000 dwellings.
It has been brought to my attention that you plan to build in excess of 4000 new homes in and around Capel. To myself and many others in the already existing community, this is simply unacceptable.
Barton Willmore for Crest Nicholson
ii) Policy AL/PW1 [with Ref to Policy AL/CA3]
6.51 We would reiterate our earlier comments in respect of the unnecessary duplication (and confusion) caused by approaching development on a parish-by-parish basis, as opposed to a more practical approach of settlement-by-settlement.
6.52 We have therefore focused our comments on the proposed allocation(s) of Policy AL/PW1, with any corresponding elements of [Policy AL/CA3 thus].
6.53 In order to provide for an initial understanding of Crest’s land interests at Paddock Wood, which extends to circa 117ha (circa 290 acres), we have prepared a high-level preliminary concept plan (Appendix 3). In submitting this presently, we would reiterate that it is illustrative at this stage and has been prepared in isolation to any of the other strategic development sites (or adjoining areas of land) that may also be coming forward for future development.
6.54 As previously indicated, Crest is committed to working alongside TWBC and other key stakeholders in preparing an over-arching “town-wide Framework Plan”, beneath which it is envisaged that more detailed “west”; “east” and “town centre” masterplans could be prepared.
6.55 By way of information purposes at this stage, and in order to help inform our detailed representations, the preliminary concept plan (Appendix 3) presently provides for:
* Overall Site Area: circa 117ha (or 290 acres);
6.56 We look forward to liaising with the other strategic promoters and TWBC in revisiting the above illustrative capacity of Crest’s land interests as part of the subsequent stages in preparing a Framework Plan for Paddock Wood as a whole.
6.57 Policy AL/PW1 is a detailed policy allocation. It requires that development embeds several key qualities, including a clear identity and green space. Furthermore, the policy requires that the masterplan shall be informed by detailed studies within and surrounding the allocation that shall include landscape character and visual amenity. It states that attention will be given to the key landscape characteristics, views and the setting of the High Weald AONB. In this regard, Policy AL/PW1 is consistent with Section 12 (Achieving well-designed places) and Section 15 (Conserving and enhancing the natural environment).
6.58 Criterion (i) repeats the quantum of development outlined in STR/PW1 and includes provision of a 3-pitch Gypsy Traveller site. This criterion references the need for tenure and affordable housing mix to be determined via the Local Plan and CIL Viability Assessment. Any such provision will ultimately need to be “justified” and any “mix” will also need to have regard to the prevailing market considerations at the time any sites are being delivered.
6.59 We also note that the quantum of Affordable Housing (for the strategic development sites) will also be set out in the Reg 19 version of the Local Plan. It is important that any such provision is balanced against other infrastructure requirements, and alongside other viability pressures too.
6.60 Additional employment provision is to be provided under Criterion (ii), which we note is envisaged to be provided via extension(s) to the existing employment area(s). We support such approach in respect of employment provision.
6.61 Criterion (iii) relates to education provision (Secondary and Primary). We fully envisage (and support) the need for on-site Primary provision as part of Crest’s proposed development, and would reiterate our support for off-site financial contributions to expand Mascalls Secondary School.
6.62 Criterions (iv) and (v) refer to the provision of a new medical centre and new sports facilities (inc “sports hub”). We would reiterate Crest’s support for the pro-rata provision/contribution towards such facilities, which should be identified in our previously suggested “town-wide Framework Plan”.
6.63 We also note that Criterion (v) is another repetition of Policy OSSR2.
6.64 Nos 1 and 2 require the development to be brought forward through a masterplan approach and reflect Garden Village principles.
6.65 We would reiterate our suggested approach to securing comprehensive development at Paddock Wood, namely:
Town-wide Framework Plan
6.66 We also note (and support) the listed key qualities (under No2) are the same as those set out in the CLG Garden Communities Prospectus (Aug 2018) [5 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/805688/Garden_Com munities_Prospectus.pdf]. In the light of this, we consider the Local Plan should reference the origins of these “key qualities” in order to not only identify the provenance of them, but also to enable any subsequent changes via CLG to be equally referenced in the Local Plan.
6.67 No3 repeats the masterplanning approach set out in Policy STR/PW1 – to which we support the principle of TWBC leading on this – albeit under our previously suggested “town-wide Framework Plan” approach. Indeed much of these criterion duplicate the contents of Policy STR/PW1 [and STR/CA1], albeit we assume this will appear differently in the subsequent Reg
6.68 No4 indicates that the master planned approach, and subsequent phasing, will have regard to necessary strategic infrastructure requirements and provision thereof. These could/should be set out in our suggested “town-wide Framework Plan”.
6.69 In respect of “phasing”, we note the anticipated delivery rates set out in the “Housing Supply and Trajectory Topic Paper” (TWBC, Sept 2019), which indicates the completions of 333dpa [6 Table 9: Local Plan Housing Trajectory (p30)] from 2024/25 onwards of the allocated 4,000 dwellings. In order to achieve such a delivery rate, and presently irrespective from any of the draft allocated sites, this is a challenging aspiration (given only 4.5 years until completions are expected to be delivered and the Draft Local Plan still has a number of stages to pass through before it is adopted).
6.70 Crest would welcome the opportunity of seeking to meet such aspirations, but would highlight that this reinforces our suggested (streamlined) approach to “master planning” and the speedier preparation/submission of subsequent planning applications.
6.71 No5 requires that the eventual masterplan (or “Framework Plan”) responds to a series of Technical Studies (inc “landscape characteristics”, “agricultural land quality” and “biodiversity”). We support the inclusion of this requirement, but again note the repetition across the strategic (STR) and allocation (AL) policies on matters relating to landscape and biodiversity, and would suggest these general requirements should lie at the strategy level of the policy framework – especially since reference is then also made to subsequent Development Management policies.
6.72 We also note reference to “biodiversity net gains”, and would again suggest that in seeking to calculate and apply these principles, this would be far more achievable via our suggested 3No “masterplan areas”, as opposed to seeking to calculate/apply this across the settlement as a whole. We note that with regards to achieving “biodiversity net gains”, this criterion refers to EN11 which addresses “net gains for nature” in more detail. We have made comments below on this policy with regard to the use of metric.
6.73 Nos6&7 relate to over-arching design objectives, which we largely support.
6.74 In respect of No8, we query the “effectiveness” and “justification” of the requirement for compensatory improvements to be made to remaining Green Belt areas. We understand and recognise the objectives of this (NPPF, para 138), but would question the ability to achieve this in respect of areas of land (the remaining Green Belt) that lie beyond the “master- planned” area, and beyond the land controlled by Crest (and most likely the other PW developers too). We would welcome clarification on this matter.
6.75 No9 expands on strategic transport matters to be considered in the strategic masterplan identified in Policy STR/PW1 (Criterion 1). The transport and access strategy for Crest’s site, which has fed into a preliminary concept masterplan (see Appendix 3), mirrors the opportunities identified by TWBC under Policy AL/PW1 in so far as it would provide:
* A primary multi-modal site access off A228 Whetsted Road providing direct access to “parcel 2” by means of a new junction;
6.76 We understand and support the need for pro-rata contributions towards the offline A228 (Colts Hill) strategic link, but are presently unclear as to the direct relevance of the strategic link between the A228 and Tudeley Garden Village. It is assumed the latter will be required/provided as a direct consequence of Tudeley GV, and would therefore fall liable to the developers thereof (and not those at Paddock Wood). We would welcome clarification on this matter.
6.77 No10 requires that the masterplan addresses walking and cycling in a strategic manner and we support this approach. Crest is keen to deliver a range of measures to provide enhanced walking and cycling measures in and around the “western” masterplan area. These include:
6.78 We support the approach to encouraging walking and cycling within the development and the requirement to seek to use new technologies to deliver public transport. However, the scope of the 2nd bullet point relates to longer distance (off-site) cycle links to other settlements (inc Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells). The “requirement” to deliver wider off-site (Borough-wide) is not necessarily “deliverable” by the individual promoters of unrelated strategic sites at Paddock Wood. We would therefore query whether this is “consistent with National policy” and actually “deliverable”.
6.79 No11 requires land to be set provide for education needs (Secondary and Primary), which is a repeat of identical earlier references. We fully envisage (and support) the need for on- site Primary provision as part of Crest’s proposed development, and would reiterate our support for off-site financial contributions to expand Mascalls Secondary School.
6.80 No12 repeats requirements set out in Policy STR/PW1 with respect to flooding. It requires that the development will not exacerbate flooding elsewhere or in the vicinity and that flood storage/attenuation/mitigation areas “substantially reduce flood risk to particular existing residential areas”. Modelling carried out by Crest’s Drainage Consultant (Ardent) has demonstrated that development on Crest’s site can actually reduce overall flood risk when having regard to our proposed flood storage and wetland areas which are to be incorporated into the development.
6.81 The NPPF (para 160b) requires that, “development will be safe for its lifetime taking into account the vulnerability of its users, without increasing flood risk elsewhere, and, where possible, will reduce flood risk overall.” Policies AL/PW1 [and AL/CA3] go beyond the NPPF requirements by requesting that the developments “substantially reduce flooding elsewhere”. In addition, reference is made to the need for Five Oak Green, however this is in a separate hydrological catchment beyond that under the control (and influence of Crest). In the light of this, and as presently drafted, this part of the policy is not “justified” or “consistent with National policy”.
6.82 No13 relates to green infrastructure, and Crest supports these principles – albeit again, with reference to our suggested “western masterplan area”.
6.83 The potential need for the expansion of waste-water treatment works (WWTW) is identified in No14. Any such requirements/provision should be identified via the “town-wide Framework Plan”, and the relevant statutory consultee (and provider) should be notified and engaged accordingly.
iii) Overall Summary of Allocation Policies and Recommendations
6.84 In summary, and whilst we support the inclusion of a strategic policy, as currently written the Draft Local Plan does not provide a clear policy structure and there is no clear delineation between the strategy and allocation policies. For example, the strategy policies for Paddock Wood and Capel (STR/PW1 & STR/CA1) are comprehensive for a policy at this level, and allocation policies (AL/PW1 and AL/CA3) go into a significant amount of detail. This has led to an appreciable degree of unnecessary duplication between policy levels.
6.85 In addition to this hierarchical repetition, there is considerable spatial repetition across the two strategy policies of STR/PW 1 & STR/CA 1, and the allocation policies (AL/PW1 and AL/CA3) which are largely identical.
6.86 NPPF (para 16) highlights the key aims of Local Plans, relevant to these policies is criterion f), which states that Local Plans should avoid “unnecessary duplication of policies that apply to a particular area”. Given the over-lapping characteristics of the strategy and allocation policies as outlined above, and as presently drafted, the Plan is not consistent with NPPF (para 16f).
6.87 We recognise the need for this quantum of development around Paddock Wood to deliver proportionate infrastructure and services to the Town and, acknowledge the indirect role that wider growth can have to the overall vitality and viability of the Town Centre. We also recognise the need for a high level (settlement-wide) Framework Plan in order to identify and coordinate the overall infrastructure and services/facilities for the Town.
6.88 In order to secure the related provision of these services, facilities and infrastructure, and the timely delivery of much needed housing, we have suggested the following approach to secure comprehensive development at Paddock Wood, namely:
Town-wide Framework Plan
6.89 We have also suggested that new strategic development should be approached on a settlement-by-settlement basis, as opposed to parish-by-parish. This is particularly necessary (and ultimately sensible) in the proposed development area(s) to the west of Paddock Wood, which overlap with Paddock Wood and Capel Parishes.
6.90 The spatial distribution of housing sites around Paddock Wood facilitate such an approach, since they fall within 3No broad areas:
* Land west of Paddock Wood (PW1_1 to PW1_5);
6.91 The above 3No masterplan areas should be identified in a revised Policy Allocation, which would all sit below an over-arching “town-wide Framework Plan”. Each new sub-section of a revised Policy Allocation should also cross refer to the constraints and opportunities listed in Table 4: “Showing Parcels of Land” (pages 178-189) in order to enable the allocation policies to be more “precise” and “effective”.
[TWBC: see full representation and supporting documents Appendix 1, Appendix 2 Part 1 , Appendix 2 Part 2 and Appendix 3]. See also Comment Numbers DLP_6836, 6844, 6847, 6843, 6855, 6859, 6860, 6863, 6865, 6866, 6869-6870, 6872, 6877, 6883, 6890, 6897, 6909-6911, 6926, 6928, 6931, 6933-6937].
Martin Robeson Planning Practice for Tesco Stores Ltd
Support with conditions
Policy AL/CAB – Land at Capel and Paddock Wood (support with conditions)
Tesco broadly supports the prosed growth of Paddock Wood. However, this is subject to the Council confirming: (i) that town centre improvements will be leveraged through funding secured from the allocated urban extensions (ie, via s106 obligations or subsequently via CIL); (ii) that is will, if necessary, use its full range of statutory powers to facilitate the delivery of sites in the town centre; and (iii) reinforce the need to achieve high density development around the town centre in order to make viable the aspiration for commercial and community uses, and public realm enhancements. See also our representations to the strategy for Paddock Wood and the town centre allocation, below.
Tunbridge Wells District Committee Campaign to Protect Rural England
Please see the response to this policy submitted by CPRE Kent’s Head Office [see DLP_1784]
Capel Parish Council
Capel Parish Council ask that TWBC remove this option from the draft local plan. The East Capel site prevents the convergence of Paddock Wood and Five Oak Green, is the area of the parish most vulnerable to flooding, so is inappropriate for development and has a valuable historic landscape including Badsell Manor a moated manor house. It is traditional part of Capel Parish and CPC are strongly opposed to its absorption into Paddock Wood in defiance of its history and heritage going back to early Medieval times.
Southern Water Services Plc
Support with conditions
Southern Water is the wastewater undertaker for Paddock Wood, and has a statutory duty to serve new development. Proposals for 4000 dwellings within this catchment will significantly increase its size, requiring detailed analysis of the various engineering solutions available to accommodate increased demand on the existing network. Our preliminary assessment of the capacity of our existing infrastructure and its ability to meet the forecast demand for this proposal demonstrates that existing local sewerage infrastructure has limited capacity to accommodate the proposed development. Limited capacity is not a constraint to development provided that planning policy and subsequent conditions ensure that occupation of the development is phased to align with the delivery of new wastewater infrastructure.
Southern Water Services Plc
Support with conditions
We have assessed these sites and note their close proximity to Paddock Wood Wastewater Treatment Works (WTW). Southern Water endeavours to operate its WTWs efficiently and in accordance with best practice to prevent pollution. However, unpleasant odours inevitably arise as a result of the treatment processes that occur. New development must be adequately separated from WTWs to safeguard the amenity of future occupiers. This is in line with paragraph 180 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF, 2018), which states that 'Planning policies and decisions should also ensure that new development is appropriate for its location taking into account the likely effects (including cumulative effects) of pollution on [...] living conditions' and Paragraph 182 which states ‘Planning policies and decisions should ensure that new development can be integrated effectively with existing businesses and community facilities […] Existing businesses and facilities should not have unreasonable restrictions placed on them as a result of development permitted after they were established.’
This is a large strategic site which is likely to impact of the setting of the AONB. Landscape Sensitivity Studies indicate that the site has medium-high sensitivity for even small scale development. Whilst policy wording requires provision of a masterplan is welcomed, further landscape studies are required to inform the allocation at this stage. . It is advised that a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) in line with the Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (GLVIA 3rd edition) is prepared to inform this allocation. Additional information is required in order to understand how the allocation may impact the AONB and indicate the scope for mitigation.
IDE Planning for Paddock Wood Town Council
OBJECT as per STR/PW1 below [see DLP_3930 in Section 5: Paddock Wood]
Mr Collin Godsave
I object to Land at Capel and Paddock Wood PW1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, 1-7, 1-8,
Paddock Wood has for many years been the dumping ground for development that TWBC does not want in Tunbridge Wells, in fact the government inspector said at his public planning meeting, relating to the first three sites that “Paddock Wood was being asked to take a disproportionate amount of housing development when considering these sites in Paddock wood for building planning permission.
None of the above parcels of land should be included in TWBC Local Plan because of the limitations of Paddock Wood’s sewerage system that floods sewage into the street following prolonged periods of heavy rain.
Planning permission has already been granted for three large developments in Paddock Wood, 1,000+ homes, these three sites required flood mitigation schemes, but unfortunately for the inhabitants of Paddock Wood there is no spare capacity in the outdated sewerage system to facilitate their connection. Developers at Mascalls Court Farm and Mascalls Farm have been allowed to connect just sixty houses each to the local overloaded sewerage system. (No provision has been made for sites that already have permission), TWBC Local Plan must Include plans for a new sewerage system together with improvements to the existing infrastructure in Paddock Wood.
TWBC Local Plan proposes to develop sites PW1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, 1-7, 1-8,
All the local byroads that border the above sites appear to be no more than surfaced cart tracks without foot or cycle paths, no improvements are outlined in the plan.
The main vehicle rout for Commuters from Horsmonden, Brenchley and Goudhurst using the station at Paddock Wood is Church Road, Pixot Hill, and Horsmonden Road, all these roads are nothing more than country lanes in poor repair that already have large volumes of traffic, they will not cope with extra vehicles to and from the proposed sites to the west of Paddock Wood. The lack of foot and cycle paths on all these roads makes the use of cycles and walking very dangerous.
All the sites to the north of the railway at Paddock Wood have major surface water flooding problems together with PW1-1 and PW1-7 and PW1-8 and should not form part of TWBC Development Plan. PW1-7 (Church Farm) has had planning permission for some years but has not been built on, I suspect this is because of it’s potential to flood the Dymock Close area and the cost of flood mitigation is prohibitive.
The provision of an enlarged Mascalls Secondary School and additional Primary Schools will also increase the amount of traffic in and around Paddock Wood.
No consideration has been given to the use of Brownfield Sites before using such a large area of the Metropolitan Green Belt.
I think the whole plan is ill conceived and not sustainable for all the reasons listed above and will not benefit the existing population or its youngsters with a view to buying one of the houses. Using the cost of buying one of the few houses that have been built at Mascalls Court Farm, there is not a single job locally that would support the required mortgage. The only benefit will be to attract people to move from outside the area and to provide maximum profit for the developers.
High Weald AONB Unit
STR/CA 1, AL/CA1,2, 3 and PW1 and 3
These policies propose significantly expanding Paddock Wood by 4,000 homes and associated facilities, and promoting a new settlement of 2,500-2,800 homes at Capel (branded as ‘Tudeley Village’). This development would include the provision of an offline A228 strategic link and a new secondary school west of Tudeley. The new settlement and school directly abut the AONB boundary and, whilst the alignment of the strategic link has yet to be determined, the current A228 runs through the AONB. The land north of the AONB boundary is low lying, forming the environs of the River Medway, with the High Weald rising steeply above it, meaning that there are significant long views across this area, particularly from Capel Church.
CBRE Ltd for Dandara Ltd
Badsell Farm, Paddock Wood
4.8 The site is c.45 hectares and is contiguous with the western edge of the settlement of Paddock Wood. It is bound to the east by existing residential areas, to the south by Badsell Road, to the west by the A228 and to the north by an existing railway line in part (nearest the settlement to the east), and existing hedgerows. A Site Location Plan is provided in Figure 2 below.
[TWBC: for Figure 2 see page 15 of full representation].
4.9 The site, which Dandara refers to as Badsell Farm, forms part of a wider parcel of land and Draft Local Plan site allocation, known as ‘Land at Capel and Paddock Wood’ (Policy AL/CA 3), as shown in Figure 3 below. The site comprises the majority of land parcel ‘PW1_1’. The north-west section of PW 1_1 does not form part of Dandara’s land interest.
4.10 The wider allocation is to be a key source of housing supply and is expected to provide 4,000 new dwellings, employment and associated education, leisure and health facilities. This is anticipated to involve the release of the Badsell Farm site from the Green Belt.
4.11 In respect of the AL/CA 3 development parcels identified in Figure 3 below, parcels PW1_1 – PW1_3 are all proposed to be released from the Metropolitan Green Belt as currently shown on TWBC’s Local Plan 2006 adopted Proposals Map.
4.12 Land at Capel and Paddock Wood (comprising all sites in allocation AL/PW1 and AL/CA3) was assessed as part of the Strategic Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (‘SHELAA’) in July 2019. The assessment references the exceptional circumstances test in terms of releasing land from the Green Belt. The exceptional circumstances case, as set out in Distribution of Development Topic Paper for Draft Local Plan Regulation 18 Consultation (September 2019) relates to provision of strategic development opportunities; delivery of housing in a sustainable location, infrastructure led improvements and flooding betterment associated with flood risk mitigation measures. Dandara supports these reasons, but highlights that TWBC will need to ensure they have a full and robust case and supporting evidence base.
4.13 In order to ensure that the site allocation is in accordance with paragraph 35 of the NPPF, which sets out the tests of soundness (positively prepared, justified, effective and consistent with national policy) Dandara has provided the following policy comments in relation to this site.
Draft Local Plan Policy AL/CA3 ‘Land at Capel and Paddock Wood’ – Dandara notes the following:
4.23 TWBC has undertaken a Green Belt review: ‘Tunbridge Well Green Belt Study Stage 1 (November 2016) and Stage Two (July 2017) as key evidence base to support the emerging Local Plan. As part of this review and as set out in paragraph 4.49 [3 Tunbridge Wells Borough Council: Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan: Draft Local Plan Regulation 18 Consultation Draft (September 2019) Pg. 49.] of the Draft Local Plan and TWBC’s Distribution of Development Topic Paper (September 2019), TWBC states that there are exceptional circumstances for the release of Green Belt land. These include reference to strategic development opportunities; delivery of housing in a sustainable location on the edge of Paddock Wood, infrastructure led improvements and flooding betterment associated with flood risk mitigation measures to Tudeley Brook in accordance with paragraph 135 of the NPPF.
4.24 In respect to paragraph 138 of the NPPF, TWBC confirm at paragraph 6.66 of the Distribution of Development Topic Paper (September 2019) that the redrawing of Green Belt boundaries is acceptable in line with the below findings from the Council’s Green Belt Study:
4.25 Dandara is satisfied that there is a robust exceptional circumstances case to support the release of Green Belt and the inclusion of Paddock Wood as a site allocation.
4.26 Under Policy AL/CA3, TWBC has allocated the wider site allocation (which includes Badsell Farm) (Parcel PW1_1) for approximately 4,000 new homes, employment and associated education, leisure and health facilities.
4.27 Badsell Farm comprises primarily flat agricultural land within the Green Belt and outside but directly adjacent to the settlement boundary of Paddock Wood. The site comprises large open arable farm land with a number of existing hedgerows along the field boundaries. There is an adjacent area of Ancient Woodland to the north-west of the site, and to the south of the site, along Badsell Road, are a number of Grade II Listed Heritage Assets, including Badsell Manor Farmhouse. The site is accessed via the A228 Maidstone Road and Badsell Road.
4.28 The site is predominantly located in Flood Zone 1, but a small, central part of the site is located in Flood Zones 2/3 associated with Tudeley Brook.
4.29 Badsell Farm site is well situated close to Paddock Wood and is an ideal location for a sustainable urban extension. The site is well connected by sustainable transport modes. The site is approximately a 20 minute walk (1 mile), 6 minute cycle or 5 minute bus ride (no. 205 from Foal Hurst Wood bus stop, Badsell Road) to Paddock Wood Town Centre and a 22 minute walk (1.1 miles), 7 minute cycle or 5 minute bus ride (no. 205 from Foal Hurst Wood bus stop, Badsell Road) to Paddock Wood Station.
4.30 By car, the site is approximately a 4 minute drive (1.1 miles) to Paddock Wood Town Centre and approximately a 5 minute drive (1.3 miles) to Paddock Wood Station.
4.31 The site itself is suitable for residential development (as concluded by TWBC in their SHELAA (July 2019)), factoring in its flat topography, sustainable location and good access from the A228 and Badsell Road.
4.32 The Badsell Farm site is available now and can be delivered early as there are no barriers to delivery. The site is the only parcel within the wider strategic allocation that immediately abuts existing residential dwellings located off Maidstone Road, and is not reliant on other sites within the wider allocation to be delivered first.
4.33 The Badsell Farm site has indicative capacity for circa 800 (subject to detailed assessment) new homes based on initial feasibility work undertaken by Dandara taking into account site constraints, including the need to:
(i) Incorporate a suitable landscape buffer to the ancient woodland;
(ii) Address the setting of the Listed Buildings; and
(iii) Deliver appropriate flood mitigation and attenuation.
4.34 Dandara has commissioned Turley Associates to provide initial heritage advice which will ensure any scheme will appropriately protect the appearance and setting of the existing heritage assets located adjacent to the site.
4.35 Dandara has instructed DHA to prepare a flood risk assessment which will locate the most suitable low flood risk areas within the site to develop in line with the sequential test as outlined in paragraph 157 of the NPPF (February 2019).
4.36 The proposed development will also have regard for the Tunbridge Wells Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) (July 2019). The SFRA identifies past flooding incidents associated with Tudeley Brook, to the west of Paddock Wood and the potential mitigation for measures to reduce overland flow including the construction of earth bunds and redefining drainage ditches, as well as installing a flow control structure to prevent flow from Tudeley Brook entering the Gravelly Ways Stream.
4.37 Following an initial highway assessment by DHA, it is evident that the site can be readily accessed from Badsell Road without reliance/impact on any other site, and that its vehicular trip generation would have the least impact on the existing settlement given its relationship with the primary road network.
4.38 It is considered preferable to serve Badsell Farm solely from the B2017 Badsell Road and not from the A228 Maidstone Road, given the strategic and high-speed nature of the latter route. Badsell Road is of an appropriate standard to serve the whole site and this approach would support the integration of the development into the wider settlement.
4.39 In respect to Point 9 of Policy AL/CA3, which seeks contributions to the provision of the offline A228 strategic link between Tudeley Village and the A228 or Tudeley Village and land at Capel and Paddock Wood, Dandara disagrees that the expansion of Paddock Wood should contribute to making Tudeley Village a more accessible or sustainable location. but rather focus on and address its own accessibility requirements.
4.40 It is not justified or necessary for Paddock Wood to rely on any strategic improvements to be delivered at Tudeley Village or vice versa, particularly as these developments will come forward at different timescales. Moreover, Tudeley Village requires significant infrastructure investment over longer timeframes and could therefore be prone to delivery delays.
4.41 The Plan and associated strategic and site allocation policies should be drafted to ensure that each growth location is supported by the infrastructure that each requires, and that efforts are made to seek to co-ordinate this as much as possible. However, this should not be dependent on one another. In practical terms given that Paddock Wood is an existing settlement, it would seem sensible to direct infrastructure funding in the short term to facilitate growth in this location, particularly given that road and public transport infrastructure benefits at Paddock Wood will ultimately benefit accessibility to Tudeley Village.
4.42 As stated above, any infrastructure requirements will need to be viability tested with the relevant evidence base justification provided.
4.43 The initial assessment work demonstrates that Badsell Farm has the potential to support the delivery of circa 800 homes. Delivery is not dependent on the wider strategic allocation and as such, the site could make a significant contribution to housing supply either on its own or in conjunction with the wider allocation around Paddock Wood.
4.44 We understand that TWBC’s intention is for a ‘masterplan’ approach which we understand will function more like a Strategic Framework. This will establish infrastructure, phasing and development principles across the strategic extension. This overarching Strategic Framework or Town Wide Framework would not ‘masterplan’ individual sites, but would instead provide a higher level, strategic and overarching framework against which masterplans for individual parcels contained within the strategic extension can be prepared.
4.45 Dandara suggests that the masterplan is renamed and clarified as a Strategic Framework or Town Wide Framework, and reference should be made to the need for an Infrastructure Delivery Plan to ensure growth is supported and not reliant on unplanned infrastructure.
4.46 Dandara notes that allocation AL/CA3 comprises a series of land parcels. Dandara recommends introducing flexibility within the wording of the policy to enable these to come forward separately if, in time, it is clear that some parts of the allocation are delayed. The Strategic Framework and Infrastructure Delivery Plan will ensure that if this happens, the masterplan for each land parcel would be consistent with these and would result in comprehensive development.
4.47 Dandara has not submitted any concept masterplan or any illustrative scheme for Paddock Wood at this stage. This work will be progressed alongside a Strategic Framework or Town Wide Framework including Infrastructure Delivery Plan, and will be informed by a robust technical evidence base.
4.48 Badsell Farm site could be delivered in the short to medium term, but could be commenced from 2023/24 onwards and is therefore capable of delivering a significant proportion of housing in the five years of the Plan period. This is of particular significance given the scale of growth required for Paddock Wood. Badsell Farm is available with no barriers to development.
4.49 To conclude, Dandara is supportive of promoting growth in and around Paddock Wood, where there is capacity to contribute to the housing targets identified by the OAN, and considers that it is an appropriate location for release of land from the Green Belt. Badsell Farm constitutes a viable site as part of the wider land parcel and on its own (standalone site). The site is available with no barriers to development, it is suitable for residential development and would be of a scale that is deliverable. Dandara considers that the structure of the allocation should be adjusted as described above, to provide for a Strategic or Town Wide Framework with Infrastructure Delivery Plan with suitable flexibility within the policy wording to facilitate delivery of the separate land parcels within the allocation in the future.
[TWBC: seefull representation.
Paddock Wood Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group
Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)
Highways and Transportation
The Local Highway Authority conditionally supports this policy.
Paragraphs 2 and 10 are supported, but there is no reference to PRoW within the Policy text. KCC recommends reference is made in consideration of the scale of the proposed development and the existence of the PRoW that pass through the identified sites. It should be expected that the PRoW network will be positively accommodated within the development and enhanced. The creation of new path links should also be considered, to provide ample opportunities for active travel and outdoor recreation. Additional text should be inserted into the policy text to stipulate this requirement.
Scale 2 - Pre-determination assessment should be carried out to clarify whether development of any part of the site is possible.
I live in Five Oak Green and have spent a significant time living in the village.
I object to the land in East Capel included in "The Strategy for Paddock Wood" (Policy STR/PW1 and Policy AL/CA3)
The comments above relating to Policy STR/CA1 apply here. The Council treats Capel as part of Paddock Wood despite boundaries and the separate identity of Capel.
The land highlighted for development is a flood plain. Any attempt to deal with this issue by mitigation and betterment do not take account of global warming/climate change or its use as a flood plain.
All of the land is greenbelt and is grade 2 or 3 agricultural land.
There will be a built area from Paddock Wood to Tonbridge and the character of Capel will be lost forever. TWBC talks about "love where we love" and then destroys one small part of the borough. Is there a back-up plan? There should be and I hope the Councillors look at this and imagine their own parish being destroyed in the same way. There should be a much greater sharing of the pain and there are far better places to put major development where roads already exist!
Many brownfield sites have not been included in this plan and the Council should have done more to identify and use them.
I wonder how the medical services will cope with this? There are significant issues with finding GPs for Woodlands Health Service (used by FOG and Paddock Wood residents). The doctors and Pembury hospital are already stretched to breaking point. With around 7,00 new houses in this area together with around another 1,000 in Paddock Wood that already have planning permission we are going to be swamped; our lives ruined and changed forever.
This plan will cause more pain and distress than Planning Officers and Borough Councillors can imagine.
Can't the Council have a serious rethink about the unfairness of this? Can't it explain to Government about the problems this will cause? We don't need this many houses in the borough and current requirements are lower than the ones being used. We are providing houses for London overflow and this will never end. Take a stand now.
I just hope that Councillors can view this as individuals and not feel the need to fall into line.
I am writing to object to the proposal to build thousands of houses surrounding Paddock Wood, including areas within the parish of Capel, at the group of sites collectively known as AL/CA3.
The SHELAA document describing these fields shows that they are Grade 2 and 3 agricultural land.
One has only to walk, cycle or drive around the area to see that most of them are productive.
The SHELAA document specifies that in total the sites represent 307 hectares. 269 of those are developable. Taking that figure and factoring up an example of 8 tonnes of wheat per year (a typical score referring to the DEFRA Cereal Production Survey) those fields would produce 2456 tonnes of wheat per annum.
In addition, the sites at CA1 and CA2 would similarly produce between them another 165 hectares worth.
The total of the Paddock Wood plus Capel green field land is 434 hectares (1072 acres) which would produce 3472 tonnes of wheat p.a.
A reference I’ve found claims that
A family of four could live about 2 years off the bread produced by one acre of wheat. (1 )
So they would live for a year off a half acre of wheat.
So Paddock Wood and Capel’s 1072 acres would feed 2144 people for a year.
Capel’s population is 2467 (2011 census) (2)
So the combined area of Capel’s field and Paddock Wood’s fields in this plan, covering a wide area of open countryside, would not even be enough to feed the residents of Capel parish.
A few generations ago the maths would have worked, but now these figures drastically demonstrate how much land is needed to grow our food.
The plans to build on CA1, CA2 and CA3 including the land surrounding Paddock Wood are not well founded because not only would we lose irreplaceable, beautiful countryside and alter the nature of this rural landscape for ever but . . . they will be taking away our food.
Mr C Mackonochie
Policy Number: AL/CA 3
This land is within the Green Belt and the Parish of Capel that helps to separate Paddock Wood from and the villages of Whetsted and Five Oak Green
The land floods and is agricultural land although of a lower grade than Tudeley however there is no comment of how this loss will be offset
There is no mention of the impact of the KCC Minerals and Waste Draft Plan, so I assume this has not been taken into account nor is there mention of neighbouring two former landfill sites, used in 1980’s and 1990’s, and the safeguarding of local pollution and pollution to the local aquifers
Although it is a possible expansion area for Paddock Wood, the above four points make it an unsuitable site
Mrs Carol Richards
Flood Risk – applies to policies STR/CA 1, STR/PW 1, AL/CA 1, and AL/CA 3
TWBC should consider:-
1. The River Medway is the largest river catchment within the Environment Agency’s Southern Region.
www.Gov.uk shows the Flood Map for Planning of this area:- Exhibit 4 (seefull representation)
This is a very powerful visual reminder of the area where TWBC have chosen to put the large number of homes 2016 -2036- up to 6,800 in total. Flooding will continue to increase with Climate Change-forecasting wetter winters. Why chose here?
TWBC have obviously not taken water related issues into account from an early stage in the process of identifying land for development and redevelopment, to encourage the use of sites where past problems can be solved and seek to avoid sites where water supply and/or drainage provision is likely to be unsustainable;
Some extracts from the NPPF:
The NPPF 149 states:
“Plans should take a proactive approach to mitigating and adopting to climate change, taking into account the long-term implications for flood risk... Policies should support appropriate measures to ensure the future resilience of communities and infrastructure to climate change impacts, such as providing space for physical protection measures, or making provision for the possible future relocation of vulnerable development and infrastructure” [My emphasis]
So why plan to put homes in a vulnerable area in a flood plain zone in the first place?
The NPPF 150 states:
“New development should be planned in a way that avoid increased vulnerability to the range of impacts arising from climate change and should avoid ‘inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided by directing development away from areas at highest risk(whether existing or future) ………….and without increasing flood risk elsewhere”
i.e. in this case Golden Green, East Peckham and Laddingford.
The NPPF 155 states:
“inappropriate development in areas at risk of flooding should be avoided by directing development away from areas at highest risk (whether existing or future). Where development is necessary in such areas, the development should be made safe for its lifetime without increasing flood risk elsewhere.” [my emphasis]
And finally NPPF 163 states:
“When determining any planning applications, local planning authorities should ensure that flood risk is not increased elsewhere.. . Development should only be allowed in areas at risk of flooding where . . . it can be demonstrated that:
b) the development is appropriately flood resistant and resilient”
The TWBC and the environment agency can apply all the sequential risk-based approach to location development they wan, but essentially TWBC is building on a functional flood plain for the River Medway and will put not only these new homes at risk but other homes at risk in other boroughs.
Prospective buyers will look at these homes and will not buy them. They will be difficult to insure, and they will only have to flood once and people who do buy will not be able to sell them. There are other sites that do not have the River Medway hinterland so close to villages and towns.
Exhibit 5 (TWBC Comment - seefull representation) shows that Capel and Paddock Wood already have the greatest number of homes at risk in the whole of the borough as circled and TWBC propose more homes in these same boroughs. On these figures I wouldn’t look at Lamberhurst either. There is no logic to these Plans. Totally unsound and immoral.
The OS Map at Exhibit 6 (TWBC Comment - seefull representation) shows the cross sections taken from The B2017 Five Oak Green Road on the ridge- to show the topographc affects of surface water flow down the slopes - running into the valley below and into the Medway. Hardstanding on this ridge will cause increased rate of flow causing flash flooding in times of wet weather.
Exhibit 7 (TWBC Comment - seefull representation) shows the profile of the ridge (sections A and C) from Five Oak Green Road (B2017) to the Flood Plain of the River Medway.
Climate change is predicted to increase rainfall intensity in the future by up to 40% (for the Upper End estimate to the 2080s epoch (2070 to 2115) under the new range of allowances published by the Environment Agency. This will increase the likelihood and frequency of surface water flooding, particularly in impermeable urban areas, and areas that are already susceptible. Changes to predicted rainfall should be incorporated into flood risk assessments and drainage and surface water attenuation schemes associated with developments. Is there a specific assessment for Tudeley to assess surface runoff?
The events of 1960, 1963, 1968, 1985, 2000 and 2009 caused widespread flooding within the north of the borough e.g. at Paddock Wood and Five Oak Green, and areas along the River Teise, due to heavy rainfall over a prolonged period of time. Since this time, significant flooding occurred within the borough during the Winter 2013/14, which included notable flooding from the River Medway, as well as August 2015. Climate change predicts more rainfall and more frequency of flooding. We can all still remember 2013/14in this area.
Assessing Flood Risk and Developments
157 d) of the NPPF states, ‘where climate change is expected to increase flood risk so that some existing development may not be sustainable in the long term, seeking opportunities to relocate development, including housing, to more sustainable locations’
A site-specific FRA is required for all developments which are located in the Environment Agency’s Flood Zones 2 and 3, or developments. As TWBC are putting the bulk of homes in area of potential flood risk has this been achieved? I have not been able to find a specific assessment for Tudeley/ Five Oak Green / Paddock Wood. It could be I have not been able to find the correct document (as there are so many) The appendices A - didn’t have detailed information for these 3 locations
Table 13-1 in the Level 1 Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) is quite illuminating. It lists all the call for sites assessed against flood risk. To note:
* In the column ’Site intersected by Risk of Flooding from Reservoirs extent’, nearly 80% of the sites covered Tudeley, Five Oak Green or Paddock Wood (30 out of 38).
Table 13-1 shows the sites most at risk and TWBC have chosen nearly every one of them for their ‘Masterplanning’ approach. The cost of attempting to use these sites will require SuDS and other methods to attempt to reduce the impact of future flooding at these sites to the tune of £12M (Appendix 1: Infrastructure Delivery Plan Table 16 p98 and 99). Why would anyone in their right minds chose the worst sites to build on i.e. the ones most likely to flood now and in the future?
The provision to mitigate flood risk and surface water management should be used to protect the current homes at risk- not planning more homes to be at risk and then, to try to protect them!
One important fact to remember
If you fail to Plan- you Plan to fail. TWBC should be looking at the report by JBA having paid for the advice . LOOK at what the report is telling TWBC.
TWBC have not shown they have site specific evidence for these sites and provided evidence they have adequately considered other reasonably available sites that won’t flood!.
TWBC believe they can build on these sites and provide ‘betterment ’at these sites-like the homes will only flood to 100mm not 500mm? TWBC are willing to spend £12M of public and developer funding to do so.
The TWBC Development Constraints Study states on p 9- 2.19 “Flood zone 3 should be a significant constraint” and all the sites at Tudley /Five Oak Green/ Paddock Wood have a % of Zone 3 areas. (Table 3-1 of Site summary assessment) p91-108.
There is a policy emphasis in the NPPF to steer development away from areas with high flood risk. Planning Practice Guidance states that:-
“The National Planning Policy Framework set strict tests to protect people and property from flooding which all local authorities are expected to follow. Where these tests are not met, National policy is clear that new development should not be allowed.’
2.2.2. p7 of the TWells Level l /2 combined SFRA states
“A further review of preliminary flood risk assessments was completed by KCC in 2017 and no Flood risk areas were identified for the borough and indeed the county as a whole”.
Can you please explain why this statement can be made when we have the Leigh Barrier- the biggest in Europe- AND it is being developed to hold more volume of water by 2023? I think there is something wrong with the analysis.
2.4.2 page 10 of the SFRA (Paddock Wood Stage 1 SWMP (2011) and Stage 2 SWMP (2015)) states
“Paddock Wood is an area that has experienced a number of incidents of surface water flooding associated with small watercourses, sewerage and private drainage systems. It was recommended within the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Level 2 SFRA (2009) that Paddock Wood be designated as an ‘area of critical drainage’. However, formal adoption of Paddock Wood as a Critical Drainage Area did not occur. To better assess the local flooding issue, the Paddock Wood Stage 1 SWMP8 (2011) was conducted to provide a more detailed understanding of local flood risk in the study area. This was extended to a Stage 2 SWMP assessment (2015).
As part of the Stage 1 SWMP, an options assessment was undertaken to identify, shortlist and assess a series of structural and non-structural measures for mitigating surface water flooding across Paddock Wood. Based on the outcomes of the assessment, a range of recommended actions were identified, and an Action Plan was established. It is noted that actions are not specific to individual development sites, but the prioritisation of actions would be affected by any future potential housing allocations.”
So, I gather from the above TWBC that Mitigating measures will be used for this area of Critical drainage.
In section 3 p17 (The sequential risk based approach) the SFRA states:
“It is often the case that it is not possible for all new development to be allocated on land that is not at risk from flooding”
That sentence just makes no sensible-why would anyone chose to build on a site that is at risk of flooding. You are asking for trouble?
Out of 513 call for sites, there are 74 which are at risk of flooding- TWBC chose nearly every site at risk from flooding some the most likely -high- for development and TWBC think mitigating measures will solve the problem? This is development planning at its worst and to think they PLAN this for the next 27 years!!!!!!!!!!!
The following diagrams show one mitigation method won’t work
In the SHELAA report AL/CA3 and AL/PW1at the very bottom it states,’
‘A mixed water scores is applied as the proposals would represent a substantial demand for water and wastewater treatment, and all would provide significant benefits to Paddock Wood in the form of reductions in existing flood risk’ . TWBC know there is a huge problem here and yet they are prepared to ignore all the issues raised in ‘Issues to consider’ ANOB ( I Part), land contamination, railway, Flood zones etc because it suits them. They use these ‘issues’ in other sites to discount them and many are 100% in Flood Zone1 (No risk) so why change their standards here- especially when the flood risk is High !
Exhibit 9 (TWBC Comment - seefull representation) - water, water everywhere……….. along with the sewage.
2.4.2 of SFRA states:
“The two highest contributing factors to flooding are reported to be the overland flows that affect residential properties in the north west and north east and the ability of the surface water network to discharge into the watercourses”
and this is because the land is so flat and impermeable. This is not going to change. I have also read in reports that the ground water system is acknowledged not to be fully understood especially when linked to climate change scenarios and I know Five Oak Green has this issue-as milder wetter winters may increase the frequency of groundwater flooding incidents in areas that are already susceptible. “Current understanding of the risks posed by groundwater flooding is limited and mapping of flood risk from groundwater sources is in its infancy” SFRA 6.6 p37
Still it is believed that these are Areas Susceptible to Ground Water Flooding for example, more than 75% of the area within the 1km grid squares surrounding the Whetsted and Tudeley Hale as well as the area north of Five Oak Green are susceptible to groundwater flooding’
Paragraph 162 of the NPPF, sets out a method to demonstrate and help ensure that flood risk to people and property will be managed satisfactorily, while allowing necessary development to go ahead in situations where suitable sites at lower risk of flooding are not available. Again, why chose so many sites fraught with major difficulties that will only exacerbate over the decades and cause misery to families and TWBC are planning this? There are other sites.
The Sequential and Exception Tests will be used to show it is safe to build at Paddock Wood and Capel Parish, but the Sequential test is supposed to be used to steer new development to areas with the lowest probability of flooding i.e. Flood Zone 1 and the Exception test is to be used as set out in paragraph 162 of the NPPF, to demonstrate and help ensure that flood risk to people and property will be managed satisfactorily, while allowing necessary development to go ahead in situations where suitable sites at lower risk of flooding are not available. Well there are 513-74 = 439 other sites and NONE of these are considered a more suitable location?. There are other safer sites than Paddock Wood. Five Oak Green and Tudeley.
The real TEST- will be- will there be people to BUY these houses…. I have heard buyers are very wary about buying homes in Paddock Wood and Capel Parish, as they know there is a flood risk. There are already sewage problems at Paddock Wood and buyers are not stupid.
I would never buy a house in Paddock Wood or Five Oak Green-there is a huge flooding issue and no amount of :Strategic Storage, flood defences, Increased channel conveyance , new channels, raising level of occupied floors of buildings above ground level- would induce me to buy a home in either of these places. I think it is wrong to expect others to do so. Hopefully builders will realize this too and market forces will prevail-they will have the sense not to build homes they cannot sell- even if there is no common sense at TWBC.
The SFRA at 14.6.2 Future Developments states:
“Development must seek opportunities to reduce overall levels of flood risk at the site, for example by:
* Reducing volume and rate of surface water runoff based on Local Plan policy and LLFA Guidance
Maybe TWBC should listen to the advice they paid for?
Finally, I note the suggestion in the Summary of Level 2 SFRA (p161), section 5.1.3:
* Floodplain restoration or augmentation represents the most sustainable form of strategic flood risk solution by allowing watercourses to return to a more naturalised state. This may involve measures such as . . . return existing and future brownfield sites that are adjacent to watercourses back to floodplain, rather than allowing new development
Mrs Katie Lee-Amies
Comments on Section 2 & 3
I object to the proposed Vision and Strategic Objectives, the provisions of STR1 and STR/PW1, AL/PW1, AL/PW2, AL/PW3, AL/PW4, STR/CA1, AL/CA2, AL/CA3, for the reasons explained above [TWBC: See comments DLP_7265-7267]. To summarise:
As a resident of Tonbridge, I strongly object to the proposals to fulfil the bulk of Tunbridge Wells’ projected housing requirements on the borough’s border with our borough, Tonbridge and Malling. In particular, I am aghast by the proposal to swamp the small village of Capel, on Tonbridge’s doorstep, with a development of 4,000 houses.
As the main urban centre of Tonbridge and Malling, Tonbridge has seen rapid expansion in recent years and further expansion is proposed in our borough’s own local plan. Our infrastructure is already creaking under the strain. The proposals for Capel would make intolerable demands with the new residents inevitably using our facilities and not those of Tunbridge Wells which would nevertheless be in receipt of their Council Tax payments.
In particular, our road system, which is inadequate already, due in part to insoluble problems presented by the town’s location straddling the River Medway, could not sustain the additional pressure generated by the proposed development. Capel has no existing public transport. The new residents would be dependent on their cars whose initial destination is likely to be Tonbridge. Commuters would inevitably add to the congestion at Tonbridge railway station already the busiest in the south-east.
The proposal to build a new secondary school straddling the railway line on the outskirts of Tonbridge is absurd. Tonbridge already has an exceptionally high concentration of secondary schools attracting pupils from far and wide whose transport contributes significantly to our traffic problems. The proposed school would not be in walking distance of the station or on a bus route.
Apart from its ramifications for Tonbridge, this very large development on the green belt adjacent to the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is completely unacceptable and contrary to national planning policy. A particular scandal would be the impact on Tudely church, which attracts visitors from around the world to view its beautiful Chagall windows. This little building in the countryside would, under these proposals, be surrounded by a housing estate.
It is quite clear that Tunbridge Wells Borough has seen an easy route to fulfilling its housing needs by entering into agreement with a single substantial landowner quite regardless of any other priorities or considerations.
There is good reason that the Capel Area has sustained so little growth over hundreds of years – it is broadly in or hemmed in by a flood plain and rivers / there is minimal local infrastructure and limited access and egress to roads already overflowing with traffic and overloaded by the existing town (Tonbridge) to the West. TWBC did not consult with Tonbridge or Capel / Paddock Wood residents when it hastily drew up this awful plan, citing single land ownership as a magical panacea for all of its development needs for the next thirty years with poorly researched and unverified commentary regarding the land parcels mentioned above, with misquoted land usage and gradation in order to fit a picture for development which is diametrically opposed to the reality on the ground of a quiet hamlet of incalculable value to future generations.
The area contains the only Church in the World with all its windows designed by Mark Chagall. If the Council took the time to properly assess for SSSi they would find the area to be rich in flora, fauna and geomorphology which deserves to be protected from the wanton destruction of the landscape for profit promoted by this rushed and ill-considered proposal
Tunbridge Wells Friends of the Earth
Policy Number: AL/CA 3 Land at Capel and Paddock Wood
General objection to the release of Green Belt land for new development.
I am contacting you to highlight why I believe your local plan is defective in relation to the proposed development of Tudeley, Capel and Paddock Wood - re AL/CA1, AL/CA2 and AL/CA3 and to make it clear that I object to the proposed development.
I am a resident of East Peckham and I use the B2017 and the Hartlake Road everyday. In addition, I regularly travel to and from Tonbridge, Paddock and Tunbridge Wells for recreational purposes and have previously spent 20+ years commuting form East Peckham to Tunbridge Wells. I also often walk in the area of the Medway Valley between East Peckham, Five Oak Green and Tudeley.
I observe that you propose a massively disproportionate development of the B2017 corridor and the segment of the A228 that intersects with it. Your own strategic plan talks about a Borough wide development yet an overview of your local plan makes it clear that the development on the Tudeley-Capel- Paddock Wood axis is vast in comparison with even the next biggest development for the town of Tunbridge Wells. In comparison the towns and villages to the south east of Tunbridge Wells such a Hawkhurst, Sissinghurst, Cranbrook and Goudhurst have a fraction of the development proposed for Tudeley, Paddock Wood and Capel.
Your strategic plan calls for a sustainable development with each large development having its own distinct identity. Yet you local plan envisages creating one continuous suburban sprawl from Tonbridge to Paddock Wood along a route that is already has, by your own admission, an inadequate transport infrastructure. The addition of thousands of more houses in this area will draw a huge increase in traffic towards the existing bottleneck at the Somerhill roundabout on the edge of Tonbridge being the most direct route to the A21 and Tonbridge Railway station. The proposed secondary school opposite the existing Somerhill school will exacerbate this volume of traffic and create a further rise in congestion and air pollution. The mitigations in your plan lack detail and frankly ignores the reality that most residents of any new development will need and want to use a car, and that each household will probably average two cars. Even if people wanted to use bicycles rather than cars the nature of the roads in this area makes cycling dangerous and counterproductive as the roads are too narrow and the volume of traffic already excessive.
Furthermore, in the opposite direction heading away from Tonbridge, the Colts Hill section of the A228 is already unsuitable for the current volume of traffic and a proposed by-pass will simple move the problem to another place whilst creating further environmental damage, not to mention expense. Your plan also appears to overlook the lack of capacity at both Tonbridge and Paddock Wood stations, plus the fact that Southeastern trains are already at full capacity on this route. Your plan also seems to overlook the effect of additional congestion on the main route between Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells and how this will be detrimental to the town of Tunbridge Wells.
In addition to the travel issues mentioned, I also note that the proposed developments will inevitably add to the flood risks in the adjacent section of the Medway Valley. Replacing fields with housing estates on the higher ground along this stretch of the valley will certainly add to run off and accentuate the already high flood risk. The local plan acknowledges this but provides no clarity as to how this will be mitigated.
Finally, the removal of a natural habitat of flelds,hedges and copses will cause irreversible harm to widlife species listed under section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, in particular farmland birds such as the Yellowhammer, Linnet and Lapwing, all of which I have seen along the Hartlake Road in the last year. Similarly, the Tudeley Wood RSPB reserve (which incorporates a rare heathland habitat) will be affected by the scale of the proposed developments, especially if a by-pass for the A228 is constructed. Consequently, there seems no realistic prospect of a net gain for the environment and biodiversity.
In summary, I believe the scale and design of the proposed local plan strategy for Tudelely, Capel and Paddock Wood is both unfair, unjustified and misguided. Therefore, I reiterate that I strongly object to AL/CA1, AL/CA2 and AL/CA3 of the draft local plan strategy document regulation 18 and I would appreciate an acknowledgement of this e-mail.
I have lived along with my family in the area for my entire life and have seen at first hand the dramatic changes and the effects this has had on our local community.
This very unique network of small rural hamlets and villages have evolved and developed around the farming community. From my childhood of growing up being surrounded by hop fields and orchards over the last decade have seen the removal of the hop fields an orchards to be replaced with Quarries, Solar Farms and now potentially 4,000 new homes. The creeping ‘Urban Sprawl’ is becoming more and more evident by the day, destroying the unique character and community spirit many of the surrounding villages have always enjoyed.
To surrender 1000’s of acres of productive agricultural land in the centre of Kent’s Green Belt, bordering High Weald AONB does not make any sense at all, especially as we depend on crops produced both locally and nationally. We have a number of extremely successful fruit farmers within the area, with Moat Farm being one of the largest fruit farms in Kent.
To replace these vital parcels of Green Belt with further quarries and houses would severely compromise this very important industry which supports our local economy as well as contributing to the conservation of the vibrant biodiversity within the area.
Upon reading the evidence or lack of it ...within the Draft Local Plan and reading the NPPF polices and guidance on Green Belt I can not see any justification that supports the “ Special Circumstances” that the Council justifies .
Creating a garden settlement at Tudeley of 2,800 dwellings will cause immense harm to residents of the Parish of Capel and to residents of Golden Green and Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017,Hartlake Road, Three Elm Lane and the A26 exacerbating the extreme traffic congestion that exists on this road every morning. The already unacceptable levels of traffic between 7.45am to 9am on Woodgate Way, Vale Road and Pembury Road coincide with the site of a proposed new 6 form entry senior school. This proposed school will be on the border with Tonbridge, split by a main line railway and alongside a heavily used road. This appears to be a terrible site for a school, surrounded by heavy traffic and requiring children to cross a busy train line to access both sides of the site.
The decision by TWBC to build over 60% of its total housing allocation between Paddock Wood and Tonbridge will effectively be the commencement of the disappearance of the villages of Tudeley, Capel, Five Oak Green and the surrounding hamlets as once one development happens more will follow e.g Kings Hill West Malling.
30% of total housing allocation is on the borders of TMBC, which will provide TWBC with all the associated revenues and TMBC with all the costs and liabilities. People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services will need more parking and public services facilities and budgets will have to be increased substantially, who will maintain and pay for the substantial infrastructure requirement now and the ongoing liabilities, as well as the recruitment of all the additional public services that will be required TWBC ratepayers or TMBC ratepayers?
Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain, which is a key natural flood defence for many of the surrounding villages, any removal or partial removal could create further flooding issues in the future , it appears although parts of the proposed CA1
development are situated with EA Flood Zone 3 the Council have not undertaken any flood risk assessment as outlined within the NPPF.
The garden settlement at Tudeley can never be one settlement as it is divided by a railway line that has very narrow, weak crossings. Putting in larger crossings at frequent points across the railway may be possible but it won’t tie the two halves of the settlement together enough to make it one settlement, so it will never satisfy garden settlement principles.
CA1 overlies a significant Aquifer of which is SPZ3, for public water abstraction, this is an important local water supply further development of this area may impact water supply options.
As per the recent correspondence between the Environment Agency and KCC regarding the proposed quarrying extensions the EA have concerns that any further development within this area could have a negative impact upon the Aquifers and have requested a Hydrogeological Risk Assessment to be undertaken, this assessment should extend to CA1 as well, to ensure that the Aquifers are not compromised by further development on CA1.
The Aquifer and natural springs within the site will seriously hinder excavations for building, sewage, drainage as suitable mitigation schemes will have to be implemented to avoid puncturing the natural clay membrane that protects the Aquifer
CA1 is situated within an area where its water resources are already under serious stress,
and currently there are a number of issues outstanding with the Environment Agency, KCC and local residents.
The Draft Local Plan has not considered the potential environmental issues around the Hartlake Aquifers and, with rising nitrate and pesticide levels that have already been identified, any penetration to the Aquifers would lead to further significant human health risks.
The draft plan does not identify the neighbouring 2 former landfill sites of which have had millions of tonnes of household, industrial rubbish deposited there in the 1980’s and 1990’s, given the historical issues regarding previous mineral workings, and the major concerns of further pollution to the surrounding aquifers it is very concerning that the Council have not appeared to have considered the potential environmental and health risks prior to submission of CA1 to the Draft Local Plan.
It is most concerning that as to date the Council has been happy to proceed with the Inclusion of CA 1 and CA 2 within the LP based off very vague and generalist desktop study which takes a borough- wide assessment - Biodiversity Evidence Base for Draft Local Plan- Regulation 18 Consultation September 2019.
In view of the size and scale of the proposed developments (one of the largest within the plan) and the potential net loss of land, far more information should have been provided within the plan.
No biodiversity assessment has been produced to date, it is very evident that the Council have not collaborated with other local authorities who have development plans within the area as many biodiversity issues have arisen which will have a direct effect to these sites.
The LP should ensure that biodiversity cannot be offset elsewhere, and must demonstrate through a clear application metrics that net biodiversity gain is achieved now, and not some point in time, in the future.
The Government 25 year Environmental Strategy requires net gains for biodiversity this is reflected within the NPPF.
There are many other issues I have but due to time constraints of todays 5 pm deadline i will list them without providing further detail.
No Green Belt Assessment
The initial Draft Plan preparation process did not initially include CA1 and CA2 until the Issues and options Process Stage, therefore many of the processes and procedures that were undertaken with other sites have not been completed.
Turley for Bellway Homes Strategic
The draft Local Plan proposes approximately 4,000 dwellings at Paddock Wood (in Paddock Wood and Capel parishes). We have set out comments on the deliverability of this site elsewhere in these representations and reserve the opportunity to comment in greater detail if this site is retained in subsequent versions of the Local Plan.
We note that this site is acknowledged to be subject to a number of specific constraints, including land being within Flood Zone 3. This Local Plan consultation does not appear to be supported by any material which explores or demonstrates how the quantum of development (residential and other uses) and associated infrastructure can be accommodated within the site.
Policy AL/CA 3 relates to Land at Capel and Paddock Wood and the land shown on Map 39. Policy AL/PW 1 relates to the Land at Capel and Paddock Wood as shown on Map 40. In addition, we note that Policy STR/PW 1 sets out the strategy for Paddock Wood. In our opinion, this combination of policies is highly confusing. Whilst we understand that it may be useful to have a policy relating to the strategy for the wider Paddock Wood area, there does not appear to be any sense in having two policies relating to the strategic scale development envisaged around Paddock Wood.
[TWBC: see full representation and Comment Numbers DLP_6189-6198].