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Policy STR/CA 1: The Strategy for Capel Parish (part 1)


Comment No.

Name/Organisation

Response

DLP_21

Darren Whi

Why are such a large number of properties proposed for this site when it could have been built along the A21 corridor whcih would have caused less impact and could have been supported through thransport links to paddock wood and tunbridge wells.

DLP_56

Thomas Weinberg

Comments on Policy STR/CA1 (The Strategy for Capel Parish) p.156 

Object

Based on this document an incomplete and already unachievable Policy has been drawn up by a compromised Council.

1. The provision of employment and retail provision within the settlement will be minimal and no compensation for the agricultural land and farming/equestrian employment lost if the development goes ahead.

2. The proposed secondary school site is next to an extremely busy road that is already very congested at school drop-off times. It also crosses a railway line that is at the bottom of a very deep cutting.

3. There is no requirement for more primary school places in the immediate locality.

4. 4,000 new dwellings are not needed in this area and there is no evidence they are needed.

5. Flood storage areas and other mitigation strategies can be delivered without developer contributions from new housing. Introducing hard surfaces and dwellings on to the meadows and fields will increase the flood risk beyond any mitigation measures.

6. You say that road locations have regard to KCC minerals allocations but those allocations have not yet been approved. Strategic transport links cannot be provided without destroying large areas of AONB. The offline A228 link will cause horrendous traffic issues at Pembury. Any transport links provided will have to continue on through Tonbridge doubling, tripling or quadrupling the road improvement costs and causing chaos in an already highly congested traffic area.

7. No comment.

8. Despite surrounding Five Oak Green with 4,000+ new houses, you state clearly that you want to keep on providing additional housing within Five Oak Green.

9. The release of Green Belt land is not permitted within the NPPF as there are no “exceptional circumstances”.

10. No comment

11. The impact on carbon sequestration provided by the farmland, meadows, mature trees and hedgerows in CA1 cannot be offset by a nod to zero/low carbon energy production. The impact of this development on climate change is severely negative and shameful.

12. This site is within the recognised 1km AONB buffer zone and so is entirely unsuitable for development of this scale.

13. The AONB Management Plan is destroyed by this plan.

DLP_63

Dicky Wilson

I believe the Capel Tudeley proposed development is unsuitable because of the additional pressures it will bring to Tonbridge (and Hildenborough) which are much closer than Tunbridge Wells. I believe the key issues will be :-

  • Increased traffic in the towns of Tonbridge and Hildenborough;
  • Further problems with parking at Hildenborough Station
  • Increased traffic on the associated roads , particularly a problem on the minor roads

DLP_94

Adrienne Bishop

I refer to the draft local plan presented to the parish of Capel on Monday 20 May 2019 and to the town of Paddock Wood on Tuesday 21 May 2019; this plan having previously been the subject of non-disclosure orders which could be seen as a breach of open democracy.

I object most strongly to the provisions of this draft local plan for the following reasons.

  • The land within the parish of Capel that has been earmarked for development is green belt. The green belt is there for a reason. In the case of the land to the west of Paddock Wood, i.e. East Capel, any building will destroy the green space between Paddock Wood and Five Oak Green thus destroying one of the principles of the green belt which is to maintain space between settlements.
  • The suggestion is that the increase in development around Paddock Wood will encourage re-generation of the town centre, i.e. Commercial Road. As at September 2019 there are five empty shop premises in Commercial Road. If it is not possible to encourage businesses to relocate to Paddock Wood now, what will change when the extra housing units are built.
  • As at September 2019 there are three large housing development sites in Paddock Wood each with planning permission. Building started on one site and then ceased when it was acknowledged that the sewage/drainage system was at capacity. Building has yet to start on the other two sites. When completed these three developments will comprise just over 1000 housing units giving an average occupancy level of 3000+ people.
  • Flooding is a major issue along the Medway Valley. Houses in Paddock Wood, Five Oak Green along with the land upon which the Tudeley development is planned will continue to be flooded because the land is low lying and no drainage measures will ever prevent the River Medway from overflowing its banks.
  • Conversely, this area’s fresh water supply comes from underground aquifers and Bewl Water. In dry summers, especially following an unusually dry winter, there are supply problems. If that is the case now, how can a fresh water supply be guaranteed to feed all the housing that, it has been suggested by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, is needed in this area.
  • The land earmarked for the Tudeley development is good agricultural land – something that should be considered of vital importance for feeding the population, especially after Brexit.
  • To say that the Tudeley development is a “garden village”, is disingenuous. This will not be a village. This will be a town of nearly 3000 houses, retail and business units and approximately 8000 individuals which in turn will dwarf the parish of Capel which has 950 houses.
  • Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has stated that the Tudeley development will provide not only housing but also recreational facilities, retail and business units. As at September 2019, there are a considerable number of empty shop units in Tunbridge Wells and it seems that the local authority’s only suggestion of regenerating the town centre is to charge a flat rate of £2 to park on a Sunday! If businesses are not attracted to current potential outlets how can they be encouraged to commit to an outlet that may not be built for ten years?
  • To say, as Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has stated, that within the developments there will be schools and health centres is again, something that cannot be planned for. Even if the developers are encouraged to build schools and health centres, etc, it will not be down to the developers to fund the fitting out and staffing. That will be down to central government and no one can anticipate funding for these public buildings at this stage.
  • A “sweetener” regarding the provision of a good number of affordable houses does not take account of what is meant by “affordable”. Local authority run? Local housing association run? Or houses bought and then privately rented out? Can a local authority enforce an appropriate number of affordable housing units and then ensure that local residents are successful in renting one?
  • To say, as Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has stated, that neighbouring authorities were “consulted” on this plan does not square with the fact that Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council is extremely worried about the impact not only of the Tudeley Town development but also with the increase in the size of Paddock Wood. It knows that its own infrastructure will be affected to a massive extent by the developments. Roads which are not fit for purpose will become even more congested. The railway station will become dangerously overcrowded - as will the trains themselves.
  • Already as a result of the increase in housing in Paddock Wood, the has been a knock-on effect on transport, schools and the health centre. Surrounding villages have been more concerned about the impact of the proposed development at East Capel and Tudeley than they have about the provisions of extra housing within their own village.
  • A good number of householders in the Paddock Wood and Capel area commute to London. There is no provision for a railway station at Tudeley Town and Network Rail has said it is already at capacity, not surprisingly with developments within Tonbridge plus houses at Marden, Staplehurst and Cranbrook.
  • Building an arterial road from Tudeley, across green belt and AONB land towards Tunbridge Wells will have no benefit to local people as most will travel along the B2017 towards Tonbridge. The proposed by-pass alongside the current A228 will serve only to make congestion in Pembury worse than it currently is.
  • Building new roads and/or widening existing roads does not alleviate traffic congestion. It just increases road use by private cars and creates congestion elsewhere. This is exactly what has happened with the A21 dualling. A boon to Tunbridge Wells and easier access to the North Farm trading estate has caused the bottleneck at the Kippings Cross junction as two lanes reduce to one. Those travelling from Matfield find themselves in a traffic jam as they attempt to join the A21.
  • There are several brownfield and infill sites across the borough that could be easily utilised for housing. Whilst not giving the total number of housing units that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council insists is required (and even then it is using figures that are higher than the current government projected figures), it would allow for housing units to be better integrated within communities and more importantly allow residents to enjoy social and recreational facilities already in place rather than manufactured facilities as imagined by those behind the Tudeley development.
  • To say, as Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has stated, that housing need comes under “exceptional circumstances” thus allowing development of green belt and AONB, is incorrect. Housing need is NOT able to be used as “exceptional circumstances” to overrule AONB and green belt according to the CPRE.

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James Deasy
Charlotte Deasy
Emma Deasy
David Rabbett
Jacqueline Rabbett
Linda Barretto
Norman Pickett
Tony Castleden
Lyn Castleden
Christopher Wise
Iain Thomas
Lawrence Matthews
Andy Myers
Martin Meyer
Neil Brooks-Johnson
Hangman's Hill Residents Association
Claire Songhurst
Eleanor Arscott
Julie Smithers
Sara Day
Paul Hunt
Mrs Linda Hewings
Ian Huddart
Simon Walton
Rosemary and Bernard Hayton
Alison Edwards
Samantha Fenton
Peter Hills
David Crouch
Paula Hills
Mary Crouch
Nicholas Harris
Paul Cullen
Graham Roy Edwards
Graham Edwards
Mr Nigel Lambert
Mary Lambert
Alexander Fenton
Sarah Branch
Kit Hawes-Webb
James Arscott
Simla Patel
K and L Entacott
Elise Patel
JG and BA Burchett
Megan Forster
Gwendoline Lamb
Nicola Kearns
Tessa Allen
Colin Leake
Susan Whitfield
Daniel Bird
Heidi Wiltshire
Summar Larter
Irene and Tony Thomas
David Perry
Anand Ganguli
Neil Nisbet
Valerie Walker
Lucy Bradley
Nick Hebditch
Roger Maxted
Rachel Cattanach
Emily Mercer
Peter Bowden
Marilyn Bacon
Geoffrey Newby
Charlotte Kearns
Andrew Hallifax-Lyons
Alexandra Standen
David Dunlop
Richard Sherwood
Rosamarie Hicken
William Harrington
Helen Connell
Vivien Concannon
Hany Hakim
Rebecca Richmond
Sharon James
Stephen Thompson
Sarah Thompson
John England
Janet Connor
Gill Keenan
Jim Madar
Ann Crosby
Nick Gandon
Jamie Gandon
Thomas Gandon
Sadie Gandon
Andy Bowerman
Anna Trafford
Jon Elliott
Stefan Knight
Lucy Skinner
Linda and Hugh Bingham
Sean Lloyd
Joanna Baldock
Patrick Fretwell
Paul Andrews
Lynn Hams
Melanie Saunders
Catherine Willan
Rhea Patel
Alistair Cook
Sajjad ur Rehman
Sarah Hughes
Juliette Negri
Daniel Maxted
Anthony Baldock
Victoria Maxted
Alex Baldock
Nicola Maxted
Richard Songhurst
Bryan, Jane and Rosalind More
Helen Homard
John & Linda Chapman
Richard & Tracy Paddington
Jan Bedden
Lara Shatto-Sweeney
Matthew Edwards
Maria Gonzalez
Paul Latham
Philippe Negri
Barry Watson
E Vans
P Simmons
Ellen Worrow
Terry and Christine Vidler
R J Allen
Pauline Till
C A Hogg
Resident of Bourne Park
Rod Belsey
Marion & Richard Marcroft
Beverley P Callaghan
Patrick O'Malley
P Sierts
Jessie Moon
Mr S Munday & Mrs J Munday
Pamela Summers
Lynne & John Fuller
Mr & Mrs C Cadell
Mary Norris
Sally Goldstone
Graeme & Tina Anderson
Andrew Bowen
Joanna Osborne
Peter Scrimshaw
Tara Stanley
Thomas Pack
Will and Tara Biddle
Jill Giles
Catherine Gunton
P Scally
Deborah Wilcock
Richard Kaupert
James Wade
A Scally
Lesley Stanley
Sue Fairbairn
Sarah Faes
Ian Tilley
Mark Bourne
Mr Andrew Rankine
Cassandra Cook
Matthew Vickers
Colin Hurley
Steve Parrish
Ruth Rankine
Catie Walklin
Michael McKee
Neil & Jill Goldsworthy
Caroline Brooks-Johnson
Carol Stanton
Claire Light
Mr Steve Morecroft
Mr Collin Godsave
Joanna Nightingale
Mr and Mrs Kaupert
Janis Lee
Rufus Beard
Sue Claxton
Emma Hewage
Clare Thorpe
Maureen Dennis
Kirstie Hart
Anna and Nicholas Watson
Colin Burgess
Ann Stammers
Anthony Bagwell
Sean Waddingham
Fiona Claire
Kim Botten
Lesley Ribbens
Keith Hardwick
Kerry Allen
Lorraine Ballard
Simon Hewitt
Olivia Rose-Wilson
Shane Priestman
Rachael Foster
Tom Barber
Michael Dale
Hannah Grogan
Noelle Quinn
Drs CR and EJ Buchanan
Sara Davis
Pauline Bevan
Bernadette Cawley
James Carpenter
David Sagar
Gordon Hodge
Hayley & Simon Hobbs
Colin Nye
Jenny Nye
S George
Stephney Dallmann
Zara Marsh
Stephanie Tizzard
Caroline Lovell
Michelle Sanna
Paul Alderman
Cristiana Dias-Dafforn
Patricia Mathieson
Judith Deckers
Michael Perretta
Louisa Rowlands
Mandy Pereira
Linda Garratt
Andrew Deckers
Mike & Ginny Stennulat
Jackie Smith
Johnny Boult
Kimberley Miller
Chris and Jessica Lowe
Stuart Hodgson
Jillan Haydock
Rebecca Waugh
Stephen Constant
Mr Raymond Steward
Natasha Hiddingh
Ellis Parsons
Jason Foster
Sue Goldfinch
Diana Clark
Paula Fry
Louisa Curchod
Louise Knight
Ruth Mullan
Geoff Pearson
Mr B Lambert
Mr and Mrs J Hancock
Barry Holsman
Mr and Mrs N Starritt
Lisa Landreau
Derek Fouche
Graham Whibley
Nicholas Lang
Tracey Jones
Eddie Haydock
Anita Peach
Elizabeth Andrews
Maria McNamara-Westlake
Steve Waugh
Tim Farazmand
Alison Williams-Walker
Hayden Parsons
Stefan Jansen
Jonathan Sayers
Eliza Chilvers
Edward Howison
Peter Gurr
A Richardson
Richard, Hollie, Harry and Jack Sadler
Natalie Sadler
Amalia Floyd
Joanne Warnett
Emma Vickers
Julie Tilley
Duncan Beagley
Kate Shorten
Paul Nightingale
Robert Davis
Mrs Jacqueline Hayward-Gant
Tim Page

TWBC: the standard response was submitted by the list of responders on the left:

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). I will make some points here that I am sure you have seen before. Additional personal comments are overleaf.

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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.

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows)

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.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement  a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

TWBC: The standard response (as above) along with the following additional comments were submitted:

DLP_496

Anand Ganguli

I am a resident of Tonbridge, living in Valley Close, which is right behind the Porsche Dealership, right next to the border with Tunbridge Wells. Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_498

Neil Nisbet

I live in Tonbridge with my family, my wife and I work locally and along with my daughter we all exercise snd enjoy the surrounding area. As a family we will be severely impacted if the “Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1) goes ahead.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_501

Valerie Walker

I live at Somerhill Cottages in Crockhurst Street,Tudeley.  When I moved here over 10 years ago I felt confident that it would remain surrounded by agricultural fields, Dog walking would be a relaxing pleasure together with watching the wild life and enjoying rural life.  My family and I have lived locally for many years taking please in  the countryside and small villages. .

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_503

Lucy Bradley

My name is Lucy Bradley and I live and work in Tonbridge.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_506

Nick Hebditch

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

​I live on the North Eastern side of Tonbridge and frequently walk and visit the Tudeley area of this proposal. I am horrified by the proposed building of nearly 3000 houses on this site which would irreversibly destroy an area of great natural beauty which I have enjoyed and loved for many decades.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.​

It is scandalous that this site has been chosen over other considerably less damaging sites such as the area of land west of A21 between Longfield Rd., Old Forge Farm and Castle Hill Wood. This site is already hemmed in by road and rail infrastructure and would not therefore destroy an area of virtually unspoilt, unbuilt upon land. This site is closer to Tunbridge Wells and building of new schools and services would be far less disruptive and insensitive than the current proposal. Recent intensive house building near the multiplex cinema has been successful in infilling, and could easily be duplicated and extended in the area towards Castle Hill Wood.​

DLP_508

Roger Maxted

I live in Golden Green and object to the new proposed development in Tudeley and Capel.

I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_512

Rachel Cattanach

My names Rachel Cattanach and I have lived in Tonbridge since I was born in 1991. I work in the town and visit Tonbridge daily my baby Rupert.​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_529

Emily Mercer

I live in the middle of Whetsted Road, so this new Local Plan will undoubtedly affect me and my family in the future. Therefore, I feel that it is incredibly important to inform you of our feelings towards the Local Plan.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_564

Peter Bowden

I have lived in Higham Lane, Tonbridge for 25 years and often walk through the beautiful countryside around Tudeley and Capel.  I have great concern over the proposed housing development and am writing to register my strong disapproval of this plan.  As a Tonbridge resident I am amazed and alarmed that TWBC is considering offloading the downstream effects of so many houses with all the associated transport and other demands onto its neighbour.  As the likely residents will not be local people in startup housing but London-based commuters, they will not be travelling into Tunbridge Wells to get the train and are certain to want to use the already unfit for purpose roads leading to Tonbridge station. This will exacerbate the already extreme congestion in our town.  This is completely unacceptable.

DLP_574

Marilyn Bacon

My husband and I have lived in East Peckham for 37 years, having moved here to escape living in London. This was to provide a much healthier life for our children in the lovely rural area surrounding Tonbridge & Tunbridge Wells.  I am very disturbed to read about your plans for Capel and the surrounding area.​

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DLP_591

Geoffrey Newby

We live at the junction of Alders Road and Five Oak Green Road and have done so for 38 years and in that time have enjoyed living in the countryside, albeit with towns nearby. Over that time we have witnessed many changes to the farming of the surrounding fields. Where there were once orchards and hop gardens there are acres of corn and rape seed. However nothing that has gone before is remotely as bad for the countryside and local community as what is now being bull-dozed through TWBC Planning Committee aided in no small part by the avarice of the local landowner who clearly has no interest whatsoever in farming. We are already on a rat run into Tonbridge (for trains and schools) at morning and evening rush hours and this would be made immeasurably worse by the proposed development. Access to Tonbridge would become all but impossible at peak times and even if one manages to reach the town there would be nowhere to park.

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We are not fooled by the description of the proposed Tudeley New Town as “Tudeley Garden Village”!!!

DLP_629

Alexandra Standen

I live in South Tonbridge and work full time in London, commuting from Tonbridge Railway Station.

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DLP_638

David Dunlop

I have always lived in the local area and currently reside in east peckham with my wife and young son. I am extremely worried about the impact the proposed plans will have on our local community and environment.

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DLP_640

Richard Sherwood

I am a local resident of south Tonbridge, a regular commuter on the train from Tonbridge Station and have children at school in the area.​

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For all of the above reasons the proposed development at Tudeley just seems like a really bad idea. The already overstretched local services and road / rail infrastructure are simply not capable of supporting such a large development.

DLP_646

Rosamarie Hicken

Other Comments:

The above comments have been provided for me but I agree entirely with what has been stated.  I have spent many hours going through the plan and supporting documents and have seen many bland statements about biodiversity, infrastructure etc. but no solutions.

With reference to the Green Belt, the whole point of this was to prevent urban sprawl but this plan is designed to drive a coach and horses through that.  Putting in a new town at Tudeley and the extension of Paddock Wood in Capel Parish by releasing Green belt land will open the door to further development. The Garden of England will rapidly become the back yard of London.

Biodiversity – bland statements about net gains for biodiversity.  How on earth do you replace hundreds of years of nature building habitats for flora and fauna by planting a few urban street trees and sticking in a few green wedges. The whole concept is laughable except I see nothing to laugh about.  I know just from what I see in my own garden, that this area is home to protected species – native slow worms, grass snakes, common lizards etc., never mind all the birds and mammals and yet ancient woodlands are seen as disposable by this Council.

New roads are proposed, a link road to the new Tudeley town and a Colts Hill by-pass which will take up more farmland.

Provision of suitable housing – when left to developers, profit is king.  The big expensive houses they want to build do not fulfil the needs of the community and will they sell?  There are two new 4 bed detached houses in Five Oak Green which have been on the market for the best part of 1 year.  If the demand was there, why have they not sold?  Is it perhaps because at £850k we can’t afford them?

When the time comes in the not too distant future when I want to move into more suitable accommodation, I want a small affordable bungalow in the local area, something which is in very short supply and unlikely to be provided by these new developments.  The overpriced retirement apartments with their no doubt high service charges which are springing up all over Tunbridge Wells are something I shall never consider buying.

Affordable housing is not something that developers want to provide, the need cannot be met by the market because it does not provide the profits required.

DLP_648

William Harrington

I am a retired resident of Tunbridge Wells, who lives very close to the boundary with Tonbridge.

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Other comments:

The proposed development of a Garden Village will have no detrimental effect on the Borough of Tunbridge Wells, BUT, will have a devastating effect on the Borough of Tonbridge. The destruction of Green Belt land is totally unacceptable, destroying valuable agricultural land, wild life habitats and a way of life for the existing residents of the areas affected. TWBC have taken the easy option, with the offer by, The Hadlow Estate,   of all the land needed for the development of The Garden Village in Tudeley and the proposed secondary school..

TWBC will collect all the Council Tax from the proposed development in Capel and dump all the infrastructure problems onto Tonbridge. The roads in and out of Tonbridge  are gridlocked, from all directions,from 7.45am to after 9am every weekday and throughout the late afternoon and evening. The infrastructure is not there to take anymore traffic. The rail network is full to capacity, with passengers often having to stand all the way to London. The long term car parks in Tonbridge are virtually full every day and parking at Paddock Wood Station is almost impossible.

The B2017  is a narrow winding and congested road which, during  the morning rush hour,  has traffic queuing from the A26 at Woodgate Way roundabout back towards Tudeley. How on earth do the planners expect the existing residents of Capel and surrounding villages, plus the inevitable addition of a large number of new residents from the proposed Capel developments, to get to Tonbridge, either to catch trains to London, go to work, or attend the existing Schools.

That brings me to my next very strong objection to the ludicrous proposal for the new Secondary School site (CA1/CA2) opposite the Schools of Somerhill, with access from the Woodgate Way roundabout. The site is bisected by the main railway line to Ashford, which is in a deep cutting. Access to the northern section of the site is via a Private Lane (Postern Lane), which crosses a very narrow Railway Bridge. Postern Lane is a single track lane with limited passing places. It is constantly used by delivery vehicles, farm vehicles and the residents of the lane. Children crossing the bridge would be unsighted , until the vehicles reached them. The possibility of a serious accident cannot be ruled out. The Railway Bridge poses too much of a temptation for teenage  children. There have already been fatalities and the Residents of Postern Lane, don’t want another.

It is suggested that pupils from the Proposed Garden Village in Tudeley should walk, or cycle to the proposed new Secondary School, along the B2017. This is a preposterous suggestion. This is a very narrow and dangerous road for cyclists and walkers at the best of times, but especially so in the winter months.

There are  5 secondary schools, a number of primary schools,  The Schools at Somerhill, Tonbridge School and other private schools, already in Tonbridge. Because of the very high rating of these schools they attract pupils from nearby towns and villages, often commuting by rail, car & private bus. It is inevitable that pupils for the  proposed new school, will will come from similar areas and not just from Capel. There is not the infrastructure for  another Secondary School in the south of the Tonbridge.

DLP_684

Helen Connell

I have lived in Tunbridge Wells and surrounding area all my life.  I now live in Crowborough, but often walk around Pembury woods area with colleagues. I am a member of the Tunbridge Wells Ramblers and an RSPB member, so have a particular interest in keeping the habitat for birds and all nature.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. 

DLP_686

Vivien Concannon

I am a resident in Tonbridge and I enjoy going on walks in Hart Lake I am worried about the congestion that will occur in East Peckham.

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DLP_688

Hany Hakim

I work in Royal Tunbridge Wells hospital ​

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DLP_690

Rebecca Richmond

We moved to the Parish of Capel this year, drawn to the area by its beauty, open space, peacefulness and countryside. At a time when sustainability and the environment are at the top of the agenda across the world, we are astonished that TWBC would consider the Tudeley development for the ease of dealing with one landowner. This ill-thought through plan will come at a great cost to our landscape, utterly ruining our enjoyment of our home after we had carefully selected a location within AONB and Green Belt! There are multiple less-devastating potential solutions – all of which should be considered ahead of the Tudeley development. Green belt is there for a reason and these are not exceptional circumstances in which to decimate it.​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_692

Sharon James

I live in Tonbridge​

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DLP_702

Stephen Thompson

I have lived in Tonbridge for over 30 years  and seen planning policy allow it to be wrecked by poor quality, unnecessary development with inadequate and poorly maintained infrastructure to support it.

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DLP_704

Sarah Thompson

I live​ on the A26 Hadlow Road in Tonbridge and have recently been travelling into Tunbridge Wells to work.  The congestion or queue of traffic can be seen daily from inside our house starting from around 7.30am(we are approximately 3.5 miles from the Tonbridge town centre)the queues extend back to Three Elm Lane and on occasion further towards Hadlow making the journey into work a nightmare sitting in stop start traffic all the way.  I have on occasions tried to travel in via Hartlake Road (where 2800 houses are proposed to be built) where once again you are unable to turn right onto Tudeley lane due to the traffic queues, It doesn’t seem to matter which way you travel these days Tonbridge is grid locked. ​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_792

Gill Keenan

I live at Brampton Bank on the Five Oak Green Road in Tudeley, so my house will be directly affected by the proposed development. I have enjoyed living in this area for many years but have noticed gradually over a period of time the traffic on the B2017 has significantly increased including HGV vehicles which use the road. Vehicles often use this road as a rat run driving at high speed, even though there are speed restriction signs. The extra traffic resulting from the proposed development will only add to this problem making it an extremely dangerous area to live for residents. 

DLP_801

Jim Madar

I am currently a resident of South Tonbridge, living proximal to The Schools at Sommerhill. We regularly walk and cycle around the area. Being long term residents of Tonbridge we have seen Tonbridge and the nearby towns & villages grow over the years we have lived here and witnessed first hand the inexorable growth in traffic, congestion and pressure on local resources - this being with gradual and evolutionary residential growth in the area.

It is with a significant degree of concern  that I have become aware of your extensive and intensive plans for the area. I include the pro-forma letter from savecapel.com which thoroughly and eloquently covers the issues which indicate precisely how ill considered and rash this plan is.

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middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_807

Ann Crosby

I live in Rusthall, and my daughter and family live in Tudeley. They have been there for ten years and moved to Tudeley for the clean air and to give their daughter a good start in life.​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.​

DLP_816

Nick Gandon

I live next door to Tudeley Church, where my family and I moved to 5 years ago. We move here because of the beautiful scenery, the countryside walks and clean air – this is the environment we wanted to spend our lives and bring our children up in. I work in Tonbridge and travel there by car every day – the roads are too busy and dangerous to cycle on. It take me approximately twenty minutes to travel the three miles currently. We are now faced with the proposition of havig our local Green Belt turned in to a new town! With the introduction of a new roundabout less than 50m from our property and a potential bus route even closer, our family’s future is now fraught with increased pollution and congestion. There is an abundance of Brownfield sites in the Borough, that would be far better used for housing regeneration as opposed to destroying our beautiful Green Belt - we need to maintain and sustain our green areas for our children's future, not destroy it because it's the "easy option".

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_825
DLP_828
DLP_830

Jamie Gandon
Thomas Gandon
Sadie Gandon

I live next door to Tudeley Church, where my family and I moved to 5 years ago. We move here because of the beautiful scenery, the countryside walks and clean air – this is the environment we wanted to spend our lives in. I go to school in Capel and travel there by car every day – the roads are very busy outside my school and it is very dangerous when we have to cross it, I hope one day we will have a pelican crossing put in before any of my friends are seriously hurt. We are now faced with the proposition of having our local Green Belt turned in to a new town! With the introduction of a new roundabout less than 50m from our property and a potential bus route even closer, our family’s future is now fraught with increased pollution and congestion. There is an abundance of Brownfield sites in the Borough, that would be far better used for housing regeneration as opposed to destroying our beautiful Green Belt - we need to maintain and sustain our green areas for our future, not destroy it because it's the "easy option".

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_844

Andy Bowerman

I am a local resident living in Golden Green, (A neighbouring hamlet to Capel), I own a small business that is based outdoors, and use the local facilities on a regular basis.

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Due to the above severe impact on the local “Green Belt “ and facilities, networks and environment I therefore urge the committee to reject these new developments.

DLP_890

Anna Trafford

We live in the village of Five Oak Green. My children attend the village Primary School and I drive into Tonbridge each day along with a lot of other traffic to catch a train to London.  I would like to cycle into Tonbridge but as there are no cycle routes and very busy roads this is just too dangerous. At weekends we usually go for at least one walk in the countryside surrounding Five Oak Green.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_903

Jon Elliott

Having been a visitor and friend of Tudeley for over 25 years​

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DLP_990

Stefan Knight

I live in Tonbridge, and commute into London from Tonbridge station every weekday.

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DLP_999

Lucy Skinner

l live in Tonbridge, commute from Tonbridge station and my daughter goes to school in Tonbridge.  I am adding my comments because I think the proposed development at Capel will seriously affect the town of Tonbridge, in a negative way.

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I do hope you will take my comments into account when you come to make your decision.

DLP_1003

Linda and Hugh Bingham

Our names are Linda and Hugh Bingham, and we live at XX [TWBC: house number redacted] Kings Road, Tonbridge TN9 2HB, which is at the South end of Tonbridge not far from where this new development is proposed.

DLP_1007

Sean Lloyd

I have lived in South Tonbridge for over thirty years and am appalled at the proposed ‘strategies’ referred to below.  Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

The paragraphs below have been prepared by others, but I have included them in my letter as I wholeheartedly agree with the points made.  It seems to me that TWBC have identified a way of meeting their housing target whilst at the same time pushing the majority of resultant issues onto Tonbridge and Malling Council and Tonbridge residents.  As noted below, increased traffic, pressure on transport links, schools etc will be felt by TMBC rather than TWBC, whilst TWBC conveniently collect the additional revenues raised through Council Tax from the proposed new development.  Neat, from TWBC point of view, but totally lacking responsibility towards Tonbridge ‘neighbours’ and the environment.

In relation to the proposal to build on Green Belt land I have heard it argued that it is fine because alternative land will be designated as Green Belt in its place. This is clearly a ridiculous argument, in that using this approach anyone could build anywhere and the whole point of designating land as Green Belt – to prevent the outward sprawl of existing urban areas – is defeated. ​

DLP_1009

Joanna Baldock

I have lived in Tonbridge for since I was a child and moved to Tudeley ten years ago. We also have a Business here and our children attend Capel School. Every day since I first heard the news of this tragedy I can’t believe this beautiful and historic area will be lost to what I believe is no good reason. This is not because I think we are not in need of affordable housing but because I don’t believe there is one moral or sensible reason to create 2,800 homes is this destructive manner, other than conveniently there is one land owner offering their land.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​.

I realise the UK needs more housing, especially affordable housing but I feel creating large areas of ‘Garden Villages’ not only destroys beautiful areas of heritage, countryside,  community and farming but also creates a vastly negative impact on issues mentioned above such as flooding, transport, schools, biodiversity, sustainability, green belt, well being, pollution and the emergency services. If houses were to be fairly and evenly spread over the whole of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council this would have far less of a destructive impact to all the reasons previously mentioned.

DLP_1016

Paul Andrews

Our family has lived in Tonbridge for last 17 years.  Living on Hadlow Road we have found that traffic volumes have increased hugely over this period of time and we now find that we are effectively blocked in our drive way during rush hours due to the rapid and unsustainable increase in traffic volume caused by the expansion of housing in our town without any increase in road capacity. There has been no commensurate increase in any of the services provided by the local council and everything appears to be in decline due to budgetary constraints.  How is our town  possibly going to cope with the vast increase in traffic and demand on local services that will have to be provided by Tonbridge, not by Tunbridge Wells as it should be?

TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.  

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_1018

Lynn Hams

I am a resident of North Tonbridge and strongly object to a large number of houses being built on the Tonbridge borders.  People living in these houses will increase the traffic, significantly, in Tonbridge and the surrounding roads, not Tunbridge Wells, whilst all the council tax income will go to Tunbridge Wells who will not have the cost of managing this additional traffic or their residents suffer the consequences.​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_1364

Mr and Mrs Leach

Object

Re: Draft Local Plan (Regulation 18 Consultation) - Adjoining Resident Comment

It was good to meet you at the SaveCapel Public Meeting, on 18th September 2019.

We wish to comment on the Draft Local Plan (LP), in relation to certain policies outlined under the headings stated below. We are specifically concerned about the negative impacts of the proposed garden villages will have to our town, especially without adequate public transport provisions, and with such a large loss of the countryside and Green Belt.

1. Policy STR/CA1 - The Strategy for Capel Parish

We do not believe that the current plans for two huge, nearby housing developments around the small villages of Tudeley and Capel is a sustainable strategy, based on the existing rural context and poor infrastructure provisions, so these proposal should be reconsidered.

Having thousands of new houses built around small rural villages, especially the nearly 3,000 homes proposed for a disproportionately enlarged Tudeley settlement, with such inadequate infrastructure provisions is rarely considered sustainable; as other Local Authorities have found out, when similar plans have been examined. For instance the West of England Plan, where the three new garden villages proposed, was rejected by the Planning Inspectorate.

Our concerns and comments are further outlined, as follows:

1.1 With regard to Paragraph 35 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF, 2019), two of the criteria that Local Plans are assessed against is whether it is positively prepared and it is consistent with national policy, the former is stated below.

Policy prepared - providing a strategy which, as a minimum, seeks to meet the area's objectively assed needs ...where it is practical to do so and is consistent with achieving sustainable development.

1.2 In our opinion, the word "needs" includes infrastructure requirements, as stated in the equivalent text of the previous NPPF versions, and this should include public transport.

1.3 With reference to the Council's Infrastructure Delivery Plan1 that has been prepared, as part of the Plan making process. For the site at Capel ("new garden settlement at Tudeley"), the transport infrastructure proposed is related to highways improvements that appear to be just limited to sections of roads adjacent or nearby the site; with no improvements proposed to the destination town networks. There are also limited other local services proposed and so residents will need to travel to other towns.

1.4 As outlined in our opening paragraph and commented on further in Section 2, we are concerned about the development within the Green Belt. With reference to Paragraph 138 of the NPPF (2019), it states that:

"... Where it has been concluded that it is necessary to release the Green Belt land for development, plans should first give consideration to land which has been previously-developed and/or is well served by public transport. ..."

1.5 We are of the opinion that the proposed Tudeley garden village at Capel does not meet either of these requirements. The proposed site largely covers open unspoilt countryside and is poorly served by public transport. As such the proposed strategic site is not consistent with this National policy nor is it sound in-terms of Paragraph 35.

1.6 Furthermore, we do not believe that the proposals contained within Policy STR/CA 1 are not consistent with Paragraph 103 of the NPPF (2019) that states:

"... Significant development should be focused on locations which are or can be made sustainable, through limiting the need to travel and offering a genuine choice of transport modes. ..."

1.7 Again in our opinion, the significant development at Capel is not currently in line this National policy, with the only public transport provision being to establish bus services.

1.8 We are also of the opinion that Policy STR/CA 1 is not consistent with other proposed policies in this Draft Local Plan. Including, Policy STR 5 states that "It is essential that all new development will be supported by the provision of the necessary infrastructure, services and facilities ..."; Policy STR 6 states "All sustainable modes of transport ... will be facilitated to reduce dependence on emission-producing private car use ..." and "Encourage improvements in public transport ... including in terms of rail access ...". In addition, the Vsions and Objectives 2 includes "... the delivery of all forms of infrastructure to mitigate the impact of development and where possible result in 'betterment'." and "To tackle climate change and minimising the impact of development on communities, the economy and the environment ...".

1.9 Our points in relation to Policy STR 5 are as follows:

a. We support this Policy, but believe an additional requisite should be included stating: All the infrastructure required for the garden settlements must be delivered prior to any housing being built (or similar), to minimise the development impact.

b. The necessary jobs, services and facilities, such as all the shops and other business that people will require, are unlikely to be provided within the proposed garden settlements. As such people will need to travel to other towns for these.

c. The lack of public transport both limits people's options, with a greater reliance of private car usage, and is not consistent with National policy (see Items 1.4 to 1.7).

d. In light of this, we believe that thousands of new residents opting to commute by train (to London, etc), or to go shopping, are likely to drive to Tonbridge; as this is the nearest main town, due to no railway station being provided as part of the proposed development, despite the enlarged Tudeley village straddling a mainline. This will add to existing acute congestion in town and increase bus journey times.

1.10 Our points in relation to Polict STR 6 are as follows:

a. Again we support this policy but believe an additional requisite should be included stating: All sustainable transport services, with a proven capacity to cater for the planned populations, at any given time, must be provided before any more houses in a garden settlement are built (or similar), to minimise the development impact.

b. Further to Item 1.9d, without a new railway station at Tudeley, the proposed garden settlement at Capel cannot be viewed as being in accordance with Policy STR 6 that requires "All sustainable modes of transport ... will be facilitated to reduce dependence on emission-producing private car use". Although, bus services are promoted to nearby towns; the increased levels of congestion, resulting from the huge developments, will reduce the attractiveness of any new bus services and so people are more likely to opt for the convenience of their own cars.

c. Polict STR 6 also requires improvements in public trasnport, including in-terms of rail access. Thus, Policy STR/CA 1 and the associated Infrastructure Delivery Plan1 must include the requirement for a mainline railway station at Tudelely, which has frequent train services, to be built as part of any garden settlement. Although, this proposal will not alleviate the significant impact this development will have on Tonbridge; having a railway station option might minimise it, if such huge unsustainable settlements have to be built around our communities.

1.11 Our points in relation to Vision and Objectives 2 are as follows:

a. We agree with the majority of these strategic objectives. However, we disagree with Objective 9 that proposes garden settlements as a model of future development. We are of the opinion that this Objective should be removed, as rural garden settlements rarely deliver sustainable developments; especially where there are limited employment opportunities and a lack of public transport options available. Also, with reference to Sir Letwin's (2018) review2, the average build-out "for sites over 1,000 homes is 15.5 years". This lengthy build out period is in part due to local market saturation of new homes. Thus, it would be better to disperse the new housing across the Borough rather a local area with c.6,000 houses.

b. We also believe that some of the other crucial Objectives are incompatible with the proposed rural garden settlements. For instance, Objective 8 aims to tackle climate change. We are not sure how destroying 600 acres of fertile land in Capel, containing small woods and hedgerows; replacing it with settlements built from energy intensive, man-made materials and hard surfacings, which will in part be occupied by commuters reliant on private cars, will help tackle climate change.

c. Furthermore, to help reduce the development congestion impacts and in light of the Governments new goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050; we must avoid taking forward poorly planned and unsustainable developments, such as the proposed Tudelely village. As the development effectively promotes private car use and fails to meet its new needs, with the limited employment and transport options. This would significantly increase congestion; with the adverse effects outlined in 1.11d and will create more parking issues in Tonbridge, especially near the station.

d. Objective 8 also aims to minimise the development impact on communities, the economy and environment. However, the current rural garden village proposals are likely to cause immense harm to all three, especially in Tonbridge that appears to have had little consideration in this draft Plan, with some of the issues listed below:

i. Communities - potential loss of identity that this massive modern development will have; in-terms of the character, sense of place and of a tight-nit community spirit that the existing small rural villages have and its residents currently share. There may also be a loss separate village identities, as future unsustainable development is mentioned in Paragraph 4.40 that may fill Tudelely and Capel with houses until they merge with Tonbridge and Paddock Wood. We are also concerned about the impact on our community in Tonbridge, as increased congestion and air pollution (Items 1.10b and 1.11diii) is likely to impact on the vibrancy of our High Street. As people may potentially avoid the town centre, instead of using it; and move away, due to a loss of sense of place / identity.

ii. Economy - loss of local rural employment and agricultural/equestrian business, with relatively little new retail/service job provided as part of the developments. New retail offerings may struggle to be viable, with other established centres. Congestion from inapt infrastructure provisions will harm the viability of many local firms and limit Tonbridge's sustainable economic growth, even with some new spend. The short-term construction benefit should be given limited weight.

iii. Environment - loss of 600 acres of the countryside, carbon storing vegetation and habitats; with developments generating a disproportionately high carbon emissions, from a poorly thought-out car reliant settlements that are located away from good public transport links. Furthermore, due these settlements being so reliant on private car usage - it is very likely that the current proposals will cause more severe traffic congestion in our town, which has a limited road network that will struggle to meet our own planned development in Tonbridge. A further increase in traffic congestion is also likely to exceed air quality limits, especially on Tonbridge High Street that is in an Air Quality Management Area.

1.12 Additionally, we do not believe that the proposed rural garden villages and this Policy abide by the principles of sustainable development, which is at the heart of the NPPF. The sustainability objectives are set-out in Paragraph 8 (NPPF, 2019), as follows:

a) an economic objective - to help build a strong, ... economy, ...to support growth ... and by identifying and coordinating the provision of infrastructure;

b) a social objective - to support strong, vibrant and healthy communities ...

c) an environmental objective - to contribute to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment; including ...helping to improve biodiversity ... minimising waste and pollution ... including moving to a low carbon economy.

1.13 In relation to this, there will be negative impacts on all three of these objectives, as partly outlined in the points raised above (items 1.11di to iii). In addition, there will be a reduction in the quality of life and wellbeing of our communities; with the loss of the countryside to enjoy, loss of rural village character and reduced air quality - social impacts.

In summary, we object to Policy STR/CA 1. Large rural garden villages, like the one proposed at Capel, are rarely considered sustainable developments; especially where there are limited employment opportunities and transport options, with a resulting high private car reliance. The current development proposals in this Policy are inherently unsustainable and are inconsistent with National policy, so this Policy should be removed form the Draft Local Plan. To attain a more sustainable development this Policy must include the provision of a mainline rail station at Tudeley, with frequent train services, to minimise the some of the development impacts as outlined above. However, it is understood Network Railway have stated that a new station is not viable, within the plan period, and so these developments should not be taken forward.#

In conclusion, we do not consider that the Draft Local Plan is sound, in relation to the proposed large garden settlements, with inadequate infrastructure connecting nearby towns. The current proposal for such a substantial loss of the Green Belt and countryside, as part the massive village expansions, is not sustainable development and nor is it consistent with National planning policy. This will cause immense environmental harm, including a heavy reliance on car use with poor public transport links. The justification for building on the Green Belt is unsound, as there are alternative brownfield and non-Green belt sites available.

We are also concerned about the deliverability of the Draft Local Plan, with the local market saturation of nearly 6,000 new houses allocated for two nearby villages within one local area. In light of these concerns and the potentially flawed approach in favouring Green Belt development, over other suitable sites and as no exceptional circumstances exist, alternative sites should be considered. A more sustainable development approach might be to spread the allocation across the Borough, reducing the concentrated development pressures and local market saturation, whilst helping to unlock the greatest amount of brownfield re-development.

DLP_1386

Melanie Saunders

Myself and my immediate family live, work and attend school in Tonbridge. I walk daily on the fields that I am lucky enough to have on my doorstep off the Hadlow Road and my children both walk to school.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

This development will not only have a detrimental effect on its immediate surrounding areas, but will also impact on the wider area including North Tonbridge. Hadlow Road already heavily congested at peak times will grind to a halt with the increased volumes of traffic in the south end of town. Traffic will also increase on unsuitable roads such as Hartlake Road and Three Elm Lane, as people will use these roads to avoid the congestion. Traffic already speeds and cuts through our estates, when these routes are congested or blocked and pollution levels are rising, which is a huge concern when my son is a severe asthma sufferer. The increased congestion will mean no-longer wanting to visit my own town to shop. The greenbelt land and views will slowly be eroded and destroyed, one of the reasons that makes North Tonbridge an appealing place to live. This proposed development will suffocate Tonbridge, its way of life and its residents.

DLP_1400

Rhea Patel

I am a 16 year old sixth-form student at the Judd school, and I have lived in Tudeley for five years. Before this time, I lived in Tonbridge since the age of 5.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_1409

Alistair Cook

My Name is Alistair Cook and although I live in Golden Green I own and am currently building a property on the London Road, Southborough. Consequently the proposed development have an impact on both my properties and am very much aware of the issues that I have mentioned below.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_1429

Sarah Hughes

I am a resident on Golden Green.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_1655

Daniel Maxted

I live in Golden Green and object to the new proposed development in Tudeley and Capel.

I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_1657

Anthony Baldock

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” Policy STR/CA1

I have lived in Tonbridge for since I was a child and moved to Tudeley ten years ago. We also have a Business here and our children attend Capel School. Every day since I first heard the news of this tragedy I can’t believe this beautiful and historic area will be lost to what I believe is no good reason. This is not because I think we are not in need of affordable housing but because I don’t believe there is one moral or sensible reason to create 2,800 homes is this destructive manner, other than conveniently there is one land owner offering their land.

I realise the UK needs more housing, especially affordable housing but I feel creating large areas of ‘Garden Villages’ not only destroys beautiful areas of heritage, countryside, community and farming but also creates a vastly negative impact on issues mentioned above such as flooding, transport, schools, biodiversity, sustainability, green belt, well being, pollution and the emergency services. If houses were to be fairly and evenly spread over the whole of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council this would have far less of a destructive impact to all the reasons previously mentioned

DLP_1660

Victoria Maxted

I live in Golden Green and object to the new proposed development in Tudeley and Capel.

I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_1665
DLP_1669

Alex Baldock
Luke Baldock

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” Policy STR/CA1 STR/PW1

I have lived in Tudeley since I was born. I attend Capel School, which I love. I'm so scared we will lose my school. I am also really worried about losing all the beautiful countryside. I love living here and it makes me so sad to think it may all change be destroyed.

I am also really worried about the pollution the garden village and building of it will create. I ma worried about the pollution being harmful to the environment and nature surrounding us but also the pollution to all my friends and family who live around here.

I realise the UK needs more housing, especially affordable housing but I feel creating large areas of ‘Garden Villages’ not only destroys beautiful areas of heritage, countryside, community and farming but also creates a vastly negative impact on issues mentioned above such as flooding, transport, schools, biodiversity, sustainability, green belt, well being, pollution and the emergency services. If houses were to be fairly and evenly spread over the whole of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council this would have far less of a destructive impact to all the reasons previously mentioned.

DLP_1711

Nicola Maxted

I live in Golden Green and object to the new proposed development in Tudeley and Capel.

I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_1996

Richard Songhurst

Other Comments:

We have lived in this area for the past 25 years and have always loved the fact we are surrounded by beautiful countryside. We thought we were safe in the knowledge that this would never be spoilt as it’s green belt land and hence protected as was the promise made when green belt policy was set up. It seems this does not apply to county councils in this area.

DLP_2157

Bryan, Jane and Rosalind More

As residents since 1999 in Badsell Road, Five oak Green, we are writing to express our very real concern with the proposals in the Local Plan to build 1,400 houses on land at East Capel and 2,800 in Tudeley.  It was obviously easy for the Council to agree to the proposal to build on the sites offered by two landowners - no searching would be required for brownfield and other more suitable sites.

DLP_2158

Helen Homard

I am a resident of TMBC living in a village to the North of the town. My family uses Tonbridge regularly for shopping, entertainment, visiting family and sporting activities and our children travel daily by bus through the town to school in Tunbridge Wells.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents relating to this matter. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_2291

John & Linda Chapman

We live in Tonbridge and are very concerned with the proposed plans for Capel. Should they go ahead the plans will adversely affect traffic in Tonbridge, the Medway floodplain and destroy many Green Belt areas.

We agree with the following points:

Please add our contact details to your consultation database so that we can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. We understand that our comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_2344

Richard & Tracy Paddington

I live in the Somerhill Green development, just off the Somerhill roundabout. I work locally and am fortunate to be able to walk to work at a local secondary school. During school drop off and pick up, the roads are very congested. It beggars belief the consideration of another secondary school in the area without realising the roads will be gridlocked. How would the emergency services cope getting through the additional traffic congestion?

My husband works in London and commutes from Tonbridge Station. He already has to catch a train just after 6.30am in order to get a seat. Any later and he would be stood up for the whole journey. Surely the rail infrastructure cannot cope with the additional commuters if capel was to go ahead? Would my husband have to catch an even earlier train?

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_2354

Jan Bedden

Other comments: It will cause an increase in noise and pollution during and after the build. It will have a big impact on the roads and services around the area.

DLP_2360

Lara Shatto-Sweeney

I am a resident of Hildenborough who commutes to London for work and feels a close connection with the local environment.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_2378

Matthew Edwards

I would like to strongly object to TW borough councils proposals to build on my doorstep. I cannot believe that they are allowed to build on green belt land when there are so many potential brown field sites that could be developed . It seems to me that you have just chosen these sites because it’s easier to deal with just a few landowners and cheaper to build on larger sites than a few smaller sites. I am not convinced that so many houses are necessary . Where will it end ? We will become a concrete nation , especially in the south east. The traffic in this area is increasingly getting worse and parking more and more difficult. Most of the people living in these proposed areas will use the Tonbridge local amenities and yet pay tax to Tunbridge Wells.

I was born and brought up in this area and it breaks my heart to see it getting busier and busier and with more and more buildings springing up on our beautiful Kent countryside. I was always led to believe that Kent is the garden of England but very sadly, that title becomes less and less deserving

DLP_2381

Maria Gonzalez

My name is Maria Gonzalez and I lived in Hadlow for 17 years so this area is very important to me.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_2516

Paul Latham

I am a resident of Five Oak Green, having lived in the area for 48 years. Over those years the roads and infrastucture have been over-stressed with large increases in population, with all that entails, and they are only just able to cope these days. Very little appears to have been done by the Authorities over the years to alleviate the pressures on the roads and infrastucture and I have little confidence in those same Authorities being capable of improving matters for the present population, let alone the enormous increase in population that would ensue with the addition of tens of thousands more. I assume that the local roads and infrastucture would need to be upgraded/rebuilt, but at enormous cost and with great suffering to all during the build process.

Adding a ‘garden settlement’ to the present housing stock in the area will cause immense pressure on all aspects of life in the immediate Parish of Capel and, indeed, to Tonbridge and Paddock Wood. All comments below are very relevant to my concerns and I am writing to object to ‘The Strategy for Capel Parish’ (Policy STR/CA1).

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_2523

Philippe Negri

My name is Philippe Negri and I leave on kings road in Tonbridge

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_2554

Barry Watson

Other comments: I agree with everything mentioned on this form.

DLP_2589

P Sierts

Other comments: I agree with all comments made here, and object very strongly to these developments.

DLP_2591

Jessie Moon

Other comments:

Why should we accept all the pollution & extra traffic while T.W.B.C. collect all the cash.

The use of good agricultural land is scandalous, all the extra rain water will be going into the Medway the wrong side of Edenbridge, which cause even worse flooding to Golden Green East Peckham Yalding & all other villages in this area probably some that have never flooded before. The roundabout at Hartlake will surely call for a widening of the Railway Bridge.

This seems to me a plan for some people to make a lot of money. As for homes for youngsters to get a start will never happen

DLP_2617

Mr S Munday & Mrs J Munday

Other comments: Please do not destroy this green belt land. There is plenty of brown belt sites to consider. This would absolutely destroy Tonbridge. All the extra pollution from traffic would be very harmful to us all.

DLP_2623

Mr & Mrs C Cadell

Other comments:

Why haven't TWBC included the very many brown field sites within Tunbridge Wells town in their plan. We do not need more executive housing in this area. What is needed is affordable housing for essential workers ie lower paid NHS personnel, teachers and teaching assistants, care home and nursing home personnel, refuse collecters, those on minimum wage and young people who have to move away in order to afford to get on the property ladder. Affordable properties in Tunbridge Wells town where there is a good public transport network should mean less cars on the roads and less commuters on the alerady overcrowded trains.

Green belt land is needed for agriculture and to enable people to get out and enjoy fresh air and exercise. This plan is an easy option on the part of TWBC. Property developers love green belt. It means more profit, less work. That is not the purpose of a Local Plan. More thought needs to be given to the actual requirements of the people living in the Tunbridge Wells borough. The councillors making the decisions around the Local Plan were put in place by the electorate of Tunbridge Wells Borough  therefore they should be representing them not making decisions that take no account of the needs of the locals. This current proposal appears to be a tick box exercise which, by virtue of the proposed building in Tudeley and Capel, places the burden firmly on another local authority whereby Tunbridge Wells Borough Council gets all the financial benefits from the Council tax payments of 4,000 plus homes with none of the responsibility for increased pollution, congestion on the roads, lack of GP facilities, dentists, schools, nurseries, the list goes on.

I am firmly of the opinion that this Local Plan is not fit for purpose and those responsible for putting the proposals together need to look at the needs of the local population rather than just trying to comply with central government policy.

DLP_3204

Graeme & Tina Anderson

We write as residents of Tunbridge Wells Borough. Our house is on the B2017, between Five Oak Green and Paddock Wood, adjacent to the proposed East Capel development. We have lived here for twenty-four years and are extremely concerned about the proposed developments and their impact on Tudeley, Five Oak Green and Paddock Wood, given our knowledge of the area and our observations of the local environment and infrastructure in that time.

DLP_3210

Andrew Bowen

I have lived in Tonbridge for over 8 years and prior to that circa 20 in the local villages and have seen the inability of the infrastructure to cope with current volumes of traffic on the Tonbridge Industrial estate and along the A26 leading to the A21 - if you were to visit these roads you could see for yourself the number of hours during the day when they are gridlocked so to see a school being sited where there is no walking/public transport available beggars belief. I also struggle to see the need for 2800 houses in Tudeley on Greenfield land bordering the flood plane - quite senseless. I am copying verbatim the comments below which you have undoubtedly seen already but to which I fully subscribe:

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_3400

Joanna Osborne

I live in Five Oak Green and regularly travel along the road to Tonbridge and Paddock Wood and use the facilities in both towns. For many years, I was a regular commuter through Tonbridge station, which was massively overloaded then.

I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_3518

Peter Scrimshaw

I am writing to send you my comments on the TWBC Draft Local Plan.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database, so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I live on Badsell Road and work from home, so I am very well placed to comment on how I feel these proposals will affect to local area. Other than the outrageous destruction of green belt land, I am very concerned about how traffic levels will change on what are quite minor roads in this area.

Badsell Road (B2017), Colts Hill and Five Oak Green village are already often at a standstill during the busy rush hour periods and this is before the extra traffic which will be generated by the 900 new homes already being built on the three development sites around Paddock Wood town. Paddock Wood has a fire station, police station and the ambulance service centre on Eldon Way, so there is a regular stream of emergency vehicles using all the roads out of the town. Colts Hill / Whetsted Road (A228) is known to be an important road link between the Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone hospitals and I see that the Colts Hill bypass is being resurrected, with the destruction of yet more old farmland which this will require. But this scheme was first deemed necessary before the current expansion of Paddock Wood, so how can this possibly be a sufficient solution to all of the extra traffic which this daft Local Plan will doubtlessly generate? At the very least you will need to wait and re-assess local traffic flow after all of the current new housing around Paddock Wood is finished and fully occupied.

Building a new garden village at Tudeley along the B2017 (basically a country lane) is frankly preposterous, as the vast majority of new residents will need to drive from there; parking at either Paddock Wood or Tonbridge railway stations will be totally impossible, if not already! I am also very concerned that this idea would eventually result in a continuous corridor of urban sprawl, from Tonbridge, through Tudeley and Five Oak Green to Paddock Wood, completely destroying the green belt buffer around Tonbridge.

I regularly walk my dog along the footpaths to the north of Badsell Road, up to the railway line and Whetsted Wood; this is an important area which is used by many other walkers & dog walkers, especially from Paddock Wood. Whetsted Wood itself is a small pocket of remaining ancient woodland, linked to the surrounding habitats by the existing field boundary hedges; it would become completely isolated by the new housing proposals.

I am also staggered by the outrageous hypocrisy of the proposal to build on green belt land at all, with other local planning applications often turned down for “inappropriate and harmful development which would have a greater impact on the openness of the Metropolitan Green Belt”, for example 18/01767/FULL (Erection of building for six B&B rooms associated with The Poacher, Tudeley) and 18/03915/FULL (Demolition of existing buildings and erection of detached dwelling at Builders Yard, Five Oak Green).

I do appreciate that there is a requirement to plan for future housing needs, but sincerely urge you to re-assess all available brownfield sites. Being able to deal with a single landowner is not any kind of justification for the destruction of such a large area of green belt land and the location is rather inappropriate anyway, being on the Medway flood plain and right on the boundary of Tonbridge & Malling BC.

DLP_3759

Tara Stanley

I have lived in Paddock Wood my entire life, with most other family members residing in the Tudeley area.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4055

Jill Giles

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

I live & work in Tonbridge and think the proposal to develop land in Tudeley for over 2000 homes will be detrimental to all who live & work in the area.

DLP_4057

Suzy McAllister

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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. ​

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be a huge increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).

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. ​

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will devastate the landscape and kill wildlife en masse, including many rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. ​

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant. ​

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement  a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.​

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_4059

Catherine Gunton

As a resident of a new build site I appreciate the need for housing, the requirements of buyers and the desire to live in the area but I do not feel due consideration has been given to the impact this development could cause.

I have witnessed so many near-miss traffic accidents on the Somerhill roundabout, I cannot even begin to count them. I have witnessed cars parking on the non-double yellow section of roads on Tudeley Lane, causing passing traffic to be forced into dangerous manoeuvres given their location. I have witnessed parents queuing along Tudeley Lane in their cars causing traffic chaos in advance of the school gates opening. I objected to the laughable car parking provisions of Bishop Chavasse school given we have no public transport and await the day the school is full and parents are fully aware of the impact.

Building a new school in this area will cause further congestion, a new housing estate will have far reaching and devastating effects on the local environment and the impact on the local communities will be severe.

It is undeniable that these residents will be using the services of Tonbridge and yet paying council tax to Tunbridge Wells, resulting in more strain on our local infrastructure.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4081

P Scally

I live with my family in East Peckham and   I was shocked and stunned by the proposed housing development across Capel & Paddock Wood. I regularly travel from East Peckham to Tonbridge through the beautiful countryside , along Hartlake road and am constantly impressed by the views across the fields during the changing seasons. As a family we moved to this area to bring our children up in the beautiful surrounding countryside. So I’m am deeply saddened by the proposal.​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4094

James Wade

I moved to Colts Hill earlier this year and am staggered by the scale of the project you are suggesting.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4096

A Scally

As a resident of nearby East Peckham I was surprised and stunned by the proposed housing development across Capel & Paddock Wood. I regularly travel from East Peckham to Tonbridge through the beautiful countryside , along Hartlake road and am constantly impressed by the views across the fields during the changing seasons. As a family we moved to this area to bring our children up in the beautiful surrounding countryside. So I’m am deeply saddened by the proposal. ​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4318

Sue Fairbairn

My family of 4 live in the heart of the Parish of Capel in the middle of Five Oak Green moving there some ten years ago. We love the parish, the sense of community and particularly the surrounding countryside in which I frequently walk alone deriving considerable physical and mental well-being from such a seemingly simple and free thing as the countryside on my doorstep with its diverse habitats. We have noticed the decline in wildlife species already in the last 10 years and we don’t think irreplaceable natural habitats should be sacrificed further in this area of green belt and outstanding natural beauty most particularly on such a massive and disproportionate scale as is proposed. We want our future grandchildren and other generations to hear cuckoos and nightingales which can be heard by Hartlake bridge and the skylarks over the surrounding fields as we have done.

My husband and I both work in London (myself for the BBC) and use the train from Paddock Wood, so we are fully aware that the line is already over capacity on most peak services. We have also lived through the Village and surrounding areas flooding and would not wish to see any development that would increase that risk.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4425

Ian Tilley

I have been a Tonbridge resident for over 40 years and have noticed over the years an increase in housing on brown field sites which I am in favour of. However, to build housing on a vast area of beautiful Kent countryside which is farming land I find quite short sighted . If the country needs food in the future we will no longer be able to provide land for such a need in the Garden of England.​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4430

Mark Bourne

I live in Paddock Wood and regularly travel to Tonbridge via Five Oak Green and Tudeley which is already a very busy route.

DLP_4452

Cassandra Cook

I am a local resident concerned for the infrastructure of the local area.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4526

Colin Hurley

I have lived in Tonbridge for thirty six years.  I am deeply concerned about the impact of the proposed build of a new town in a location that can only have a detrimental effect on a part of the county that is already highly stress due to lack of existing core infrastructure. I am also concerned about the ‘Spin’ that has been allowed to propagate in official documentation. An accepted definition of a town is, that it is bigger than a village and smaller than a city. What is proposed is a new town.  It should be described as such if its impact on the area is to be fully understood and appreciated.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4528

Steve Parrish

I am a resident in East Peckam, and own properties in Five Oak Green. I have live in the Five Oak Green area most of my life.

I am very against the building of a garden settlement at Tudeley. I have paste and copied the information below from the Save Capel website. I have deleted the parts I do not agree with but all the part below I am very much in agreement with. ​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4600

Ruth Rankine

I am a local resident and live on Park Farm in Tudeley. I work for the Care Quality Commission as Deputy Chief Inspector and travel to London for work so am a regular commuter.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4611

Catie Walklin

I live in Tonbridge on Somerhill Green development, Baker Lane and would like to make my objections clear about the proposals for the development of the Capel area. Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

Please take the above as my formal objections to these plans and keep me updated on any developments. These plans have significant impact to the surrounding community and need to be thoroughly re-assessed.

DLP_4630

Michael McKee

I am a Tonbridge resident.  I regularly commute from Tonbridge station to London each week.  My children both went to Somerhill School and we regularly eat at Turmeric Gold in Tudeley and have also frequently visited the church there.  We also frequently use the road through Tudeley particularly at weekends.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4636

Neil & Jill Goldsworthy

We are residents of Tonbridge, have lived in the town for nearly 50 years and have witnessed many changes during this time. Mostly they have been favourable and we enjoy living in a town surrounded by beautiful countryside. We are 'country walkers' and frequently traverse the footpaths in and around Capel and Tudeley.

Please add our contact details to your consultation database so that we can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. We understand that our comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4640

Caroline Brooks-Johnson

I am a resident of  Hadlow.   Although not resident in Tunbridge Wells I feel very strongly about your local plan.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

We are only custodians of our land for future generations and I urge you to reconsider in particular turning our green belt into housing.  Kent is an amazing county and can still just about be described as the garden of England.  Your plans will change our landscape forever and turn Kent into the carpark of England.

DLP_4655

Carol Stanton

I write as a widow whose husband is buried in All Saints Church, Tudeley. I will also be buried there. The final resting place was specified due to its tranquility and proximity to nature. My husbands grandparents are also buried there.

Mere words cannot convey the horrific prospect of being put to rest in the middle of a housing estate. My husband was an army officer and there are two military graves in the cemetery which is a recognised War grave.

My son attended the schools at Somerhill. As such I am acutely aware of the traffic congestion even at current levels. The addition of the planned houses and senior school will compound the traffic exponentially.

DLP_4715

Claire Light

My name is Claire Clarke and I currently live in the village of a Tudeley. I’m writing in opposition to the proposed building of a new garden village.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4795

Mr Steve Morecroft

I currently reside in Pembury, however I am the co-owner of a business in Capel and I own a property in Alders Road, Capel, which I currently rent out. I intend to move back there when I retire. My contact details are below.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4843

Joanna Nightingale

I live in Whetsted with my husband and two children and have done so for 12 years. We moved here from a town because we wanted to live in a country village. If I had wanted to live in a community like Kings Hill I would have moved there. I work in London and commute by train and there is no way that the Southeastern network will be able to cope with any extra passengers let alone thousands. The roads around here can't cope with the traffic we already have. It can take 10 mins or 30 mins just to get into Tonbridge and there us no rhyme or reason to the congestion just SWOT.

DLP_4894

Janis Lee

I am in full agreement with the objections stated above. I am shocked and dismayed at this proposed plan. I have known this area since my parents moved here 45 years ago and there have been many losses since then but this would be massively detrimental on all counts. Please look at the bigger picture here. Thankyou.

DLP_4904

Emma Hewage

My name is Emma Hewage and I live in North Tonbridge by the A26.  I am a relative newcomer to Kent having relocated here from London with my family five and half years ago.  Since then we’ve come to really appreciate the rural setting of this area and to greatly appreciate the richness of the wildlife it supports.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4910

Clare Thorpe

I have lived in Sherenden Road in Tudeley for the last 30 years and I am horrified by the plans to build so many houses in this beautiful hamlet set within the green belt. Over the years I have seen how much busier the roads have become, with more and more cars using these roads, and I have experienced the traffic jams on Hartlake road at peak times when taking my children to school.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4912

Maureen Dennis

I am a local resident of Five Oak Green and have lived here for 27 years in two properties and choosing not to relocate due to the beautiful surroundings and thriving countryside community in which we currently have the privilege to live. We have raised our three children here and have been looking forward to a peaceful and relaxing retirement here.​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4914

Kirstie Hart

I am a resident in Five oak Green and have been for 31 years. I have also spent a large part of those years working locally too. I currently spend a large amount of time travelling around the Borough in my role with the NHS school nursing service. Travelling time is imperative to my role since it is dictated largely by school hours, visiting children and young people to deliver packages of care. In the years of living in Five Oak Green, quite apart from the steadily increasing volumes of traffic, I have witnessed the devastation of numerous floods. I have at times been cut off in the village as roads have been impassable. 

Travelling times have increasingly become problematic, which was heightened at the time of the addition of the slip road leading from A21 at the Vauxhall junction. 

At peak times it regularly takes well over an hour to travel from Five Oak Green to Tunbridge Wells. Traffic into Tonbridge is always at a standstill at school times past the Somerhill Schools.

Whilst providing a service to the local children and young people, the travel time can already often half the number of service users that I can accept onto my caseload.

To increase the volumes of children and young people in the area along with additional traffic, raises concern for the well-being of local residents on an already stretched service. 

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4923

Anna and Nicholas Watson

We are responding to the TWBC Local Plan regulation consultation as residents of Golden Green, Tonbridge. We feel that the developments will negatively impact upon us in many ways, in fact in far more ways than those who live in the Tunbridge Wells borough.  Please add our contact details to your consultation database so that we can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents.

DLP_4929

Colin Burgess

I am a resident of Hadlow in the borough of Tonbridge and Malling, living on the outskirts in a rural location. As a family we value the rural nature of our location and of our surroundings. An important aspect of village life is the sense of local community which is shared by the residents of a cohesive and clearly defined locale. I am very concerned that the proposals within your local plan have the potential to have a significant adverse effect upon these established local village communities which sit close to, but outside the TWBC boundary.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4932

Ann Stammers

I love where I live –Five Oak Green - something TWBC actively encourages and promotes and yet now, in the most extensive, harmful and offensive way, want to change the way I, and those who live in and around this area enjoy it by destroying hundreds and hundreds of acres of beautiful countryside and, along with it, vital flora and fauna including rare species; footpaths and views that were the reason I moved here and that gives so much pleasure and adds to physical and mental wellbeing to many; further congest already congested roads and trains; increase air pollution that already compromises health and pushing local services to beyond breaking point.

Take the countryside to the town, not the town to the countryside.

DLP_4934

Anthony Bagwell

I have lived in Tudeley for the last 3 years having moved away from Sevenoaks to enjoy the quieter pace of life and to bring up my son in a countryside environment. I obviously would not have made this move if I was made aware of the proposed development.  The development which has been part of TWBCs plane for over three years but was not made public till earlier this year and therefore did not show in any local government searches (something I find outrageous).

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4936

Sean Waddingham

My name is Sean Waddingham and I have lived in Golden Green for 22 years. I am retired, age 67, own my own house and am active in various local groups and both a car driver and user of public transport. My house is part of a development based on a “Brownfield Site” which damaged no Green Belt status land when it was created, but enhanced the village with the removal of a dilapidated former factory site.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4938

Fiona Claire

My name is Fiona Smith and I live in Five Oak Green. My kind neighbours from Five Oak Green and surrounding areas are fighting the plan for new houses to be built making our lovely villages into bigger villages/small towns. We do not want these plans to go ahead. There are lots of different reasons why and we can go on and on about them. The infrastructure of our roads, lack of facilities for new families, more traffic, cars, people, etc, and these are all valid points. Also people are fighting with their hearts. We all choose to live in the more rural areas because we like what the countryside has to offer, peace and quiet, beautiful views, countryside to be proud of, places we can walk with our children and be at one with nature. You are wanting to take this away from us, and from our children, and in turn, their children and generations to follow. What you want to do can not be undone. Once this mistake has been made, it can not be unmade. Our green spaces are becoming smaller and smaller, our children will have no place to go to learn about nature, to explore; this will be a travesty. 

I have four boys, three are old enough to know that these plans are wrong. They don’t want the houses built, these towns formed. They want the beauty of what our land gives us. 

Our journey into Tonbridge for school reasons is bad enough, without adding to it. Our journey back is even worse. I want my children to be able to get home and relax before they start homework. With these new plans adding more traffic, this won’t happen as it will take so much longer to get home. Their lives will be affected in more than this way. 

Please hear our comments, please listen to us, and please do not just think about the money side of things. 

DLP_4940

Kim Botten

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

I will make some points here that I am sure you have seen before.

I have made additional personal comments at the end.

Additional comments

This proposed site along with sites in Paddock Wood and hazy plans for new roads north and south of Five Oak Green would change the nature of this area for the worst.

As a regular user of the footpaths in the proposed development area I fear for the wild life. This new settlement will result in the destruction of habitat for local wildlife including the loss of woodland. For example, skylarks are among the ground nesting birds which regularly nest on this farmland which is their preferred habitat. According to the RSPB they are an endangered species and their population halved in the 1990's and is still on the decline. I feel this area should be kept as farmland for food production and for continuing to provide places for wildlife.

The footpaths are widely used by locals walking their dogs and seeking some tranquillity which will be spoiled by a development of such a large scale.

DLP_4944

Lesley Ribbens

I have lived in Tonbridge for almost 20 years. Together with my husband and two sons, I have, over the years, enjoyed exploring the countryside in the area. We particularly like walking along the River Medway to the east of Tonbridge towards Whetsted and have had some very special wildlife encounters while enjoying the peace and quiet. We’ve seen kingfishers, turtle doves, cuckoos, nightingales, warblers, skylarks and our favourites, the barn owls. On one occasion a grass snake swam across the water. I understand otters have been spotted too, although I’ve never been lucky enough to see one in the area myself.

I work as a volunteer warden at the nearby Tudeley Woods RSPB reserve which gives me a huge amount of satisfaction, knowing that I am helping to maintain the habitat of a vast array of species that call the reserve and the surrounding area their home. I am therefore enormously concerned at the impact that the proposed development in the area between Tonbridge and Paddock Wood will have, not just on the wildlife and the environment but on the people too.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4950

Keith Hardwick

I have lived in Tonbridge and Southborough all my life and these proposals along with the Mabledon site make no sense whatsover and put simply the local infrastructure just cant cope with more housing and car movements. The impact on Tonbridge will be severe and they appear to have no say in the matter when their services and roads will be used rather than Tunbridge Wells.??

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.??

DLP_4952

Kerry Allen

As a resident of Somehill Green development in Tonbridge….

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4957

Lorraine Ballard

I live on the Somerhill Green development.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.​

DLP_4961

Simon Hewitt

I am a resident of Tonbridge and have lived here with my wife and children for the past 11 years.  I am a teacher at a school in Tonbridge and my wife works at a company in East Peckham.  We moved here as a family, from London, to enjoy the change of life afforded by living close to the open countryside, in a town with distinct borders and in an area scattered with beautiful and individual villages.  All of us have benefitted from spending time walking through fields, beside the Medway river, and along towards Little Mill.  Like most of my neighbours, we have enjoyed not feeling bounded and hemmed in by endless conurbation and its associated stressful environment.  While I understand and support the need for more dwellings, I strongly believe that policies identified below are not the best for Tonbridge or for Tunbridge Wells, for the reasons detailed.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4963

Olivia Rose-Wilson

I live in Golden Green and am extremely concerned about the planned housing development in Capel. ​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4965

Shane Priestman

I live in Paddock Wood, having moved here just recently and have learned of the current proposals, to which I would like to object.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_4967

Rachael Foster

I currently live at the Somerhill Green site in Tonbridge near Woodgate Way and the Somerhill roundabout and as such I am extremely concerned about the above proposed plans. Not only do I severely object to building on the green belt (in an area subject to terrible flooding no less), but the impact this garden city will have on Tonbridge is in my opinion disastrous. The traffic is already unbearable from Tudelely down Woodgate Way. Moreover, the station car park is hideously packed and the trains more so. I would likely have to leave my job in London as I doubt I would be able to park at the station or get a seat on the train.   Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells in my opinion is already overpopulated and swamped with people - adding 4000 homes to this would destroy the town - the only benefit is clearly a financial benefit to Tunbridge Wells Council with absolutely no consideration to Tonbridge and is residents. Tonbridge is not an affluent town and to place this hideous impact on Tonbidge is actually in my opinion inhumane on the residents of Tonbridge, both from a social and environmental perspective. ​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4969

Tom Barber

I am writing as a nearby resident at SomerhIll Green, close to the planned garden settlement of Tudeley. We also have children at the Bishops Chavesse school and are very concerned about the planned development that will put huge pressure on neighbouring roads and Tonbridge as a town.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4973

Michael Dale

I was born in Paddock Wood in 1968. I have witnessed poorly planned housing developments over the decades and associated increased traffic and flooding as well as insufficient services and infrastructure for local residents.​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4978

Hannah Grogan

I am a resident of the Somerhill Green development in Tonbridge. My son attends nursery school in Paddock wood, and I work at a school in Bodium (south of Tunbridge Wells). Every day I have to drive through Tudely/Capel and with the huge amounts of disruption and stress the building of a new development will cause you my day-to-day life, I would request that you Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4982

Noelle Quinn

I live in Tonbridge, ​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_4987

Christine Bowden

I consider the plan to build 2,800 homes almost on the T&M boundary abutting Tonbridge itself to have no consideration for the residents of Tonbridge of the impact this number of extra residents will have on the Town…..its schools, medical centres, infrastructure and the loss of very accessible countryside. I am not persuaded that these homes are solely for the residents of TWBC, T&MBC or of Kent itself….more likely to be accommodation for those who work in London, cannot afford decent homes near their work and wish to enjoy some of our lovely Kent countryside- a laudable aspiration in itself, but disastrous for the Green Belt on which this proposal is to be centred upon.

I have several other concerns that would take time to elucidate regarding the cost of homes for my two daughters who work locally, my grandchildren having suitable schools to accommodate them at secondary level, travelling times through Tonbridge at peak times, poor routes through Tonbridge , and more all of which will be exacerbated by a further influx of residents coming from TWBC area.

I feel the “Save Capel” and other concerned organisations have very ably detailed the many reasons for not going ahead with this monstrous proposal and I support them in their overall objection to this plan.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

Objection to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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.

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).

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.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

 

DLP_4993

Drs CR and EJ Buchanan

My family live in East Peckham and use Tonbridge station and the roads around Paddock Wood and Tonbridge daily for travel to work, shopping, sports and leisure.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_5012

Sara Davis

As a resident of Tonbridge I wish to register my objection to the Tunbridge Wells Local Plan to build thousands of houses on Green Belt land in Tudeley and East Capel. Living in Tonbridge I walk the footpaths in Tudeley and along the river Medway. I enjoy seeing larks and buzzards, goldfinches and egrets. All of this will be lost. Cyclists and horse riders will no longer be able to roam down quiet, narrow Sherenden Road and the footpaths through the orchards to the Postern will be lost to walkers.

This number of houses will change Tonbridge forever impacting upon transport, schools, NHS services and the character of the area as a whole. It will create a massive new town linking Tonbridge and Paddock Wood and destroy the countryside of this part of the Medway Valley. Wildlife habitats will be lost, valuable farmland will disappear beneath concrete and a vital local resource for local people to walk and enjoy the benefits of the countryside will be gone.

All the cost of this urbanisation will be to the residents of Tonbridge. It is a deeply cynical move on the part of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council which will receive all the resulting income. It is a plan designed for the convenience of TWBC (no fear of upsetting Tunbridge Wells voters!) which will make huge profits for the landowner and developers.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_5019

Pauline Bevan

Although I live in Hildenborough, I use to live in Five Oak Green. I still have many friends there and visit it quite often. Taking walks in the lovely countryside.

DLP_5022

Bernadette Cawley

My family live in Tudeley.

​Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_5025

James Carpenter

My name is James Carpenter and I live in Tonbridge. I moved to Tonbridge in 2014 for the beautiful country surrounds. We enjoy walking in the nearby countryside most weekends. I work in London and commute Monday to Friday on an already busy train service.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_5031

David Sagar

My family and I live in the Somerhill Green area just outside tonbridge. My wife commutes into London everyday from tonbridge station and my son goes to nursery in tonbridge. We really like the area we live in and can see us living and contributing to the community and economy of the area for the foreseeable future.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_5034

Gordon Hodge

My names is Gordon Hodge and I live in Tonbridge. I moved to Tonbridge in 2014 for the beautiful country surrounds. We enjoy walking in the nearby countryside most weekends. I work in London and commute Monday to Friday on an already busy train service.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_5036

Hayley & Simon Hobbs

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

I live in the borough of Tonbridge and Malling (Hadlow) and travel through Tudeley and Capel every day on my school run and my husband commutes from Tonbridge Station. We are particularly upset about the potential loss of beautiful countryside and its impact on wildlife and the air we breathe. In addition to this the traffic into Tonbridge at rush hour is particularly heavy already and to consider adding to this will simply add to the misery and air pollution.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_5037

Colin Nye

I was born in Tonbridge and have lived in the town and surrounding villages all my life.  I am dismayed at your proposals to include in your forthcoming local plan the proposed housing developments in Tudeley and Capel.   Recent housing developments in and around Tonbridge have greatly increased traffic flow, particularly in peak hours, and the anticipated additional traffic resulting from the proposed housing developments will bring traffic to a halt at certain times of the day.   Tonbridge based businesses will suffer from the resultant chaos and some may find it impossible to continue trading.

There will also be pressures on Tonbridge health services and on the already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge to London.

Large parts of the development will be built on the Medway flood plain and in the light of serious floods in recent years it would appear that insufficient attention has been given to this problem.

Finally the building of so much housing on farm land that is Green Belt land will have a detrimental effect on local wildlife that is very special to the area including rare species of fauna and flora.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_5040

Jenny Nye

As a resident of Tonbridge of many years I am horrified at your proposal to include in your forthcoming Local Plan the proposed housing developments at Tudeley and Capel. I can’t help but feel that this “idea” is a question of “NIMBY” where the effects of these large development will be of great detrimental affect to Tonbridge whilst Tunbridge Wells Borough Council will get off lightly.

Living in the North of Tonbridge I experience the impact of the recent redevelopments of premises in Vale Road which has greatly increased traffic congestion both into and out of Tonbridge.

Three Elm Lane and Hartlake Road, which are basically country lanes and not designed for use by large amounts of traffic already have high traffic use particularly at peak time, they are being used to access the A21 and A26 avoiding the town centre as well as to Paddock Wood. Additionally the Hartlake Railway Bridge is single lane.

Furthermore, there is already an overload of traffic passing through the town and it is quite chaotic particularly at peak times. The effect additional traffic generated by these proposed developments would mean that Tonbridge will just not be able to function.

Large parts of this development wll be built on the Medway flood plain and in the light of serious floods in recent years would suggest that inadequate attention has been paid to this and makes the plan very unsuitable for the wider area. There is also concern for the effects of wildlife and the biodiversity that is present in this special area of Green Belt Land along with the loss of farm land.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

I am therefore adding my objections to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

DLP_5048

S George

I live in Tunbridge Wells but my family live in the area designated for this housing. The road from Tonbridge to Five Oak Green must be one of the most truly beautiful stretches of road in Kent, In addition to the points detailed below.

THIS AREA CANNOT SUSTAIN THIS INCREASE IN HOUSING.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE RECENT FLOODING IN YORKSHIRE ON HOUSES BUILT ON A TRADITIONAL FLOOD PLAIN, AS WELL AS THE FLOODING SUSTAINED IN 2013 MORE LOCALLY IT IS UNBELIEVABLE AND IRRESPONSIBLE THAT TWBC ARE CHOOSING TO BUILD IN THIS AREA

IT IS EXTREMELY DISINGENOUS FOT TWBC TO DESIGNATE LAND AT THE FURTHEST REACHES OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS FOR THIS PROJECT. AND NOT USE BROWNFIELD SITES IN LESS VULNERABLE AREAS.

DLP_5050

Stephney Dallmann

I live at Spring Farm Oast, Colts Hill, Five Oak Green. My daughter attends school at Derwent Lodge, Somerhill and I drive on the roads from Colts Hill to Tonbridge, passing through Tudeley in the morning and evening every day. The journey in the morning, around 8am, is always significantly congested with a queue from Tudeley Church all the way to Somerhill School and then on to Tonbridge railway station. I then commute to London. My main concern is that with an additional 2,800 houses at Tudeley, 1500 houses at East Capel and a Senior School opposite Somerhill, I would literally not be able to get anywhere. The roads would be gridlocked. Then the additional pressure on Tonbridge Railway Station would be very significant - with not enough parking available at the station and overcrowded trains meaning we would need to stand all the way to London.

As well as these practical concerns which will have a very significant impact on my day to day life, I am dismayed that the most beautiful landscape will be scarred forever for future generations. It is one of the most beautiful views of our countryside from the top of the hill looking out over Tudeley. To think that will be gone is just awful. It can never be rectified. And it will be a most terrible legacy for future generations.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_5068

Stephanie Tizzard

Hello there. My name is Stephanie Tizzard. I am a 33 year old Graphic designer living in a converted chapel in Five Oak Green with my husband, Ollie and my dog Bunsen. We have lived in Five Oak Green for 6.5 years but I am originally from Tonbridge and my partner is from Matfield. I work in Larkfield full time and my husband is a Firefighter working full time at the Maidstone Fire Station and as a retained Fireman at Paddock Wood Fire Station.

We spend every weekend walking our dog Bunsen in the surrounding countryside - Tudeley, Matfield, Five Oak Green, Tonbridge and Paddock Wood.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_5077

Caroline Lovell

I live in Capel and enjoy the glorious countryside. The growing and significant concerns around the environment, preserving soil and protecting the green belt are just not compatible with your local plan to destroy this landscape and build the sort of houses that not required whilst ignoring the reasonable objections which have quite rightly been raised by myself and others.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_5082

Michelle Sanna

I have lived in Five Oak Green for 7 years. I moved here because it is a rural village surrounded by beautiful countryside. I spend much of my spare time walking through my local Green Belt land. I love to take photos, walk my dog & often just walk through the fields & spot the amazing wildlife which includes everything from deer and herons to red kite and woodpeckers.

I travel into Tonbridge each day to work and drop my child to school. This 5 mile journey currently takes me 30-40 minutes at rush hour.  My child does not catch the bus to school because by the time it reaches our nearest stop it is full up. 

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​​

DLP_5086

Paul Alderman

I moved to Tonbridge with my family three years ago. I am extremely worried and concerned about the plans to turn bulldoze Capel into a building site to build thousands of new properties.

The disruption to the local area, the traffic congestion and knock-on effects will be overwhelming for me and my family.

Although I work in London, we moved to Tonbridge to enjoy a relaxing time at home and feel the new sites would spoil our way of life beyond all recognition for the worse. And would make me consider moving to a new area.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_5088

Cristiana Dias-Dafforn

I live in Tonbridge. I am a lover of nature and a hiker. I have a dog that I walk in all the surroundings areas of Tonbridge. I have a car that as it is I have difficulties to park on daily basis in Tonbridge. I have been late several times due to be stuck in traffic jams in Tonbridge.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_5090

Patricia Mathieson

I grew up in Five Oak Green, went to Capel Primary School, and it is still 'home', my Mother living in the same house to this day - and it is somewhere I am keen to get back to.  At the moment, the chances of that happening are pretty slim, with people staying put and extending their homes, and the new homes being built way out of reach for many, myself included.  That wouldn't be quite so bad if they were actually selling, but greed on the part of both the developer and presumably the Council have given rise to two large houses sitting empty for a long period of time, when one lovely family home could have gone up and undoubtedly sold.  Who is really going to pay nearly £1m to share a driveway?   More practical and affordable homes are needed, but not at the cost of the whole reason the area is such a lovely place to live in, not when there are better options.   Building properties that require a family income of £100K+ and calling them "affordable" is utterly ridiculous.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.​

DLP_5092

Judith Deckers

I have lived in Golden Green for more than 25 years and am shocked to hear of Tunbridge Wells planning application for builds that will severely impact Tonbridge without Tonbridge getting any of the income from Council Taxes to pay for the additional demand on its services and facilities.​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_5096

Michael Perretta

Being a resident of Golden Green and already suffer the twice daily "work/school rat run" I am very concerned regarding proposed future developments in the local area.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_5103

Louisa Rowlands

I am a resident of Tonbridge and also grew up in the area. I have two young children and I chose to live in this area to bring up my children due to the wonderful natural surroundings, and that it is not a huge sprawling urban area. I have detailed some of my concerns below on the Local Plan, which include the significant issues of the traffic that is already at an awful level on my road (Pembury Road).

Please also add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_5109

Mandy Pereira

I moved to Tonbridge last year and now find out that there is possibly going to be a development of dwellings and schools that will impact on Tonbridge being planned by Tunbridge Wells Council.. I previously lived in Tunbridge Wells and a few years ago they were going through a similar planning process for a large residential development on the south side of Tunbridge Wells. This was under the control of Weald Council. Tunbridge Wells were robust in the rejection of this development on the grounds of the insufficient infrastructure for the amount of proposed dwellings and the ensuing disruption to local residents paying their Council to Tunbridge Wells Council. Ironically, this would seem be the same result for the Tonbridge residents who would suffer the disruption, increased use of resources in Tonbridge and cost to rectify the issues that will arise from the development.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_5122

Linda Garratt

I have lived in Tonbridge for over 25 years and travel through the area affected by your local pan on a regular basis, particularly at rush hour.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_5151

Mike & Ginny Stennulat

We are a family of 5 living in Tudeley Lane on the Southern outskirts of Tonbridge, we have lived at this location for 20 years and in that time have seen many new residential developments popping up both in the town centre and also recently the large residential development at Baker Lane. The Baker Lane development was also being constructed at the same time as the A21 improvement scheme which was particularly painful for everybody in the area and caused terrible road congestion daily in the South Tonbridge area.

The local infrastructure and facilities are already stretched to breaking point without the extra demand this proposed development at Capel would add.   I commute to London daily from Tonbridge station, the trains are full to bursting at peak times already, has an assessment been carried out to see how much extra capacity is possible on this line at peak times?   The local roads are gridlocked at peak times already, particularly with lots of schools in the South Tonbidge area, the extra demand from this Capel development would only make this an awful lot worse for everybody.  Also getting an appointment to see a GP in Tonbridge has become increasingly difficult in the last 5 years due to the increased local population, how will the system cope with potentially 10,000+ new residents in the area.

Furthermore, the proposed area of development in Tudeley is beatiful green belt land where we often take our dogs for walks to enjoy the fields and woodland, this area is criss crossed with ancient walking paths through the countryside that would be lost forever with this large scale development.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_5155

Jackie Smith

Living in Golden Green and have done so for the last 40 years.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_5167

Johnny Boult

Hello, my name is Johnny Boult from XXX [TWBC: House number redacted] Warrington Road, Paddock Wood. I feel immensely strong about all of the objections listed below, I feel there is no where near enough plans to create any kind of infrastructure, for what we currently have can not stand anymore influx of homes. The poor people who would potentially be buying these homes, do they know what kind of standard of living they are going to be ploughed into. If they think it's hard to get into schools, doctors and hospitals now, just ask them to think what it would be like with the potential bombardment of new homes. There would be a requirement of new villages and a new town, along with all the infrastructure that that would come with. Not just shove them onto the end of an existing one.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

DLP_5182

Kimberley Miller

I live just outside Tonbridge and Capel areas and feel the need for you to add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I have friends and family who would all be great affected in a negative way by the proposals, including ourselves, who frequent Tonbridge, the stations and surrounding areas.​

DLP_5184

Chris and Jessica Lowe

I am writing to you on behalf of myself and my partner Jessica. We live in Tonbridge on the new estate that has been constructed at Somerhill Green. I understand that this could come across as hypocritical complaining about new housing developments, however we bought knowing that the property was being constructed on brownfield land, not affecting the green belt.

To name just a few direct personal factors in the proposal; I work in Tonbridge and surrounding areas and find the roads to be extremely busy already. This is also not just during rush hour times or school start and end times but traffic can mount at random times of the day as well. We also enjoy making full use of the public footpaths that would be affected by the building of the new homes. Finally, Jessica is a commuter and the already busy Tonbridge line would be unmanageable for all at peak times. Trains can already be packed both arriving and departing from Tonbridge station. The building of these new homes would only exacerbate this further.

I hope all aspects and all responses are taken into consideration fully when looking into this.

DLP_5188

Stuart Hodgson

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

I live in Tonbridge and have 2 children in local schools.  Since I moved to the area in 2011, the Tonbridge/Tunbridge Wells area has got steadily busier and our local road network, schools (primary and secondary, healthcare facilities and the commuter trains are all running at, or over, full capacity.  The proposed development will inevitably exacerbate these problems.​

DLP_5191

Jillan Haydock

I am extremely concerned about the local developments. I live in Tonbridge and feel the current plans will have a huge negative effect on the area, the local community, the surrounding villages, the town of Tonbridge and I feel most importantly the local environment.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. ​

I also feel that this whole plan is an exercise in Tunbridge Wells fulfilling housing quotas at the expense of Tonbridge and the surrounding villages.

I implore you to reconsider this plan as I feel the local area will be irreparably damaged for ever.

DLP_5196

Rebecca Waugh

Me and my family are extremely concerned about the local developments. I live in Tonbridge and feel the current plans will have a huge negative effect on the area, the local community, the surrounding villages, the town of Tonbridge and I feel most importantly the local environment.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. ​

I also feel that this whole plan is an exercise in Tunbridge Wells fulfilling housing quotas at the expense of Tonbridge and the surrounding villages.

I implore you to reconsider this plan as I feel the local area will be irreparably damaged for ever.

DLP_5198

Stephen Constant

I am resident of Tonbridge and have been so for several years and over this time I have found myself having to watch the increased strain on Tonbridge infrastructure and having seen your local plan I feel compelled to write and raise my objections.

DLP_5282

Mr Raymond Steward

I live in Paddock Wood and drive to work in Tonbridge every weekday. I drive for a local school and have to exit Hartlake Road turning right on to the B2017 Tudeley Road. It is difficult to exit here as the B2017 is busy at 08:00. Hartlake Road is also very busy avoiling the very long queues into Tonbridge along the Hadlow Road. Hartlake Road has very little traffic generated from local residents.It is foolish to suggest that residents will be encouraged to use non private car transport from a rural village development. Rural bus services are of very limited use to working people as a simple survey would reveal. And, of course, reference to an improved Colts Hill is just a red herring as the rush hour will be generating transport to and from the stations in Paddock Wood or Tonbridge.​

DLP_5294

Natasha Hiddingh

I am a Tonbridge resident.

DLP_5296

Ellis Parsons

I am a resident in Golden Green and have been living here with my family for only 2 years, one of the main reasons that we moved to Golden Green from Tonbridge was to move to the country side and away from the main roads and noise that you get in more built up towns.

Building houses on this green belt is unacceptable and will have a massive impact, not just on the roads and the traffic situation that is already a problem in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, but also on the wildlife and habitats that live in these areas.

I use the fields behind my house to walk the dog and jog around to improve on my fitness and health, the additional houses being built will have an adverse effect on the fresh air.

I only work in Hadlow and use a small road, Victoria Road, to get to and from work, but this road is already busy with cars and is constantly being fixed at the edges and the potholes due to the amount of traffic it gets from people trying to avoid already busy main roads.

Hart Lake Road is another road with a similar situation where people use it as a rat run to get from Hadlow and further afield towns to get across to the A21 and get to Tunbridge Wells. With the additional 3000 houses this will be around 6000 cars or more using these roads that are already failing.

I am only 23 years of age and have already got a fear of not being able to afford a house in my hometown because of the unfathomable prices in the local area. If these new houses were to go ahead, and I am hoping they aren’t, would there be any of these houses being built for first time home owners to be affordable to get onto the property ladder? I would assume there isn’t.

Usually new houses being built in the area pushes house prices up, again making it harder for me and other people in my situation, which are many.

DLP_5310

Jason Foster

I currently live at the Somerhill Green site in Tonbridge near Woodgate Way and the Somerhill roundabout and as such I am extremely concerned about the above proposed plans. Not only do I severely object to building on the green belt (in an area subject to terrible flooding no less), but the impact this garden city will have on Tonbridge is in my opinion disastrous. The traffic is already unbearable from Tudelely down Woodgate Way. Moreover, the station car park is hideously packed and the trains more so. I would likely have to leave my job in London as I doubt I would be able to park at the station or get a seat on the train. Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells in my opinion is already overpopulated and swamped with people - adding 4000 homes to this would destroy the town - the only benefit is clearly a financial benefit to Tunbridge Wells Council with absolutely no consideration to Tonbridge and is residents. Tonbridge is not an affluent town and to place this hideous impact on Tonbridge is actually in my opinion inhumane on the residents of Tonbridge, both from a social and environmental perspective.

DLP_5319

Sue Goldfinch

I have been a resident of south Tonbridge for the last nearly 60 years and have seen many changes and pressures put on the services and general area of this part of the town, especially near the rail station which is close to where I live.

DLP_5343

Paula Fry

I am a resident of South Tonbridge, work at North Farm, was born in Paddock Wood and have lived most of my life in this area. Paddock Wood used to be a village and Tonbridge a small market town. Both have grown to cope with increased population, and whilst road infrastructure has changed to deal with increased usage, it has not eased congestion along Colts Hill, into Tunbridge Wells along Pembury Road or into a Tonbridge and rail links remain the same. To now add further development will put further strain on these services, add to the risk of flooding which has increased since I was a child, areas flood now that did not used to, and also erode our beautiful countryside, taking away natural habitats when we should be conserving this. The comments and information as below, taken from the suggested email content, expand further on this.

DLP_5362

Ruth Mullan

I live in Five Oak Green. I have lived here happily for nearly 22 years. I love our community, our beautiful countryside and wildlife.

In recent years, we have had to endure many types of change and developments. Solar Parks built on arable farmland, quarries mutilating our beautiful fields. This in turn has robbed us of favorite footways and walks we have enjoyed for years. vast areas where we once walked now barred against us.

This local plan has added to my stress and depression. I am devastated at TWBC considering it.​

DLP_5364

Geoff Pearson

I am a resident of adjoining Tonbridge and Malling. I choose to live in a modern property on a brownfield site within a wider area of countryside.  In a bid to keep fit in retirement I enjoy, inter-alia, cycling, particularly in the local Green Belt countryside, and am very familiar with the villages of Capel and Tudeley, through which I pass regularly.

DLP_5370

Mr B Lambert

I live in Tunbridge Wells but lived in the Tonbridge for 25 years before moving to Tunbridge Wells in 1986. I know the area well. My son and daughter in law live in Tudeley. I believe that this development is not acceptable for this area because the infrastructure will not cope with new development.  I think the loss of green belt and good agricultural land is unacceptable. The road network across Kent struggles to deal with the traffic now without adding new developments across the county.  The public transport system is not adequate now. I believe the following statements are true and applicable.

DLP_5378

Mr and Mrs J Hancock

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

The proposed building scheme is totally unsustainable there is not sufficient infrastructure to accommodate such a vast amount of new build houses. ​​

DLP_5407

Mr and Mrs N Starritt

We are Mr and Mrs Norman Starritt and have lived in Willow Crescent, Five Oak Green since 1975. Our two sons were born and grew up in the village and attended Capel Primary School, which was a small, friendly school. They both still live in the Tunbridge Wells borough.  We have seen many changes to the village in this time with new roads and houses being built but, thankfully, these have not encroached on nor spoilt our village community.  Any new builds have been small and suitably placed. The spoiler in the village is the very busy Five Oak Green Road where the amount of traffic has increased several fold and where speed limits are non existent for most drivers who pass through to their busy lives in Paddock Wood or Tonbridge. Fortunately, being keen walkers and living where we do, we do not have to tolerate noise and fumes of cars as we have lovely walks at the back of us, walking through the fields to the River Medway and surrounding countryside.  This has been the major factor of never moving house because of the beautiful area we live.

Other comments:

As stated at the beginning of our statement, Capel School has grown significantly over the last 30 years, taking in many children from Paddock Wood and other surrounding villages.  The vehicles of parents collecting the children from school cause a great disruption to the traffic flow and the parked cars stretch down to Sychem Lane and a considerable distance up Church Road (where the verges have also been destroyed by the parking).  How can this roadway take the parking of many more cars without specific parking areas being constructed?  It is also surprising but also very worrying that no serious accident involving a child has not occurred as the traffic speeding through our village is constant.  Is it the same old adage that a fatal accident needs to happen first.  To increase even further the size of Capel School seems incomprehensible and also sadly, taking away the children's playing field if that is where new buildings are to be erected?  If a further school also needs to be built in the parish because it is not viable for Capel to be increased in size then the same arguments above apply, even more so.

It has been conveyed by you that Five Oak Green will have a by-pass, although this has not been confirmed re where this will run.  Because of the plan for Capel School to be increased in size, Five Oak Green Road will still have to accommodate a large amount of traffic relating to school runs coming in from both ends of the village.  Additional traffic will also use this road as a typical "rat run" eg Alders Road and Whetsted Road, Five Oak Green.

Paddock Wood and Tonbridge are already popular commuter towns.  To build a garden village of such a size between these two towns make us wonder who this village is going to benefit and who is it going to attract.  It seems the fashion at the moment is for Londoners to benefit from the countryside because of the "feel good factor" being promoted.  By being able to move out and reap the rewards of "cheaper" homes but still carrying on with their careers in London is ideal for them as it is their "affordable" housing.  Is this "affordable" housing for the benefit of our children - we definitely don't think so.  Are there going to be any Housing Association properties and if so are there going to be enough for the demand of the Tunbridge Wells population?

The population in our community is being increased to such an extent that it is frightening to think about how our medical services are going to cope.  It is proposed by you that new health centres will be provided but is the NHS aware of this and have the Government agreed that the money is there for this to be made possible because, otherwise, where are the finances and professionals to work in our community coming from? Since Paddock Wood has grown, we have noticed Woodlands Health Centre deteriorate together with our dental service. We know that this is common throughout the country but this is personal to us and we can see why our health service has struggled to cope, because of the large growth of Paddock Wood.  We cannot see a 3 week appointment time improving, especially when the new housing with new influx of people is going to swamp the area before very important services and facilities are in place.

Your future plans include modern leisure facilities for the massive increase in population.  How long will the community have to wait for these. Putlands Leisure Centre in Paddock Wood was built many years ago and a swimming pool was a request from the community - this has still not happened.  How about financing facilities for the existing community?

We are very concerned regarding the increased flood risk to the area.  Our property has been flooded twice.  Two cars have been flood damaged with one being written off as it was half submerged in filthy water.  Although many measures in our village have been taken to decrease the risk ie higher kerbing and extensive work carried out to the culvert which runs through the middle of the village, by building on flood plains at the back of our property will these measures be sufficient?  We believe that plans to build on the flood plain are a serious backward step.

Finally, as Five Oak Green is sandwiched between these vast building proposals, you are expecting us to live for years surrounded by building sites, road works, road closures, large site vehicles, noise pollution.  Is this an acceptable environment for anyone to live in?

Our peaceful rural environment will be destroyed.

THIS CANNOT HAPPEN AND SHOULD NOT HAPPEN.

DLP_5423

Lisa Landreau

I live in Paddock Wood and have done for the last 18 years. I am saddened by the controversial permission by TWBC for circa 1000 houses to be built on land I have walked on and around for years. They are flood plains every winter and building more concrete-based structures will result in more flooding of our drains which are unable to cope already. Mascalls Grange already has a huge 'lake' where the water is unable to drain away and they are still building houses! Based on this :-

DLP_5427

Derek Fouche

As a resident on the boundary between Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells this proposed development will greatly impact my area and I feel that it is necessary to object to this development in any size going ahead.  Especially since there are better sites closer into Tunbridge Wells town centre that could be used.  This seems like a deliberate attempt to put a development on the boundary so that Tonbridge take the brunt of the impact but Tunbridge Wells recover the income.

DLP_5429

Graham Whibley

I have lived in this parish for 52 years and when I arrived in 1967 it was very much a rural community, you could cross the B2017 through Five Oak Green with ease now of coarse things are different due to the increase in traffic flow, but what you are proposing will turn this parish into almost a metropolitan area with vastly increased levels of pollution due to traffic flow (which is bad enough already) and increased likelihood of accidents.

There is also the question of infrastructure how will the medical services cope with an increase in population of two or three times the present level, it is hard enough to get a doctor’s appointment as it is,, and Woodgate Health Centre is not suitable for expansion so where will all the patients go.

This area was subject to flooding and due to flood defences in the 70’s and 80’s has been alleviated, with all the people who tarmac over their front gardens the general area will once again become subject to flooding,, after all we live in a valley, and you only have to look at Yalding to see what can happen.

I think the whole scheme is ill advised and I am sure there are many brown field sites that could be used

DLP_5431

Nicholas Lang

I am a resident on Tonbridge currently, and as a result I ask that you Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_5437

Tracey Jones

I live in Hildenborough and my family all live locally, one particularly in Tudeley - a lovely Oast House which, if this monstrous plan goes ahead, will be surrounded by houses as opposed to lovely fields of hay, rape seed and grass.

I cannot believe this is even being considered as an option when there are other sites around more suitable and less intrusive.

DLP_5443

Eddie Haydock

My family and I are extremely concerned about the proposed local developments. My daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren live in Golden Green and we all feel the current plans will have a huge negative effect on the area, the local community, the village, the surrounding villages, the town of Tonbridge (where I am a resident), our family and I feel most importantly the local environment.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

I feel that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council appear to be foisting the majority of the burden not on their own infrastructure and services but on those of Tonbridge and Malling and its residents.

It looks like a clear case of the big town bullying its smaller neighbour into accepting all the problems, upheaval and disadvantages involved in years of construction and the eventual overwhelming of our roads, resources and amenities while they sit back miles away and rake in the proceeds.

A travesty and totally unfair.

I implore you to reconsider this plan as I feel the local area will be irreparably damaged for ever.

DLP_5448

Anita Peach

I live and work in Five Oak Green and Paddock Wood, respectively, and as a keen countryside walker, nature enthusiast, a mother, lover and yoga teacher, the plans are quite simply horrendous! The loss of green belt land that attracted me to move to the Borough and to buy a home here are my main concern. The impact of the proposal seems to be lacking in thought and care for the environment.

If this plan goes ahead it will be to the huge detrimental and irreversible effect of so many humans and creatures in our current environment. Please reconsider!

DLP_5450

Elizabeth Andrews

Our family has lived in Tonbridge for last 17 years.  Living on Hadlow Road we have found that traffic volumes have increased hugely over this period of time and we now find that we are effectively blocked in our drive way during rush hours due to the rapid and unsustainable increase in traffic volume caused by the expansion of housing in our town without any increase in road capacity. There has been no commensurate increase in any of the services provided by the local council and everything appears to be in decline due to budgetary constraints.  How is our town  possibly going to cope with the vast increase in traffic and demand on local services that will have to be provided by Tonbridge, not by Tunbridge Wells as it should be?

TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.  

DLP_5455

Maria McNamara-Westlake

I live in Kings Hill but my son attends school in Tonbridge and so I regularly travel into the town as well as regularly travelling to Tonbridge Wells.

The traffic on the above routes is already horrendous with far too much pressure on small local roads.  Building more houses will only add to this problem.  Also, once built this land will be lost forever to future generations.  We need land to grow crops and not to be filled with unaffordable homes.

I have lived in Kings Hill for eleven years and even in that short space of tune I have seen houses built and no investment made in infrastructure, it is almost impossible to get a doctor’s appointment and traffic is increasing all the time.  

Please think about future generations, take a look the wildlife and the beautiful scenery. I grew up in London and am grateful that my child has grown up in Kent, it is so sad to see Kent  disappearing at such an alarming pace. Think of the future and not just about profit!

DLP_5461

Steve Waugh

My family and I are extremely concerned about the local developments. We live in Golden Green and feel the current plans will have a huge negative effect on the area, the local community, the village, the surrounding villages, the town of Tonbridge, our family and I feel most importantly the local environment.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

I also feel that this whole plan is an exercise in Tunbridge Wells fulfilling housing quotas at the expense of Tonbridge and the surrounding villages.

I implore you to reconsider this plan as I feel the local area will be irreparably damaged for ever.

DLP_5464

Tim Farazmand

I live in Golden Green and am an active walker/rambler in the local area as well as a regular commuter into London from Tonbridge Station and have material concerns about the proposed Capel development.

​ I know that all my friends that locally are similarly enraged and concerned at this potential development, it should not go ahead.

DLP_5467

Alison Williams-Walker

I live on Hartlake Road and work as a teacher in Sevenoaks. I am incredibly concerned about the proposed developments and my reasons are listed below.

DLP_5477

Hayden Parsons

I live in Golden Green and I work in Tunbridge Wells, having more houses in this area would be detrimental to the local area, not as much open space or air, no more country walks at the weekend, no where to take your dog on long walks. If there are more houses then going to the Poacher pub won’t be the same, you won’t be able to sit in the garden and take in the nice views and fields that surround the area. It would affect my travel to work because of the amount of cars there will be, will add a substantial amount of time to my journey, would cause more air and noise pollution. Overall I cannot see any positives for building new houses within this area, this is the countryside so let’s keep it that way.

DLP_5482

Jonathan Sayers

My name is Jonathan Sayers, a resident of Tonbridge for the last ten years. I myself commute to London for work everyday and my children attend our local primary school. We as a family use Tonbridge town center for a variety of amenities and retail outlets as well as the excellent transport links to London and the south coast. We also enjoy the expanse of open space on our doorstep, be it for walks in the countryside or bike rides around the country lanes.

Over the last ten years we have watched Tonbridge expand and grow into a vibrant place to live and have also noticed a huge increase in the local traffic volumes into and out of town especially at peak times with some journey times at least doubling and tail backs clogging local routes as people seek to avoid the traffic. 

In our opinion Tonbridge itself has expanded to its maximum capacity with the current infrastructure, with many former brown field sites now made up of flats and townhouses.

​The proposed local plan for Capel Parish (Policy STR/CA1) and East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1) would put untold strain on an already overloaded infrastructure and transport links as well as destroying forever a huge amount of the green belt land on our doorstep not only for us but future generations as well.

TWBC's gain will ultimately be TMBC's loss.

DLP_5490

Eliza Chilvers

My name is Eliza Chilvers, I have resided on the Hartlake Road for the entirety of my life, apart from a few years spent at University in Birmingham.  The beautiful surrounding countryside has always been a joy to be around, I currently enjoy walking my dogs in and around Tudeley and Capel.  I am also an avid rider, keeping my horse at Bank Farm Stables in Tudeley, the thought of losing the limited riding I currently enjoy is very distressing, having to force me to exercise my horse on the roads with the potential of increased traffic flow, making me increasingly vulnerable when enjoying my hobby.

I currently work in Sevenoaks a journey which should take under 20 minutes however due to the already vast volumes of traffic often can take an hour, I simply cannot comprehend how long the journey will take me with the potential of an extra 4,000 cars on the road!

I understand the need to fulfil the housing deficit, however flooding the market with new homes in a poorly connected area in a flood risk does not seem like the most appropriate way forward to ensure these needs are met.

DLP_5494

Peter Gurr

Our daughter and family have lived in Five Oak Green for 15 years and it is obvious that this village would not be able to cope with the increase in traffic.

The local school our youngest granddaughter goes to is at capacity, the main road is very busy now and the increase in traffic would be a nightmare. Our oldest granddaughter catches a bus to a school in Tonbridge and never gets a seat as it is.

DLP_5496

A Richardson

I live in Postern Lane with my wife and 3 young children and would love for them to grow up in this green belt and quiet environment.

We love taking walks up what is a quiet lane with great access to the beautiful woodland and Grade II listed buildings and we want this to remain this way. In the 5 years we have lived here we have seen an huge increase in traffic around this area of Tonbridge and the building of a new town but more specifically a school at the end of the Lane will create havoc with our day to day lives.

We strongly object to the plans for the new school as it is not a suitable location due to the railway line and lack of transport links but more importantly due to adverse impact on local residents and wildlife.

DLP_5498

Richard, Hollie, Harry and Jack Sadler

I have lived in Five Oak Green for 15 years, and have two children who attend Capel School. Every day since I first heard the news of this tragedy I can’t believe this beautiful and historic area will be lost to what I believe is no good reason. This is not because I think we are not in need of affordable housing but because I don’t believe there is one moral or sensible reason to create 2,800 homes is this destructive manner, other than conveniently there is one land owner offering their land.

I realise the UK needs more housing, especially affordable housing but I feel creating large areas of ‘Garden Villages’ not only destroys beautiful areas of heritage, countryside,  community and farming but also creates a vastly negative impact on issues mentioned above such as flooding, transport, schools, biodiversity, sustainability, green belt, well being, pollution and the emergency services. If houses were to be fairly and evenly spread over the whole of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council this would have far less of a destructive impact to all the reasons previously mentioned.

DLP_5505

Natalie Sadler

I have lived in Five Oak Green for 15 years, and have two children who attend Capel School. Every day since I first heard the news of this tragedy I can’t believe this beautiful and historic area will be lost to what I believe is no good reason. This is not because I think we are not in need of affordable housing but because I don’t believe there is one moral or sensible reason to create 2,800 homes is this destructive manner, other than conveniently there is one land owner offering their land.

I realise the UK needs more housing, especially affordable housing but I feel creating large areas of ‘Garden Villages’ not only destroys beautiful areas of heritage, countryside,  community and farming but also creates a vastly negative impact on issues mentioned above such as flooding, transport, schools, biodiversity, sustainability, green belt, well being, pollution and the emergency services. If houses were to be fairly and evenly spread over the whole of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council this would have far less of a destructive impact to all the reasons previously mentioned.

DLP_5508

Amalia Floyd

My name is Amalia Floyd.  I live in Five Oak Green and work in Tonbridge and here are my views on the new local plan:

DLP_5520

Joanne Warnett

We live in North Tonbridge and have done for a number of years. We were shocked to hear of the proposed plans at Tudeley and East Capel.

DLP_5530

Julie Tilley

I am a Tonbridge resident having lived here for over 57 years. My grandparents and other members of my family are buried in Tudeley Church Yard and I would not like the church and its occupants disturbed by the enormous building project proposed.

DLP_5628

Kate Shorten

I am a resident of Tonbridge who has chosen to raise my young family here and I also work in the town.

DLP_5668

Paul Nightingale

I live in Whetsted with my wife and two children and have done so for 12 years.  We moved here from a town because we wanted to live in a country village.  If I had wanted to live in a community like Kings Hill I would have moved there. I work all over the South East and commute by train and there is no way that the Southeastern network will be able to cope with any extra passengers let alone thousands. The roads around here can't cope with the traffic we already have.  It can take 10 mins or 30 mins just to get into Tonbridge and there is no rhyme or reason to the congestion just SWOT.

Building in Paddock wood on the site Badsell Road / Mascalls is underway and it is already a nightmare.  It is a single lane road in and out and there is constantly temporary lights on the road which the road can’t cope with.  I dread to think how long we will have to live like this already!  The building at Mascalls Grange has come to a halt, due to the following reasons, 1) they can’t sell the houses they have built already in the first small phase and so they can’t build more and 2) they are having problems with drainage eg septic tanks etc.

There are approx. 10 houses that are currently for sale in Five Oak Green alone (that have been on the market for a long time) that are NOT selling.  We do not need more homes here. The infrastructure can’t cope.

In addition to this the quarry in Whetsted Road is being re-opened anyway with plans (which I have objected to also) to expand massively.  Whetsted Road can't cope with the amount of HGV's going in and out of Scripps as it is.  This traffic has increased hugely sine we moved in 2007. It is damaging the road and our houses with these HGVs rumbling along 7 days a week.  It can't cope with any more traffic.​

DLP_5780

Robert Davis

I am a resident of North Tonbridge adjacent to your Local Plan proposal for housing development in Tudeley and East Capel. I wish to register a strong objection to this TWBC Local Plan. I regularly walk the Medway and the footpaths in Tudeley. I have kept a horse for 9 years at Bank Farm, Sherenden Road and know that horse owners and riders regularly use Sherenden Road, the toll rides and farm headlands. This area of outstanding natural beauty and the green belt is home to Larks, Buzzards, Goldfinches, Swifts and Egrets to name only some of the wildlife to be enjoyed by walkers and riders.

This number of houses so close to Tonbridge will impact transport, schools, NHS services and the character of the area as a whole. This proposed development and the development to follow will link Tonbridge with Paddock Wood forming, in effect, a massive new town. Wildlife habitats will be lost, valuable productive farmland will disappear and a valuable and vital resource for people to walk and enjoy the countryside will be lost.

The cost of this urbanisation will be born by the residents of Tonbridge. It is a cynical move on the part of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to receive the resulting council tax income but none of the monetary or social cost, whilst landowners and developers make huge profits.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_5784

Mrs Jacqueline Hayward-Gant

As a resident of Paddock Wood with the absolutely disgusted by the planning permission on green fields and the environment increasing an area with pre existing flooding and destruction of animal habitat and separate fields between Paddock Wood and Capel and Tonbridge.

We all have separation and support for each other.

Small country lanes which already get grid locked now plus insufficient Gp, Hospital,car parking, travel congestion, flooding, loss of orchards and fields and farmland,school places,community centres and green spaces for cricket and sports, congestion causing copd, asthma and lung disease.

As a qualified nurse I have insight into the positivity that green spaces hold and a healthier environment to live in and the damaging health effects that Will take place if the additional planning consent will give.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_6116

Tim Page

I live at Somerhill Cottages in Crockhurst Street,Tudeley. When I moved to the area I enjoyed the countryside and open space.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

End of additional comments submitted with standard response

DLP_138

Gregg Newman

Object

Your so called strategy is nothing of the sort. It is an attempt to push through an ill thought out and self-serving agenda without any care for the countryside which you purport to want to preserve.

As noted above, there are enormous risks, not least to human lives (not to mention the deaths of literally thousands of trees, animals and other wildlife that have lived in our green and pleasant land since before we ever did). In the words of Great Thunberg, “How dare you”!

I support a previous submission in the following respects, and quote it in full as follows in support of my submission that tis plan is hugely flawed:

QUOTE

This is a strategy which is absolutely, completely, totally unachievable. The risks involved in plonking a “garden settlement” on this Green Belt hamlet are huge. The infrastructure costs are huge. The landowner and co-masterplanner is inexperienced and ill-equipped to deliver such a complex project. Point by point the policy is flawed in the following ways:

  1. The provision of employment and retail provision within the settlement will be minimal and no compensation for the agricultural land and farming/equestrian employment lost if the development goes ahead.
  2. The proposed secondary school site is next to an extremely busy road that is already very congested at school drop-off times. It also crosses a railway line that is at the bottom of a very deep cutting. Can the children cross safely before, during and after the school day?
  3. There is no requirement for more primary school places in the immediate locality. The birth rate is dropping and new homeowners will probably be commuters with no children or elderly people.
  4. 4,000 new dwellings is overkill. The houses are not needed in this area. Spread them out across the borough.
  5. Flood storage areas and other mitigation strategies can be delivered without developer contributions from new housing. Introducing hard surfaces and dwellings on to the meadows and fields will increase the flood risk beyond any mitigation measures.
  6. You say that road locations have regard to KCC minerals allocations but those allocations have not yet been approved. Strategic transport links cannot be provided without destroying large areas of AONB. The offline A228 link will cause horrendous traffic issues at Pembury. Any transport links provided will have to continue on through Tonbridge doubling, tripling or quadrupling the road improvement costs and causing chaos in an already highly congested traffic area.
  7. No comment.
  8. Despite surrounding Five Oak Green with 4,000+ new houses, you state clearly that you want to keep on providing additional housing within Five Oak Green. Unacceptable.
  9. The release of Green Belt land is not permitted within the NPPF as there are no “exceptional circumstances” just a greedy landowner and a lazy planning approach favouring negotiating with a single landowner over dealing with multiple landowners at Horsmonden (which is outside of Green Belt and AONB).
  10. No comment
  11. The impact on carbon sequestration provided by the farmland, meadows, mature trees and hedgerows in CA1 cannot be offset by a nod to zero/low carbon energy production. The impact of this development on climate change is severely negative and shameful.
  12. This site is within the recognised 1km AONB buffer zone and so is entirely unsuitable for development of this scale.
  13. The AONB Management Plan is blown to pieces by this proposed development. Your policy is defunct.

You have a Masterplanning and Delivery approach within this policy that does not reference the involvement of developers and landowners. It is my understanding that the masterplanning of East Capel will be completely controlled by the Council. However, the masterplanning of Tudeley appears to be shared between the Council and Hadlow Estate. This is unfair and unwise. The Hadlow Estate are inexperienced and have a poor track record of delivery of even small projects on time and on budget.  The properties they have in their care at present are generally maintained with minimal effort and regard to aesthetics and maximum regard to rental potential. Why would this change when they build thousands of homes to sell at maximum profit? How can you realistically ensure that they use masterplanning for the greater good to achieve good design and not just to maximise profit?

UNQUOTE

Please note also in respect of Hadlow Estate, they are clearly conflicted and cannot be awarded the roles considered.

DLP_156

Nigel Barretto

I am writing to ​object​ to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).​ I have made some points here that you have seen before. Additional personal comments are also included.

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 Tonbridge. These proposals will cause a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, this will add to the extreme traffic congestion that currently exists on this road every morning. The level of traffic is already unacceptable between 7.45am to 9am due to work and school traffic,on Woodgate Way, Vale Road and Pembury Road which 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 site does not appear to be a suitable site for a school, as it is surrounded by heavy traffic and requiring children to cross a busy train line to access both sides of the site.

People that will be living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and also Tonbridge town services with the lack of current parking that will need to be increased. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. As it’s roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. There will be a increase in numbers of passengers on already a very packed commuter trains system from Tonbridge Station. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult than it currently is. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area,which could cause hardship to people living in the Tunbridge Wells area if jobs were affected.There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, as Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding already there are problems with the streams over flowing and roads flooding in Five Oak Green and Whetsted . There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).The Church is also very popular with coach parties with visitors from all around the world,wanting to see a church or renown fame which is situated in the country side.

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.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

I believe that the housing need to be recalculated by the government and can be reduced. If it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_158

Nigel Barretto

Other Comments:

In addition to the above

With the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council proposal to build over 4000 homes in the Parish of Capel ,in the areas of Tudeley and to the west of Paddock Wood.I am asking you to consider my very strong objections. You will be aware Capel is a rural Parish that sits within the green belt, and there are currently 900 homes in the Parish. It is mainly agricultural land and woodland that house various forms of wildlife, the unique culture and heritage that is in the Parish include Tudeley and St Thomas a Becket churches. The proposal that you have put forward to build the enormous number of homes would have a significant impact on the rural landscape, environment, and wildlife, changing the Parish beyond all recognition. It would cause the loss of the important buffer of green belt from Tonbridge, which would result in urban development from Tonbridge to Paddock Wood.Therefore losing the ability of having the freedom for families and individuals to walk, explore and enjoy peacefulness of the open space away from the towns and villages. The suggestion of so many homes in these location, could lead to a greater risk of flooding both locally and further along the River Medway floodplain, putting at risk other built up towns and villages such as Yalding that struggles when the Medway overflows. If you are required to Increased housing it should be developed in proportion to existing population numbers across the borough the brownfield sites and other sites which already have infrastructure in place. Much of the land proposed in Capel for development has a single landowner and the simplicity in developing that land should not come before the significant detrimental impact it would have. Part of the site of the proposed development sits at the very edge of the Borough next to the border with Tonbridge and Malling. It is hard to belive that there appears to be no consideration given to any increase in population within Capel that would result in a significant demand upon the neighbouring Borough without any plan or infrastructure to cope with the increase of people traffic etc. This would result in a deterioration of lifestyle and have an impact on businesses. Under the Government proposals for garden Villages and settlements they recommend that they are not built where there are existing settlements but should be new and discrete. There is nothing discrete about the proposed plans which would be situated in the existing settlements. The Government also advise that garden villages and settlements should have local support, I would suggest that this is clearly not the case in the Capel proposal. In addition, from the proposed plans the existing railway line will dissect the proposed sites which does not support garden settlement principles. Please can you advise me of why you consider this proposal to be the prefered choice ? Finally, on behalf of myself ,my family and friends that visit the Parish of Capel .I request that you do not support this proposal that does not appear to have been thought through properly and is unsustainable and is detrimental to both local residents and businesses and those from further afield. I would appreciate your earliest response in this matter.

DLP_159

Gregg Newman

I strongly object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

I refer you to my comments in full contained in my response to the Draft Local Plan Consultation Response Form and Sustainability Response Form.

To reiterate for emphasis.

This is an ill thought out and ill-conceived proposal that will forever be a stain upon the consciences of any and all who are concerned should it become reality.

You dare to pay lip service to protecting the environment, whilst at the same time destroying the habitats of innumerable plant and animal species. Although on a smaller scale, there is no difference between your plans and the Brazilian Government’s policy towards the Amazon Rain Forest (which you have doubtless wrung your hands over!).

Your plan will turn the area not into some idyllic “garden villages. It will tarmac and concrete over ancient woodland, and contribute to global warming and flooding. No amount of platitudes, half-truths and cynical distortions of facts in your so called plan will alter what this really is. Turning the Garden of England, the heart of our Green and Pleasant Land, into a soulless waste land of identical poorly constructed house with inadequate infrastructure, a ghetto well enough hidden from the residents of Tunbridge Wells so as not to offend their sensitivities.

Your plan will also, undoubtedly, result in injures or even deaths to children who will have to travel miles on poor roads, in darkness, to get to and from school.

I could write reams, but it seems pointless. Everything has been said over and over again. Please, TWBC, deeply examine your consciences and show yourselves to be above the Westminster gerrymandering that is destroying our country, take a stand and protect England and this beautiful planet  and all its inhabitants, not only human but plant and animal too.

I look forward to you restoring y faith in human nature, thank you.

DLP_163

Norman Pickett

Other Comments:The proposed developments are disproportionate to the environment in which they will sit, and will overburden the locality.

The sign “Love where we live” will become a sad memorial to the once pastoral nature of this eastern fringe of the borough.

DLP_167

Tony Castleden

Other Comments:

By firstly even considering and then publishing this ill thought out plan based on pure convenience you have probably already effectively destroyed the values of most properties within the immediate area.

Thank you TWBC.

DLP_170

Lyn Castleden

Other Comments:

By firstly even considering and then publishing this ill thought out plan based on pure convenience you have probably already effectively destroyed the values of most properties within the immediate area.

Thank you TWBC.

DLP_191

Christopher Wise

Other Comments:

I have made the unarguable points regarding traffic congestion in three personal letters sent direct to Greg Clark MP and Tom Tugendhat MP.  The inevitable and unsustainable gridlock that will be caused on A26 (Woodgate Way) and B2017 (Five Oak Green Road/Tudeley Lane) will arise from ‘Tudeley Garden Village’ alone, let alone East Capel and enlarged Paddock Wood.  That’s before considering the new secondary school, with its traffic entering/exiting and crossing either of these already clogged roads, depending in where the entrance will be – it has to be one or the other.

I have also made the equally unarguable points regarding the already saturated peak hour train loading from Tonbridge to the two MPs mentioned above, as well as Sir Michael Fallon MP.

At a recent Save Capel meeting, a planner from Tonbridge expressed real concerns over the plans, saying that Mr Tugendhat urged residents to respond – which I urged him to do publicly in my letter to him, given his powerful voice (and recent success in West Malling).  Tonbridge should indeed be furious and very worried – these plans are about the most un-neighbourly act imaginable: Tunbridge Wells will trouser all the Council Tax, whilst all the new residents will use Tonbridge’s amenities and roads.  Charming, I don’t think.  Perhaps that at least in part explains why of the three MPs I have written to, the only one I have yet to hear from is Greg Clark, my own MP.

DLP_193

Iain Thomas

Other Comments:

This is a crass and lazy plan. There are large areas of brownfield within the Borough which could and should be developed instead.  The pressure on infrastructure caused by this gargantuan development will be unsustainable and an historic and beautiful part of the Kent Countryside will be lost forever.  Moreover, the decision of the Council to promote a scheme which is remote from Tunbridge Wells Town Centre and which will rely on other adjoining boroughs for its infrastructure and services is completely contrary to the purposes of the Council. This, and the fact that the Council only has to deal with one single landowner WHO IS NOT EVEN A RESIDENT OF THE BOROUGH demonstrates a complete lack of any imagination or intellectual application in addressing the need for increased housing supply.

I speak as a former resident of TWBC for 27 years before I moved to Hadlow in January of this year when I say that the legacy of this Council will have been to reduce a once beautiful Victorian town to a soulless windswept urban desert, with dozens of empty shops, a half vacant shopping centre, classrooms and doctors' waiting rooms full to overflowing to meet demand from the thousands of new residents, roads clogged with traffic and no consideration for preserving the town and its surrounds for future generations.  Councillors need only look out of the windows of their offices to see their legacy – the former cinema site, smack bang in the centre of town and derelict for 20 years while the Council chooses the oak panelling for its luxurious new offices to be built on one of the few remaining public open spaces in Calverley Grounds.

This proposal has to be halted. Permanently.  And the Council need to fulfil their civic function and consider more sympathetic and imaginative schemes.

DLP_197

Lawrence Matthews

Other Comments:

My comments echo this draft form regarding Traffic,noise and air pollution. Above all creating such Housing, and need for greater infastructure will cause mass destruction of Woodland and Farm Land in a Green Belt area. We must protect this area for Wildlife and people. We all need the remaining Green Belt for the enjoyment of all, which has been shown to aid peoples mental wellbeing. Around Tudeley is a wonderful enviroment, a big area like this proposed Garden Village in Tudeley, must and cannot be destroyed. A growth corridor approach would be far better for the increasing population. It would appear that Sevenoaks Council have adopted a far better approach to protect Green Belt land, and we should do the same.

DLP_201

Andy Myers

Other Comments:

The main summary has well documented the issues.

As a local resident, choosing to live (and pay for) in what is a semi rural, and currently beautiful area, my family and I are devastated by the changes afoot.

We have no faith in the Council’s strategy around providing the infrastructure around this expansion.   This is already visible with the other developments/expansions done to date and indeed personified by the likes of the (lack of) education facilities, traffic and rail issues already in existence.

DLP_204

Martin Meyer

Other Comments:

I am been resident of Tonbridge for 12 years and during that time I have seen considerable change for the worse. The development of housing has been relentless, and Tonbridge has suffered as a consequence. Traffic is appalling most weekday mornings and evenings and for most of the day at the weekend. Pressure on local schools is already bad and will get considerably worse. I know of children who live next door to a Tonbridge school but commute to Sevenoaks because there are no places available for them. My commute by to train London which is expensive, and poor can only get worse if the Capel development is given approval. What concerns me the most is the impact this development will have on the countryside and environment. I was born in Kent and in the last forty years, the area I have grown up in has been decimated by development. Initially the development was small and slow- wealthy London commuters converting farm buildings into residential homes but now the development is large scale and considerably more destructive to the very thing that gives Kent its ‘Garden of England’ identity. Once gone, this identity cannot be recovered, and this will do irrevocable harm to the quality of life for residents and to the health of the environment.

DLP_207

Neil Brooks-Johnson

Sirs,

I cannot express how upset I am with the plan, in addition to all the reasons above the wider impact has just not been considered. Hartlake Road which is already a rat run through to Victoria Road and onto the A21 at Hadlow will become even more dangerous. Additional roads do not allay or mitigate congestion they merely move it elsewhere.

We all know that the impact of this development is in Tonbridge and environs and not TW. Tudeley is a Tonbridge village within your boroughs boundary. You are exporting your demands onto another local authority.

I am not against correct development and have supported my council on their plans for more housing in our village, but more housing needs ought to be built within or adjacent to existing towns and villages upgrading and improving existing infrastructure, to avoid the constant need to build many more roads over Kent’s green belt, destroying it forever for future generations. We need the good farming land to support our expanding population, which this is, but with farmers who are prepared to farm not sell up to make a quick profit. .

There is very little in your plan here that is founded in logic, please withdraw this foolish plan and think again.

DLP_209

Mrs P Price

I am writing to object to The Strategy for Capel Parish (Policy STR/CA1).

I have for 60 years lived in Tonbridge and both my husband and I went to school by train to Tonbridge from Sevenoaks.   We are extremely concerned about the TWBC proposals to build 2,800 dwellings in the Parish of Capel which will naturally cause Tonbridge to bear the costs of extra people coming into Tonbridge for schools, doctors’ surgeries, commuters using trains (already over crowded), parking and other facilities. Tonbridge residents will get no help for the extra costs but the council tax will go to Tunbridge Wells - what a cunning wheeze!     It would seem most likely that the residents of any new development would gravitate to Tonbridge to use the facilities, there being no easy route to get to Tunbridge Wells, either by road or rail.

The land where it is proposed to build all these houses is, I understand, Green Belt land and we often walked from Tonbridge to Capel and Tudeley in the lovely countryside. It is still a popular walk for many people.

DLP_213

Jacqueline Arscott

Hangman's Hill Residents Association

Other Comments:

I agree with the all the above comments [TWBC: see Comment Number DLP_212and wish to emphasise that the proposed development land is designated as both Green Belt and as an AONB and is also a flood plain. There is no situation where massive development on such land is appropriate. It seems to be lazy governing by TWBC to simply let the Hadlow Estate build over their land, thereby only dealing with one landowner. The proposed development would not only be a catastrophe for the environment, but would devastate Tonbridge. The housing would be sold to Londoners, not local people, because "affordable housing" is only affordable to Londoners. They would all drive into Tonbridge to use the facilities - the trains, the schools, the doctors, dentists, shops. My road (Goldsmid Road) is full of parked commuter cars by 6am as it is. There simply isn't any space for any more cars and the silly idea that these Londoners would use a bus or bicycle to get to the train station is not even worth discussing! It is clear that TWBC has given no consideration to the effect this development would have on Tonbridge. TMBC would have to cater for all the extra facilities these people would require whilst TWBC would collect the council tax!

I do not believe Tunbridge Wells needs so many new houses, regardless of random figures from central government. I also understand that councils with large areas of Green Belt or AONB land can lower the amount of building required because there is less available land. TWBC seem to have ignored this, presumably because the Hadlow Estate want to maximise the profit from the proposed development. There does not seem to be a need for a new garden town which will simply increase pollution, congestion, parking issues and commuting and ruin landscapes, wildlife habitats and quality of life.

So, my objections to this proposal are that it is wrong and unnecessary to build on Green Belt land and on an AONB. It is crazy to build on a flood plain, especially with the effects of climate change still unfolding. It will absolutely destroy Tonbridge and will not bring anything other than council tax income into Tunbridge Wells (these proposed new residents won't work in Tunbridge Wells and won't shop there or use the facilities - they will use Tonbridge). My main objection is that IT IS GREEN BELT LAND!

DLP_220

Claire Songhurst

Other Comments:

Last weekend, I went for a run through the beautiful countryside around Capel. While I ran, I was listening to a podcast of Radio 4’s Ramblings programme in which Clare Balding was proclaiming the proven benefits to mental health of walking and being in the countryside. This seemed to me to be particularly pertinent as I was in the very areas that would be affected by this disastrous development.

Please see sense and cancel these plans.

DLP_223

Diana Allchorne

Your site is not user friendly.  I wish to comment on your plans for building on green belt land.  You do not make it easy for people who are not professional developers, architects, town planners.  I am unhappy about the way you have introduced this proposal for thousands of houses on green belt land.   There is insufficient infrastructure and the damage to the countryside is inestimable. I did love where I lived but now and the wildlife and the countryside I love is under major threat.  There is also the question of pollution.   I do not think there would be a safe air quality if this major development were to go ahead.

[TWBC: further comments sent in response to TWBC email]:

Many thanks for your response and yes, I would like you to include the comments I have made.   I am very concerned also about the effect on the wildlife and habitats in the area.   As you May know, this country has the most depleted wildlife habitat I believe in the whole of Europe.  Hedgehogs have declined dramatically in numbers and we need to preserve the countryside not trash it (for an example see the countryside which has already been wrecked by quarrying in Tudeley.   I do not believe this development will be any different from any other soulless development which make lots of money for the developers.  I do not want a Poundbury on my doorstep either.  As for providing ‘much needed’ housing that is a joke when many people are still living with their parents (my son included) because they cannot, as a single person, afford to buy even a studio flat in this area. We need to rewind this area not cover it in concrete if we are to halt the destruction of our countryside.

DLP_228

Julie Smithers

Other Comments:

Any future developments should all be on high ground with plenty of drainage, no long term housing should even be considered on low ground, or on our green belt.

DLP_231

Sara Day

Other Comments:

I live on the ANOB which was initially included. I am concerned that there is an option to include it again in 2024. The ANOB should be protected at all costs, once it is gone it will be lost forever.

I am concerned as a long term member of the RSPB regards the loss of habitat for the migrating birds: the threatened skylarks, turtle dove, lapwings and nightingale. There areas are already threatened by the quarry proposal. It is our obligation to protect the areas which are visited by these visitors. They follow the same routes and will not look for alternatives if their habitat is lost. Studies show this to be the case.

I am concerned that the increased number of houses in the area will not be policed. The roads are becoming more dangerous with young drivers using it as a race course. The A21 dualling is one of the most dangerous roads created with many accidents since it was opened.

I am concerned that I paid a premium to move to a lovely area which will be decimated by people who do not appreciate the countryside. The local plan will serve people moving out of the London area, this is not what a local plan should be made for.

There is a lack of police presence, how will this be served with the area to be heavily developed being in TWBC with Tonbridge bearing the impact of the increase in people.

It is our obligation to protect Kent, the garden of England. The climate allows for farming and development in this area, once gone it will be lost. The county has faced some tough times and the significant increase in development should be resisted as Sevenoaks BC have tried to do. A garden village cannot be created and just dropped onto an area without careful planning and thought, I have no confidence that the area will be developed sympathetically, the pressure being to squeeze in as many houses as you can. 2800 is urban sprawl, not a “garden village”.

I am sorry that it has come to this. I urge you to read the comments made by all but my primary concern is that even though a public consultation process has been started the development seems to be a forgone conclusion with no real thought as to how it will impact on the people who have lived in Tudeley all their life, or as in my case someone who has paid to live in a semi rural area, whose existence is now called into question.

DLP_239

Mrs Linda Hewings

Other Comments:

Green Belt land was specifically designed to surround urban areas with buffers to prevent urban sprawl and give inhabitants of these built up areas a chance to leave noisy, busy, polluted streets and reconnect with nature.  Research has shown that the natural environment helps reduce stress, feelings of sadness and lifts a person’s spirits. Increasingly, if utilised correctly it is having the effect of reducing spending on mental healthcare.

To concrete over fertile agricultural land, when we now know that climate change is putting increased pressure on our food production, makes no sense.  We should be concentrating on preserving the countryside and increasing the amount of food we produce in this country.

DLP_260

Ian Huddart

Other Comments:

I object to any building on Green Belt. It is vital to preserve it and brown field sites should always be developed first, even if far more expensive. As a means of combating climate change it is also vital to maintain and try to increase green spaces, trees and vegetation. This also helps to maintain and hopefully increase the numbers of wild animals, bird, insects and fish which are under increasing threat from humans and have seen their habitats massively reduced.

As a resident of Tonbridge, I experience traffic congestion on a regular basis. Due to the railway line through the town and the limited places at which it can be crossed, any increase in local traffic would exacerbate the situation and also increase local pollution levels.

DLP_263

Simon Walton

I am utterly upset at the way precious Green Belt land is set to be sold off and developed when there are so many large Brownfield sites that exist across the borough. Myself and my family love our walks through to the fields at Whetsted Woods at the end of our road in this largely unspoilt landscape. The pressures on Tonbridge town centre and the surrounding area will be far too excessive, it will not cope. I was brought up in South Tonbridge near Somerhill estate and moved to Paddock Wood 5 years ago and spent my life travelling that route by either train, car or bike and it will be ruined to allow TWBC to dump a vast percentage of it’s building quota in one small area that simply does not have or can not accommodate the infrastructure. It’s a terrible shame and makes me want to leave the area I have known for 38 years. It’s astonishing how I’ve moved some 6 miles from where I grew up and this development will fill the area between. How can that be sustained. The trainline is very ill-prepared, what provisions would be made to help the already failing operator cope with some additional 2000 probable daily users.

It’s a pretty traditional British trait to hide ones emotions and keep a stiff upper lip but what has very much surprised me is the various conversations I overhear in the street on this subject. Absolute strangers have brought this up to me in passing. It just tells me the depth of feeling and hurt this appears to be causing. It’s mystifying why TWBC would want to inflict this on the people who live there, and why they want to damage their own area in this way.

DLP_266

Rosemary and Bernard Hayton

Other Personal Comments:

(1) My 7 year old son said “they (TWBC) can’t build on the fields, where would the animals go?” Globally there is Climate Emergency due to destruction of natural environment and over industrialisation. Nationally the UK State of Nature Report (Oct 2019) clearly sets out the scientific evidence of dramatic decline in habitats for our most precious species. 1 in 7 of our native species, which are currently found around Capel are endangered. Since 1950 species like hedgehogs have suffered a 95% decline, and 97% of meadowland have been destroyed. What about biodiversity? What about collapse of food chains? What about extinction of our species? How can TWBC publish sustainability reports and then even consider any housing development on green belt land. Its green belt for a reason. The lungs of our garden of England…

(2) Flood: Our house is on the flood plain, and has flooded in the past. Your plan to urbanise this flood plain and reduce permeable sustainable natural drainage systems is beyond comprehension. When other council areas are creating SUDS (sustainable drainage systems), such as in Somerset most recently, why are TWBC bucking the trend / taking a retrograde step and creating risks of flooding both in our parish and downstream to places like Yalding (who have a significant flood history which costs millions of pounds and disruption to families and businesses alike.

(3) The danger of traffic increase: The Plan to place 2 large developments either side of our village of Five Oak Green leaves our home and neighbours as a rat run between these areas. I walk the school run every term time day. Every day huge lorries thunder passed us on the road, just feet from my children on the pavement. One of my children has had chest problems, and the pumping out pollution from a potential increase in traffic is a frightening thought. We also have no official pedestrian crossing, and already take our life in our hands when we try to cross the road.

I implore you to look again at your figures that the housing needs are based on.

Look again at the brown field sites.

Look again at putting a value on our natural environment, vanishing species, and sustainability of biodiversity.

Look again at your short term financial gain, and think hard about what your legacy will be.

Look again at what my son will say to the people who decided that it wasn’t important to protect the natural environment around his home.

If you fail to, look again at your next election results. Our views must be represented.

We OBJECT in the most strongest possible way.

Yours, in hope of common sense and decency,

DLP_269

Cheryl Randeria

This land is Green Belt land and should only be built upon if an “exceptional circumstance” exists. Building here, even with flood risk mitigation and “betterment” could have disastrous consequences for all, as the measures being looked at are based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change.

DLP_271

Alison Edwards

I am so disappointed that TWBC are proposing to build on so much green belt land. I do not believe that these are “the exceptional circumstances” that allow councils to do this. There are many brownfield sites available but these naturally, being smaller sites probably cost more to develop, but you have to weigh this against the cost of ruining our countryside and the impact that has on everyone living in the area. Along with my friends, I walk through this area using public footpaths and bridleways across this green belt land at least once a week. This beautiful countryside is my therapy. I work as a nurse in the NHS and have done so for over 30 years. It is a stressful and demanding job. One of the reasons I can cope with all the stresses and strains that my work throws at me is that I can de-stress through walking outdoors in green spaces, not pavements through towns and villages but getting back in touch with nature. I am appalled by this proposal.

The area around Tudeley and Capel is very rural. In these days of climate change, how can we justify destroying so much farm land and other green belt land in place of housing and consequently more cars and traffic. We need our green spaces more than ever, not just to reoxygenate the air but to also feed the nation. We need more farmers and farmed land, not less. In the light of Brexit too, it is probably even more important that we develop places that can help to feed us, rather than build over them.

I also firmly believe that facilities and road structures in Tonbridge cannot sustain this level of development. As a nurse working in a local GP Practice I am well aware of the pressure on GP surgeries at the present time without further development. It is very difficult to employ regular GPs, in fact the GP surgery where I work at present is struggling to recruit GPs and we are currently managing on 1 part time GP and various locum Doctors (which cost the NHS a lot more money) for 6000 patients. This is the case in many surgeries and I believe that most, if not all the local surgeries are full and have closed their books. Building this new village so close to Tonbridge will have a huge impact on local Doctors. Are TWBC going to pay the locum bill for the extra staff needed in Tonbridge surgeries? Somehow, I doubt it.

Please reconsider this proposed development. I along with many others passionately object to it and respectfully ask you to save Capel.

DLP_272

Petrina Lambert

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). I will make some points here that I am sure you have seen before. Additional personal comments are overleaf.

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. Commuter parking at Tonbridge Station 837 spaces and 20 disabled. Comment on web site “purchasing tickets and permits in advance does not guarantee a parking space”. Commuter parking in Paddock Wood, 470 spaces and 13 disabled but there is a permit holder waiting list (£1087.40 per year) There is no guarantee that these new commuters will get parked never mind get on a train or even into Tonbridge on the roads that are at capacity already.

The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).

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.

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

The site of the new Town at Tudeley was not in the issues and options document or the SHELAA at the date that we were told about the ‘new garden village’ and was only added in July 2019. So I cant understand how people gave a fair opinion about the suitability of a new ‘garden village’ when asked about their preferred options in the issues and option document when the location had not been revealed.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_274

Petrina Lambert

BUILDING ON THE GREEN BELT.

The development at Tudeley would result in the destruction of a small but happy and supportive village community. With the added sorrow of the great loss of some of most beautiful countryside and wildlife. We have wonderful bluebell woods, beautiful trees, natural ponds and great many insects, butterflies, owls, bats and we must not forget the occasional deer, pheasant and of course the birds. We see the hawks on a daily basis. We should not be building on the Green Belt.  It would also cause irretrievably damage to the climate building on the Metropolitan Green Belt. The green belt is there to clean the air not just for our local area but far beyond. It is there to prevent coalescence of towns and Tudeley would become a nondescriptive bridge joining Paddock Wood and Tonbridge together. Scarring the landscape and be visible from the ANOB North Downs.

Distribution of Development Topic Paper for Draft Local Plan – Regulation 18 Consultation 

See page 79 and chart there on,

Tudeley village green belt is there to prevent sprawl and towns merging. Could this be to stop the Coalescence of Tonbridge, Five Oak Green and Paddock Wood? 

We have not seen any evidence of other sites for a new town outside the green belt. There is other land in non green belt, non ANOB and not on floodplains and more central to the borough and also not so reliant on an adjoining boroughs infrastructure. The Distribution of Development Topic Paper for Draft Local Plan (page 10) says that

Households on the Register are understandably seeking properties in their locality in most cases. Preferences for location are well distributed across the borough. There is more of a focus (likely for younger people) on Royal Tunbridge Wells/Southborough, although western areas are likely to be less appropriate for people in the east of the borough and vice versa.

According to the Tunbridge Wells Borough HNS 2018 Capel’s housing need is 47 and Paddock wood is 313. The council admits that people would prefer to remain in their communities. So who are these new houses for, if not for the people in the local area. This development is on the far western side of the borough and the people living on the eastern side of the borough are not likely to move here. I understand that we have a need for housing, especially affordable housing for the younger generation and smaller houses for our ever increasing elderly planning to move down the housing ladder. According to Tunbridge wells 24.7% of people will be 65 and over in borough by 2033. In conclusion I am sure housing would be accepted in this area in a lot smaller capacity, especially affordable housing and homes for our ageing population.

HERITAGE 

We have a world renowned church in Tudeley, Tunbridge wells likes to boast about The Pantiles and being a centre for foreign visitors, have they looked at the visitors book in the church? We regularly have coaches of visitors. Building a housing estate on top the church would be the same as building high rise flats along the Pantiles. This is a valuable heritage site and should be treated with dignity. It is set among fields allowing natural light to light up the Marc Chagall windows.

AGRICULTURE

It would also be the loss of good agricultural land, with our food supply of over 40% from abroad and an increasing population and the resulting carbon emissions from imports, surely we should NOT be looking at building low density housing on farmland but be more concerned with the damage that would cause.

DELIVERY PLAN, PAGE 17 THE PLANS TO IMPROVE THIS B2017. 

We live on the B2017 at Brampton Bank and the speed outside our house is 40mph. Because the road straightens out just outside Brampton Bank the cars speed up and it becomes almost impossible to pull off the driveway now between 7.00am and 9.00am and some mornings impossibly dangerous to cross the road to the bus stop opposite us, never mind after improvements have been made. I have a near miss most weeks and in the week beginning 9/9/19 there was yet another accident at Brampton bank, police and ambulance attending, a van pulling off the drive and a car coming along the B2017, it wasn’t even in the busy period of the day. Mostly the accidents are little knocks and not reported.  You can see that there is a problem by driving along the road by the number of Visual display mirrors along the verge. Central Tudeley has a great many of these. Surely traffic calming measures applied to the B2017 to stop it becoming a Tudeley new town bypass and endangering the residents should be considered, I fail to see how other improvements could be made without there being a risk to life with the obvious increase in traffic from both developments.  The NPPF page 24 paragraph 84. Says ‘does not have an unacceptable impact on local roads’.

The proposed new school on the roundabout at the end of the B2017 leading from Tudeley to Tonbridge is an extremely busy road, one death in the last couple of years. There is no street lighting or footpath, according to the Infrastructure Delivery Plan page 96 under transport walking and cycling, this is referred to as desirable and not critical. Surely if TWBC want to reduce carbon emissions and car usage this should be critical and if the children attending the school are to walk or cycle from the new town.

The majority of people from this area travel to Tonbridge with a great many school buses headed that way already. My daughters’ bus to Hadlow Rural Community School is late most days of the week because of the traffic headed into Tonbridge and the build up at Vale Road. The traffic jam can begin in Tudeley itself somedays. The proposed roundabout at Tudeley Road/Hartlake Road will not help with the congestion that exists now, add more cars and the problem will only get worse. Not to mention putting a roundabout so close to All Saints church that receives international visitors by coach. Is the council aware that when there are problems on the A21 between Sevenoaks and Pembury that the traffic is rerouted along the B2017, the sign saying no HGV’s at the Tonbridge end of the road is not compulsory just advice.

INFRASTRUCTURE DELIVERY PLAN PAGE 39

GENERAL PRACTICE. Today 23/9/19 there are 2 vacancies for GP’s in Tonbridge, 1 in paddock wood and 2 in Tunbridge wells. It is a known fact that there is a shortage of GPs in the country. There are also 20 practice nurse vacancies within 5 miles from Tudeley. How are they planning to attract doctors to this area? Also the additional pressure on the Hospital and waiting times with such an increase in the local population. This is an addtional concern with an ageing population in the borough.

SCHOOLS 

I was unable to find any reference to a preschool or nursery provision. The preschool in Five Oak Green is at capacity. Where are these new commuters/new home owners going to leave their under 5’s?

FLOOD RISK 

We have a natural stream running beneath our extension, it was found by the builder. When BBS now called Stroma Building control advised that the foundations should allow for this. It would worry me that a development behind us would affect the natural drainage from the fields and result in flooding locally and in the new development itself.

I think that the risk of flooding in something that needs to be more thoroughly looked at, with climate change at the forefront of minds and building the East Capel development on high risk flood plains. Yalding has its own flood plain very close to Paddock Wood and if development here puts more pressure on the river Medway with run off, this plain might not cope with the extra water. I know there are proposals to increase the Leigh Barrier, but that is up river and will not help with the excess water that this development will produce. I worry that there will be a repeat of the recent floods of 2013/14 especially in the future. Surely this needs to be future proofed. See below

Local plan-supporting documents- environment and landscape-Tunbridge Wells Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) Key Documents See page 91, future flood risk column for 60 years time. 75 % Capel east falls in high risk 3a and 25 % of Tudeley.

I cant emphasise enough how much I object to this development, its size and position is just an extraordinary idea and will permanently damage a historical landscape that can never be replaced and irretrievably damage the environment.

DLP_277

Samantha Fenton

As a resident of East Peckham the lack of infrastructure, in particular the highway network, for this scale of housing is really concerning. East Peckham suffers very badly from flooding and this will undoubtedly be exacerbated by the proposals in the DLP. Issues have arisen with the Leigh barrier previously in that many animals were drowned at the Hop Farm, this to stop the flooding at Tonbridge. The rural areas in Kent seem to be expendable. We no longer have the Woodlands (PW) extra GP surgery so the pressure on the health system will be enormous.

DLP_280

Peter Hills

These policies, introduced at the last minute into the Local Plan, are clearly highly controversial, as demonstrated by the extent of local opposition that has been expressed.

They appear to be a cynical attempt by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to push a perceived requirement for additional housing as close to the Tonbridge border as possible, such that the costs of that development, in the form of loss of amenity and additional infrastructure, are largely borne by a neighbouring authority.

As noted above, the need for housing may well have been over-stated.  Additionally, my understanding is that there is little or no support from Tonbridge and Malling for these proposals. This is important as I understand there is a ‘Duty to Cooperate” with neighbouring authorities when Local Plans are produced.

I urge the Council to reconsider the need and feasibility of the proposed development of Tudeley Village and to withdraw these policies from their Local Plan proposals.

DLP_287

Paula Hills

These policies, introduced at the last minute into the Local Plan, are clearly highly controversial, as demonstrated by the extent of local opposition that has been expressed.

They appear to be a cynical attempt by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to push a perceived requirement for additional housing as close to the Tonbridge border as possible, such that the costs of that development, in the form of loss of amenity and additional infrastructure, are largely borne by a neighbouring authority.

As noted above, the need for housing may well have been over-stated.  Additionally, my understanding is that there is little or no support from Tonbridge and Malling for these proposals. This is important as I understand there is a ‘Duty to Cooperate” with neighbouring authorities when Local Plans are produced.

I urge the Council to reconsider the need and feasibility of the proposed development of Tudeley Village and to withdraw these policies from their Local Plan proposals.

DLP_289

Mary Crouch

The proposed development is extremely worrying for villagers and farmworkers, many of whom have lived and worked in the area for decades. Many are living in tied-cottages. Many rely on the land for their livelihood. We are a village, not a town. Please, please reconsider!!!

DLP_291

Paul Cullen

Other Comments: as we are residents of tudeley,what t.w.b.c. went to do to the greenbelt is awful.

We live near one of tudeley’s ponds and get rare species i.e great crested newt’s which are protected by law.

Seems to us that t.w.b.c think they are above the law and have the right to bulldoze greenbelt land.

The government is supposed to care about stopping climate change,but then let the council

Do disastrous things like this

The b2017 road is already a rat-run and very dangerous, to the point of having had vehicles come through

Into our garden & house.

Why is it other species have to suffer because of us humans?

DLP_295

Anne Etherington Rich

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

Tudeley is a settlement that has existed for hundreds of years and is recorded in the Domesday Book. Now TWBC want to destroy it. Your chosen method of destruction is to turn this settlement into a “Garden Village” which sounds very pleasant but in reality means dumping a housing estate of 2,800+ houses on land that is at present both farmland and Greenbelt land, swamping and overwhelming the current residents of this small settlement.

I read in my copy of Autumn 2019 Local that TWBC want to make a positive contribution to combating climate change and I am confused. Surely we should be treasuring and protecting our farmland, so that we can grow the crops we need rather than importing them from abroad, thereby lessening our carbon footprint.

The same applies to our Green Belt land. Green Belts are the lungs of this country and as such should be strongly protected. Tudeley is wholly within the Green Belt and to my mind forcing 2800+ homes on the current settlement is akin to planting a cancer seed in those lungs.

I begin to wonder if the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

The bulk of the land slopes down from the B2017 to Tudeley Hale and is dissected by the railway line. It is served by two narrow country roads, one, Sherenden Road is more a lane than road and goes under the railway via a small, height restricted bridge. The other, Hartlake Road, is slightly wider and goes from Tudeley to Golden Green. At the Tudeley end is a sign saying it is not suitable for HGV’s and it crosses the railway via a narrow bridge. Hartlake Road has become a “rat run” at the start & end of most weekdays as people drive to work or schools. Outside of commuting times it is quieter with large tractors & farm vehicles going about their business, however, when there are road works or an accident in Tonbridge, drivers use the road to get from the north of Tonbridge to the south.

Hartlake Road crosses the flood plain, so at times of flood it is impassable and is closed.

These are the only two roads that serve both parts of the proposed building site, so it is hard to imagine how construction traffic will access the land north of the rail line, unless of course it comes into Hartlake Road via Golden Green. I wonder, do the residents of Golden Green realise their lives could be disrupted by this traffic for years?

The same applies with utilities. As far as I am aware gas & sewage pipes were only installed along the B2017 part of Tudeley, they certainly didn’t extend to Tudeley Hale as it was deemed too expensive and not cost effective at the time. So these will need to be installed. Over or under the railway? Whichever option is favoured, it will mean road closure and disruption to the lives of the current residents, who will also have to endure several years of living near or by a building site.

As previously mentioned, the proposed building site land slopes down from the B2017 to Tudeley Hale. Beyond Tudeley Hale is the floodplain. Throughout the lower part of Tudeley Hale there is a network of drainage ditches that keep the farmland drained. At times of flood these ditches become inundated with water and can overflow. Both my front & back gardens have been flooded several times over the years, and the fields beside and behind my house have become waterlogged too. The prospect of flooding is a worry, particularly as we are told sea levels are likely to rise in coming years. Having a housing estate built on a sloping site that leads down to your locality adds to that worry. There will be run off from all that hard standing & tarmac, will it ALL be gathered and contained, or will some escape and find its way into the drainage ditches, increasing the risk of flood?

The pollution is a real worry too. 2,800 houses mean at least 2,800 extra vehicles on the roads around Tudeley, probably double that as most households have more than one car these days. Then there is the extra traffic from the other proposed sites in Capel. Our air quality is going to seriously diminish!

I know your plan is that everyone will use public transport, cycle or walk, but you don’t live here. Take it from one that has relied on public transport for 40+ years, bus timetables are not respecters of appointments, be they with doctor, dentist, hospital or hairdresser. I have wasted many hours of my life getting an earlier bus than I want to because I have an appointment to keep.

As for cycling along the B2017, at present you would be foolhardy to attempt this at peak traffic times. My husband, also a non driver, cycles to and from work in Hildenborough every day, he starts work very early so thankfully he misses the peak traffic, but he gets wet when it rains, and freezes in the winter. Not many people, particularly commuters, would do this willingly.

People who have cars will use them, if you think otherwise you are seriously deluded.

Light pollution is also a concern. Away from the Crockhurst Street part of Tudeley there are no street lights or pavements. Here in Tudeley Hale, it is dark at night and you can see the stars. The lights from a housing estate on a sloping site would stick out like a sore thumb and would be seen for miles.

Likewise with noise pollution. Away from the B2017 Tudeley is a quiet peaceful, place. Tudeley Hale is in a valley and any sound tends to ricochet around the valley. 2,800 dwellings on what is at present farmland are likely to produce extra noise. Indeed, the building of those dwellings is likely to make the whole area noisier for years to come.

Your draft plan for Tudeley mentions often the provision of green spaces for leisure activities. Please don’t bother, we already have them. It’s called countryside. Here in Tudeley we have a good network of public footpaths that are well used. In Tudeley Hale at weekends and quiet times there are people rambling, leisure cycling, riding horses or making their way to Hartlake Bridge to do some fishing. Some people just walk towards the river so they can stop and look around at the scenery. Being in a valley means you get a beautiful view of fields, woodland and hedgerows that all slope up to the distant hills. We may not be within the AONB, but we should be! It’s not just locals that do all these activities, a good percentage of the people come from Tonbridge or other surrounding areas to enjoy open space away from buildings and town life. Often they end their walk or bike ride at the local pub where they will sit in the garden with a cool drink & something to eat all the while looking at the view. If your plan goes ahead they will be looking at a housing estate, I suspect that they will not return.

Your plan will create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).

Most importantly is the wildlife. Our wildlife population in the area is wide and diverse. The land you want to build your housing estate on is not only greenbelt, not only farmland but is also home to the wildlife. What are all the birds and creatures supposed to do when you start building, removing hedgerows, cutting down trees, destroying their habitat? Pack their suitcases and move on? Where to?

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_298

Graham Roy Edwards

In addition to the comments above, which I fully endorse and support, I was disappointed and disgusted that at a recent public meeting at Somerhill School (18th September 2019) your planning representative conceded that Tunbridge Wells had effectively taken on the shortfall of housing from Sevenoaks area. Consequently, in order to meet government guidelines, you have “dumped” this additional requirement to the outer edge of your own area, effective passing it over to Tonbridge and Malling to deal with.

I feel very strongly that it is wrong for you to target such a large area of Greenbelt in one fell swoop. This land is supposed to be protected, unless there are exceptional reasons. The justification that you have provided so far, do not in my and may others’ opinion meet “exceptional”. Most likely the reasons being that;

  1. It’s easier for you to deal with a small number of land owners and so to put it all in a couple of large areas is the easiest option.
  2. To realistically look at further brownfield sites is more work on your part and will be more expensive for the developers and therefore less attractive
  3. You can cash in on the council tax, without needing to fully support the development and social costs as it’s nearer to a neighboring council (Tonbridge & Malling).
  4. You don’t really care about flood risk, as it’s too easy to consider this as the developers’ problem. In reality, we all know that to legally pass this responsibility onto another party is relatively easy, but to make it happen is considerably more difficult. Once the proposed development is built (and I sincerely hope it is NOT), any flood damage will no longer be your responsibility. By which time it will be too late.

    You may pass over responsibility, but you cannot pass over accountability.
  5. In the 7 years that I have lived in Golden Green, the whole area that you are proposing to build on has been significantly affected by flooding a couple of times. With global warming, the scientists are advising that this will only get worse. We need our flood plains. They are there for a purpose. To build on them is a big mistake.

I urge you to reconsider these plans and cancel the proposed mass development of Capel and Tudeley.

DLP_301

Graham Edwards

I believe that you are cynically cashing in on the council tax revenue in an area which is just within your boundary, knowing full well that a neighbouring area will end up picking up the cost and social impact of these proposed developments. These costs include roads, health (such as GP surgeries), congestion, schooling and many other social costs.

I am especially worried about the traffic which is already very busy and to add a town to this area seems to be madness. The Somerhill schools and Tonbridge Cannon Lane industrial areas are already particularly bad at peak times and will be unable to cope with the additional traffic. I do not believe that you can argue that public transport or cycle routes can be an effective remedy to minimising the impact as most residents will end up having cars, as these will be a necessity by the very nature of the proposed site location.

I urge you to rethink these proposals and respectfully request you to drop the plans for the new Garden Town at Tudeley.

DLP_304

Anne Etherington Rich

Finally; my postal address is Tonbridge, my landline dialling code is Tonbridge, my doctor is in Tonbridge, I am a member of Tonbridge library, I do my shopping in Tonbridge and yet I pay my council tax to you, TWBC. If your plan should go ahead I suspect any new residents would do exactly the same, which to my mind doesn’t seem very fair on Tonbridge, they provide the amenities and you get the money.

Therefore I strongly object to your plans for Tudeley.& Capel.

DLP_307

Mr Nigel Lambert

Roads and Transport

As a child/teenager I regularly cycled from Tonbridge to Paddock Wood either for leisure or to visit friends. I also cycled to St Gregory’s Comprehensive School (Reynolds Lane) for six years from South Tonbridge through Southborough on the A26 or via Vauxhall Lane to join the A26 at the north end of Southborough. At the time in the 70’s and early 80’s the A26 was known as the busiest road in Kent. I also regularly cycled on the A21 up Castle Hill to Blackhurst Lane to visit friends and play football and tennis. There were talks to make the A21 into a dual carriage way for more the 30 years before it came into fruition.

There is already a serious problem with the road network in and around the jurisdiction of Tunbridge Wells. With the closure of the Kent and Sussex Hospital in Tunbridge Wells, the A228 (a large country lane) is the main road link between Pembury (Tunbridge Wells) Hospital and Maidstone Hospital. If the A21 is closed or blocked for one reason or another the B2017 is often used as a link between Paddock Wood , Tunbridge Wells  and Tonbridge. Large vehicles drive along a B road, including HGVs and Car carriers frequently.. The proposed plans to build 4,000 plus houses in Tudeley, East Capel and Paddock Wood will have a significant increase of traffic on the A228 and B2017.

The B2017 is a dangerous road in the mornings and evenings and almost impossible to leave the drive safely and dangerous for our daughter to cross the road to the bus stop to catch her bus to Tonbridge.  Cars still speed up and overtake the bus and don’t stick to the 40mph speed limit now, I fail to see what improvements can be made (as referred to in the infrastructure plan) that will not endanger life unless it is traffic calming measures that are intended.

When my family and I moved to Tudeley 11 years ago, the speed limit on the B2017 had a grading of ‘National Speed’ limit.

I campaigned for the speed limit to be reduced for various reasons, road safety being the main priority. The B2017 should not be a major road connecting towns with an increase of traffic from a further 4,000 houses being built in the immediate area. There is a bus stop directly outside our house and it is frequently difficult to cross the road safely. There is no pavement or crossing to safely use the bus stop. There is no street lighting and a great many driveways leading off the road. There are no pedestrian crossing’s outside of Capel Primary School, in Five Oak Green itself between the bus stop and the local store (One Stop) making it hazardous for adults and children to cross the road. This speed limit is often ignored by car, van drivers and motorcyclists. There is no information to say that the new roads or infrastructure will be in place before the houses are built.

Many Parents park their cars either along the B2017 or down Church Lane when taking their children to Capel Primary School. The entrance to Church Lane opposite the school is often used as a turning point which is hazardous during peak times.

I received a letter from Greg Clark MP dated 16 October 2009 :

“Dear Mr Lambert

Thank you for your e-mail, dated 2 October 2009, regarding speed limits along the B2017 – I can certainly appreciate your comments about this issue.

I understand that there has been a lot of work carried out on road safety issues locally. As you are aware, Charles Mackonochie has drafted a Capel Road Strategy Plan and he told me that your idea of having 40mph limit along Brampton Bank stretch of the B2017 fits in nicely with the Plan.

The document has been sent to Kent Highways and the Tunbridge Wells Joint Transportation Board for their consideration and, hopefully, it will receive a positive response. I know that your County Councillor Alex King is very supportive.

I am in close contact with both Charles & Alex and am sure that they will keep me updated on progress.

Thank you once again for getting in touch.

Yours sincerely

With best wishes

Greg.“

The speed limit between Tudeley and Tonbridge is currently 50mph. This should also be reduced and be consistent with the 40mph speed limit already in place in other sections of the road. This is not a straight road and already has various turnings from the road, including the entrance to Somerhill School. There was a death on this road in the last 2 years and frequent knock on blind bends with people trying to get on or off driveways.

How will the building of a new school help with the current road network problems?

There are already cars that park at the top of the A26 by Woodgate Way and leading to Vale Road outside of the former Mini Garage.

As there are no yellow lines, are commuters using this stretch of road to park cars or is it being used for local businesses?

I commuted to London for 19 years, seven years from Tunbridge Wells and then moved back to Tonbridge to gain the benefit of having access to two main line rail links, Ashford and Hastings. I could not always get a seat from Tonbridge in 2009.

I applied for a parking space in the main car park at Tonbridge Station and it took three years before I received my permit. The cost was over £1,000 in 2009.

The rail network have already stated that are at full capacity in this area and cannot provide a new station in Tudeley or provide extra trains.

If TWBC are looking to build 4,000 plus homes, to attract people who commute to London, how will the rail network cope with this?

Where will commuters park?

There are new homes being built in Tunbridge Wells advertised on Heart Radio, stating that commuting to London Bridge takes only 42 minutes. The railway tunnel in Tunbridge Wells can only take ONE train. From previous experience, I have been delayed on a train for an hour outside of Tunbridge Wells station as the train in front had broken down inside the tunnel!

Affordable Housing

We have not received any information regarding the amount of ‘Affordable Housing’ that will be provided.

The number of houses proposed in this area does not reflect the housing needs across the borough of TWBC.

It is well known that it is very difficult to buy your own property with the current wage and house price divide.

There appears to be more emphasis how much developers can make on building the properties and what Council Tax is paid to the local council. An example of this is at Kings Hill where the proposed number of houses to be built was reduced. Due to the reduction of homes being built, it was agreed with developers that the 40% of affordable housing to be built was reduced to 17.5%.

There is still a big question mark over ‘What is affordable housing in reality?’

The main emphasis appears to be that there is one landowner willing to sell a large area of land which appears to be the easy option for TWBC, although the impact will mainly be on local residents and Tonbridge.

It appears that TWBC will gain the benefit of extra Council Tax, however, a lot of the stress on infrastructure will be on Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council. 

Impact on the Environment 

The Green Belt :

In British town planning, the green belt is a policy for controlling urban growth. The idea is for a ring of countryside where urbanisation will be resisted for the foreseeable future, maintaining an area where agriculture, forestry and outdoor leisure can be expected to prevail. The fundamental aim of green belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open, and consequently the most important attribute of green belts is their openness.

The Metropolitan Green Belt around London was first proposed by the Greater London Regional Planning Committee in 1935. The Town and Country Planning Act 1947 then allowed local authorities to include green belt proposals in their development plans. In 1955, Minister of Housing Duncan Sandys encouraged local authorities around the country to consider protecting land around their towns and cities by the formal designation of clearly defined green belts.[1][2]

Green belt policy has been criticised for reducing the amount of land available for building and therefore pushing up house prices, as 70% of the cost of building new houses is the purchase of the land (up from 25% in the late 1950s).

The Government formerly set out its policies and principles towards green belts in England and Wales in Planning Policy Guidance Note 2: Green Belts,[4] but this planning guidance was superseded by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in March 2012. Planning Authorities are strongly urged to follow the NPPF's detailed advice when considering whether to permit additional development in the green belt. In the green belt there is a general presumption against inappropriate development, unless very special circumstances can be demonstrated to show that the benefits of the development will outweigh the harm caused to the green belt. The NPPF sets out what would constitute appropriate development in the green belt.

According to the NPPF, there are five stated purposes of including land within the green belt:

  • To check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas
  • To prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another
  • To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment
  • To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns
  • To assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

Once an area of land has been defined as green belt, the stated opportunities and benefits include:

  • Providing opportunities for access to the open countryside for the urban population
  • Providing opportunities for outdoor sport and outdoor recreation near urban areas
  • The retention of attractive landscapes and the enhancement of landscapes, near to where people live
  • Improvement of damaged and derelict land around towns
  • The securing of nature conservation interests
  • The retention of land in agricultural, forestry and related uses.

The proposal to build on Green Belt land and the extensive size of the proposed sites for Tudeley, East Capel and Paddock does not support the guidelines set out above.

This will become a large built up area, closely adjoining Tudeley, Capel and Paddock Wood with Tonbridge. This does not prevent neighbouring towns from merging into one another.

Are the plans to build Tudeley Village or Tudeley Town?

The countryside will not be protected from encroachment.

Tudeley has a unique historic church visited by people from all over the world. How can it be guaranteed that the church will not be affected by the number of dwellings proposed to be built around it and with the number of people being attracted to live on the new site, there will be no vandalism. The windows and history of the church are irreplaceable.

Surely urban regeneration should be concentrated on Brownfield sites, not Green Belt land.

How can building on agricultural land, ancient woodlands etc…in rural areas, be classed as the retention of attractive landscapes and the enhancement of landscapes, near to where people live. This is a contradiction.

There are is a large community of wildlife within this area. Crested newts have been found in the local primary school in Capel. We have had slow worms at the end of our garden and living in a compost bed.

We have numerous types of birds on our bird table and have hawks circling the fields which are visible by the naked eye. Foxes, pheasants and a great many bees, butterflies and other insects. Owls and bats can be heard and seen in the evenings.

With the increase in population there will also be a large increase in pets be it cats and dogs. This will also have an impact on local wildlife.

There will be greater emissions from vehicles, patio heaters, gas BBQs in this rural area. The light pollution will also increase significantly.

There will be a huge impact on noise pollution with the increase in traffic and the building work itself in the first instance.

As a family we enjoy the countryside and the many public footpaths across Tudeley. It is a time to destress and relax as well as keeping fit. We meet walkers from across Kent enjoying the Church to church walk between  St Thomas a Beckett church in Capel to All Saints Church in Tudeley.  This area has a history of pilgrims and a more recent history of Hop Picking, with Oast Houses and hop pickers cottages scattered across the countryside.  This should not be lost and buried under tarmac.

Closing comments 

Five generations of my family have lived in the Boroughs of Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. 

My Family and I moved to Tudeley for a better standard of living in a rural environment with better air, fields and walks, away from a town. We have come to appreciate what a great community we live in and have made many friends in Five Oak Green and the surrounding area either by walking our dog or just talking to people in the village. Many of the residents have lived in this area or had connections through families for decades.

It is sad that such a vibrant happy community may be destroyed with the increase in housing and the changing of road networks across fields and behind people’s homes. Cutting Caple village off from Tudeley and Five Oak Green.

The Save Capel campaign has shown how strongly we all feel about the lovely area and environment we live in to bring up our children and also in our retirement.

Please think again on the impact of a large housing proposal and road restructuring will have on the local community and environment.

Thank you.

DLP_310

Mary Lambert

This land is a very important part of my life as it is a way for teenagers, not just myself, but to be able to go out for an evening stroll or just for some peace and quiet in the fields to destress. Especially from exams and school stress; even at home stress. A popular place where most people my age go is to the locks in Golden Green. This is a popular place as that is quiet and allows us to chill and just enjoy the wildlife. The bluebell woods and the patches of bomb holes out the back of Tudeley and opposite the George and Dragon are thriving with wildlife. There is a variety of what is there. The Bridleways and footpaths out there would be ruined by the buildings. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO THE PUBLIC FOOT PATHS??? Will they be tarmacked over and still classified as a nature walk? Or will they just be left to rot? The Bridle paths are key part in this area because it not only allows equestrians to entertain their horses, also the horses need to be able to experience these things, you cannot just rely on a sand school with nothing that could be frightening. The ground needs to be soft to canter on NOT HARD TARMAC AND CONCRETE. They need to be able to stretch and release their energy.

The land is GREEN BELT not BROWN the BROWN should be sorted out first NOT THE GREEN.  The TWBC needs to assess the environmental hazards on this land especially as you claim that ‘this land does not flood’ in recent times. But in the past, you have announced how badly this area of GREEN BELT does flood.

The B2017 is ridiculously busy in the mornings before school. It takes me ages to cross the road to the bus stop, some cars are speeding. I think that if you widened the road cars would take more of a risk to overtake others and more will then overtake a stopped bus. If you are trying to cross the road after you have got off the bus, there is always the chance that a car may not notice you and come speeding round the side of the bus. My bus is meant to arrive at Tonbridge station around 10 past 8. I was arriving there at roughly that time at the end of the last school year, but in the last few weeks I have been arriving at the station around 25 past instead which then allows our bus to be late to school by around 20mins. I have noticed a mass increase in traffic since I came back to school.

Overall the loss of wildlife and habitats out in the fields are the most devastating to me as the majority of them will not be able to find new homes or even be relocated.

DLP_313

Alexander Fenton

As a resident of East Peckham the lack of infrastructure, in particular the highway network, for this scale of housing is really concerning. East Peckham suffers very badly from flooding and this will undoubtedly be exacerbated by the proposals in the DLP. Issues have arisen with the Leigh barrier previously in that many animals were drowned at the Hop Farm, this to stop the flooding at Tonbridge. The rural areas in Kent seem to be expendable. We no longer have the Woodlands (PW) extra GP surgery so the pressure on the health system will be enormous.

DLP_317

Amanda Parkes

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). I will make some points here that I am sure you have seen before, after my personal comments below.

  1. I was horrified to learn of these proposals in May 2019.  What I found particularly shocking, was the secrecy in which this had been done, between Harry Teacher, the landowner of the proposed site, and TWBC.  TWBC claim they engaged in consultation with local residents, but they did not, and  most of us were completely unaware, until the plans were well advanced.  We have had very little time to respond or object, and this is disgraceful, on something that is so important and will affect our area forevermore.
  2. I live on the B2017. This is essentially a country lane, with houses and buildings on either side of it.  It is not fit to take the amount of traffic that it currently has, particularly during rush hour times. It sometimes takes me up to 5 minutes to get out of my drive, and even then I quite often have to pull out onto the first half of the road (I am usually turning right, into Tonbridge), and stop the oncoming traffic, before someone slows down and lets me out to join the carriageway.  It cannot take any more traffic – particularly the amount of traffic that would come from thousands more houses.
  3. My house is Grade II Listed and because of the age and nature of the building, it has no solid foundations. My house already shakes and shudders as heavy lorries and traffic pass, and I am reasonably well set back from the road.  As I understand it, there is suggestion that the road should be widened to create a bus lane.  Not only, in my view, would this involve taking down a number of buildings closer to the road in order to do this – in my case I have Billy Bucks Barn (also Grade II Listed)   in front of my house, as a buffer between my house and the road, it would cause untold damage to the safety and structure of my house, with constant heavy traffic causing the ground to shudder.  I am therefore very concerned about the long term structural damage to my property.
  4. If the proposed building went ahead, in addition to the number of vehicles that would be a result of the extra housing; during the building time many more heavy duty vehicles would be using this road, causing incessant vibration, noise, exhaust pollution, dust and dirt.
  5. Whilst it may be of no concern to TWBC, I would also like to register my extreme concern about the devaluation of my property if this development and road widening were to go ahead. I believe it would make it unsaleable.
  6. The infrastructure in this area, as set out in the points below, is not adequate for the number of houses proposed. I do not believe that the pressure of so many new residents accessing Tonbridge can be addressed, however much roads are widened – they will all be ending up in the same small town.
  7. Green Belt land is supposed to be PROTECTED. What is the point of designating these areas as Green Belt, if it means nothing at all when it comes to a greedy landowner wanting to sell it?
  8. Farmland is essential, for food production. Where will all the local produce come from, if much of the farmland that produces it, is concreted over, for more consumers?!
  9. I am not convinced that, even with extra drainage, concreting 650 acres of agricultural land will not have severe flood risks. You can drain the water away, but only to the same river and flood plains, that already flood in this area.  Where else can you pump it to?  Farmland needs the rain, and soaks it up – if all the farmland is urbanized, the water will simply have nowhere to go.  You surely don’t have to be an expert to realise this, and there are many places in this area that already flood.  The B2017 collects water in the dip outside my neighbours house (Gate Cottage) when it has rained hard, and water settles in the gulley outside my front door.  The water level would only have to rise a few inches for my house to flood.
  10. I believe there are many brownfield sites that could be utilized in TWBC, but they are more expensive to build and therefore TWBC have gone for the easy and lazy option of clear open spaces, that make it more profitable for the developers. This is NOT a valid reason to build here.
  11. The pressure on the schools, doctors surgeries, and Pembury Hospital will result in lack of adequate, and already hard pressed, services for the local community.
  12. The proposal of a school, right opposite the schools at Somerhill, is the craziest idea of all. How on earth will all these extra children get to this school, when all the surrounding roads are already jammed at that time of the morning?  It will be a gridlock that I reckon might give London a run for its money!   In addition, with all the information we have nowadays on youngsters Mental Health, it is surely asking for trouble to build it over a railway line, that would present a huge danger to any child who is struggling with mental health issues.
  13. The countryside is important for all of us, whether it is to breath fresh air, or to clear our heads. To enjoy wildlife, or merely to take exercise with a walk – away from pollution.
  14. I object to this proposal, vigorously and wholeheartedly, for all the reasons above, and for all the reasons below, and I hope that TWBC WILL engage in sensible consultation with local residents and the Savecapel protest group, to fully understand not only what devastation they will cause to this area if these proposals were to go ahead, but also to realise that the infrastructure can’t, and will NEVER be able to cope with this development.

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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.

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows)

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.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement  a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

Please ensure ALL the comments above and noted and put forward for public inspection.

DLP_319

Amanda Parkes

Whilst we all appreciate there is a need for housing, this should be spread across the Borough, evenly and sustainably, and fairly, without causing distress and destruction to one particular area. I very much hope that TWBC will see that this proposed housing is out of scale to the area, and will cause devastation to the physical area, and to all its residents.

Please ensure ALL the comments above and noted and put forward for public inspection.

DLP_324

Kit Hawes-Webb

To quote one of Great Britain’s newly acquired assets, the writer Bill Bryson:

“I have said it many times before, but it really cannot be stated too often: there isn’t a landscape in the world that is more artfully worked, more lovely to behold, more comfortable to be in, than the countryside of Great Britain. It is the world’s largest park, its most perfect accidental garden. I think it may be the British nation’s more glorious achievement.

All we have to do is look after it. I hope that’s not too much to ask.”

DLP_328

James Arscott

TWBC’s Draft Local Plan was done without consultation with TMBC’s own Draft Local plan, which will have its own (prioritised) impact on Tonbridge’s infrastructure and services.

TWBC has not factored that, despite plans to improve local road links to Tunbridge Wells, residents of East Capel will not utilise this new infrastructure and instead continue to use Tonbridge as the nearest centre for shopping, schooling and London commuting convenience.

What due diligence has TWBC carried out on Hadlow Estates Properties Ltd (Company # 08093143)? It has not disclosed what the Teacher Estate’s involvement has been in the local plan process, especially in terms of providing staff resources, research and application submissions.

DLP_330

Elizabeth Brett

Although I appreciate we need more housing in this country, I feel very strongly that TWBC should not propose to fulfil its government quota by planning to build right on the edge of its borough and so impacting very heavily on Tonbridge with no council tax benefit for TMBC.    Despite the development being carried out over a number of years little consideration has been given to the current infrastructure which is already creaking with bottlenecks on roads at peak times as well as the station, schools and health services at full capacity.    Also, many of our roads are in a poor state owing to lack of funding for their repair and improvement.    More housing development will affect Tonbridge’s capacity to deal with sewerage and potential flooding.    I further deplore such a heavy toll on the Green Belt, the loss of good agricultural land and opportunities for local people to enjoy the countryside.

On another note the famous windows at Tudeley Church which draw crowds of visitors from all over the world often in coachloads would now be surrounded by a housing estate instead of the current idyllic location which is the pride of our town’s Tourism offering.   I feel this would detract from the visitor experience.

I believe I am right in saying that the proposed secondary school would have a railway line running through the middle of the campus.   Surely a better site could be found.

DLP_333

Simla Patel

On Wednesday 18 September 2019 I patiently listened to Stephen Baughen, Head of Planning at Tunbridge Wells present the draft local plan at Somerhill School. He tried to reassure us that draft proposals had been thoroughly tested against all the criteria and felt this was the “best” solution to meet the housing needs of Tunbridge Wells Borough. I DISAGREE!

It is an absolute shame that I did not have Planning Decision Notice application reference 18/01767/FULL to hand as I would have challenged the motives of the Council in devising this plan. The above mentioned planning decision notice was in fact written and signed by Stephen Baughen on 31 July 2018. I have “lifted” some of the transcript from the notice below which I have shown in italics below:

The Council hereby REFUSES Planning Permission for the above for the following Reasons:

(1) The proposal would constitute inappropriate development within the Metropolitan Green Belt, which by definition is harmful to its openness.

(2) The proposal, by virtue of creating new buildings with associated domestic paraphernalia, works to alter the land levels and potential additional impacts from further parking and works in close proximity to the trees at the rear would have more than a minimal impact on the landscape character of the locality. It would not conserve and enhance the rural landscape, nor would it protect the countryside for its own sake, nor preserve the interrelationship between the natural and built features of the landscape. The overall impact is harmful to the rural character of the area.

(3) It has not been demonstrated that the occupiers of the development would not be at risk from flooding or that the development would not increase flood risk elsewhere. Therefore the development is likely to result in a risk to human life from flooding and is contrary to policies EN18 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan 2006 and Core Policy 5 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Core Strategy 2010, guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework 2018 and the Planning Practice Guidance. Informative:.

Please can someone explain to me the basis for which the application of 6 B&Bs would be “harmful” to the area and was rejected by the Council last year and now they feel a “garden village” would be acceptable and they are happy to ignore the sound reasons they put forward only a year ago It just does not make any sense!

DLP_342

JG and BA Burchett

To my wife and I your proposals seem to be pushing your housing responsibilaties onto other areas, e.g.Tonbridge, Hadlow, Golden Green etc, as your plans negatively  impact these areas more than central Tunbridge Wells. Also we are amazed that you can think of building on Green Belt land when you have so many Brown Field sites within the borough, enough for some 7000+ dwellings at the last count. Plans to build a school on the busiest roundabout in Tonbridge are at best idiotic, at worst, the misguided ramblings of  the insane. But the worst of this plan is the wholesale destruction of hundreds of acres of fields and woodlands an enviroment that once it is gone is gone forever. This is an area that we walk on a regular basis, like hundreds of others in and around the area,the impact of your plans will be nothing short of an Enviromental Disaster.

DLP_346

K and L Entacott

We have been residence of the borough of Tunbridge Wells for 43 years. We moved here with the intention of bringing up our family and eventually their families within the beautiful Weald of Kent countryside.

My family and I are at a loss to understand the level of vandalism that TWBC are intending to inflict on this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Greenbelt. The decision to even consider building in Tudelely and East Capel what is a small town,(hardly a garden village) has in our opinion been taken due to the following.

1 The Hadlow Estate wanting to profit from the sale of a large portion of its land, to build "a village community", under their guidance. As stated in the letter received by the residents of the Parish from the Hadlow Estate. We believe that this project is being executed with a complete disregard for the current residents of this Parish

2 This invitation from the Hadlow Estate would appear to be a manna from heaven for TWBC. In one fowl swoop they are able to divest themselves of 60% of the quota of housing they would have us believe is required within a given time frame. Plus the added bonus of only having to deal with one land owner.

We are not NIMBYS! We accept there is a need for housing country wide. But as stated above this project has unacceptable incumbent problems.

Perhaps TWBC should be looking to develop more manageable options within existing communities?

There is nothing about this Tudeley debacle that can be considered commendable and the TWBC planners should hang their heads in shame for trying to inflict this decision on the people of Tudeley and Capel and also the wildlife which has no voice other than the local residents who are fighting for their very existence.

DLP_352

Megan Forster

Can we have confidence in Southern Water ?

Could there be a question mark over the ability of Southern Water to be able to cope with so much extra foul water treatment ?

I live in Five Oak Green but our foul water goes to the Paddock Wood treatment plant.

Given that Paddock Wood has ongoing developments that are struggling to connect to the sewerage infrastructure - Southern Water had stated that only 60 more homes are advisable with the current pumping facility - but hundreds are already in construction or have planning approval.

Paddock Wood Town Council have been in dialogue with Southern Water for five years and still have no clear understanding how the foul water system will function adequately without a huge financial outlay.

The Paddock Wood sewerage plants are known to be antiquated, difficult to repair and frequently fail.

There are areas of Paddock Wood and Five Oak Green [I have personal experience - my own property floods] where foul water inundation already occurs when rainfall is excessive and storm water enters the sewerage system.  In Paddock this is so extreme that some elderly residents in bungalows have to use chemical toilets when there is heavy rainfall as their property toilets overflow. I myself have been forced to use a bucket when drains are overflowing. This is a public health issue.  A public health issue that could/will escalate.

Do SW have the resources to upgrade and increase capacity ?

The BBC reported [25th June 2019] on OFWAT’s investigations into the failings of Southern Water.

“Southern Water has been hit with a record £126m punishment for spills of wastewater into the environment from its sewage plants and for deliberately misreporting its performance.”

That is £123m to rebate customers and £3m as a fine.

“Southern’s failings included not making the necessary investment, which lead to equipment failures, and spills of wastewater.”

Ms Fletcher [head of OFWAT ]  said the findings showed “the company was being run with scant regard for its responsibilities to society and the environment”.

“It was not just the poor operational performance, but the co-ordinated efforts to hide and deceive customers of the fact that are so troubling.”

“The previous management failed to stamp out this behaviour and failed to manage its plants properly. In doing so, Southern Water let down its customers and operated in a way completely counter to the public service ethos we expect.”

Southern Water’s current chief executive, Ian McAulay, said: “There are no excuses for the failings that occurred.

“We have clearly fallen far short of the expectations and trust placed in us by our wastewater customers and the wider communities we serve.

The Environment Agency has launched a criminal investigation into the case.

This is not the first time that Southern Water have been penalised.

2007 OFWAT fined the company £20.3m. for 'deliberate misreporting' and failing to meet guaranteed standards of service to customer.

2010 - £3k

2011 -  four separate fines amounting to £92k

2014 - £500k

2016 - £2m

Statutory obligations 

Water Companies have a statutory obligation to connect to all new properties built and they are unable to refuse connection.  Are they being so overwhelmed by such a high demand for new connections that they can’t operate competently ?

It is Southern Water general policy to only plan for five years ahead.  How can this be realistic and efficient ? How can it comply with government and climate change guidelines ?  I am lead to believe that it is SW policy not to engage with developers until full plans are submitted.  Is this not counterproductive and short sited ?

In Paddock Wood solutions have been put forward only to be withdrawn when found to be flawed.  Continuity with communication has proved difficult due to repeated management and staff changes.

With all this in mind, can Southern Water be relied upon to fulfil the radical overhaul necessary for the developments at CA1 and PW west ?

DLP_354

Charles Harrison

I am writing to draw your attention to the following items pertaining to this proposal, which I believe are not insignificant.

  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. The proposal is thus contrary to Policy MGB1 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan 2006, Core Policy of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Core Strategy 2010, and the National Planning Policy Framework 2018.
  2. The proposal, by virtue of creating new roads, buildings with associated domestic paraphernalia, works to alter the land levels and the potential additional impacts from further parking and works would have more than a minimal impact on the landscape character of the locality. It would not conserve and enhance the rural landscape, nor would it protect the countryside for its own sake, nor preserve the interrelationship between the natural and built features of the landscape.
  3. The overall impact is harmful to the rural character of the area. It would thus be contrary to saved Policies LBD1, EN1 and EN25 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan 2006, Core Policies 4, 5, and 14 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Core Strategy Development Plan Document 2010, the National Planning Policy Framework 2018 and the Planning Practice Guidance.
  4. It has not been demonstrated that the occupiers of the future development would not be at risk from flooding or that the development would not increase flood risk elsewhere. Therefore the development is likely to result in a risk to human life from flooding and is contrary to policies EN18 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan 2006 and Core Policy 5 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Core Strategy 2010, guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework 2018 and the Planning Practice Guidance.

I am therefore of the opinion that Council should be more resolute in identifying suitable “Brown Field Sites” in order that it may fulfil its obligations towards meeting it housing supplies as set out by the UK Government.

To pursue the proposed Capel Parish Strategy any further would I believe be a gross waste of tax payers money.

DLP_366

Susan Pickett

You are aware of the proposals to include in the Local Plan, what can only be described as a "massive development" of housing from the Woodgate Way roundabout at the western end of the Borough (and, incidentally, of Capel Parish) to Five Oak Green and beyond. The proposal is for, as I understand it, some 4,000 plus homes to be constructed on green belt and agricultural land.

Quite clearly, this  will have a massive impact on local residents and, indeed, on any one travelling through, in particular, Tudeley Road and Five Oak Green Road, all the way from Woodgate Way to Paddock Wood. I am assuming you know this area well. If not, may I make a suggestion that you look a little deeper into this particular issue.

There are a number of issues of significant importance which will arise should this massive development be allowed to proceed.

PLEASE NOTE: I wish to object most strongly on the following grounds :

1. Significant and irreversible impact on the rural aspect.

2. Violation of green belt land (which was implemented to avoid such developments as this).

3. Violation of agricultural land.

4. Saturation of housing.

5. Significant increase in water run-off which would have to go down to the River Medway which, in times of flood and heavy rain (as experienced very, very, recently!) is already running at capacity, which would mean that there would be a significant backup of water which would affect properties close to or neighboring the Medway River.

6. Significant increase in traffic - the road infrastructure a the moment is running at full capacity during peak times.

7. Disruption to wild life and their environs.  We have very near to us deer, badgers, foxes and many bird species (including buzzards, barn owls and various smaller owls - all protected species) all of whom will have their nesting habitats upset or, indeed, destroyed.

This would irreversibly affect the lives of many local people who have enjoyed the quiet aspect of this largely rural and agricultural community. To call it "Garden Settlement" hardly ameliorates its huge impact.

Proposed School and playing fields near Postern Lane.

Postern lane is a private lane with many blind bends. It has been proposed that children attending the new schools would need to walk down the lane, over the railway bridge, to get access to playing/sports fields.  This would be extremely dangerous, both to the children and to car drivers accessing Postern Lane.  Sir, have you walked down our road yourself?  Have you seen the definite dangers that exist and would you be happy to allow any child of yours to be exposed to such dangers?  I would welcome your comments on this.

I did attend the meeting held at Tunbridge Wells on 15th August 2019, and I must say that I thought the Council's cavalier attitude to this proposal was most unacceptable. Tudeley is not for urbanisation.  It is an historic Hundred, and as such, should remain so.

Please take notice of my objections to the proposals laid out and do your utmost to alleviate the situation.  I am sure there are other sites for housing purposes, albeit smaller, in the Borough of Tunbridge Wells that would resolve the housing situation that your Council is expected to provide.

When Regulation 18 is considered in the not too distant future, please place this letter before whatever panel will be hearing this case.

DLP_370

Hadlow Parish Council

  • The land proposed for development is all Green Belt land. We do not believe that the very special circumstances required in the NPPF for residential development within the Green Belt have been credibly argued in the draft plan. This is particularly the case bearing in mind the extent of the area covered by Tunbridge Wells Borough.
  • The general impact of the developments along the B2017 will fall on Tonbridge. For day to day services present residents of that area look overwhelmingly to Tonbridge. We believe that will continue. Council Tax in the area will be paid to TWBC but the cost of the required improvements to infrastructure and services in Tonbridge will be borne by residents of TMBC. That must not be overlooked.
  • The improvements to the road system proposed in support of the developments in and around Tudeley, Capel, Five Oak Green and Paddock Wood appear to focus on the A228 and the North and South traffic. Traffic heading West out of the area or East into the area does not seem to be very well provided for. The roads in the South of Hadlow parish and on the B2017 are busy and often congested now. Rush hours and school runs are a problem.
  • On its own the draft plan poses a very serious challenge to the wildlife and ecology over a wide area. Taken together with the proposals to resume and extend quarrying very close by we are looking at wholesale destruction on quite an impressive scale. The character of the area will be transformed from countryside to suburban with post industrial zones in just a few years.
  • The northern part of the development area in Tudeley is close to the westward extension of Stonecastle Farm Quarry proposed in the revision of KCC’s Mineral Plan. The same issue applies to the western side of the Paddock Wood West parcel regarding Moat Farm. Any hydrographic studies or other checks on possible flooding risks arising in connection with any of these proposed developments should take full account of the risks both with and without the proposed neighbouring development. Has this been done?
  • With concerns mounting over the failure to achieve effective control of COemissions around the world the proposal to build so extensively on green field sites is of concern. The threatened land is presently playing a very valuable role sequestering CO2. This plan will bring that firmly to an end.

The proposal for a large new school between Vale Road and Postern Lane can only aggravate transport and road safety issues around Tonbridge further. Tonbridge is already served by several significant secondary schools drawing from large catchment areas. Traffic generated by this additional school will be most unwelcome.

DLP_394

Keith Sinclair

Having looked at specific elements of the draft plan and attended the presentation of the plan at Mascalls school, I have the following comments.

  • The plan suggests a further 4000 house in the Paddock Wood area and a further 2800 creating a "garden village" in the Five Oak Green / Tudeley area. This represents a significant increase in the urbanisation of this area of the borough which is contrary to the widely accepted view that green areas and specifically wooded areas need to be increased in order to absorb carbon dioxide.
  • Much of the Paddock Wood area and specifically areas to the west of the Madistone road from the railway to the Hop Farm roundabout are at high risk of flooding, creating new roads and housing in the area must significantly increase the risk of flooding. Your last 5 - year plan confirmed that the area to the west of the Maidstone road was not suitable for development specifically because of the flooding risk (zone 3).
  • Past 5 - year plans also confirmed that Nursery Road was not suitable for more vehicular traffic and access to a projected "light industrial" development to the west of the Maidstone Road suggested access through the unadopted road, Eastlands.
  • The general infrastructure of Paddock Wood is under severe pressure now -
  1. Foul and surface water drainage is inadequate when rainfall is high, and the Maidstone Road suggested end of Nursery Road and Eldon Way is frequently flooded. Flooding at the north end of Nursery Road has been alleviated by the significant wooded growth to the west of Nursery Road but remains a risk due to a lack of a drainage pipe from the road drains.
  2. The doctor's surgery is under capacity now and a lack of the number of G.P. doctors makes appointments difficult to obtain. The plan talks about a new medical centre, but timing and funding are not mentioned.
  3. Recently a new church primary school was rejected by K.C.C. when demand would appear to justify it, especially in the light of the three recent planning approvals for 800 houses.
  4. Traffic in Paddock Wood and surrounds is ever increasing, making walking (as I try to do) and cycling increasingly hazardous. Lack of control of parking in the High Street and Maidstone Road, stretched parking at the railway station and local roads in the vicinity of the station are already problems for residents. Further expansion of the town can only make the situation worse.
  5. Noise associated with the traffic is a factor for all residents who live adjacent to these busy roads.
  6. Wild - life, i.e. birds and small animals have increased in the area's wooded and open areas and will be threatened or destroyed by the proposed developments.

In summary, I would question the need for further significant housing development in this area. Although the plan talks of the need for infrastructure development, past experience indicates that his does not happen in a timely manner if at all and the borough has little ability to influence this provision.

I believe that no more decisions to expand housing in Paddock Wood be taken until the currently approved 800 houses are built and sold and the subsequent effects on our community are carefully assessed.

DLP_400

Fiona Pengelley

I OBJECT TO the proposal to build a new town of nearly 3,000 homes at Tudeley in the parish of Capel and OBJECT TO the proposals for even more housing on Greenbelt land.

The sustainability appraisal refers to “some loss of green belt’ but it is actually 600 acres adjoining AONB and including AONB which will be harmed by the developments and associated transport infrastructure.

There has been no detailed report on the implication of the impact of so many more cars on the roads.

There is no acknowledgement of the extra pollution that will arise and the impact that pollution has on people’s health especially children.

There is no in depth detailed proposal to handle the extra traffic.  Why would cars travel south out of the new town at Tudeley to Colts Hill.  Where are they going?  If they wish to go to Tonbridge or Tunbridge Wells then they will use the existing road and the A21.  If they wish to go to Paddock Wood and Maidstone then they will travel through Five Oak Green.  A new A228 will only cause considerable extra traffic on minor roads in the Parish especially Alders Road.  Alders Road will be used as a clear run through to other villages like Matfield, Brenchley and Horsmonden where the traffic should be forced onto the A21 road.

The characteristics of the area will be destroyed and not enhanced.

The site of the new town at Tudeley was not even considered in the first appraisal.

I strongly object to this proposal by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council as there are no exceptional circumstances shown as to why the destruction of green belt and AONB land should be allowed.  The law needs to be adhered to.

DLP_401

Fiona Pengelley

I am writing to STRONGLY OBJECT to Tunbridge Wells Draft Local Plan (regulation 18) and specifically for “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

TWBC has said that “if the draft local plan is agreed it will allow the Council to meet government-imposed housing targets in the way that is considered to be the most appropriate for the borough as a whole”.

The new Leader of Kent County Council, Roger Gough, has stated that the county needed to work with councils to present an argument to government over current housing targets “people must not feel that housing is coming on such a scale in places that it is not balanced with the infrastructure that comes with it.”

Tudeley and the Parish of Capel is one such place.

How can the total destruction of Green Belt and AONB in the Parish of Capel be appropriate for the borough as a whole?  It would appear that the building of these houses driven by greed rather than meeting housing needs.

The housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist.  The NPPF clearly states in paras 133 to 147 that green belt should only be released in exceptional circumstances BUT that housing need is NOT able to be used as “exceptional circumstances” to overrule AONB/Green Belt.  TWBC has not shown what the exceptional circumstances are that would allow them to build on AONB and Green Belt.

The need for housing countrywide is well documented but what is required is “affordable housing” not 4/5 bedroom luxury houses.  We need to be providing permanent housing for those who are homeless and social housing for those on low incomes.

TWBC has not addressed this matter in the Draft Local Plan and has not shown that they have considered brownfield sites across the borough to build these necessary homes.

The infrastructure has not been addressed sufficiently and building in the region of 2,800 dwellings in Tudeley and a further 2500 in East Capel will change the whole character of the Parish of Capel and destroy much of its historic characteristics with the impact on the landscape. Kent is not called the Garden of England for no reason.

There will be a significant increase in traffic on all the local roads.  The idea that a by pass of Colts Hill will alleviate this issue is incorrect as the traffic will simply go in to Tonbridge from the B2017, exacerbating the extreme traffic congestion that exists on this road every morning.  What need would cars have to drive to Colt Hills from a development in Tudeley.  The Colts Hill bypass will destroy AONB land and destroy the habitat of protected species namely slow worms and great crested newts.  The A228 should be widened along its current route.

The proposed secondary school will be on the border with Tonbridge, split by a main line railway and alongside a heavily used road. This appears to be an odd choice for a site for a new school, surrounded by heavy traffic and requiring children to cross a busy train line to access both sides of the site.  There has been much documented evidence about the harm that pollution does to school age children. TWBC have proclaimed that they are addressing levels of pollution in the area BUT this settlement will increase the pollution levels across the Parish and specifically in an area that has already reached its acceptable level.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding.

The parish church at Tudeley will be surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road and roundabout. Tudeley Church has the only complete set of Marc Chagall windows in the world. TWBC has a duty to protect our heritage.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land producing much needed food as we embark on the need to be more self-sufficient as a country.

DLP_403

Martin Pengelley

OVERVIEW COMMENTS 

I OBJECT TO the proposal to build a new town of nearly 3,000 homes at Tudeley in the parish of Capel and OBJECT TO the proposals for even more housing on Greenbelt land.

The land to be used is Greenbelt and adjacent to AONB. To use Greenbelt land there needs to be “exceptional circumstances” and housing need is NOT sufficient to overrule Greenbelt.

In recent press, TWBC has been quoted as saying “If the Draft Local Plan is agreed it will allow the Council to meet government-imposed housing targets in the way that is considered to be the most appropriate for the Borough as a whole.” This confirms that the Council have been lead by the government targets, not by local housing needs. There is insufficient evidence that the local housing needs exist such that a new town at Tudeley, on Greenbelt land, is justified.

Any consideration of this ill-thought through plan should take account of the fact that it comes from a council that proposed running up significant debt to finance a hugely costly theatre, a reckless proposal that was palpably not wanted by the people of the borough.

FULL COMMENTS

I OBJECT TO the proposal to build a new town of nearly 3,000 homes at Tudeley in the parish of Capel and OBJECT TO the proposals for even more housing on Greenbelt land.

The land to be used is Greenbelt and adjacent to AONB. To use Greenbelt land there needs to be “exceptional circumstances” and housing need is NOT sufficient to overrule Greenbelt.

In press/BBC TV in Oct 2019, TWBC has been quoted as saying “If the Draft Local Plan is agreed it will allow the Council to meet government-imposed housing targets in the way that is considered to be the most appropriate for the Borough as a whole.” This confirms that the Council have been lead by the government targets, not by local housing needs. There is insufficient evidence that the local housing needs exist such that a new town at Tudeley, on Greenbelt land, is justified.

Jake Berry (Minister DHCLG) stated in April 2019 that: “the housing need figure is not a mandatory target. Local Authorities should make a realistic assessment of the number of homes their communities need, using the standard method as the starting point in the process. Once this has been established planning to meet that need will require consideration of land availability, relevant constraints and whether the need is more appropriately met in neighbouring areas... The NPPF is clear that only in exceptional circumstances may a Green Belt boundary be altered, through the Local Plan process. Last year we strengthened Green Belt policy in the revised NPPF”.

Brandon Lewis (Housing Minister 2015) stated clearly that “maintaining strong protection for the Green Belt is national policy and LAs are required to observe this. In the context of planning applications or appeals, the policy is that unmet housing need alone will not amount to the “very special circumstances” to justify planning permission for inappropriate development on Green Belt. We have repeatedly made clear that demand for housing alone will not change Green Belt Boundaries.”

  • 69% of the borough is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
  • There are 10 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
  • 22% of the borough's land is designated as Green Belt (Source: TWBC website, Key Borough Statistics)

Consequently, Government imposed housing targets are disproportionate for a borough with such a high proportion of land being Greenbelt and/or AONB. TWBC should push back on this imposition from central government as Sevenoaks Council have done.

Government targets are based off 2014 ONS data not the updated 2016 numbers which are at a lower level.

Roger Gough, leader of the Conservative Party at Kent County Council and likely new leader of Kent County Council, has said about housing plans in Kent: “the consensus is housing has moved ahead of infrastructure. We are talking about roads, we are talking about schools……we do need to work together to present to government what is required in terms of a balanced approach. People must not feel that housing is coming on such a scale in places that it is not balanced with the infrastructure that comes with it.” (Courier October 11 2019, page 14)

Local needs. What level of diligence has been applied to the work to identify local needs? Not just in numbers of houses, but also in the type of housing? Building a new town at Tudeley is highly likely to generate executive homes which are far more profitable for the developer, than social or affordable housing. Yet the local need is for affordable or social housing.

Has TWBC undertaken its work to identify all the brownfield sites with similar diligence as they have asked landowners to put up greenfield sites for development? Did they initiate visits to potential land owners to encourage the provision of brownfield land, as they did for greenfield categories? Para 137 NPPF requires local planning authorities to “examine fully all other options for meeting its identified need for development” before concluding whether exceptional circumstances exist to justify changes to Green Belt boundaries. If TWBC used greater efforts in seeking out landowners for greenfield land than brownfield, the draft plan fails that test.

Enfield is an example showing that the process that councils use to assess brownfield land is often inadequate. The council in Enfield identified a brownfield register for 2,700 homes. Local resident groups identified non-green sites and visited each site to assess its suitability as brownfield. This found space for 37,000 homes.

Housing density. What assumptions have been used by TWBC on housing density in the new town at Tudeley? The destruction of Greenbelt land should certainly justify a high level of housing density to reduce the irreversible loss of the valuable natural landscape. Insufficient housing density is a ground for refusal of a Local Plan.

Transport considerations. Para 138 NPPF states that: “Where it has been concluded that it is necessary to release Green Belt land for development, plans should give first consideration to land which has been previously-developed and/or is well-served by public transport.” It is quite obvious that the new town at Tudeley is not well served by existing public transport. Extra car usage will be generated on roads that are already congested at peak hours.

Whilst a new road is proposed south of Five Oak Green, this too is in Greenbelt land, resulting in yet more destruction of the natural environment. The roundabout at the Colt’s Hill end of Alders Road will encourage ease of access onto the proposed Colt’s Hill bypass, thus driving traffic down Alders Road at peak times rather than along the proposed new road south of Five Oak Green. Additionally, the proposed Colts Hill bypass is in both Greenbelt and AONB land.

Hospital capacity and extra needs. A new town and 4,000 new homes in Capel will put great pressure on the services at the Kent & Sussex hospital at Pembury. What work has been done to assess the extra demand and the current capacity of the hospital to cope with this? How can the TWBC guarantee the extra resources needed to fund the necessary hospital expansion?

Natural environment. The destruction of greenfield land and Greenbelt land will impact adversely on the natural environment and the wildlife in the area. There is an RSPB nature reserve south of Alders Road less than one mile from the proposed new town in Tudeley. The rise in birds of prey, Buzzards and Sparrow Hawks in particular, that we have witnessed within the last few years, will be impacted adversely given the range of land they cover. The agricultural heritage of the parish will be lost for ever.

Soil quality. The Greenbelt, agricultural land that will be forever destroyed is of what quality? What proportion of the good quality agricultural land in the TWBC area will be lost? Has there been sufficient consideration of such issues?

Flooding and water supply. There is already much known about the issue of flooding in Five Oak Green and other parts of Capel parish. The proximity of the new town to the natural flood plain of the Medway should be properly assessed, including the impact downstream of faster run off. How much increase is there in the likelihood of damaging floods in Yalding, which already suffers regularly in times of heavy rain?

As well as flooding considerations, research should be done on water supply. The whole of the South East is a region of stress for water supply. What professional research has been done on the extra demand from the new town and 4,000 extra homes. Where will the water supply come from? Are there sufficient supplies available?

Air quality, light and noise pollution. The extra housing, cars, street lighting and all that goes with a new town, will lead to increased levels of pollutants in the air and poorer air quality, coupled with noise and light pollution in what is now a rural, Greenbelt area. The quality of the environment in Capel will be irreparably damaged and changed for the worse; for ever. Is this consistent with a desire for betterment of the parish? It is certainly a total destruction of the existing way of life.

Listed buildings and historic site of Tudeley church. Marc Chagall is a world-renowned artist and only one church in the world has all its windows designed by him; Tudeley church. A key contributor to the ambience of this historic church is its setting in the green fields of Kent. This will be lost when the fields are destroyed and the church is surrounded on three sides by the new town at Tudeley. What assessment has there been on this historic site and the other listed buildings in the parish and its surroundings?

Sustainability assessment. As per the TWBC Sustainability Assessment, the housing objective is compatible with only 5 of the 19 sustainability objectives and is incompatible with 9 of them. Even in the situation here of marking one’s own home work, this shows a dramatic lack of sustainability and poorly thought through planning.

Mitigating climate change.  There is little evidence that adequate weighting has been given to the topic that is getting widespread coverage now, that of climate change. As the ultimate threat from climate change is negative for every human being, everything that can be done to mitigate the adverse impact from development on climate change should be done. Under government NPPF guidelines, proposed development needs to consider the impact of climate change. In the area of the proposed new town for Tudeley, flood risk is an issue for consideration. As well as the impact of extra carbon emissions in the construction of the new town and the existence of greater population density afterwards. Has sufficient work be done by TWBC on this issue?

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, I contend that this draft Local Plan and the concept of the new town to be built on Greenbelt land in Capel, has been poorly thought through, is a ‘convenient’ solution to meeting government imposed targets rather than addressing local needs and provides no justification for the destruction of Greenbelt land and riding roughshod over the long established precedents to protect the Greenbelt.

Any consideration of this ill-thought through plan should take account of the fact that it comes from a council that proposed running up significant debt to finance a hugely costly theatre, a reckless proposal that was palpably not wanted by the people of the borough.

DLP_404

Charlee Harman

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

Please do try to remember that we are towns and villages and NOT a city. Yes the need for housing is on the rise but why can we not be resourceful and make use of the many derelict and unused parts of our towns in order to creat a more close knit community rather than just plonking a cluster of houses in the middle of our green belt. Completely ignorant of the environmental impact that this will cause.

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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. Meaning that a usual commute from for members of the public from Tonbridge to Tunbridge Wells will not just take over an hour which it usually is now but longer, meaning more congestion along the A21 through to Pembury Road (which will also affect our AMBULANCE SERVICES, here hoping that none of us will need to be taken to hospital at all as due to this it will take even longer to get there which could be potentially life threatening) and Tunbridge Wells town centre but also the alternative route through South borough.​

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows)

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. ​

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. ​

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant. ​

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement  a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.​

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_422

Adrian Dawn

I am writing to ​object​ to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).​ I have made some points here that you have seen before. Additional personal comments are also included. 

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 Tonbridge. These proposals will cause a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, this will add to the extreme traffic congestion that currently exists on this road every morning. The level of traffic is already unacceptable between 7.45am to 9am due to work and school traffic,on Woodgate Way, Vale Road and Pembury Road which 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 site does not appear to be a suitable site for a school, as it is surrounded by heavy traffic and requiring children to cross a busy train line to access both sides of the site. 

People that will be living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and also Tonbridge town services with the lack of current parking that will need to be increased. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. As it’s roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. There will be a increase in numbers of passengers on already a very packed commuter trains system from Tonbridge Station. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult than it currently is. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area,which could cause hardship to people living in the Tunbridge Wells area if jobs were affected.There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, as Tonbridge is much closer. 

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding already there are problems with the streams over flowing and roads flooding in Five Oak Green and Whetsted . There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).The Church is also very popular with coach parties with visitors from all around the world,wanting to see a church or renown fame which is situated in the country side.

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. 

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. 

I believe that the housing need to be recalculated by the government and can be reduced. If it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant. 

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough. 

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

I do not live in these areas but know them well. All of the above I agree. This is madness to build such a large settlement in these areas.

DLP_424

Susan Marchant

I have been a resident of Five Oak Green for 41 years and feel I must write to object to the appalling vision set out in the Draft Local Plan. The idea of developing a garden village in Tudeley in a beautiful valley accessed by a winding lane is crass in the extreme and the infrastructure implications, particularly with regard to local roads and traffic are horrendous.

I think that proposed/possible transport links should have been included in the Draft plan as they are a vital element of the sustainability or otherwise of the scheme. From details in the TWBC Infrastructure Delivery Plan costs have been allocated for new roads/bypasses, roundabouts, bus lanes and cycle lanes……. yet more land to be concreted over and endless frustration for local businesses and the public while this all goes ahead.

If your remit is to destroy Green Belt, lose valuable agricultural land, compromise wildlife and biodiversity, increase the risk of flooding, air and light pollution, add traffic to already congested roads and create commuter chaos in neighbouring Tonbridge, then I congratulate you on a marvellous plan.

Garden settlements seem to be the latest romantic development notion being promoted at the moment and no doubt have their place in some areas, but creating a garden settlement of 2,800 dwellings on Green Belt land at Tudeley will cause immense harm to residents of the Parish of Capel and to residents of Tonbridge. There is no evidence of a likely positive outcome or clear goals for the benefit of people in the borough. Housing that meets local need at prices that are affordable is very unlikely to meet the profit objectives of developers. 

There will be a significant increase in traffic into Tonbridge from the B2017, 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. 

People living on the new development will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer. 

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary into Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows). 

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. 

NPPF guidelines give TWBC a clear indication that Green Belt boundaries and AONB can be protected. Government housing targets for councils are not mandatory as local planning officials would have everyone believe. TWBC should reduce the number of houses to a target that reflects real local need and avoids wanton destruction of Green Belt land. There are options for TWBC to explore in this regard and I would like to see them do so and to remove the garden settlement from the draft plan. At the moment they seem to be pursuing a rather arrogant and draconian agenda. The Chairing of three key areas by one councillor in the preparation of this plan is a considerable abuse of power and I am surprised it is allowed.

TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. Why, despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough has TWBC chosen to take the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscale it to 14,776?

Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant. 

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation and I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. This is clearly the first step of a strategy foreshadowing the coalescence of Tonbridge and Paddock Wood - a massive wrecking of a beautiful Green Belt valley. This housing policy will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural, with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. TWBC should be protecting this heritage for the future and should have rejected this site out of hand as a totally unsustainable development for Capel parish.

TWBC should be looking to spread development across the borough on brownfield sites or suitable areas outside the Green Belt and AONB. Key diagram Fig. 4 Sect.4 p4 shows areas in Horsmonden and Frittenden. I imagine that there are some very disappointed landowners in these localities who are wondering why Hadlow Estate should be reaping sole benefit from the call for development sites. 

Here I would like point out that one landowner has blatantly abnegated its responsibility and avowed duty of care to offer acres of Green Belt for housing in a breath-taking display of naked greed. In the words of Hadlow Estate: “An ongoing commitment to wildlife conservation, stewardship and ecological enhancement sits at the heart of our vision for the long term management of the Estate. This commitment includes a wide variety of landscapes and habitats, from Medway valley meadows and fields, interspersed with woodland and streams to higher forested ridges. We are proud of the Estate’s diversity and the many species of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and plants that live here.” (hadlow.com) I don’t think selling your land for housing on this scale comes under the heading of stewardship. I repeat: TWBC should have rejected this site immediately instead of being beguiled by the easier option of ‘dealing with a single landowner’.

DLP_429

Susan Whitfield

This area is Green Belt and AONB. To place such a density of buildings in this area is ludicrous. The housing is not vital. It will not ease the housing waiting list as the majority of the properties will be well out of the reach of local people, and will be snapped up by Londoners looking to downsize and get a house for a lot less then their properties would sell for. The only people to benefit from this build will be the developers not the local people who live and work and contribute to the borough. As to TWBC, how can they benefit from this large influx of residents as most will look to Tonbridge for their needs. We always go to Tonbridge first for shopping, leisure our GP etc., and so will they.

Paddock Wood residents use the road through our village to get to the A21 and Tonbridge. Any new residents will continue this route. Crossing this small road has at times been hard enough without adding to it. Even with the new proposed link road, they won't use it they’ll come through here, blighting our lives even more.

I feel also that placing 60% of the borough’s supposed housing needs in one small area is due to the ease of dealing with one landowner, therefore one developer, one set of lawyers etc Harlow Estates have shown themselves as only

Interested in making a quick buck regardless of the land lost to their ever increasing desire to sell it for any reason ie solar panels now surrounding us.

Please please see sense, we are not in dire need of this mass housing spree. Think about the future because once this beautiful landscape is gone, it’s gone

DLP_432

Coralie Tringham

I am not a NIMBY I believe we need new and good local housing. Lots of it, affordably, ecologically and fast.​

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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. ​

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding.

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. ​

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. ​

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant. ​

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement  a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.​

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_436

Colin Sinclair

I am writing to object to the plan to build 2,800 houses in Tudeley. This will cause a huge amount of congestion in the area and in Tonbridge. I really don’t think that the infrastructure of roads and railways will cope. I also shudder to think how busy Tonbridge station will become. Will the main line to London be able to cope? Please do not build any more houses in this part of Kent; there are enough already.

I live in South Tonbridge with my family. My children go to local schools and I commute to London every day. I see life becoming very difficult, should this building plan go ahead.

DLP_444

Roger and Mary Lawes

We write to you as concerned residents of Tonbridge – not Tunbridge Wells. What we have learned so far (that 2,800 new houses are to be built on the town border, at Tudeley plus another 1,500 allocated to Paddock Wood, but falling within Capel) dismays us. The numbers are far, far too high for the area. It would involve the loss of a large area of countryside amenity. Part of the “green lungs” around Tonbridge amongst other things. It would also add to the already significant traffic congestion problems in and around Tonbridge. Where are the prospective residents going to work?  Possible answer...London. To which they would commute. Tonbridge rail station already handles 4.3 million passengers per annum. The development would add significant numbers to this figure with consequent “all day” car parking problems in the town.

There has been insufficient consideration given to the provision of infrastructure, particularly sewerage disposal for a development of this size. Where would the new treatment plant(s) be sited? Probably Tonbridge. Where is fresh water to come from? Probably (again) from boreholes/ treatment plants in Tonbridge. What about electricity sub-stations, gas pipelines and (these days) cable for internet/TV/telephone etc?

At present there is far too much traffic on the local roads near the proposed site, which are much the size of country lanes as they are. We question whether the roads could cope with the new influx of vehicles. As far as encouraging people to cycle more. It’s too dangerous now, the growth in traffic brought about by this development is not going to improve the situation.

The church at Tudeley is the only church in the world with windows by Marc Chagall. It attracts visitors from around the globe. One of it’s attractions must be it’s peaceful setting amongst the fields. This peace would be lost if, as we understand it, a housing estate is to be built around it.

A development of this size is going to give rise to an increased need for both primary and secondary school places which could not be met from the existing provision. So, further primary and secondary resources would need to be built thus leading to further congestion (and danger) in narrow lanes around the proposed site. On this subject it is understood that the plans include a secondary school that is apparently to straddle the main London-Ashford rail line! At the very least that idea is insensitive. This is Tonbridge, not Croydon!! It is probably too complex a civil engineering idea to be practical anyway, even if it were sensible, which it is not. A school should be on one site.

Another matter is the question of health facilities. At present it is very, very hard for anyone coming into the area to get registered at a doctors or dentists surgery. Given 4,800 houses, 2 adults in each and say half the households having 2 children that is another 14,400  patients for doctors/dentists to care for at a time when GP numbers are not increasing! Come on, this really will not do.

Remember, the proposals belong to Tunbridge Wells, but the problems will affect Tonbridge.

For the numerous reasons mentioned above the whole idea of this scale of development so close to Tonbridge is wrong and would do real harm to the enjoyment of those who live here. Because of this the proposal should be refused.

DLP_449

East Peckham Parish Council

East Peckham Parish Council is a parish within Tonbridge and Malling and a neighbouring parish of Capel and Paddock Wood.  Having examined the contents of the Draft Local Plan in some detail, the Parish Council has strong objections over the proposal to build over 4,000 homes in the Parish of Capel in both the areas of Tudeley and to the west of Paddock Wood.

Capel is a rural Parish that sits within the green belt, there are currently 900 homes in the Parish. It is mainly agricultural land with a diverse wildlife.  The proposal to build the substantial number of homes would have a significant impact on the rural landscape, environment, and wildlife, which would have detrimental impacts upon Capel, Paddock Wood and neighbouring parishes which fall within the borough of Tonbridge and Malling of which East Peckham is one.  Furthermore, the proposals would lead to the loss of the all-important green belt buffer from Tonbridge, which would result in urban sprawl development from Tonbridge to Paddock Wood.

The suggestion of so many homes in this location is not sustainable with the existing infrastructure and could lead to a greater risk of flooding both locally and further along the River Medway floodplain, putting at risk other built up towns and villages including East Peckham.

Increased housing should be developed in proportion to existing population numbers across the borough brownfield sites and other sites which already have infrastructure in place. Much of the land proposed in Capel for development has a single landowner and the simplicity and convenience in developing that land should not come before the significant detrimental impact its development would have.

Part of the site of the proposed development sits at the very edge of the Borough next to the border with Tonbridge and Malling making East Peckham a close neighbour.  Any increase in population within Capel would result in a significant demand upon Tonbridge and Malling Borough and neighbouring parishes without the plan or infrastructure to cope. Tunbridge Wells Borough would benefit by receiving the Council Tax and Business Rates whilst Tonbridge and Malling and neighbouring parishes would bear the brunt of any problems.

Having made the above generalised comments, The Parish Council wishes to highlight the following concerns:

  • It would be environmentally irresponsible to build a small new town in an area with no existing public transport a town where its 5,000 or so inhabitants will be dependent on cars to go anywhere. The proposals include a new secondary school and a primary but there would be no train station nearby, the highway infrastructure would be unable to cope
  • The Plan lacks detail on infrastructure
  • There is Inadequate information on the assessments of the impacts on rail, bus, retail and parking services within Tonbridge and Malling.
  • Loss of green belt land
  • Potential threat to the flood plain

I hope the views expressed by East Peckham Parish Council will be considered as the Local Plan progresses.

DLP_474

Miss Elizabeth Turton

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1)

I live in the very centre of Tonbridge two streets from Tonbridge Castle. I have lived in the town for 35 years and love where I live for the environment immediately on my doorstep and in this area of West Kent, the rail links to the coast and to London. Most of all I love it for its community as an identifiable town. I don’t want to see it become part of a conurbation created by building continuously all the way to Paddock Wood, absorbing the villages in between in the process.

The plans to build 2,800 homes creating a ‘garden’ village out of the tiny hamlet of Tudeley and adding a further 4,000 homes to Paddock Wood in addition to the hundreds already given permission concern me greatly. The effect on the town of Tonbridge could be catastrophic. Some of the issues are:

Flooding – After the flooding of parts of Tonbridge and villages downstream in the winter of 2013/2014 it was decided that the Leigh Flood Barrier needed to be raised urgently. Six years later the planning application is only going to be submitted sometime in 2020/21 and who knows how much later the actual work will begin. Building in Tudeley (and Paddock Wood) will add yet more pressure on the flood plain of the Medway and its tributaries, more run-off from hard surfaces, fewer trees and open farmland to absorb the moisture. More flooding will affect Tonbridge, East Peckham, Golden Green, Yalding and Laddingford. The climate is changing and there are more extreme weather events with heavy downpours after hot dry periods. Has this been incorporated into flood mitigation plans?

Fresh Water supply – are new reservoirs to be built, Bewl Water is already under pressure? Hotter summers have seen levels drop to 25% with additional water taken out of local rivers. The South East is the driest part of the country.

Sewage – will a new sewage treatment works be built prior to any more development? SE Water have said that even homes currently under construction at Paddock Wood cannot be connected to the present treatment works.

Transport – People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer. There is no bus service and no train station.

Tonbridge only has two roads which cross the River Medway, the High Street and Cannon Lane. Congestion is dreadful, for example, between 7.45 and 9.00 a.m. traffic can queue a mile and a half towards Five Oak Green from the Somerhill roundabout as it battles with vehicles coming from the A21 to get to the industrial estate or to the A26. Pembury Road and Quarry Hill leading to Tonbridge station and the 5 secondary schools in the south of the town create gridlock. Add a settlement of 2,800 homes and compound it by putting a secondary school on the Somerhill roundabout and the problem will be exponentially increased. Pollution levels will also rise to unacceptable levels.

Schools – what on earth is the logic of putting another secondary school right on the border of Tonbridge when it is designed to cater for children from the new Tudeley and Paddock Wood? How will they get there? More road traffic. How sensible to choose a site with a railway going through the middle of it. South Tonbridge already has 5 secondary schools: Judd, Hayesbrook, Hillview, Tonbridge Grammar and Weald of Kent, plus the schools at Somerhill, surely another secondary school needs to be where the bulk of the development is (if it goes ahead) at Paddock Wood.

Medical and emergency facilities - The Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone hospital at Pembury is expected to serve another possible 15,000 people, again not enough parking, poor transport links and it is already over subscribed. Doctors practices in Tonbridge are closing their lists to new patients because there are not enough GPs.

Are Tonbridge Fire Station and our police expected to serve another 6,000+ properties?

All the above is bad enough but, in addition, the loss of ancient woodland, parts of an AONB, green belt land and walks and views of the weald and historic landscapes is dreadful when climate change is (or should be) top of the agenda. Road pollution, water pollution, noise pollution will all be increased.

There is no commitment in the plan to put a figure on how much of the housing will be ‘affordable’. In this area so called ‘affordable’ is nowhere near what people can afford to pay. An influx of people looking for cheaper property than London and its SE boroughs has pushed up house prices and rents over the past few years making it more and more difficult for local people earning local wages to afford to buy or rent.

The fact that all the land targeted for this development is owned by one landowner is, I suspect, the big attraction for TWBC added to the fact that our borough of Tonbridge and Malling will take the brunt of the impact.

To build small developments in Tudeley and other villages seems sensible but is harder to deal with a number of landowners so TWBC have gone for the easy option.

To overwhelm one area with thousands of new houses will damage the environment, the communities and people and businesses already present.

TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

I have registered on the TWBC site but I found it so hard to use that I have decided to make my comments by email instead. I would like to be kept informed of progress of the Local Plan.

DLP_476

Paul Dixon

I am writing to strongly object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

Having read through the various documents regarding this strategy, I am writing to strongly object to the proposed plans for the Capel Parish. This is for the following reasons:

1. The additional housing will lead to the destruction of land that is designated Green Belt. There is a reason why this land is designated Green Belt, the point of which is to maintain an area where agriculture, forestry and outdoor leisure can be expected to prevail and to prevent urban sprawl. The plans for the Capel Parish run completely contrary to that. It will involve the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows and farmland. It will also have a negative impact on the landscape. The Green Belt should only be built upon in ‘Exceptional Circumstance’ – no such exceptional circumstance exists in relation to this proposal.

In addition to the destruction of the land, it will also lead to the destruction of wildlife, including ‘at risk’ species.

2. Impact on local residents, both in Tudeley and Capel and also Tonbridge. Traffic congestion is already a significant issue in this area and the plans put forward will exacerbate this even further. The B2017 is already a busy road and the plans will lead to more traffic pouring into Tonbridge from this direction (whether it’s commuters driving to Tonbridge station or parents taking children to school). This will particularly impact Woodgate Way and Vale Road.

Furthermore, other country roads / lanes (including Three Elm Lane) can be expected to see an upsurge in traffic as the new residents will try and use this as a ‘cut through’. These country roads / lanes already suffer from inappropriate traffic levels.

3. The proposed school on the edge of Tonbridge is ill considered, both due to the traffic congestion already referred to and particularly given that it will cross the railway line. Traffic is already busy on the B2017. Adding a school on the proposed site will worsen this. In addition, it is beyond belief how anyone can consider a school split over a railway line to be a sensible idea.

4. Tonbridge does not have the capacity for additional people. Tonbridge itself is already running at peak capacity in terms of its roads, parking spaces and trains. Residents in the new settlements can be expected to use cars rather than bus and bicycles and will undoubtedly drive to Tonbridge rather than Tunbridge Wells.

5. Tonbridge residents will end up with the cost of infrastructure whilst Tunbridge Wells gets the benefits of the additional council tax. The cost of infrastructure such as new health services, amenities and car parking will be borne by Tonbridge residents which is inappropriate. It seems that this may be the reason that Tunbridge Wells council have decided to put the majority of their proposed additional housing in the north western corner of their borough because it offloads any costs and problems to another borough.

6. Risk of flooding from the River Medway. It seems that the council have a short memory on the flooding risk from the Medway. Any building on the Medway floodplain will increase the risk of future flooding, even more so as the impacts of climate change take place. The current landscape should be left to act as a natural flood buffer, not have houses and roads built upon it. Residents could also have difficulty obtaining insurance coverage.

7. Increased pollution. This is both in respect of air pollution from additional traffic, light pollution from additional housing, street lights, etc and noise pollution.

8. Tunbridge Wells Council does not appear to have properly considered alternative sites. I believe there are plenty of other sites, including brownfield sites across the borough of Tunbridge Wells which could absorb the additional housing need. The Council should undertake a more comprehensive study on this first. It seems to me that the Council is taking the lazy option of imposing large groups of housing in areas where they only have to deal with one eager landowner, regardless of whether the area is appropriate for such housing levels.

9. The plan for Tudeley has not gone through the proper planning process, with no detailed Green Belt Study performed, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. Tunbridge Wells council should not just add these new plans without having gone through the proper studies and procedures beforehand.

I trust that the above comments are given the appropriate consideration. Do not underestimate the strength of local feeling regarding this, not just in the directly affected areas but in the wider region too. These plans should not succeed.

DLP_480

Tunbridge Wells Ramblers

As Chairman of the Tunbridge Wells Ramblers I am writing on their behalf with respect to the proposed building of over 4000 homes in the parish of Capel.

The proposed area sits within the GREEN BELT AREA and to build on this extensive rural and agricultural site would be detrimental to the extensive wild-life found in the area and cause loss in food production.

The location is not only used by Ramblers groups from all the surrounding areas but by dog owners exercising their pets and by families showing their children the joy of walking in rural areas teaching them how to respect and look after the land and enjoying the exercise that can be missing in today's society.

There is unique culture and heritage within the Tudeley area which would be completely swallowed up and lost FOREVER if this proposal went ahead.

DLP_488

Michael Perry

I live in Badsell Manor (wrongly described in the draft local plan as Badsell Manor Farmhouse) a grade II listed building surrounded by a working moat and located in the centre of green-belt land, protecting the nature of this ancient building.

I am writing to strongly object to the proposed strategy for developing Capel Parish and Paddock Wood.  I particularly feel that the development of East Capel would highly detrimental.

A large proportion of residents that live in East Capel do so because of the semi-rural nature of the area, in the knowledge that it is Green Belt land and should only be built upon if an “exceptional circumstance” exists. TWBC’s own assessments in their Sustainability Appraisal show that Paddock Wood can expand and meet most of the plan’s aims without using the Green Belt land at East Capel. Currently the land in East Capel is a flood plain and building there, even with flood risk mitigation and “betterment” could have disastrous consequences for all, as the measures being looked at are based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change.

The proposals to allocate such a large proportion of the Borough’s requirements for housing and other development in one area will have a huge negative impact on local residents. There will be a significant increase in traffic going into Tonbridge from the B2017, exacerbating the extreme traffic congestion that exists on this road every morning. There would also be unacceptable levels of traffic on the A228, which would not be helped by the building of the proposed Pembury bypass, which would simply increase road noise and move the bottleneck going into Tunbridge Wells.​

People living and working in the proposed developments will use Tonbridge and Paddock Wood Stations for commuting. The increase in traffic will be more than Paddock Wood and Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers, on already packed commuter trains from Paddock Wood and Tonbridge stations, will be unsustainable. Most people living in the new settlements will inevitably drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use.  Proposals to deal with the traffic problems by bus, cycle and pedestrian solutions are conveniently naïve.  Elsewhere this has been shown not to work.

Intensive development, on the lines proposed, will require massive infrastructure improvements.  The proposal is that this infrastructure will not be put in place until after development has taken place.  Whilst this may be a viable option for a series of small developments, it is impractical for such a huge series of proposed developments in one area.  The result would be chaotic with a collapse in the provision of health, education and transport facilities for an extended period of time, causing misery for local people.

The proposed development at East Capel will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will increase flooding with the increased flood risk impacting not only Paddock Wood and Five Oak Green but also other local areas.  There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the developed area, creating an urban environment.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food, and act as a flood plain. There is little point in the concept of Green Belt if it then developed at the whim of a Borough Council.​

I believe that the housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt in the borough. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant. ​​

I am concerned that if this plan is adopted it will eventually create a ribbon development running all the way from Tonbridge to Paddock Wood, permanently destroying the rural environment. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites. The developments in East Capel and Tudeley are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Paddock Wood and Tonbridge.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_489

Heather Corrie

OBJECTIONS TO TWBC DRAFT LOCAL PLAN

I write as a resident to raise my strong objections to the proposals by TWBC to build over 4000 new homes in Tudeley and East Capel with a large school near Somerhill, namely “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1) and the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1).

My objections are grouped as follows:

1. This is over 600 acres of greenbelt (GB) which is mostly prime agricultural land, with diverse woodland, wildlife and hedgerows which would be destroyed. TWBC has brownfield and non GB and non-AONB land available across the borough with better access to infrastructure and under consideration until this year. There are no “exceptional circumstances” to merit Green Belt being used. There is no Green Belt Study, Landscape Assessment or Biodiversity Assessment for these sites as this proposal was rushed through after the Issues and Options process in 2017.

2. The combined developments will create a conurbation running from Paddock Wood to Tonbridge not a garden settlement which will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre and swamp Tonbridge. The TWBC assertion that Tudeley is a garden settlement is misleading as it does not qualify under the Government proposals for garden villages and settlements. There is nothing discrete about the development and it has no local support.

3. The visual impairment of this AONB will be very significant. The Weald of Kent is an historic landscape, in particular around All Saints Church Tudeley with its complete set of Chagall windows, one of our most prized local assets.

4. Commuter trains are already full to capacity via Paddock Wood and Tonbridge and Network Rail has already indicated it is not possible to build a new halt at Tudeley. There is not room to push thousands more commuters onto the trains at Paddock Wood and Tonbridge and no capacity to run enough additional services at peak times. Traffic congestion will be massive with the additional cars particularly around Tonbridge where there already is inadequate parking.

5. How can TWBC councillors justify that the future cost incurred as a result of the proposed developments in providing public services and infrastructure will be offset by the future council tax revenues? Ie that they have not been negligent and will be able to balance the books without huge borrowing increasing the costs for all residents and worst case the council becoming insolvent. The council aim to balance their books via Community Infrastructure Levy and S106 payments from developers. Each dwelling will require a £50,000 contribution based on current estimates for good infrastructure around the” new town” at Tudeley, let alone the East Capel developments. Spreading development across the borough as previously proposed would be the cheaper option building on existing infrastructure and services. Issues not properly analysed and costed include:

* Adequate flood protection measures

* New sewage infrastructure as existing network already near capacity

* Need to renew and upgrade most electricity substations to cope with increased demand and, in particular, charging of electric cars as in theory the majority of people will then be needing fast charging points

* Ability to deliver and pay for road development required on a timely basis

6. How do TWBC councillors justify dumping the cost and problem of providing additional support services, schools pressure and traffic problems on the residents of Tonbridge Borough?

B. ADDITIONAL OBJECTION RE EAST CAPEL

1. This is a high risk flood plain and subject to regular flooding. TWBC has used old climate statistics to roughly calculate flood defence measures which would need to be implemented. The cost of flood defence measures are likely to be woefully inadequate and cost significantly more than assumed in this proposal. The impact of climate change has not properly been considered. There will be a knock on flood risk to places such as Yalding.

2. This is flat PRIME agricultural land in full production. There are no “exceptional circumstances” to justify building 1500 houses.

3. The roads will need significant development and some parts eg along Badsell Road are not capable of widening. There is already significant congestion which is already being increased by the new Mascalls housing development on Badsell Road.

C. ADDITIONAL OBJECTION RE TUDELEY DEVELOPMENT

1. Residents of the new development which is on the edge of Tonbridge will seek to use services of Tonbridge – the neighbouring borough for schools, health and other services and for commuting. Tonbridge town has not got the capacity to deal with the influx of people from outside their council tax area who are not paying for services. There will be a huge negative impact on Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic congestion.

DLP_492

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):

  1. it is environmentally irresponsible to build what is in effect a new small town in an area with no existing public transport, a town whose 5000 or so inhabitants will be dependent on cars to go anywhere;
  1. a development of this size in the Green Belt and immediately adjacent to the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is unacceptable and will destroy the fine, pastoral landscape at Tudeley: it would be contrary to national planning policy;
  • All Saints, Tudeley has become one of the most visited small churches in England because of its Chagall glass: it attracts visitors from all over western Europe. They see now a church amidst fields. If the plan goes ahead, they will see a church in a housing estate. It is extraordinary that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is prepared so to compromise one of Kent’s most important buildings;
  1. the impact on Tonbridge of this development would be severe. The town has significant traffic problems at peak times because of the concentration of schools and the presence of one of the busiest commuter railway stations in south east England. It would be inevitable that a large development at Tudeley, combined with yet another secondary school on the edge of Tonbridge proposed in this plan, would make those problems worse;
  2. existing overcrowding at Tonbridge railway station would be exacerbated.

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.

DLP_510

Tim Dale

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

Having lived in the Capel area for 20 years I have had the pleasure of enjoying the beautiful countryside and in fact it was one of the biggest reasons I moved into the area.

Over that time the infrastructure has been stretched to breaking point and the roads around Golden Green , Capel , Tudeley and Summerhill school have been turned into rat runs and are now so busy that at times it's impossible to make a local trip during school times and rush hour.

Hartlake has been recently resurfaced but already has been badly damaged by the sheer weight of traffic. The idea of building more homes in this specific area is monstrous and totally against local interest. In recent years we have had to see our country side blighted by quarrying and already there are plans to increase the amount of quarrying in the close vicinity. It is outrageous to even think of ruining what is left of the green and pleasant land around Capel and Tudeley.

On another point the Railway station of Tonbridge has been given a facelift but would in no way be able to deal with the extra commuter traffic from a substantial number of new homes in the area. The trains are already packed to breaking point in the rush hour, and car parks in the vicinity are jam packed Monday to Friday and together with the associated traffic at key times is totally unacceptable.

Perhaps you can review your plans and instead of destroying the south east Of England and particularly this part of Kent use this opportunity to reallocate the population to a more appropriate area where there is more space to house people properly with the proper level of infrastructure and support services that are required for such a large development, instead of squeezing them into ever decreasing spare space around this beautiful countryside.

DLP_515

Sarah Hughes

I write as a local resident to raise my strong objections to the proposals by TWBC to build over 4000 new homes in Tudeley and East Capel and a large school near  Somerhill. Namely “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1) and the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1). I understand you may publish my objection but not my contact details. My objections are:

The residents of the 2800 homes proposed for Tudeley (possibly 6000+ people) will come to Tonbridge for their services eg health service, schools and other amenities as its closer than Tunbridge Wells. As a council tax payer in Tonbridge I strongly object to carrying the cost of increased demand for our local services which will be stretched beyond capacity and TWBC walk off with the council tax payment.

This is over 600 acres of greenbelt (GB) and prime agricultural land, including major floodplains, which would be destroyed. TWBC has brownfield and non GB and non-AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) land available across the borough and previously under consideration in 2018. There are no “exceptional circumstances” to merit greenbelt being used on this scale.

In particular, for me as a commuter,  it will push thousands more people onto the Paddock Wood and Tonbridge commuter trains. In Tonbridge, the roads at peak times are already very heavily congested and not able to be widened. Parking is a nightmare.  Where will all these cars and people to go? TWBC are simply viewing the additional commuters at Tonbridge as somebody else’s problem. This is not acceptable and has not been thought through.

DLP_517

Mr Neil Franklin

I am totally opposed to imposing such a large development on to such a small community.

DLP_531

Paul and Kate Chalklin

We are Paul & Kate Chalklin. We have lived in Five Oak Green for the last 32 years. The main reason we moved here from Southborough, Tunbridge Wells was to raise a family in the countryside. This we were able to do in relative peace and quiet with many strolls across the beautiful countryside around Tudeley that is proposed to be covered in concrete. Countryside recently has been disappearing at an alarming rate in complete juxtaposition with the stated environmental aims of local and national government. Once this land is gone, there is no going back, no matter how dire the need for countryside becomes. You will have destroyed it’s ability to produce food. Kent already has a higher population than many other areas of the country, and a blanket approach that we should build as many homes as other district councils is clearly wrong. But if this policy is insisted upon then you should be building on brownfield sites. I appreciate that compared to the proposed sites this is more difficult for you, but this is nowhere near as difficult as the loss of farming land will be to the generations that will follow us. They will not forgive us! Kent is England’s largest non-metropolitan county with a resident population of 1,568,600 people in mid-2018. You are just seeking to make this even worse by increasing it by 10,000 more people (assuming 2.5 people reside in each new house in Capel).

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

Creating a garden settlement at Tudeley of 2,800 new dwellings will cause immense harm to residents of the Parish of Capel and to residents of Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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, presumably using a new bridge (as the line is in a cutting) to access both sides of the site. It would be dangerous for children to use the existing bridge. The children will in many cases have to walk from and to Tonbridge Station crossing busy roads including the northern section of Woodgate Way. Presumably some, possibly many of the children would be from out of area.You cannot control this. It would appear that you have placed the school at this site out of desperation.​

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period.

Having commuted for 25 years to London from Paddock Wood (stopping in June 2019) I can give you some insight into the problems this will cause:

  • Paddock Wood Car Park is close to full during the day. People come here from the surrounding area. It could probably absorb a few more cars at peak time, but the knock on effect of that is denying people who are day-tripping to London a parking space. So where will they park? You have made parking for commuters in Paddock Wood difficult (for good reasons), so where do the day-trippers go? They could go to Tonbridge, but Tonbridge is about to get full; read on.
  • I am not really familiar with Tonbridge Station car park so I will assume it can absorb more cars. If we conservatively said that 200 cars would arrive from the new Tudeley settlement (I am sure it will be far more but you get my point), I am sure that Tonbridge station car parking will be beyond saturated.
  • Currently during peak commuting hours trains are getting full by the time they leave Tonbridge. With the extra commuters the comment above will have generated the train will at least be full to overcrowded.
  • My train never stopped at Hildenborough (a lot of the overspill car parking could end up there), but when it reached Sevenoaks, the last stop before London, people were often having to stand as there were no seats left. This can only lead to overcrowding for the people of Sevenoaks.

So the housing in Capel is not just a local problem. It is going to spread to the rail infrastructure as well up to and including Sevenoaks.

Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. A once soaked commuter will not be cycling ever again to either Tonbridge or Paddock Wood stations, even if he/she does have an ebike - been there, done that! There may be some people who are working from home but the vast majority who work in London will commute.

The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but due to the area being concreted flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows)

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. Any railway bridges put in to join the two separate halves of the "garden village” will have to be proud of the landscape as the railway line sits on the flood plain. These will surely be a blot on the landscape.​

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. The council seems to be moving in one direction while society is moving in the other trying to protect the environment.​

I believe that housing needs calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant. ​

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement  a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.​

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_539

Hogben

Objections

1  The land is designated Green Belt and is Prime farming quality, essential for the long term production of food crops to cater for the forecast growth in the UK population.

2  An additional 2800 dwellings on the borders of Tonbridge will increase the traffic coming into the town by between 3000 and 5000 vehicles each weekday plus service vehicles, traders etc. Already Tudeley Lane, Cannon Lane, Hadlow Road are at a standstill in the rush hours and exceptionally busy at most other times of the day.

3  Tonbridge Station is one of the busiest in the Southeast, the trains are overcrowded at peak times and there is no way to increase capacity or frequency.

4  The Tunbridge Wells hospital is struggling to cope with today's demand and the car parks are always full.

5  Tonbridge and Malling have proposals to build more housing at Hayesden which will also impact on the roads, schools, hospitals, trains etc.

6. The roads into Tunbridge Wells from Paddock Wood, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Sevenoaks are also at saturation point and would, like Tonbridge become gridlocked, with all of the problems and pollution that this would cause.

OBSERVATIONS

To cope with forecast growth new towns need to be planned and built away from existing populations with the infrastructure and industry created first followed by housing.  ( not the other way round) They would be car-free towns with underground ,low energy transport systems linking to mainline stations and airports. The residential areas would be surrounded by green spaces, walk and cycle ways and full leisure activity centres.

Such a solution would require government funding until established with the monies being recovered from residents, businesses etc over a period of years.

DLP_542

Mr and Mrs A C Wickens

We have lived in Five Oak Green since 2002. We moved here to get away from the estate we had both lived on for over 50 years . We moved away from the noise , Traffic, & general urban living. We like it here, and would like to spend the rest of our days here.

However , I live in Sychem Lane, Next to Capel Fencing , with whom I had many disagreements with regarding the noise and traffic from their yard at all times of the day and night. I sent in many complaints to TWBC  as did other Neighbours, I still hold all of the Correspondence and Photographs today. I was told on all occasions that there was nothing you could do as there was no planning conditions attached to the yard or lane.

What you didn’t say, was that you owned half the yard they were using , and the lane they were using for access. And that they only paid you rent. I believe this was withheld deliberately  How on earth are we to believe anything you say about the additional 4000 new house’s you are planning between Paddock Wood & Tonbridge. I Believe you are only motivated by money and not concerned about any local residents at all.

You must also know that none of these house’s , flats or whatever you intend to build, Will be out of reach of the majority of the local workers, we do not earn the high salaries here. The 2 house’s built last year in the village still haven’t sold.

Please think again about this ridiculous plan you have.

DLP_544

Jane Jackson

I write as a Sevenoaks resident to raise my strong objections to the proposals by TWBC to build over 4000 new homes in Tudeley and East Capel, namely “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1) and the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1). I understand this email may be published but not my contact details.

My objections are as follows:

  • The area in question is over 600 acres of greenbelt (GB) and prime agricultural land, including major floodplains, which would be destroyed. TWBC has brownfield and non GB and non-AONB land available across the borough and previously under consideration in 2018. There are no “exceptional circumstances” to merit Green Belt being used.  
  • It will be a visual scar on the Weald of Kent landscape, particularly around All Saints Church Tudeley with its Chagall windows, one of our most prized local assets. We must consider our cultural treasures with more seriousness.
  • Thousands more commuters will be pushed onto the Paddock Wood and Tonbridge commuter trains. These trains are already full to capacity and as a resident of Sevenoaks I already experience the problem of serious overcrowding by the time these trains reach my station. TWBC are simply viewing this as somebody else’s problem. This is not acceptable.

DLP_546

Mr Don Foreman

I am Don (Donald) Foreman and I have lived in the Parish of Capel for 35 years. During that time I have become closely involved of the life of the parish as member and currently Chairman of the Capel History Society, which has published 3 books to date, member of the Friends of Capel Church, working as a volunteer maintaining the churchyard, member of Capel Cricket Club, where I am Publicity Officer, and throughout my time here have supported a range of other parish activities on a less formal basis.

As a dog owner I walked virtually every parish path north of the A21 and thus gained a knowledge of the land, its use for agriculture and recreation, and the wildlife which inhabits it.

My late mother lies at rest in the beautiful and tranquil graveyard of St. Thomas a Becket, Capel, and I will in due time also be buried there.

This message is to object to 'The Strategy for Capel Parish' (Policy STR/CA1).

Given the egregious enormity of the damage this plan will inflict on the Parish of Capel it is difficult to know where to start in condemning it, and how to describe it in a concise way.

I remain unconvinced that so many houses are required at all, and they are certainly not being built in response to local demand. It is evident that the majority of houses currently being built are 'executive properties' way beyond 'affordable'. Already in this parish TWBC has granted itself planning permission for five 4/5 bedroom houses off Sychem Lane, obviously ignorant of the fact that 2 such houses were built in Five Oak Green two years ago which remain unsold.

In the south-east of England (including the Borough of Tunbridge Wells) there are hundreds of empty properties, thousands more which are under-occupied, thousands of buildings which could be restored for, or brought into, residential use, and many acres of 'brownfield' land.

To inflict the cancer of 'Tudeley New Town' on the green lung which lies between Tonbridge, Pembury, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Southborough and Paddock Wood is a matter for which the landowner and TWBC, members and officers, should be deeply ashamed.

Capel Parish is fortunate to have 98 listed buildings and other features, many of which will be either directly or indirectly adversely affected by the construction of houses and roads proposed in, or arising from, this plan. Chief among these are the Grade I All Saints Church, Tudeley, with its unique and internationally renowned Chagall windows, and Grade II Badsell Manor, both of which will be surrounded by housing estates, and Grade I St. Thomas a Becket Church, Capel, with rare mediaeval wall paintings, which could have a new road built within a few yards of its peaceful position.

Mention of this road – the unnecessary 'Colts Hill bypass' (the existing road could be widened) is another – gives the opportunity to draw attention to the increased traffic these new houses and the several thousands who will presumably live in them will generate. The parish's roads are already at capacity and TWBC planners' vague references to ameliorating the effects of vastly more vehicle movements are little short of pathetic. Further, the construction of roads in or near the AONB will compound the loss of open land and all that implies such as intrusive noise, light pollution and obstruction of wildlife movement.

I travel to London by train on occasion, and while no longer a commuter am well aware that the rail service is already chronically overstretched. Car parking at Tonbridge and Paddock Wood railway stations is insufficient, with rail users often obliged to park in residential roads a mile or more distant from the station. Residents of the new houses (those currently under construction in Paddock Wood, Marden etc. are being marketed in London and Croydon and so, doubtless, will those in Capel) will in the main be commuters, and it must be plain to all that the rail network could not cope with hundreds more passengers – even if they could make their way to the stations along traffic-clogged roads and find somewhere to park their cars. Walking and cycling are not realistic options.

Besides the mere problem of 'getting around' I have no confidence that such essentials as doctors, policing, community facilities etc. will be provided at the same time as houses are built. My impression from the waffling answers of TWBC planners is that they might come later, i.e. once money has been allocated from the selling of the houses, or not at all. There are no guarantees, and the consequences of building houses without provision for health care etc. need not be explained. In the meantime it will be the nearby town of Tonbridge which has to absorb the pressures of the increased population on its doorstep, and without receiving a penny to fund its services. And what of the other essential services? For example, how is the sewage to be disposed of? Building at Paddock Wood has had to be halted because Southern Water cannot provide the necessary sewerage infrastructure.

It cannot, or should not, have escaped notice that Five Oak Green and parts of Tudeley (and indeed the part of Capel in which I live) have suffered flooding on several occasions in recent years. This is, after all, the area of the Medway Levels. Assurances have been given, in total disregard of the experience of residents, that planned building will not be in places liable to flooding. Even if this were true, which I would dispute, the increased need to dispose of domestic water (2,800 houses in Tudeley New Town means 2,800 more washing machines, dishwashers, baths, showers etc. - a fact which planners seem to have conveniently overlooked) together with rainwater run-off from roofs and other hard surfaces, is bound to raise the risk of flooding downstream in East Peckham, Yalding and beyond.

So far I have not drawn attention to the map which shows Tudeley New Town, and the proposed school site contiguous with the Tonbridge boundary, straddling the railway line. How anyone, least of all a planner claiming competence, can imagine this is practical, desirable – or even safe – is beyond me.

But perhaps the over-riding objection is that this ill-conceived plan demands the destruction of prime, productive, agricultural land which currently enjoys protection as Green Belt. This landscape affords habitat to wildlife, quiet recreation – so vital to mental well-being for residents and our many visitors alike – and is valuable for food production. It should be regarded as a precious asset for all these reasons, and not selected as a building site in a highly dubious planning process.

In 1964 pupils of Tonbridge School made a study of our parish, which they described as having “villages, still relatively unspoilt, havens of quiet, and one of the more purely agricultural communities of West Kent: they have, to the modern eye, quite considerable charm.”

This description remains accurate today, and it is this haven of quiet which TWBC's plan will destroy for ever.

Our Conservative Borough Councillor's election manifesto made these commitments:-

I passionately support maintaining the quality of our rural environment and heritage and will work to prevent inappropriate development of the Green Belt, and preserve the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

I will work with the Borough Council to limit any proposed residential building to small appropriate developments . . .

That manifesto was endorsed by the Leader of the Conservative Group, but now it is that very Group and the officers it instructs which is proposing destruction of Capel's rural environment, our heritage, and large swathes of the Green Belt, and is promoting residential building which is most certainly neither “small” nor “appropriate.”

I urge the Council to think again, withdraw this threat to our precious environment, and tell Her Majesty's Government that the Green Belt in general and the Parish of Capel in particular is not to be sacrificed to provide houses for wealthy commuters.

DLP_547

Andy Halford

Why are you not working for the community as a whole as we do not want anymore unfairly shared housing in Capel .

I’m not sure if you are thinking of us or you want to go down in the record books as the ones that created the so called garden village .

It will go down if we go forward and the biggest mistake made so use some common sense and stop this now before you waste even more of the taxpayers money I feel strongly as most others do

DLP_559

Carole Noakes

I have lived in Capel parish since 1983 and was born and brought up in Matfield. I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

I feel very strongly that the plans for development in our area. Negative impact will occur to:

Traffic (already congested)

Flooding (already a problem)

Environmental damage (which will be mostly irreversible)

Quality of life of the existing residents

We believe that the need for housing in the area has been badly miscalculated; witness the recent developments in Marden where they are now find it hard to sell the houses. We need farming and we need farmland, and the need will increase as time goes on. It makes no sense to cover it with a version of Milton Keynes.

DLP_572

Lee Prebble

Introduction

I am not a resident of Tunbridge Wells Borough but live near to the Borough boundary with Tonbridge. I do visit the Borough on a regular basis and enjoy the significant benefits of the countryside and Green Belt that should both be protected and enhanced as required by National Planning Policy.

The Draft Local Plan documents produced are vast and complex. As an individual I do not have the time and resources to examine each and every part and policy in detail. I have, therefore, concentrated on consideration of two particular aspects of the Draft Plan that concern me most (the proposed development at Tudeley and the proposed secondary school on land in west Capel). That is not to say that I support other policies in any way. Indeed, I am aware of some of the concerns of others and agree with many of them.

I may also add that I am a retired member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and have some considerable experience of the production of local plans. I have to say that I would not be at all happy to put documents like these to the public. In essence, I consider the approach has been shoddy and the output both dubious and faulty in many respects. I would go so far as to say I would be ashamed to have these as part of my legacy.

My comments are in relation to three documents: the Distribution of Development Topic Paper; the Sustainability Appraisal and the Draft Local Plan.

Draft Local Plan

  1. As indicated in my introduction I am primarily concerned with two developments proposed in this Draft Plan (DP) at sites AL/CA1 and AL/CA2. As an individual with limited resources I have not been able to assess other policies and proposals in the DP. It should not be taken that I support any of those policies in any way shape or form.
  2. The Overview of Capel Parish commencing on page 154 is incomplete. It identifies Landscape Character Areas but provides no actual assessment of the quality of the landscape; there is no recognition of the quality of the land in relation to agriculture and actually confirms that, in relation to buses it has yet to be updated. This is very poor practice and demonstrates an extremely sloppy and unprofessional approach to the production of this document.
  3. I object to Policy STR/CA1 and in particular the developments proposed at points 1, 2 and 3 of the Strategy; and the release of Green Belt land.
  4. It is significant to note that at point 13 land outside the AONB is recognised as having similar characteristics (to the AONB) and is likely to contribute to the setting of the AONB. This is the first time this has been given any recognition in the production of the Draft Plan. It was not mentioned in the Distribution of Development Topic Paper or the Sustainability Assessment. This is preposterous! If that recognition had been given to the land earlier in the process it would have weighed heavily against the designation of such land for development. In this respect the policy is self-contradictory and without merit. For this reason the policy is unsound and should be deleted.
  5. The section on Masterplanning and Delivery leaves crucial elements of the process to a later date. It assumes that it will be possible to achieve necessary infrastructure but makes no provision for any contingency if infrastructure is not possible or delayed. To leave these key aspects to be resolved till later is unsound.
  6. Similarly it assumes that equalisation agreements are highly likely yet provides no indication what these will entail and how they will be achieved. It leaves key factors in the development process to chance and provides no guarantee that acceptable sustainable development will result. The Local Plan should provide deliverable development and not leave key elements to chance. This Draft Plan fails to provide the proper assurance that the development in an acceptable and sustainable fashion is possible and for this reason the Plan is unsound.
  7. The Strategy relies on achieving a number of strategic transport links but provides no proper detail of these links and no assessment of the impact of the links on the AONB, Green Belt or the local environment. The Plan is deficient and unsound in these respects.
  8. In relation to secondary education the Draft Plan relies on a new secondary school on a site which is not only unsuitable but is understood to not currently have the agreement and backing of the Education Authority. This is simply unsound planning.
  9. This Strategy is ill-thought and lacking in the necessary clarity as to detail and how it will be achieved. It leaves much to chance and speculation and lacks the necessary assessment of the impact on key factors including the local environment and transport. The Strategy is unsound and should be deleted from the Plan.
  10. Map 37, that identifies the allocated site CA1, is flawed. It has an out of date base and fails to identify significant areas of tree cover, for example. It has unexplained holes within the area of the site allocated. The Key to the map refers to 3 elements that do not appear on the map at all; Community UsesOpen Space and Landscape Buffer and Safeguarded Land. Again this demonstrates a lackadaisical and poor approach to the preparation of the Draft Plan. It is entirely unclear how the boundaries were identified but it is easy to speculate that they were dictated by the landowner. That is not a properly considered approach to the determination of a key development site; it is unsound.
  11. Once again this demonstrates that the production of the Draft Plan has been simply a desk exercise with no proper assessment of the site that has been allocated and no understanding of how the development will relate to the area and the land on which it is allocated.
  12. This completely inadequate approach to the allocation of a key site demonstrates that the Council’s preparation of this Draft Plan has been completely unsatisfactory and the Draft Plan is unsound.
  13. The description of the site (para 5.60) confirms that it includes Ancient Woodland, archaeological potential, listed buildings and is adjacent to a Biodiversity Opportunity Area yet none of these are identified on the Map and there is no apparent provision to modify or adapt the development in any way shape or form to ensure that there is no harm to these important designations. As discussed earlier it has been acknowledged that development immediately adjacent to a designation can have a serious and harmful impact on that designation. To ignore this is a serious omission and makes the Draft Plan unsound.
  14. The description does say that the land is likely to provide the routes of transport links yet gives no indication as to how this can or will be achieved. Again this makes the Draft Plan unsound.
  15. This land is not suitable for the proposed development for a number of reasons:

    * It is attractive countryside that is highly visible in the wider landscape and will suffer serious loss of amenity if developed;

    *The quality of the landscape is equal to that of the adjacent AONB as confirmed in Strategy STR/CA1; that landscape quality will be destroyed for ever;

    *It is also good quality agricultural land (a factor unrecognised in the description of the site) and is part of the local ecosystem with a complex biodiversity that the Council has failed to properly assess.

    *The roads are inadequate to accommodate the necessary transport links in an acceptable and sustainable manor;

    *there is no current infrastructure;

    *The area cannot absorb a development of the scale proposed without significant and irreparable damage;

    *The development of a settlement of the scale proposed is completely disproportionate to the scale of development in the locality. It will destroy the existing rural character; and

    * existing residents, their rights and amenities will be completely overcome and lost by the size and scale of the new development.

  16. There are not very special circumstances that justify the removal of this land from the Green Belt. This land was designated part of the Green Belt many years ago for sound reasons that remain. The intention was that the land should remain free from inappropriate development for the long term. There has been no proper assessment of the impact of the proposed development on the openness, landscape or visual amenities of the Green Belt. As such there has been no considered approach to weighing all relevant factors in the decision to allocate this land in the Draft Plan.
  17. The allocation of this land will result in urban sprawl and significantly diminish the gap between Tonbridge and Five Oak Green contrary to the fundamental aim of including this land in the Green Belt in the first place.
  18. No amount of Masterplanning will overcome the basic issues and harm that will result from developing this land.
  19. The Policy AL/CA1 sets out a number of requirements without any demonstration as to how those might be achieved. It is ‘motherhood and apple pie’ without any justification or proper analysis of how the requirements will realistically be achieved. The Policy is unsound.
  20. The Policy requires the development to be on a sustainable scale that supports the necessary infrastructure but fails to provide any detail as to what is meant by this. Without proper assessment of what that infrastructure might be it cannot possibly be assessed whether the land can satisfactorily accommodate the development.
  21. The Policy requires a number of elements in relation to transport yet the reality is that the site is a significant distance from a train station and it is highly likely that the new residents will wish to commute. To avoid large numbers of private cars will require a fleet of buses over a long period of the morning and evening commuting times. This is unrealistic. Even if that issue were resolved there is a further issue with the capacity of the train stations and trains to accommodate the additional people likely to use them. There has been no assessment of what the numbers might be let alone how they might be accommodated. The whole thing has simply not been thought through. It is unsound.
  22. The Policy makes it clear that studies relating to land use, landscape character, visual amenity, biodiversity and heritage have yet to take place. These are important matters that should have been part of the consideration and assessment as to whether the land is suitable for the development proposed. The cart has been well and truly put before the horse leading to an ill-considered allocation and an unsound Plan.
  23. Point 11 of the policy AL/CA1 states that the development is subject to the provision of a new secondary school. The proposal for the secondary school is unacceptable as explained below. It is also understood that the school has yet to have the backing of the Education Authority. This aspect of the policy should mean that if the school does not go ahead then the whole ‘Tudeley Garden Village’ should not go ahead.
  24. I am no expert in ground water or flooding matters but these should not be left to chance and a later stage as seems to be the approach in this instance.
  25. I object to policy AL/CA1 and consider it should be deleted from the Draft Local Plan.
  26. Map 38, that identifies the allocated sites CA2, is flawed. It has an out of date base and is incorrect in relation to areas of tree cover, for example. The Key to the map refers to 2 elements that do not appear on the map at all; Community Uses, and Safeguarded Land. Again this demonstrates a lackadaisical and poor approach to the preparation of the Draft Plan. It is entirely unclear how the boundaries were identified but it is easy to speculate that they were dictated by the landowner. That is not a properly considered approach to the determination of a key development site; it is unsound.
  27. Once again this demonstrates that the production of the Draft Plan has been simply a desk exercise with no proper assessment of the site that has been allocated and no understanding of how the development will relate to the area and the land on which it is allocated.
  28. This completely inadequate approach to the allocation of a key site demonstrates that the Council’s preparation of this Draft Plan has been completely unsatisfactory and the Draft Plan is unsound.
  29. The description of the site confirms that it is split by a main railway line but suggests that there is an existing link via a public right of way. There is no recognition of the constraints that actually arise from developing a school on a split site either side of or immediately adjacent to a railway or the fact that the public right of way is actually a private drive. The practicalities of the proposal have simply not been properly thought through.
  30. There is no mention that the proposal is in any way endorsed by the Education Authority and the views of that key authority are conspicuous by their absence.
  31. Other constraints are also noted but there is no consideration of landscape impact, impact on biodiversity or visual amenity. There is no proper balancing exercise in the allocation of this land.
  32. This land is not suitable for the proposed development for a number of reasons:

    * It is attractive countryside that is highly visible in the wider landscape and will suffer serious loss of amenity if developed.;

    *The quality of the landscape is equal to that of the adjacent AONB as confirmed in Strategy STR/CA1; that landscape quality will be destroyed for ever.

    *It is also good quality agricultural land (a factor unrecognised in the description of the site) and is part of the local ecosystem with a complex biodiversity that the Council has failed to properly assess.

    *The roads are inadequate to accommodate the necessary transport links in an acceptable and sustainable manor;

    *there is no current infrastructure.

    *The area cannot absorb a development of the scale proposed without significant and irreparable damage; and

    *It is unrealistic to suggest that trips to and from the site by private vehicles can be minimised. All secondary schools in this area attract pupils and staff from a wide area; they will not all come from the proposed Tudeley development site. There is already significant pressure on roads in southern Tonbridge at school delivery and collection times given that there are five existing secondary and two primary schools nearby. This proposal will only add to the congestion, delays and potential for road accidents in the vicinity.

  33. There are not very special circumstances that justify the removal of this land from the Green Belt. This land was designated part of the Green Belt many years ago for sound reasons that remain. The intention was that the land should remain free from inappropriate development for the long term. There has been no proper assessment of the impact of the proposed development on the openness, landscape or visual amenities of the Green Belt. As such there has been no considered approach to weighing all relevant factors in the decision to allocate this land in the Draft Plan.
  34. The allocation of this land will result in urban sprawl and significantly diminish the gap between Tonbridge and Five Oak Green contrary to the fundamental aim of including this land in the Green Belt in the first place.
  35. The Policy AL/CA2 sets out a number of requirements without any demonstration as to how those might be achieved. It is ‘motherhood and apple pie’ without any justification or proper analysis of how the requirements will realistically be achieved. The Policy is unsound.
  36. It is clear that studies relating to land use, landscape character, visual amenity, biodiversity and heritage have yet to take place. These are important matters that should have been part of the consideration and assessment as to whether the land is suitable for the development proposed. The cart has been well and truly put before the horse leading to an ill-considered allocation and an unsound Plan.
  37. I object to policy AL/CA2 and consider it should be deleted from the Draft Local Plan.

DLP_590

Adrian Dawn

Dear Sirs , I do not live in the Capel area but know it well . The size of this development is madness and will ruin the area . Please do look again , this cannot go ahead .

DLP_595

Sport England

Policy STR/CA 1

Sport England would encourage any masterplan to incorporate Active Design Principles  http://www.sportengland.org/facilities-planning/planning-for-sport/planning-tools-and-guidance/active-design/ in order to create healthy and active environments for the new residents and visitors.

Sport England supports point d under Contributions Required which is supported in the adopted playing pitch strategy and the indoor/built sports facility needs assessment.

DLP_609

Katie Lewis

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

We moved to Paddock Wood in 1999, choosing to move to the countryside as we enjoy walking and nature and were reassured that the land locally was on greenbelt, thus could not be built on. This was an important consideration for us, as we knew with a growing family, we did not want to end up living in a gradually enlarging conurbation.

Now in 2019, we find this is exactly what is going to happen and with the recent addition of plans for East Capel, Paddock wood is due to double in size.

Already hundreds of houses have been built - though cannot be sold - in Mascalls Court and earlier this year, the beautiful apple orchards opposite our house and over which several of our upstairs windows looked, has been cleared ready for the building of the second - newly enlarged - phase to begin. Now, with the East Capel plan, building is also planned to the right of us, all the way to the roundabout, so that instead of living surrounded by fields and birdsong, we will be hemmed in by modern housing estates.

On top of this, the thought of the significant increase in traffic along Badsell road, the noise, the fumes, harm to health when walking to the village, waiting times for doctors appointments, parking nightmares at the station and supermarket not to mention the chance of finding a seat on a train, all fill me with dread.

It makes no sense at all. Why, oh why, build so many thousand houses in such a concentrated area, where flooding and sewage problems already abound? Surely, a larger number of smaller developments, across the borough, would be much more in keeping with rural life and in turn, much more attractive to potential buyers.

Please don't be so short-sighted as to simply let the ease of having one vendor over and above many, selling smaller parcels of land, drive this process. It smacks of laziness and complacency and I fear, will be an environmental - as well as a social and political - disaster.

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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. People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows)

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.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement  a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough. Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_612

Margaret Grigg

We have 300 cars dropping off children to Somerhill School every day, the line of stationary traffic past Billy Bucks Barn every school day. You have not thought about the added traffic through Five Oak Green via Tudeley that is used as rat run. Please can some one from your department spend  a couple of days from 7.30 to 8.45 to see the chaos now so what it will it be like with an extr 1000 cars per day .

DLP_637

Christopher Hyatt-Twynam

I live on Hartlake Rd in Tudeley Hale, and have done for 34 years. I walk the local footpaths most days and visit Tonbridge 3 or 4 times  a week. I live here because it is rural.

I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council.

I strongly object to the strategy for Capel  Parish STR/CA1

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish”(Policy STR/CA1) 

Tudeley is a green belt buffer between Tonbridge and Five Oak green (4 miles). There is not room for a new village of 2800 houses without producing an urban sprawl joining Tonbridge to Five Oak Green and Paddock Wood. We already have a local example of that and the problem it causes in Southborough.

The proposed  Garden Village is 2 miles from the medieval town of Tonbridge extending it in an unplanned and unsustainable way.

Tonbridge cannot cope with an infusion of 7000 locals using its roads, railway, schools and health services. It is already at capacity and gridlocked at times. The new village will be unsustainable.

A garden village solution is the wrong choice for new houses compared with more sustainable expansion around existing communities.

The proposed new settlement boarders AONB and against existing policy will adversely affect it.

Placed on a slope overlooking the flat Medway valley the new development  will ruin rural views for miles, changing a large area of rural villages  forever. Light and sound pollution will affect local wildlife and communities. The development will destroy the rural nature of the area to the detriment of all who live and pass through it.

The countryside around Tudeley is enjoyed by many as amenity land for walkers, bird watchers and river users etc. The proposed garden village will adversely alter the nature of the area for ever reducing the positive experience for all amenity users.

The new proposed village has a railway splitting it in two, so it will not comply with the garden village ideals of a single community.

The cycle route to Tonbridge is only listed as desirable when it should be listed as essential.

It is not possible for a proposed village of this size to satisfy all the needs of its residents. Trips to the nearest town (Tonbridge) will be essential. The B2017 is not up to it and even if improved, once Tonbridge is reached, its road network will not be able to cope with the extra demand.

Flood assessment has not been made in relation to the operation of the Leigh flood barrier. Faster run off from the proposed village into the Medway will reduce the ability of the barrier to release volume storm water without endangering Yalding. They will have to hold more back leading to an increased risk of flooding to Tonbridge when the barrier can hold no more.. As happened Christmas 2013. Global warming will only make this worse.

Tudeley and Tudeley Hale are quiet rural hamlets which will be irrevocable destroyed by the 7000 extra residents proposed in their midst.

400 acres of productive grade 2 and 3 agricultural land will be removed from production for ever.

Estimates for 5 year loss of existing products are : 645 tons of blackcurrants, 1325 tons of bramley apples, 1080 tons of conference pears, 1037 tons of wheat, 775 tons of barley, 437 tons of oil seed rape, 875 tons of field beans, and 1250 tons of straw.  This is not low grade agricultural land.

Development should be on brown field sites.

Biodiversity: The wildlife in the hedgerows, fields and trees of the 400 acres and surrounding areas will be severely affected. Skylarks cannot nest in gardens. I do not believe that the high level of biodiversity in this area will be increased once 2800 houses have been built as hoped for by the planners.

The extra  housing figures for Tunbridge Wells are supposedly to satisfy local need. I believe it is likely that a high proportion of houses built will be sold to London residents moving out into the country who mistakenly think  they will be easily able to commute to the City through Tonbridge Station. Transport to Tonbridge and parking for extra travellers will be a serious problem . Train capacity is at a maximum already.  A cycle path to Tonbridge is only listed as desirable so is unlikely to be built. The planners say the commuters will catch a bus to Tonbridge. Really ?

I am against the construction of a proposed relief road from Tudeley village towards the north east as it would plough straight through the best of the biodiversity amenity land with its beautiful views and footpaths. In a way this would be an equal destruction of this part of the Medway valley than the new village itself. The disused quarries which would be near the proposed road are a haven  for wildlife. Noise and pollution from a main road to the north east would be a disaster to this valuable area.

I would question the needs of the new village residents to travel towards the north east as access to the M20 will still be quicker along  Hartlake Rd and on to the Hadlow Rd and only a limited few would want to visit Maidstone. As for traffic from the north east into Tudeley village that seems to negate the ideals of a garden village.

I do not believe the 7000 residents of the garden village will find a meaningful volume of employments in the Village itself and they will need to travel to Tonbridge and Tunbridge wells on unsuitable roads.

Tonbridge amenities will bear the brunt of this new village whereas council tax will go to Tunbridge Wells.

The world famous grade 1 All Saints Church in Tudeley will back onto houses or industrial estates instead of field and trees . Is this a desirable planning result?

I believe TWBC have chosen Tudeley village as a solution to their housing targets not because it is the best solution but because with the one land owner it is the easiest solution for them . Not so easy for the countryside and its existing human and animal residents.

The housing figures for TWBC calculated by the government can be reduced if they require development on the Green Belt unless exceptional circumstances exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to reduce the figures and remove the Garden settlement of Tudeley from the local plan.

I walk the AONB over the road from Tudeley and the Tudeley  proposed village site and if anything, the Tudeley village site overlooking the Medway valley has more outstanding natural beauty than the AONB  . It needs the same protection from destruction by developers.

We do not have gas or mains drainage in Tudeley Hale. How will the new village cope?

The proposed secondary school on the junction with Tonbridge extends the urban sprawl of the town, is difficult to reach using Train, will be challenging to reach by car due to Somerhill school and work traffic already blocking that area. It will have high polluting roads on two sides and a railway line through the middle. You cannot walk or cycle to it. It will destroy the border between Tonbridge and the green belt. The beautiful countryside aspect from Vale Road will be lost and the sprawl of Tonbridge to Tudeley extended.  It is difficult to think of a worse place to put it.

We can all enjoy the” Green and Pleasant” aspect of England and benefit from it. Building over Tudeley will destroy the Heritage of an ancient rural settlement forever.  Don’t do it.

DLP_641

Andrea Childs

I wish to register my objections to the proposals by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to build over 4000 new homes in Tudeley and East Capel (the Strategy for Capel Parish - Policy STR/CA1) and the inclusion of land in East Capel (the Strategy for Paddock Wood - Policy STR/PW1). I understand my contact details will not be published. My concerns are:

Firstly, this is greenbelt and agricultural land, including floodplains. I understand there is brownfield land available within the borough which was previously under consideration in 2018. There are therefore no ‘exceptional circumstances’ to merit greenbelt being used.

Secondly, this will result in many more commuters on the Paddock Wood and Tonbridge commuter trains. These trains are already overcrowded at peak times.

Thirdly, this area is well known for its walks. Visitors are particularly attracted by All Saints Church, Tudeley, well known for its Chagall windows.  It is entirely inappropriate to develop this area for housing, particularly when there are brownfield sites available elsewhere.

Finally, local schools, doctors and hospitals are already full to capacity.  Any increase in housing in this area of Kent will add to this problem.

DLP_643

Alexander Hewitson

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). I am a resident of the Tunbridge Wells borough, and was brought up both in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. I am now studying for an MSc in architecture at TU Delft (though my home address remains in Tunbridge Wells) and have experience working in the building industry in the UK. I hope, therefore, that my comments can be considered to come from a place of professional concern and not simply as those of someone who does not wish for more homes to be built.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

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 Tonbridge, though there will be limited effects on Tunbridge Wells (presumably a prime reason for the choice of location). There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, exacerbating the extreme traffic congestion that exists on this road every morning. ​

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use - if the plan included provisions for protected cycle routes from the new garden settlement to the local station this would of course be different. However, as Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have decided to locate the new settlement on the edge of Tonbridge, rather than their own town centre, they have (presumably) purposefully absolved themselves of any responsibility in this regard. I am an avid cyclist, and have commuted by bike in London, Rotterdam and Munich, however I would not dream of commuting from Tudeley to Tonbridge by cycle - the road is far too fast and far too dangerous, and the inevitable increase in cars would only make this worse (Note - a protected cycle route is useful, painting white lines on the road that will be ignored is not, and even if there is a minor increase of safety it does not encourage cycle lane use in the way a protected, separated cycle lane would). The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows, and should be considered as one of Kent’s greatest pieces of architecture and art. That Chagall should have painted one window in Tudeley is astonishing, that he painted all the windows is exceptional, and the significance of this should not be overlooked by the council.

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. Indeed the very principle of a “garden village” is absurd. As I am sure you are aware, the first garden settlements were formed by the Garden City Movement led by Ebenezer Howard, the idea being to create self-sufficient communities that promoted healthy living in a clean and attractive environment, surrounded by a green belt. This was later developed into the “garden suburbs”, which essentially took the name but none of the principles of the garden city movement. Tudeley can never be self sufficient, nor does the plan propose the proportionate system of housing, agriculture and industry that garden cities require. The naming of this as “Tudeley Garden Village” is a transparent ploy to make the development more palatable, whilst mocking the principles of the garden city movement. Ebenezer Howard would be rolling in his grave if he heard of these proposals.​

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south.

As proposals for the council’s consideration, I would suggest:

  1. Densifying the centre of Tunbridge Wells, including returning retail premises to their original residential use to combat the decline of the high street (Tunbridge Wells’s town centre, by virtue of being a ribbon centre, is at great risk of decline).
  2. Focussing building on Paddock Wood and other areas with good public transport facilities, which would reduce car usage and  reduce congestion problems. New transport links would be costly, and I do not believe the council would ultimately build them. Moreover,  private bus routes in Tunbridge Wells are extortionate and beyond the means of many people (I had the laughable experience of paying more for a bus from Tunbridge Wells to Bidborough than from Brighton to Tunbridge Wells recently), and adding more local bus routes will not ease that situation. Far better to improve existing transport links and encourage greater use of them by creating higher demand.

Finally, TWBC has a history of dumping so-called “affordable” (which of course is a misnomer - if you wanted affordable housing you would be building council houses) housing on the edges of the town (see High Brooms, Sherwood, Ramslye etc) and leaving the residents with underfunded and overpriced transportation, thus leaving the town centre as a haven for middle-class privilege, devoid of anything that may upset the people shopping there. Actually building the “affordable" housing miles from any town centre, particularly any town centre within the borough, is a new low, as is the purposeful expectation that Tonbridge should bear the brunt of increased traffic and pressure.

DLP_651

Jane White

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.

DLP_694

S Parrett and family

I am a resident in Golden Green. Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). ​

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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. ​People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places.

The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use.

The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding.

There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower.

The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows)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. ​

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. ​I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan.

TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach.

Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant. ​The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process.

There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan.

The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt.

Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.​

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre.

TWBC is using Capel to provide for their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south.

The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_696

Margaret Game

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

​My husband and I moved to Tudeley from Hertfordshire with our young family in 2008 where we lived close to Welwyn Garden City. We moved away because over the 21 years we live there the area had become increasingly developed to the extent that it turned a beautiful natural woodland area into an urban sprawl. It was a typical stealth strategy with developers demolishing existing houses standing on good size plots and the local council permitting them to squeeze as many new houses onto each plot as possible, for maximum profit. As a result the character of the area changed beyond recognition and a beautiful woodland area became a maze of new houses and cars lining the narrow private roads.

One of the main reasons we chose to move to Tudeley was to escape the commuter belt for an area protected by green belt where the countryside was safeguarded against urban sprawl and the historic setting would be preserved for generations to come. ……or so we thought!

My objection is that the draft local plan has not been thought through adequately and the following issues have not been satisfactorily addressed :

  1. Future housing requirement across the Borough my understanding is that TWBC have based their plans on government statistics of 13,560 homes which for some reason has been uplifted to 14,776 despite a strong argument to reduce the figure due to; the proportion of Green Belt & AONB land across the borough and also recent ONS figures that indicate population growth across the borough is slowing. This is fundamentally important, as without this uplift the settlement at Tudeley would simply not be necessary.
  2. Proportionality of the development based on the draft local plan the Parish of Capel would bear the brunt of more than 60% of the total housing requirement for the entire borough without any regard for the disproportionate impact on the parish of Capel and could potentially blight the area for many years. In addition, the close proximity of the Tudeley Village to the boarder with Tonbridge & Malling mean that residents will naturally treat Tonbridge as their local town (in fact the postal address is Tonbridge not Tunbridge Wells) and be dependant on the TMBC infrastructure, emergency services and amenities whilst paying council tax to TWBC. TAs a result there will be no vested interest for TMBC to repair and maintain the infrastructure to support the development of additional infrastructure driven by new technology that will redefine our future needs. This extends far beyond cross council co-operation this is a foundation for the sustainability and ongoing future proofing of the supporting infrastructure.
  3. No transparency of the ‘exceptional circumstances’ that are being used to justify the release of Green Belt so far the only justification for the plan is that based on the additional housing requirement and a single landowner in the form of Hadlow Estates who wish to sell the land. Admittedly this scenario is convenient for both TWBC and the Landowner by no stretch of the imagination could this constitute ‘exceptional circumstances’. The National Planning Policy Framework specifically states that the potential harm to the Green Belt would need to be clearly outweighed by other considerations to date TWBC have not been able to articulate what these ‘exceptional circumstances’ are and given the infrastructure, environmental and sustainability issues outlined below the local plan is both inappropriate and unsustainable.
  4. Release of Green Belt if the draft plan is successful the green belt released will be the ‘thin end of the wedge’ with more and more green belt released in future years until Tonbridge, Tudeley, Five Oak Green and Paddock Wood become an amorphous mass of housing that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells. According the Sustainability Appraisal undertaken by TWBC Paddock Wood can expand and meet most of the plan’s aims without releasing Green Belt land at Tudeley/East Capel.

it is also important to  understand whether TWBC have a comprehensive Brownfield Site Register, when this was last updated and how can residents be assured that despite the higher cost of building on brownfield sites these will be used to minimise the need for development on the green belt.

  1. Transport Infrastructure is woefully inadequate given the majority of people living in the new Tudeley Garden village will drive privately owned cars (some additional 4,000 cars based on an average of 2 cars per home) this will significantly increase congestion on the B2017, the only route into Tonbridge. The B2017 is a narrow winding road (with no pavements) that becomes heavily congested each morning with commuters and school traffic heading into Tonbridge between 8am-9am. The volume of cars using the B2017 between Paddock Wood and Tonbridge would more than double the current level but there is no scope to widen the road to cope with the increase flow of traffic.

    Whilst it is commendable that TWBC intends to promote use of public transport & cycle lanes the reality is that neither will provide an acceptable solution for the vast majority of adults who will continue to use their cars to get into Tonbridge, the A21 and beyond.

    As the plan does not currently include a railway station at Tudeley, commuters will travel by car to Tonbridge station requiring extended parking facilities in the town centre which is simply unrealistic and not sustainable.

    One of the proposals seems to involve constructing  a roundabout at the top of Hartlake Road where a dedicated bus/cycle lane will join the B2017. This will simply mean the buses and cycles will join the ‘nose to tail’ queue along the B2017 for the final 2 miles into Tonbridge. In addition, the acceleration of traffic off the roundabout will mean it is dangerous to exit the private road leading to All Saints Church which is in constant use by residents and visitors to the church. By locating a roundabout at the junction with B2017 and Hartlake Road this private road will be sandwiched between a blind bend in one direction (which is already very dangerous) and the traffic accelerating off the roundabout in the other direction meaning that residents and visitors to the church will not have sufficient time to ensure the road is clear and pull safely onto the B2017. It is easy to overlook the importance of this point on the basis that this is a minor private road with limited traffic, however this could not be further from the truth. The private road is in constant use by residents and a large number of visitors and coaches to the church, which is the second most visited church in Kent after Canterbury Cathedral.

    In addition to the ill-conceived roundabout on Hartlake Road, the single lane railway bridge will be unable to cope with the volume of traffic into the village and would need to be widened by Network Rail.

  2. The main railway line would split the new garden village into two sites requiring additional crossings to be built which would compromise the development of a thriving heart to the village in line with the principles of a garden village.
  3. The proposed site of a new senior school favours convenience over children’s safety. The location will be surrounded by heavy traffic on the B2017 with limited pavements or walkways and the campus split by the electrified main railway line, which quite frankly feels like an accident waiting to happen.
  4. Protecting the Historic Character of the area seems to be a key principle in which case how can the plan even consider building a bus lane behind the historic Grade 1 Church of All Saints? This is a real warning sign that TWBC have no intention of preserving the identity, attraction and character of the historic sites, or that the transport scheme has not been properly thought through, neither prospect inspires any confidence in the remainder of the plan.
  5. Compromising the Flood Plain increasing the risk of flooding as extensive building will mean water has nowhere to flow or run off across the fields and any solution would need to meet not only today’s risks/requirements but be future proofed against changes due to climate change.  It flood prevention is not addressed the impact on Tudeley and neighbouring the communities would be disastrous.
  6. Covenants imposed by Hadlow Estates on existing properties we are privileged to live in Church Farm House a Grade II listed property next to All Saints Church, which also backs onto a field owned by Hadlow Estates. In 1978 when Church Farm House was purchased from Hadlow Estates (previously Somerhill Estates) they imposed a covenant on the land that the boundary between our property and the adjoining field must be of post & rail construction, understandably to protect the rural nature of the location and preserve the open views across the countryside.

In itself this was a sensible requirement to protect the character of the area BUT if the draft plan goes ahead the adjacent field will become part of the Tudeley Village settlement in which case how are existing residents able to comply with the covenant imposed by Hadlow Estates on one hand and protect the privacy and security of our home with an open rail fence backing onto the new settlement?

I appreciate the need to ensure the TWBC need to plan for the future of the borough but I am seriously concerned that the draft local plan for Tudeley Village has not been adequately thought through and there has been totally insufficient rigor and challenge applied by TWBC to ensure their proposal is necessary, sustainable and not detrimental to the area.​​

DLP_697

Debbie Hughes

I write as a local resident to raise my strong objections to the proposals by TWBC to build over 4000 new homes in Tudeley and East  Capel and a large school near Somerhill. Namely “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1) and the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1). I understand you may publish my objection but not my contact details. My objections are:

The residents of the 2800 homes proposed for Tudeley (possibly 6000+ people) will come  to Tonbridge for their services eg health service, schools and other amenities as its closer than Tunbridge Wells. As a council tax payer in Tonbridge I strongly object to carrying the cost of increased demand for our local services which will be stretched beyond capacity and TWBC walk off with the council tax payment.

This is over 600 acres of greenbelt (GB) and prime agricultural land, including major floodplains, which would be destroyed. TWBC has brownfield and non GB and non-AONB land available across the borough and considered up to 2018. There are no “exceptional circumstances” to merit greenbelt being used on this scale.

In particular, for me as a commuter,  it will push thousands more people onto the Paddock Wood and Tonbridge commuter trains. In Tonbridge, the roads at peak times are already very heavily congested and not able to be widened. Parking is a nightmare.  Where will all these cars and people to go? TWBC are simply viewing the additional commuters at Tonbridge as somebody else’s problem. This is not acceptable and has not been thought through.

DLP_699

Dermott Young

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). I will make some points here that I am sure you have seen before. Additional personal comments are overleaf.

Creating a garden settlement at Tudeley could well cause a great deal of harm to residents of Capel and Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, exacerbating the extreme traffic congestion that exists on this road every morning, especially now that the construction of new traffic lights at Tonbridge Station has already resulted in some significant traffic problems.

There are also great traffic problems on the Pembury Road inside and outside of the rush hour and the building of a proposed new sixth form  senior school will again exacerbate the problem.

Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary into Tunbridge Wells and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre.  This new development will end up polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tunbridge Wells

DLP_700

Dermott Young

Capel is a beautiful area which has been very lightly built on up until now.  There is an RSPB site there for the protection of birds obviously. The building of a garden village in that area may well lead to the destruction of the plantation necessary to sustain the wildlife.

Quite frankly, the development will be a huge stain on the area and change the whole nature of the countryside around Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Pembury and Paddock Wood, at a time when we should be sustaining as much green and wild ara as possible.

Please have a rethink on this development, and don’t wreck the beauty of the area we live in.

In your own words “Love where you life”, - Don’t **** on it.

DLP_706

David Parker

I wish to object to the proposed building of a large number of houses in the Tudely and Capel areas.

Apart from obviously destroying the nature of the area, it would make a very large impact on the already difficult travelling situation and living conditions in Tonbridge.

Currently traffic into Tonbridge during busy times is often backed-up towards Tudley.  More houses will mean extra journeys towards Tonbridge Railway Station and local amenities, not towards the Tunbridge Wells direction.

The cynical amongst us are also asking why Tunbridge Wells wants to build as close as possible to Tonbridge, rather than in other available areas closer to their own town.  Tonbridge would be left to deal with all of the hassle and problems of such a large new conurbation right on its doorstep, BUT  with Tunbridge Wells receiving all the rates income.

Please register my disapproval for this scheme.

DLP_709

Ruth Dixon

I am writing to register my objections to the recent Tunbridge Wells Council Local Plan.

I have lived in Tonbridge with my family for nine years, having previously lived in Hildenborough for twelve years. We live on the northern edge of Tonbridge and I work at a local secondary school.  My family and I enjoy living in Tonbridge and appreciate all that it has to offer in terms of facilities and services and also the open countryside.​

I am writing to strongly object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

I have read through the various documents regarding this strategy and I am writing to strongly object to the proposed plans for the Capel Parish.  There are a number of key reasons:

  • The additional housing is proposed to be built on Green Belt land. Green Belt land is meant to be there to protect the countryside and prevent urban sprawl.  The plans for Capel go against that.  There is no valid reason why the Green Belt land should be built upon.  It will lead to the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows and farmland, as well as loss of wildlife.  No proper reason has been given as to why it is acceptable to build on Green Belt land.
  • Negative impact on local residents, in Capel and Tudeley and also Tonbridge. This area already has issues with traffic congestion which will be made worse by these plans.  The B2017 is a busy road and additional residents (commuters, parents taking children to school, shoppers, etc) will make the traffic even worse, particularly traffic flowing into Tonbridge along Woodgate Way and Vale Road.  In addition, other rural lanes (including Hartlake Road and Three Elm Lane) can be expect to see a lot more traffic too as the new residents will try and use this as a ‘cut through’.  These rural lanes suffer from this already and will be made even worse.
  • The proposed school on the edge of Tonbridge is very poorly sited - it is proposed to cross the railway line and will make traffic congestion worse (as referred to above). As a school teacher, I am very concerned with the idea of building a school site which is split across a railway line.  It makes no sense at all.  In addition, the proposed new school will add to traffic congestion.
  • Tonbridge is already busy and will struggle to cope with additional people. Although the new settlements are technically in the Tunbridge Wells Borough, the residents can be expected to use Tonbridge as their main town due to its proximity.  However, train services, roads and parking spaces are already heavily used and this Local Plan will make the problem even worse.
  • Tonbridge residents will end up with the burden of paying for additional infrastructure due to its proximity to the new proposed settlements. It is inevitable that the cost of new health services, amenities, car parking and other services will be borne by Tonbridge residents which is unfair.  It seems deliberate that Tunbridge Wells council have proposed that the majority of their proposed additional housing in their borough is on the border with Tonbridge & Malling so that they can offload any costs and problems to another borough.  There are plenty of alternative sites in the Tunbridge Wells borough.
  • Flood risk from the River Medway. Building on the Medway floodplain increases the risk of future flooding. There was very severe flooding in December 2013 and this can be expected to happen again, especially with climate change.  The land should be left to act as a natural flood buffer, not have houses and roads built upon it.  Residents may also have difficulty obtaining insurance coverage.
  • Increased pollution. The plans will lead to increases in air pollution from additional traffic, light pollution from additional housing, street lights, etc and noise pollution.
  • Tunbridge Wells Council does not appear to have properly considered alternative sites. There are plenty of other sites, including brownfield sites, across the borough of Tunbridge Wells which could absorb much of the additional housing need.  The Council should explore these options properly first of all. Building a significant proportion of the housing in one area, because the landowner is very accommodating, is short sighted.
  • There is no detailed Green Belt Study, no Landscape Assessment and no Biodiversity Assessment yet in respect of these plans. Tunbridge Wells council should follow the proper processes and have the appropriate studies / assessments performed before submitting these new plans.  These studies and assessments would also highlight the inappropriateness of this strategy.

I trust that the above objections are taken into consideration.

DLP_735

Mr Peter Chapman

STR/CA1

TWBC are incapable of rolling out a fit for purpose new refuse collection service, or indeed answer their phones without a 40 minute delay. I do not beleieve they are a fit or competant body to devise this grotesque plan that no one wants that will destroy hundreds of acres of prime Kent countryside and thousands of residents lives.

DLP_791

Janet Connor

I moved to Five Oak Green in 1983 with my husband and children. The children have moved out now but we have no wish to move. One of the things we value most about living in the village, is the fact that we are surrounded by Green Belt land, meaning that within minutes we, can be walking up in the country. I thought the whole point of setting up a Green Belt was to prevent land being built on and to allow villages and town to be separated, and to have their own identity. There seems to be land to the north of Matfield, Brenchley and Horsmonden which is not included in the Green Belt. Why don't you build there? What are the "exceptional circumstances" that warrant the plan for a new Garden Village? There are no mention of these in the Local Plan.

DLP_794

Gayle Manning

Myself and my partner have lived in rented accommodation as part of the Hadlow Estate for 6 years.  We regularly have our elderly parents visit as well as my partners 4 children whose ages range from 14 to 29.  We have recently welcomed our first grandson to the family and were looking forward to him having the open space of Tudeley to grow up in.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic into Tonbridge from the B2017, 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.

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail has confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. 

We already suffer from a 3 week wait for a confirmed doctor’s appointment, how will the health service be able to cope with such an increase in residents.  Whilst you can register at almost any dentist surgery, you have to live within a certain radius to be registered at a doctor’s surgery.  The new homes planned for Tudeley are not close to a Tunbridge Wells surgery and therefore will be using the already stretched surgeries of Tonbridge.

Tonbridge High Street has been closed and traffic disrupted on numerous occasions over the last 18 months due to pavement widening and bus stops being introduced/removed.  This is already on an extremely busy road, additional vehicle and foot traffic will bring Tonbridge town centre to a standstill.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding.  During heavy rainfall, Sherenden Road becomes a small river; with the addition of new homes, this will only get worse.

There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

I urge you to reconsider the Local Plan to stop it ruining what is currently a beautiful place to live.

DLP_796

Peter Ashlee

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1 and the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1).

The fundamental point is that this is Green Belt land. When The Town & Country Planning Act was 1st published in the 1940’s it was in response to the effects of the effective unregulated pre WW2 planning and the detrimental effect that this was having on the countryside and the people. As the famous Polish author Marina Lewycka has written, a country needs its cities and towns at its heart but it needs its countryside as its lungs. Both need to be kept in good condition and both are needed for a healthy life.

One of the purposes of the Green Belt was to literally draw a line where no urban development would be allowed so that developers and planners were clear that this land was sacrosanct and could not be touched. The only consideration would be in “Exceptional Circumstances”. Are not examples of exceptional circumstances  war, famine, flood and other extreme isolated incidents? Surely simple market forces for housing cannot be considered in the same category?

Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. If this proposal goes ahead it will lead to ever increasing motor traffic from the B2017 from Tonbridge as well as all of the lanes from Golden Green , through Tudely, Capel, Paddock Wood, and the surrounding area. It will lead to the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows and farmland, spoiling the landscape, killing wildlife and creating noise and pollution in an area of priceless beauty. These are not mere words, they go to the nub of the issue about the quality of the overall environment.

As an Occupational Therapist I am fully aware of the need to maintain a healthy mind and healthy body. It is accepted that that the peace and tranquilly of the countryside can assist with the former and being able to exercise by walking and cycling the latter. This scheme will have a detrimental effect on both for the reasons mentioned above and while difficult to coldly cost must be considered.

With regard to climate change, sustainability and biodiversity, the Garden Settlement proposal goes against all.  The Council’s sustainability assessment shows that it’s housing objectives are compatible with only 5 of the 19 sustainability objectives they have set themselves and incompatible with 9 of them. Covering the fields with houses and roads will make the river Medway flood more often not only in the area affected by this development but also East Peckham, Tonbridge & Yalding, areas already at extreme risk where significant flooding has frequently occurred in recent years.

The inevitable increase in motor vehicles and the houses themselves will all increase noise air and light pollution at a time when it is supposed to be Government policy to reduce them. The infrastructure in the surrounding area is barely able to cope with the demands of the movement of people at the moment in relation to motor vehicles and train capacity. How will the people living in the new settlements get to work , to the shops, to meet their friends and family? Will it be walking or by bicycle? Of course not. They will be driving. 2,800 dwellings will create an unsustainable demand on the existing infrastructure and the mitigation measures are counterproductive.

The reason for the housing being proposed in this area needs to be questioned. Who offered it for sale and why? Is it not convenient for TWBC to have been offered a huge parcel of land from one landowner instead of them having to apply for compulsory purchase orders? Is this proposal a lazy way to achieve the numbers they feel they need to achieve in the draft local plan?

With regard to the Draft Plan the whole basis of the proposals are flawed because the figures are likely to be wrong. The most current national statistics on population growth and household formation have been ignored by national government. Instead of the arbitrary target of 300,000, Mulheirn’s report published by the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence concludes that no more than 160,000 homes per year need to be built to cater for housing need. TWBC is using housing need numbers and the NPPF to justify building on this Green Belt Land by saying that if they do not do it central Government will do it for them. However, in 2018 Rt Hon Sajid Javid said , Planning inspectors cannot enforce Green Belt releases onto authorities. The NPPF states that before changes to Green Belt boundaries are proposed, councils should examine fully all other reasonable options and make as much use of brownfield as possible. Has there been a complete and thorough search for Brownfield land in the Borough of Tunbridge Wells?

In addition to this, national planning policy does allow Tunbridge Wells to provide for less than the assessed housing need, in view of the high proportion of Green Belt  and AONB land.

Finally, we are in a nationally recognised climate emergency. Under the Government’s climate change guidance, planning authorities are advised that the distribution and design of new settlements and sustainable transport solutions are particularly important considerations that effect transport emissions. Tudeley garden village represents a housing model highlights the unsustainability of this draft plan. It represents unsustainable, environmentally harmful destruction of the countryside, replacing a beautiful, unspoilt and protected site with a dormitory for city commuters, heavily reliant on private cars for transport. It will destroy local communities, ruin local residents’ lives and ruin for ever the Kent that we know and love.

DLP_798

Peter Lakhani

I live in Tonbridge and have done for almost 20 years. I'm copying in Tom because he is my MP.  I'm copying in Greg because he is the MP for the area that has created these strategies.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. 

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

I also object to the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1).

It is clear and obvious to anyone that gives it a moment's thought that these 'strategies' will cause immense harm to residents in the local area. The entire area is already near to 'gridlock' on a regular basis and this will make it a whole lot worse.

What on earth are those that put this strategy together thinking of?

Where will all the additional people park when they come into Tonbridge? (please don't say they will cycle or get the bus - we all know that isn't realistic!)

What calculations have been done to assess the effect on car journey times?

What is the increased safety risk to cyclists and pedestrians?

Where will the additional train commuters sit (the trains are already bursting at the seams)?

What has been done to assess the effect on air pollution?

Where will all the additional people go to see a GP? Or to hospital?

TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

I would appreciate a full response to the questions above please as soon as possible?

DLP_799

Amy Dixon

I have lived in Tonbridge for nearly ten years and am writing to object to your Strategy for Capel Parish and the fact that you are including land in East Capel in your Strategy for Paddock Wood.

I am writing to strongly object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

There are a number of reasons for this:

Firstly, houses should not be built on Green Belt land unless there are exceptional circumstances.  But, you have not explained what those exceptional circumstances are.  There are plenty of spaces for additional housing throughout the Tunbridge Wells borough and these would not require building on the Green Belt land.  We should not see the Green Belt damaged.  It should be kept as it is.  Your plans will destroy hedges, farmland, meadows and woodland.  They will also destroy the wildlife in the area.

The plans will lead to lots more traffic in the area.  The main road from Capel, through Tudeley and on to Tonbridge are already very busy and the plans will make this worse.  Also, lots of residents will then use the country lanes in the area to avoid the traffic which will make the country roads more dangerous.

The extra traffic will lead to more pollution from cars and more noise in the area, increasing the risk of global warming. Plus there will be light pollution at night too.

There is a flood risk in the area being considered.  Houses should not be built in this area as they will flood occasionally. And building on floodplains often makes flooding elsewhere even worse.

The plans allow for a secondary school to be built.  This will create more traffic congestion.  And, the school will be split across the railway line.  This would be dangerous.

Tonbridge will end up getting much busier and it is already very busy. The trains are already busy every day and the roads are clogged up, This will get even worse under the new plans.

The council should arrange for a Green Belt Study, a Landscape Assessment and a Biodiversity Assessment before putting in its plans.  These will highlight the issues raised above.

There is no valid reason for the plans to go ahead and they should be rejected.

DLP_803

Pete Woronkowicz

I am writing to you as a concerned resident of Tonbridge, in regards to your proposal to build a large number of homes in nearby Capel. (Policy STR/CA1).

This development would result in a dramatic increase in the number of users of Tonbridge's rail and road services. As a daily commuter by train, I can tell you that the current franchise owners (Southeastern) struggle to offer a decent service to the number of passengers they already have. I do not relish the thought of having to continue paying extortionate season ticket rates on even more tightly packed trains.

The strain on Tonbridge's (already stretched!) amenities such as GP surgeries / Schools / Parking will also be felt, whilst I note that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council would be the recipients of any addition council tax revenue.

The resulting increase in the number of cars will be terrible for the environment, at a time when our local governments should be doing more.

Furthermore, the creation of so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food and space for leisure activities that don't adversely affect the environment.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments may be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_805

Linda Jorden

I have lived in the parish for all of my 59 years, being a third generation member to grow up in Tudeley,go to school at Capel County Primary then onto Tonbridge for secondary education. I was christened,  sang in the choir, married and I hope eventually buried at All Saints Church in Tudeley.

Although I moved away for a few years I regularly visited my family here in Capel and wanted my own children to enjoy the same open spaces and countryside I loved when growing up, therefore I moved to Five Oak Green in 1996 and have been part of village life ever since. Helping out at Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, School and Football.

I work in Pembury, not far but a lengthy commute if you time it wrong, due to the poor road conditions of Colts Hill, one broken down vehicle causes chaos for the whole area.

In , my spare time I walk the footpaths around the area, mainly those between Five Oak Green and Tudeley as I enjoy walking to see friends and family instead of taking the car. I walk every morning and evening considering myself fortunate to be able to unwind in the countryside, its great for mental well-being.

I used to enjoy cycling between the two villages but its far to dangerous to cycle on any of Kent's roads and cycle paths just seem to end in the middle of nowhere.

I would like you to add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

​I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

​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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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.

​People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garde settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows)The development site will not only blight the church with its magnificent views but being the site of the old village (mentioned in the Domesday Book) will cover the burial site from the times of the plague.

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.

​Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

​I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

​The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement  a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

I know that things cant stand still, but I would urge the council to look at the brown field sites, empty shops and offices in the borough and re-think this ridiculous plan as once it has started there will be no turning back. Eventually there will be no Five Oak Green and Tudeley, just a corridor between Tonbridge and Paddock Wood not affecting Tunbridge Wells at all!

Please, Please reconsider!

DLP_809

Janet and Tony Griffiths

We are Janet and Tony Griffiths residing at xx Willow Crescent, Five Oak Green, Tonbridge, Kent, TN12 xx. [TWBC: full postal address redacted]. We have lived here for 31 years having moved from Tunbridge Wells.  We moved out of the town as we wanted to move to a more rural village environment where in due course we would hope to raise a family.  We have had two children whilst living in the village of Five Oak Green, one still resides with us.  They were lucky enough to have been raised in a village community and attend the local village school, and thereafter attended secondary schools in Paddock Wood and Tonbridge.  We will hopefully be continuing to live here for further years to come but are concerned about the proposed plans which will we believe take away the village environment and commuity we currently enjoy, because of the extra housing, traffic, loss of greenbelt where we currently enjoy country walks and bike rides and are extremely opposed to any plans for any further housing.  ​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

Creating a garden settlement at Tudeley of 2,800 dwellings will cause immense harm to residents of the Parish of Capel (including our village of Five Oak Green) and to residents of Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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. I currently work in Tonbridge, as does my husband and my journey to work is current fraught with traffic, as it is at the end of the day when trying to come home, how on earth with our current roads cope with all this extra traffic servig 2800 dwellings, each of which will probably have two cars!

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows)We had flooding in our road some years ago, which they have now managed to manage in recent years, but another 2800 houses will possibly start problems off again beause of the Medway floodplain, it can't copesometimes now let alone with thousands of new houses.  The beautiful Church at Tudeley will never be the same in he middle of thousands of houses, it just does not make sense.

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. ​

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. We moved to the village to enjoy the countryside which we do.  We walk, enjoy cycle rides, living in our village will never be the same if our lovely countryside is taken away, we will end up moving again and then will probably have problems selling because of the new housing developments, current house prices in the village and surrounding areas will probably decline, this Plan will have a knock on effect on lots of things, especially the countryside.  ​

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant. ​

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement  a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.​

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

As stated above, we moved here to enjoy a village and countryside environment, if this Plan goes ahead (and we sincerely hope it does not) then we will be back to living in a 'town' enviroment, our once country walks will be on housing estates, and the roads will be so busy because of the extra traffic our cycle rides will be a think of the past.  WE DO NOT WANT TO LIVE IN A TOWN!!

DLP_812

Paul Game

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

My objection is that the draft local plan has does not provide a proportionate or sustainable solution to address the future housing needs for the borough. My understanding is that TWBC have based their plans on government statistics of 13,560 homes which for some reason has been uplifted to 14,776 despite a strong argument to reduce the figure due to; the proportion of Green Belt & AONB land across the borough and also recent ONS figures that indicate population growth across the borough is slowing. This is fundamentally important, as without this uplift the settlement at Tudeley would simply not be necessary.

In fact, as proposed Tudeley Garden Village is more likely to provide housing for London commuters attracted into the area and not local people, in which case naïve to think this will address the core objective of providing housing for population growth across the borough.

In addition, the over 60% of the growth is being borne by the Parish of Capel which is on the furthest point of the borough boundary meaning that almost all of the infrastructure must be provided by the neighbouring borough of Tonbridge & Malling despite the fact that council tax to fund the infrastructure will be paid to TWBC. As a result there will be no vested interest for TMBC to repair, maintain and develop the infrastructure to support Tudeley into the future.

The National Planning Policy Framework specifically states that the potential harm to the Green Belt would need to be clearly outweighed by other considerations and TWBC have yet to justify these ‘exceptional circumstances’. TWBC have said that I would also like to understand whether TWBC have a comprehensive Brownfield Site Register, when this was last updated and how can residents be assured that despite the higher cost of building on brownfield sites these will be used to minimise the need for development on the green belt.

The majority of people living in the new Tudeley Garden village will drive privately owned cars (some additional 4,000 cars based on an average of 2 cars per home) this will significantly increase congestion on the B2017, the only route into Tonbridge. The B2017 is a narrow winding road (with no pavements) that becomes heavily congested each morning with commuters and school traffic heading into Tonbridge between 8am-9am. The volume of cars using the B2017 between Paddock Wood and Tonbridge would more than double the current level but there is no scope to widen the road to cope with the increase flow of traffic. Whilst it is commendable that TWBC intends to promote use of public transport & cycle lanes the reality is that neither will provide an acceptable solution for the vast majority of adults who will continue to use their cars to get into Tonbridge, the A21 and beyond.

As the plan does not currently include a railway station at Tudeley, commuters will travel by car to Tonbridge station requiring extended parking facilities in the town centre which is simply unrealistic and not sustainable.

One of the proposals seems to involve building a roundabout at the top of Hartlake Road where a dedicated bus/cycle lane will join the B2017. This will simply mean the buses and cycles will join the ‘nose to tail’ queue along the B2017 for the final 2 miles into Tonbridge. In addition, the acceleration of traffic off the roundabout will mean it is dangerous to exit the private road leading to All Saints Church that is in constant use by residents and visitors to the church. By locating a roundabout at the junction with B2017 and Hartlake Road this private road will be sandwiched between a blind bend in one direction (which is already very dangerous) and the traffic accelerating off the roundabout in the other direction meaning that residents and visitors to the church will not have sufficient time to ensure the road is clear and pull onto the B2017 safely. It is easy to overlook the importance of this point on the basis that this is a minor private road with limited traffic, however this cold not be further from the truth. The private road is in constant use by residents and a large number of visitors and coaches to the church, which is the second most visited church in Kent after Canterbury Cathedral.

In addition to the ill-conceived roundabout on Hartlake Road, the single lane railway bridge will be unable to cope with the volume of traffic into the village and would need to be widened and my understanding is that Network Rail have refused to develop the bridge, in which case this means the whole plan is totally unviable.

The main railway line would split the new garden village into two sites requiring additional crossings to be built which would compromise the development of a thriving heart to the village in line with the principles of a garden village.  In addition , the proposed site of a new senior school favours means the school will be surrounded by heavy traffic and the campus split by the electrified main railway line, which feels like a massive health & safety issue.

I am also very concerned that the proposal does not respect or protect the heritage site of All Saints Church, in fact I have heard that the plan is to locate a bus lane behind the ancient church, which totally inappropriate and I would suggest not in line with the principles of a Garden Village, which is to enhance the locality rather than destroy the local character. ​

Extensive building will mean water has nowhere to flow or run off across the fields and any solution would need to meet not only protect the area from flooding based on the current position but also to propose a solution that will deal with the impact of climate change on the flood risks into the future.

Our property includes a covenant imposed by Hadlow Estates to ensure the boundary between our property and the adjoining field must be of post & rail construction, presumably to ensure the homes on their boundary do not spoil the agricultural status of their land.  I suspect this is a similar situation for other existing residents if they check their deeds and whilst I would agree this is a sensible requirement to protect the character of the area HOWEVER if the draft plan goes ahead the adjacent field will become part of the Tudeley Village settlement in which case how are existing residents able to comply with the covenant imposed by Hadlow Estates on one hand and protect the privacy and security of our home with an open rail fence backing onto the new settlement?

I appreciate the need to ensure the TWBC need to plan for the future of the borough but I am seriously concerned that the draft local plan for Tudeley Village has not been adequately thought through and there has been totally insufficient rigor and challenge applied by TWBC to ensure their proposal is necessary, sustainable and not detrimental to the area.

DLP_814

David Hughes

I write as a resident to raise my strong objections to the proposals by TWBC to build over 4000 new homes in Tudeley and East Capel with a large school near Somerhill, namely “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1) and the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1). Please add my details to your consultation database so I can be kept informed of future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand my comments can be published but not my address and contact details. My two key objections are set out below.

Economics for TWBC: the true cost has been under estimated  – the arithmetic does not work

As a finance professional, I have done a brief cost benefit analysis and concluded that council tax raised from the developments would not cover the cash investment and borrowing required to provide the required additional new and upgraded Council services needed for some 15/20,000 people. The numbers presented in the plan hugely underestimate costs in a number of areas. This project would appear to have a significant negative net present value from the Council’s viewpoint and would be ruled out as uneconomic if proposed in the private sector. The councillors have not justified their arithmetic sufficiently, using limited and flawed assumptions, assuming that utilities will foot the many of the costs and deliver required infrastructure on time and that implicitly Tonbridge Borough Council will carry the burden and costs of additional services for Tudeley. Councillors have a duty of care which also should extend to the medium to longer term when they are no longer in office so that someone else is not landed with a major debt problem. Councils have become insolvent in the past due to poor decisions which may then carry personal liability for the councillors.

Local Infrastructure issues

I have spent the past 15 years investing in various forms of UK infrastructure and renewable energy and am particularly aware of local area difficulties re utilities, including:

  1. Fresh water supply. The whole of Kent is already distressed for water and the supply infrastructure aged and need of substantial upgrade. Bewl Water’s recent falls in reservoir levels and  the significant upgrade of the Sevenoaks water supply currently in process illustrate this point. The TWBC historic statistics used do not take account of the negative effects of climate change. The water companies are already under supply and financial pressure and concentration of 6000 new homes (including East Paddock Wood) in one area will create significant problems in supply, financing and timing of delivery, which could take many years and be highly disruptive.
  2. Sewage/waste water infrastructure. We know from sewage flooding in recent years in the local area that this is a problem and new sewage plants and pipework will be required. Again major disruption, cost and delivery issues over many years.  This problem is exacerbated by the fact the water table is very near the surface in the local area.
  3. Electricity. I know from experience that the local grid is inadequate and insufficient for 6,000 new homes – this completely ignores the forecast usage of electric cars over the next 5-10 years which will require double the capacity again. Upgrades to large, intermediate and local substations are incredibly slow due to the significant pressure on demand across the UK given most of the electricity infrastructure was built in the 1950/60’s. Currently it can take up to 2 years to get even a small local upgrade in this part of the South East. The utilities again are under considerable demand and cost pressure here and nationwide with competing demands, disruption, cost and delivery issues.

Major upgrades will take perhaps 10 to 15 years to complete. Economically the previous draft proposals for smaller developments across the borough made sense as bolt on services and utility upgrades can be added at lower cost and more quickly.

There are no “exceptional circumstances” to justify using 600 acres of Green Belt which was established to prevent exactly this form of development.

This massive set of developments threatens the character of the Kentish Weald, an ANOB. Most of this is prime agricultural land when other brownfield and infill sites are available. It potentially creates a conurbation between Tonbridge and Paddock Wood, the very thing the Green Belt was meant to protect against.

DLP_824

C G Rickard

Please can you add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to strongly object to "The Strategy for Capel Parish" (Policy STR/CA1)

I have lived in the Tonbridge area for over 40 years.

  1. The proposed area for development lies within Green Belt land and bordering AONB which according to national guidelines should only be built upon in 'Exceptional Circumstances'. I see no reason to overturn the status of this land what-so-ever.
  2. Much of the proposed plan is located in the Medway flood plain. Reduction of the water storage function through hard landscaping on the natural flood plain will increase flood risk within the proposed development and adjoining areas as was evidenced in Lewes when the Ouse burst its banks in 2000 with devastating results.
  3. The impact of this proposed development will be felt primarily in Tonbridge where all existing infrastructure is already under strain - local roads gridlocked, parking difficult and the railway station and facilities overcrowded. To accommodated this, Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council and residents will be burdened by these costs, while Tunbridge Wells benefits from the additional Council Tax.
  4. This plan in no way seems to fit with future needs for the area. Environmentally it falls at every hurdle:-
  • Loss of green belt and AONB
  • Flood risk
  • Ignoring available brown field sites in favour of "easier" virgin sites
  • Increased traffic on inadequate rural roads
  • Necessity for duplication of infrastructure rather than enhancing facilities

DLP_834

E D Rickard

Please can you add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to strongly object to "The Strategy for Capel Parish" (Policy STR/CA1).

I am writing to strongly object to the proposals put forward in the strategy for Capel Parish within the Tunbridge Wells Draft Local Plan.

My family and I have lived in Tonbridge for over 40 years.

A Proposal by Tunbridge Wells Planning for the "Garden settlement at Tudely" seems to ride rough-shod over Green Belt guidelines and fails to acknowledge the significance of its AONB designation.

The proposed area for development lies within the Green Belt land and bordering AONB. The prime purpose of designating an area as Green Belt is to maintain an area where agriculture, forestry and outdoor leisure can be expected to prevail and to prevent urban sprawl which should only be built upon in 'Exceptional Circumstance'. In my opinion, Tunbridge Wells Planning Team has not come up with an explanation of any "exception circumstances" for reversing the status given to this area of land for the enjoyment of future generations. Permanent destruction of this rural environment, including ancient woodland, hedgerows, meadows will not only impact the existing Kent population but additionally have a negative impact on wildlife, including 'at risk' species. Smaller development on "Brown Field" sites must be exhausted before proposals such as this are sanctioned.

Much of the proposed plan is located in the Medway flood plain. Increased flood risk caused by buildings and construction of hard impermeable surfaces by decreasing flood plain storage and increasing the scale and speed of run-off is well document on the government planning portal - PPS 15: Planning and Flood Risk Annex B: The Impact of Development on Flood risk. Unsuspecting new residents to the area, who have not witnessed the environmental impact of past local flooding, should not be tempted into this highly unsuitable location.

In choosing to position this large development on the edge of Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells Council is effectively hoisting its responsibilities and costs onto Tonbridge and Malling Council and residents, while reaping the financial benefits of the additional Council Tax. P1.29 of the Draft Plan lists NPPF requirements for consideration of needs of bordering Boroughs. This common ground is not evident in the Draft Plan.

The impact of this proposed development on the Borough of Tonbridge will be immense, in terms of congestion and over-stretched facilities and infrastructure. Tonbridge infrastructure has been put under extreme pressure over the last few years with its own building developments and as a small town should not have to shoulder the pressures off-loaded by Tunbridge Wells. Local roads, including the B2017, Woodgate Way and Vale Road already become grid-locked at peak periods. Three Elm Lane and the A26 will also feel the strain as they become rat-runs. Tonbridge Railway Station will undoubtedly feel the impact being the most convenient line to London, rather than Tunbridge Wells.

The Tunbridge Wells Local Plan has been developed to ensure the needs of Tunbridge Wells Borough are met until 2036. In England we have an aging population, with the growth in population stalling over the last 2 years to its slowest since 2004. It would seem logical therefore, that to meet the needs of the projected future demographic, more appropriate accommodation is needed within the existing urban confines, with priority given to future proofing existing public transport links and infrastructure. The proposed development of a commuter dormitory town seems inappropriate in the longer term, encouraging irreversible expansion into the countryside with the additional need for increased infrastructure to make it in any way viable.

This proposed development flies in the face of all environmental and demographic future planning concerns and in the light of this should be rejected.

DLP_835

Queenie Clark

It was very disturbing and sad to read that you are planning to build so many new houses in these two villages. In my opinion this development is far too big and surely space can be found elsewhere to accommodate the increasing local population.

It will be devastating for such an area of outstanding beauty.    The farmland, so beautiful for the area, will disappear and this good agricultural land will be lost forever. The wildlife will be destroyed, pollution will increase, roads (already congested) will be more crowded and commuters will find the trains already carrying excessive numbers of people, over -  filled with yet more.

Please re-think this policy and do not go ahead with this blight on our beautiful countryside.   It is very dismaying that it is even being considered and the motivation behind it.

DLP_847

Ian Pattenden

I totally reject your plans to build a new town in Tudeley, the additional houses at East Capel and the new school adjacent to Tonbridge.

Your comments procedure is extremely difficult when we are expected to annotate each comment referring to a paragraph within your document. I believe this is a strategy to dissuade people from taking the time to comment. I have made my best efforts to comply with this clumsy and time consuming requirement on the basis that if I do not my comments MAY BE IGNORED.

Furthermore, you as a Borough Council broadcast the fact that you recognise the climate emergency and the need to reduce carbon emissions. The destruction of 600 acres of good quality farmland in Capel (Including wooded areas) and replacing this with a huge development will only have a negative impact on this serious ecological situation and is contrary to your published ethos.

DLP_864

Ian Pattenden

Comments on Policy STR/CA1 (The Strategy for Capel Parish) p.156

You have developed a strategy which is absolutely, completely, totally unachievable. The risks involved in dumping a so called “garden settlement” on this Green Belt hamlet are huge. The infrastructure will be an immense challenge with eye watering costs. The overriding fact is that the landowner and co-masterplanner is inexperienced and ill-equipped to deliver such a complex project. Point by point the policy is flawed in the following ways:

  1. The provision of employment and retail provision within the settlement will be minimal and no compensation for the agricultural land and farming/equestrian employment lost if the development goes ahead.
  2. The proposed secondary school site is next to an extremely busy road that is already very congested at school drop-off times. It also crosses a railway line that is at the bottom of a very deep cutting.
  3. There is no requirement for more primary school places in the immediate locality. The birth rate is dropping and new homeowners will probably be commuters with no children or elderly people.
  4. 4,000 new dwellings are not needed for local people and are therefore not needed in this area. Spread them out across the borough.
  5. Flood storage areas and other mitigation strategies can be delivered without developer contributions from new housing. Introducing hard surfaces and dwellings on to the meadows and fields will increase the flood risk beyond any mitigation measures.
  6. You say that road locations have regard to KCC minerals allocations but those allocations have not yet been approved. Strategic transport links cannot be provided without destroying large areas of AONB. The offline A228 link will cause horrendous traffic issues at Pembury. Any transport links provided will have to continue on through Tonbridge doubling, tripling or quadrupling the road improvement costs and causing chaos in an already highly congested traffic area. There is limited access for residents located on the northern side of Tudeley Town get to Tonbridge or Tunbridge Wells or indeed the southern side of the settlement. The railway line cuts the settlement into two distinct and isolated areas.
  7. We cannot sensibly make comments when there are not even any outline details.
  8. Despite surrounding Five Oak Green with 4,000+ new houses, you state clearly that you want to keep on providing additional housing within Five Oak Green which is totally inappropriate and unacceptable.
  9. The release of Green Belt land is not permitted within the NPPF as there are no “exceptional circumstances”, just a greedy landowner and a lazy planning approach favouring negotiating with a single landowner over dealing with multiple landowners, such as at Horsmonden or further afield in the north of the Borough (which is outside of Green Belt and AONB).
  10. No comment
  11. The impact on carbon sequestration provided by the farmland, meadows, mature trees and hedgerows in CA1 cannot be offset by a nod to zero/low carbon energy production as this will never happen. The effect of this development will have a negative impact on carbon emissions and therefore contribute to climate change, something the Borough are purporting to be signed up to tackle.
  12. This site is within the recognised 1km AONB buffer zone and so is entirely unsuitable for development of this scale.
  13. There are no details, yet again, on how the AONB Management Plan is to be implemented to combat this proposed development.

DLP_869

Ian Pattenden

I was fortunate to move here to Tudeley 33 years ago with my wife and two small children aged 6 and 7 in the knowledge that we could all enjoy our chosen way of life in a rural location surrounded by Metropolitan Green Belt to protect our future. This chosen rural lifestyle is now being threatened not only for us but our whole community of Capel by the TWBC draft Local Plan to build 2,800 on the MGB and concreting over perfectly good arable farmland for what I believe to be an unsustainable proposal without infrastructure and based on “an easy option one land owner” deal. This draft plan was sprung on us at short notice at our local Parish Council normal monthly planning meeting, we were totally shocked. This whole plan is dressed up to sound acceptable by calling it a “Garden Village” how can this be when the area is cut in two by the main railway line making two distinct separate developments. I am now retired and had planned to spend the rest of my days in our tranquil surroundings having spent the vast majority of my working life travelling away from home, I am very strongly against this absurd and irresponsible proposal and attach my responses

I have added a copy of the letter I received from The Ministry off Housing, Communities & Local Government for your additional information and draw your attention to paragraph 5.

DLP_875

Lisa Leslie

As a resident in Capel Parish, specifically Five Oak Green, I want to make you aware of my objection to your local plan. I have been a property writer for more than 22 years, working closely with housebuilders and estate agents on a daily basis in that timeframe. Therefore I am sending you my comments with an extensive property background and a working knowledge of building practices.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). I object to the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1).

I have attended meetings, read the literature, taken part in one of your Facebook Q&A sessions and listened to your Head of Planning but I still have a number of unanswered questions. Your inability to provide any answers or answers that are 'lose', flim flam in nature, lack detail or are not specific enough form the backbone of my objection. I want to also make it crystal clear that in top addition to my points below, I do NOT support building on Green Belt land, on a flood plain, on any SSNI, on AONB or anywhere that jeopardises our natural wildlife habitats and precious ecosystems.

Who will buy these homes? - I do not think you will sell all the properties proposed in the Draft Local Plan. When asked, your Head of Planning said 'Londoners' would buy them. This is an admission, right there, that the homes will be priced in a way local Kent people will be unable to afford, alluding to the fact that Londoners will be able to cash in on their higher property values to move to Capel Parish. This is not in the spirit of building local homes for local people.

If Londoners are so desperate to live here, why are so many homes for sale and to rent still on the market? Rightmove will show you just how many and tell you the 'length of time' they have been for sale or up for rent. Add in thousands of new homes - many being built in neighbouring TMBC - and tell me where these people will come from.

Figures - TWBC is adamant it has been given housebuilding targets by Government. These are outdated figures that do not reflect: a.) current migration trends, with more people choosing to leave our country b.) a trend for people to have fewer children c.) Brexit and the scrapping of Freedom of Movement, that is likely to see our population decrease very soon d.) an ageing population who need assisted living homes and not 'executive' detached houses e.) economic fluctuation, that may see us tip into recession f.) the distinct prospect that interest rates will rise from their historic low and make home buying and moving prohibitive for millions g.) the prospect of so many 'garden villages' coming to fruition over the next 20 years, saturating the market and tipping many people into negative equity.

Why have you not got the professional foresight and gumption to challenge your TWBC house building quota? Or even a backbone to refuse it!

A profit exercise - house builders build for profit, not for charity or good causes. This is merely a commercial exercise. As soon as this plan moves into the hands of developers, all control will be lost. Developers can go back in for new planning applications to amend plans and extend the size of the development or alter the density of the site. They can tinker will asking prices too. Therefore what you present to us as existing residents now will most likely not be what we end up with.

Landbanking - are you aware of this? No one at TWBC has been able to tell me if the developer at the helm of the garden villages will be prohibited to landbank. If they do landbank in the hope that land values will rise, they may sit on the land for decades. This, in turn, will cast a black cloud over the parish that will detrimentally affect existing residents' house values and ability to sell - your Local Plan will be cropping up in conveyancing searches and deterring people from moving here. What's to say the parcels of land won't be sold on it the future and become part of a bidding war? May I remind you of your very own TWBC ABC 'cinema site' debacle for perfect illustration.

Fake 'affordable homes' - not one person at TWBC has been able to give me a break down of your affordable homes plan. To Mr Joe Bloggs on the street, they think your promise of 'affordable homes' means cheap property well below market value or even council houses of the old variety. Help to Buy and part buy, part rent are not affordable homes, and evidence suggests that it's actually more expensive to own a home this way!

Real affordable homes - I have been unable to establish who will be offered any true affordable homes. It is a nationwide trend to redistribute people and families in need, with influxes of people from outside of the county - let alone the parish or borough - being moved into the affordable homes. I have not been reassured that your affordable plans are for Kentish people, which they should be. Birmingham families being moved to Marden is not how the process should work as there are deserving families within TWBC that should benefit.

Non exploration of vacant properties and brownfield sites - I have not been given assurance by TWBC that it has fully explored brownfield sites and vacant properties (of both residential and commercial nature) in its borough to create new homes.

Lack of skills an even bricks - have you ever spoken to a house builder? Did you know that building in Kent has recently been suspended on some residential sites because of a lack of bricks? But, of course, this may not be a concern of yours if the huge quarry plan off Whetsted Road is given the green light - another huge blot on our wonderful Capel Parish landscape. Brexit will also cause a skills shortage - it's already being felt by housebuilders - so this may stunt any plans unless there is a huge training and recruitment plan.

I am more than happy to sit down and speak with you in detail.

In addition, please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_876

L Huddart

I am writing as a concerned resident of Tonbridge, and as a regular user of the roads through Tudeley, Capel & Five Oak Green areas.  I would like to strongly OBJECT to this plan.

Having read the draft local plan for the addition of thousands of new homes in what is currently pristine and much needed green space around already busy Tonbridge & Tunbridge Wells, I was filled with dread & horror at the proposed concept & its inevitable resulting stress on the environment and facilities.  The area simply cannot withstand the onslaught such a huge additional number of people, cars, children & commuters being added.

I live in Tonbridge, use the A21 as well as the surrounding lanes to try & reach my coaching job at local primary schools in the area.  It is already noticeable, in the last 5 years, how much congestion has increased on the roads;  I am having to allow longer time in order to reach the same destinations.

I also regularly travel to London on the train from Tonbridge Station, and whereas 10 yrs ago it was no problem getting a seat it is now a gamble and no guarantee.

At the cost of more than £5000 for an annual season ticket, with increasing numbers of potential commuters, the service is destined to decline as a result of the proposed plan, as most of the new residents would look to Tonbridge as being the nearest station as opposed to Paddock Wood or Tunbridge Wells;  The station will simply not be able to cope, nor will the roads & car parks in the town, where parking spaces are already difficult to come by or very expensive (season tickets >£2000 per annum)

I understand that large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplan, with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change.  

Also, the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows and farm land around Tudeley/Five Oak Green, which is Green Belt land, is totally unacceptable and should be protected.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_895

Tonbridge Line Commuters

As a rail user group, our comments are strictly limited to the impact of this development on the transport infrastructure in the area. Tonbridge Line Commuters (TLC) is a recognised rail user group, representing the interests of rail passengers from Tonbridge, Paddock Wood and Hildenborough. We have three main areas of concern around the draft plan.

In proposing the volume of housing and the concentration of residential development in the Paddock Wood and Capel areas Tunbridge Wells Borough Council does not address adequately the impacts of an inevitably large increase in rail commuting that would result.

Access to Stations.  TWBC proposes prioritising development in the Paddock Wood and Capel areas of the borough, partly because these areas have convenient access to local railway stations (Paddock Wood and Tonbridge).   However, none of the allocated sites are within reasonable walking distance of those stations, and realistically, cycling is going to remain a minority choice.  Without a very significant provision of high frequency (minimum 15 minute intervals) shuttle bus services running from 06.00 to at least 21.00 on weekdays, the majority of trips to and from stations are going to be by car, either as drop-off/pick-up journeys, or with associated parking around the stations.

We note that bus provision is outside the remit of TWBC, and is Kent County Council’s responsibility.  We therefore have very low confidence that TWBC would be able to adequately ensure that suitable bus services will be introduced as developments take place.

Existing road access to both Paddock Wood and Tonbridge stations is via congested and relatively narrow town centre roads.  Especially in Tonbridge, traffic at peak times is already heavy and slow moving and there is limited opportunity for improvement (and in the case of Tonbridge, not in the remit of TWBC).   TLC is of the opinion that any local development that is likely to increase car traffic to and from these stations is unsustainable.

Station Parking. On the assumption that the proposed developments go ahead without mitigation of the station access issues noted above, once passengers reach the station there is very limited capacity for additional parking at existing facilities in either Tonbridge or Paddock Wood.  In theory, it would be possible to provide more parking by converting the existing surface car parks in both locations to multi-deck parking, as has already been partially implemented at Tonbridge.   This, however is a very expensive option and it is not clear where any funding would come from, especially as the existing parking infrastructure is not under the control of TWBC (being owned by Network Rail or Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council). Our analysis, supported by Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, suggests that the majority of people would drive to Tonbridge station (not going back on yourself and much greater choice of services). TLC believes that the significant increase in parking that would be required would not be achievable.

Passenger Capacity.  The existing train services from Paddock Wood and Tonbridge into London are already nearly full at peak times, and there are housing developments underway further down the line from Ashford to Tonbridge. The vast majority of rush hour trains in this area are already 11 or 12 cars and so extending the remaining services would add very few seats and not nearly enough to cope with the influx of commuters this development will bring.  The trend towards part-time commuting may provide some respite but is not, in TLC’s opinion, sufficient to offset the likely extra demand that some 9,000 homes in the Paddock Wood and Capel area would generate.

Looking to the medium term, Network Rail’s Kent Area Route Study states (paragraphs 6.9.4 and 6.9.5) that routes via Tonbridge are most in need of extra capacity but providing any extra capacity between 2024-2044 is “challenging” and there are no practical or fundable schemes for doing so. Such capacity improvements would require expensive and innovative solutions such doubling 2 track section between Tonbridge and Orpington to 4 tracks. Other issues include power supply limitations and lack of capacity at the Charing Cross terminus, which could not be addressed without a major rebuild of the station. The Kent Area Route Study makes clear that the rail industry simply has no plans to solve these issues. To do would require huge investment from Central Government and is certainly beyond the 15 year horizon covered by the draft TWBC Local Plan.

All of the likely train overcrowding mitigation measures are outside TWBC’s capability to directly influence.  Realistically, should these proposals go ahead in their current form then commuting from this area into London will become an intolerable experience.

As a result of the concerns above, we cannot support these proposals.

DLP_898

Hubertus van Hensbergen

I am a resident of Nettlestead with grandchildren in South Tonbridge. I therefore travel through five Oak Green and Tudeley several times a week to do babysitting and school runs for their working parents. I believe that the proposed development will so disrupt traffic that it will become impossible to travel from Nettlestead to South Tonbridge in reasonable time. This will be particularly important during a construction phase when heavy vehicles will be using a road which is classified as being unsuitable for such vehicles.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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. ​

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows)

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. ​

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. ​

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant. ​

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment.

It would be completely irresponsible to proceed with this planning proposal in the absence of a complete biodiversity assessment of the areas proposed for development particularly given the likely importance of the areas for insects in the face of large scale declines as revealed in the governments own data.

I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement  a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.​

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_900

Jennifer Rohan

I have been a resident in Park Farm in Tudeley for over ten years and thoroughly enjoy living here with my family; I have twins aged 9 who are particularly fond of enjoying all the beautiful greenery around. They are even lucky enough to be able to walk through the woods to their school at Somerhill.

Every single person, whether friend or visitor, ALWAYS comments on what a beautiful place we live in; surrounded by nature, greenery and wildlife.​​

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website. ​

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). 

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, exacerbating the extreme traffic congestion that exists on this road every morning. I have a 2 minute car journey to the school to drop off my children and even at 745am I have to wait for at least 15-20 cars to bypass me before I can join the road.

The already unacceptable levels of traffic 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.   In addition, it is proposed to be opposite the entrance to the School at Somerhill; which already causes traffic chaos.​

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with;  with the recent opening of the Aldi and B*M stores Tonbridge is in grid lock every morning and afternoon; it simply cannot cope with any more traffic.

The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows)

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. ​

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. ​

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant. ​

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement  a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.​

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

I trust you will take these comments into account as we as a community feel VERY strongly about the proposed plans to ruin our countryside,

DLP_957

Mrs Karen Stevenson

To create a garden settlement at Tudeley of up to 2,800 dwellings will cause immense harm both to residents of the Parish of Capel and to residents of neighbouring rural villages and Paddock Wood. There will be a significant increase in traffic throughout the rural road network exacerbating the extreme traffic congestion that exists on local roads already every weekday morning and evening. ​Even with proposed and long overdue improvements to the A228 at Colts Hill, this will do little to cope with all the additional traffic that will be generated by building so many homes where there train station within walking distance.

If people living in Tudeley use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking, plus the roads between Tudeley and Tonbridge will be very congested at rush hours. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking at and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult.

Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. This development can only really be contemplated if a new station is created at Tudeley to serve the residents of  the new community.

This new town proposal is also totally against the current environmental initiative seeking to reduce carbon emissions and be carbon neutral by 2050. New towns, which will be wholly reliant on private cars for people to access services, places of work and education is not taking into account the damage to the environment and the contributory impact on global warming. Whilst the longer term plan is for all cars to be electric, this won’t be until 2040 before it is mandatory and probably 2050 before virtually all combustion engine vehicles are off the road.

DLP_988

Janet Harman

PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT OF CAPEL

As to the proposed development of Capel my objections are as follows:

This proposed Garden Village will be out of character for the area and will destroy a large area of the Green Belt which was originally put in place to safeguard our countryside from this kind of major development but now seems to be ignored.

These excessive proposed development sites are outside of the Limits to Built Development. Ordinarily, these 'limits' are set to prevent the sprawl of villages into the surrounding countryside.

It will have a negative impact on the environment, including dark skies and air pollution.

Traffic issues and the impact of highway safety. The road into Tonbridge is already congested at times and journeys take more time and the increased volume of traffic adds to air pollution also extra traffic generated from a development such as this will impair road safety.

DLP_1001

Esmond White

Your plan will cause heavy over-load on already congested roads in and around Tonbridge.

TWBC will take the new residents' council tax while T&MBC will have its health and support services inundated with thousands of extra people (your own estimate is about 6000!)

It is wrong to plan to build on productive farmland and the floodplains of the River Medway. Your plans will increase surface water run-off and increase the flood risk to us who live close to the river downstream.

There will be a horrible increase in noise, light and air pollution.

Now is NOT the time to be building on 600 acres of Green Belt and destroying the scarce natural habitat. In the 21st Century you should be planning low-rise development on brown field sites where the necessary infrastructure can be expanded.

Do not even think of building a new senior school so far from existing railway and bus stations.

DLP_1005

Christopher Dennis

I am a local resident of Five Oak Green and have lived here for over 20 years and have a keen interest and understanding of the ecology of the local area.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents.​

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1). ​​

The development of such a settlement in this area will have a negative impact on a number of habitats and species which, due to the value of the area in terms of biodiversity, could not be sufficiently offset through enhancement and mitigation within the local area. Attempts of offset any negative impacts outside of the Tudeley area should not be seen as sufficient due to the high value of the habitat mosaic in its current location, in part due to the open nature of this landscape.

Not only is this Green Belt land but this area is of especially high value to biodiversity in the context of the local area, with European Protected Species, reptiles and declining bird species present across the proposed development footprint. I do not consider it to be possible to offer a true net gain for biodiversity within the local community due to the types of habitat present within the development footprint, such as open farmland and ancient broadleaved woodland. These habitats would either be impacted through direct loss or impacted indirectly due to the development reducing habitat functionality e.g through reducing connectivity and increasing disturbance. Proposals to enhance existing woodland habitats away from the proposed development will not be sufficient to counter loss of ancient broadleaved woodland or impact on open farmland habitats for which the development area is of such high value, particularly to declining farmland bird species. It is this habitat which would be impacted on not only by this development but by other development across the wider area, including planned quarrying activities. I do not believe the cumulative effects of the proposed housing developments and quarrying has been considered at all.

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement  a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.​

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_1020

Mr & Mrs R B Coles

We have lived in the Parish of Capel since 1973 at Colts Hill in a property bordering the B2015 road , now renumbered as the A228.

We object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish “(Policy STR/CA1)

The creation of a garden settlement of 2800 dwellings at Tudeley ,in the Green Belt and partly in an AONB ,appears very ill -conceived , as does the creation of a senior school bordering the Borough  of Tonbridge.In particular the former will create a scar on the edge of the High Weald which will be visible from across the whole Weald.

The loss of valuable grade 2 and 3 arable land, the likelihood of increased flooding of the river Medway both locally and further downstream at East Peckham and Yalding,not to mention in Tudeley itself, where the B2017road is sometimes flooded in winter,is unjustified.This flooding may happen more frequently in the future due to climate change.

Residents of any such settlement will undoubtedly use Tonbridge for their shopping and rail station of choice rather than Tunbridge Wells or Paddock Wood , which will cause greatly increased traffic and parking problems in Tonbridge and evermore crowded trains from that station.It will also increase the existing pressure on health, education and other facilities in Tonbridge.

At present the B 2017 road and Hartlake Road bordering the sites are unsuitable for HGVs and the latter has only a single lane bridge over the railway line.There would therefore be a need for a very considerable improvement in the road infrastructure if the village settlement should proceed.

The siting of the village settlement on both sides of the main railway line requiring the construction of bridges or tunnels to join the two halves together ,not to mention the noise and pollution caused by the railway ,  indicate the site is unsuitable. Also the site of a senior school divided by the main railway line, bordering the Tonbridge mini bypass, and surrounding an ancient woodland appears even more unsuitable.

Furthermore, the surrounding by the garden settlement of the unique All Saints Church at Tudeley, the only building worldwide all of whose windows were painted by Marc Chagall , and visited by many tourists to the area, would be a very great pity.

The suggested road to be built from the B2017 near Capel Primary School to the planned A228 Colts Hill bypass to bypass the southern side of Five Oak Green also seems ill-conceived.If residents of the garden settlement wish to travel to Tunbridge Wells they are likely to use the fast A21 to Pembury or use Alders Road to Colts Hill and on to Pembury. If  they wish to go to Paddock Wood they will continue to travel through FOG, Dampiers Corner on the A228 ,and on to Paddock Wood.

We are ,however, pleased to observe that the Colts Hill bypass -first planned in 1976 - is still planned. The A228 road running through Colts Hill is now heavily used by HGVs ,ambulances and police and other emergency vehicles and is totally unsuitable for such vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians, and has no bus stops.The planned developments at Paddock Wood and Capel will cause the road to become even more congested unless the bypass is built beforehand.

DLP_1379

William Forster

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1) and to the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood”

(Policy STR/PW1).

I have lived in this area for 30 years and in Capel for c27years. As a family we have explored the countryside and made great use of available footpaths and landowner generosity.

When the call for land went out, we specifically didn't put our 7 acres up, as we felt the area wouldn't benefit from building on acres of green fields in the parish.

I object to the plan, both where it is sited and the volume it proposes. It is based on a disproven target, developer wishfulness, and very limited insight on the scope of impact and what would need to be funded by TWBC and residents. It brings with it a huge political risk as well as commercial risk of failure, puts vast swathes of the garden of England under yet more concrete and fails to address the flooding which such a site alongside, and in, a known flood risk area will bring.

Locations.

The Borough has nearly 50 Borough Councillors, only 1 of which lives in Capel Parish. The Borough has 18 parishes and Capel Parish (1 out of all) is getting 60%+ of the whole Borough's target. The imbalance is both stark and cavalier. Furthermore the plan refers to Capel as 'deprived' as if that gives the borough the right to ride roughshod across the constituents here.

And the Borough says that Southborough's air quality management problems will be alleviated by the new town at Tudeley. That is plainly nonsense. Traffic on the A26 through Southborough would more likely increase not have it reduced by Tudeley new town. And anyway if it were true would merely relocate the AQMA causes into Tudeley.

Plan

Over the summer there were 3000 properties available either for sale or rent within a few miles of Paddock Wood. Existing development in the area is not finding buyers. The ONS has advised that the targets for building are too high and based on discredited calculations.

The plan should not be taken further until Government addresses the target numbers.

The new town

There is no plan to alleviate traffic problems going into Tonbridge where the road to be used is already a choke point.

There is no planned new link between the north and south Tudeley new town developments across the railway. Existing bridges and the under pass are narrow and have traffic constraints. At least 2 new bridges would be required on the planned site if the blot of development is to have any chance of being a community.

Siting a new school to straddle a railway is asking for trouble, especially as no link road or footbridge is proposed. Children and railways are a dangerous mixture.

The link road to the A228 only addresses traffic going through between Tudeley and Colts Hill. It doesn't address Paddock Wood traffic up to the A21 via Matfield, nor Badsell Road traffic and Paddock wood traffic along past Transfesa.

The new development will increase traffic along the Pembury Road into Tunbridge Wells where traffic is already at a standstill during busy periods. There is no plan element which considers the already creaking access to Tunbridge Wells.

No consideration has been given to Tonbridge and that side of the boroughs' boundary. Tonbridge also has traffic problems and their station is already at capacity.

Pembury hospital, new just a few years ago, doesn't have planned capacity for the new household population.

The Borough planners talk about developer levies as being the answer to many problems but not to the above and are anyway unreliable. As cost escalate, the levy would run short. As new things are identified, the planned budget would not cover it and local taxes would get raised or services cut.

A developer elsewhere dropped a few houses from a plan so they didn't have to build the surgery and other community facilities which were contingent on the full permitted build being achieved.

Bus funding by Developers is promised to help manage traffic, but it is not clear how that will work and whether it will work. Nor is it clear how it is funded when development stops. And the plan appears to rely on Autonomous buses, a technology that is not yet available and for which there are many hurdles, both technical and legal.

Over 40 years ago a planned development in Paddock Wood was stopped for a while when it was found there was no sewage capacity. History repeated itself with the present Paddock Wood estates being built.

When Transfesa was developed it was on the basis that Colts Hill would be bypassed. We still wait for that, despite reclassifying a small capacity B road to an A road to help the process.

While a green field development is attractive to developers, it isn't to the community and no use of brownfield development is in the plan and has not been properly investigated by TWBC for delivery of any significant part of the target.

Bearing these points in mind we can have little faith in the integrity, necessity and adequacy of the proposed plan. It should be dropped and the target addressed with Government.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_1382

Will Pattenden

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

General comments:

As a resident of East Peckham and someone who has lived in the area my whole life, I am at a loss as to how this proposal has even gained the level of support to make it this far. Whilst the proposal falls within the boundary of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, it will be Tonbridge that will suffer the greatest impact. The town is already under considerable pressure in relation to schooling (particularly secondary education), transport and utilities and it is naive to think that building an additional 3000-4000 houses on the doorstep will not significantly increase this pressure to breaking point, despite whatever measures are proposed as part of this development.

Even if we are to believe (which I do not) that enough provision is given to additional infrastructure within this new development, we cannot escape from the fact that a significant proportion of those who will be moving into this development will likely be commuting to London to work. Network Rail have already confirmed that a new station is not viable at this development and therefore Tonbridge (and Paddock Wood) will bear the brunt of this additional commuting population. I commute everyday to London from Tonbridge and I know first hand that the trains are already at (if not over) capacity. Rush hour trains are full to bursting and paying over £5000 per year to stand for the entire journey is unacceptable. Not to mention the parking facilities at the station and traffic jams to get there in the first place!

The town itself appears to be permanently gridlocked during rush hour and weekends. Parking is limited and the town simply won't be able to accommodate this additional burden the new development will bring.

Additionally, the fact that this proposed development is located squarely within the Green Belt on good quality agricultural land is staggering. I am well aware of the pressure to build houses within the county. I am also, however, well aware that development within the Green Belt (particularly at this scale) should be considered only as a last possible resort when all other options have been explored. I find it very hard to believe that we are in that position currently, given the number of brownfield or edge of development sites there appear to be in the area. If this proposal is approved, it will leave a scar on our beautiful landscape that can never be reversed. The future enjoyment of this unique and charming area by generations to come should be protected fiercely. Every lobby group, charity and activist movement associated with the environment have condemned this proposal in the strongest possible sense, and for very good reason.

Detailed plan comments:

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

I object to the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1). This land is Green Belt land and should only be built upon if an “exceptional circumstance” exists. TWBC’s own assessments in their Sustainability Appraisal show that Paddock Wood can expand and meet most of the plan’s aims without using the Green Belt land at East Capel. The comment above about coalescence and the creation of a conurbation from Paddock Wood right across to Tonbridge is very relevant here, as is the land’s use as a flood plain. Building here, even with flood risk mitigation and “betterment” could have disastrous consequences for all, as the measures being looked at are based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_1415

Mrs Jenny Vincent

My husband and myself moved to Five Oak Green 15 years ago. We moved here due to the rural location surrounded by green belt land ideal for raising a family with a lovely village community and a small village school surrounded by farm land and amazing views. Our daughters are now 11 & 8 and love walking around the parish, one of our family favourites is to the poacher and back. We are so lucky to have this rural environment surrounding us which is why I feel so strongly about the proposed Capel expansion in the local plan my concerns are detailed below.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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.

Our 11 year old daughter now travels to Weald of Kent Grammar in Tonbridge by bus and rarely gets a seat on either journey, how will the current public transport cope when they can’t even provide suitable volumes with the current housing levels.

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).

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.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_1436

Jane Anscombe

I live in Golden Green with my husband – we have lived here since April 1990. Tonbridge is my local town (shops, doctor and so on) and I regularly commute to London from Tonbridge station. I am writing to object to the Local Plan because of concerns relating to the huge volume of additional traffic; impact on the green belt (my husband and I are keen walkers and regularly walk across to the Tudeley/Five Oak Green/Kent College areas); impact on the environment including risk of additional flooding; and the fact that it appears that Tunbridge Wells will get all the additional council tax whereas Tonbridge and Tonbridge train station will suffer from a massive amount of additional traffic, congestion and pressure on facilities.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

I believe that creating a garden settlement at Tudeley of 2,800 dwellings will cause significant harm to residents of the Parish of Capel and to residents of Tonbridge and Golden Green. I am very concerned about the additional traffic, both between the proposed Tudeley site and Tonbridge and coming north into Golden Green. There is already significant congestion on the B2017 into Tonbridge every morning, and between 7.45am to 9am on Woodgate Way, Vale Road and Pembury Road. It is likely that many of the residents of the proposed Tudeley settlement will travel into Tonbridge to work, shop or commute to London rather than going into Tunbridge Wells which is much further and in the wrong direction. This congestion will be exacerbated by the proposed new senior school, close to the Schools at Somerhill where traffic is already stationary around pick-up times. This proposed school will be on the border with Tonbridge, split by a main line railway and alongside a heavily used road. It 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.

It seems highly likely that a lot of traffic from the proposed new development will take the Tudeley Road if they want to go north towards Hadlow/Maidstone rather than the much longer route (with queuing) through Vale Road and the Tonbridge Industrial estate. The Hartlake Road is a narrow country lane across beautiful countryside and not at all suitable for heavy use or development as a major artery as it is winding, floods regularly and arrives the middle of our village.

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting yet the station car parks are already close to capacity, as are the trains in peak hours. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. Tonbridge town centre is already very busy, with daily queues and it is hard to see where all the extra cars will park. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents yet it is Tunbridge Wells will receive the council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown with its complete set of Marc Chagall windows.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. We are keen walkers and regularly enjoy the beautiful countryside between Golden Green, Tudeley, Kent College and Five Oak Green which will all be spoilt.

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. AS I understand it, TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach.

I understand that the plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I believe that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will ruin a huge swathe of countryside. AS far as I can see, TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_1536

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council

The potential significant impacts of the proposed developments at Tudeley and Capel on the local highway network and on infrastructure and services in nearby Tonbridge are a major concern for TMBC, particularly in the light of the existing infrastructure challenges in Tonbridge and surrounding villages and communities which have been identified by TMBC. TMBC believes that some of these will present delivery challenges for the allocation due to appropriate mitigation measures not being feasible. However, we wish to work collaboratively with TWBC to explore all possibilities and particularly welcome the early identification of a number of junctions requiring mitigation within TMBC.

It is acknowledged that Policies STR/CA1 and AL/CA1 recognise these issues and require comprehensive master planning and ongoing liaison between Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells, Kent County Council and all other relevant stakeholders. This will include land owners, promoters, and infrastructure providers to ensure that the infrastructure accompanying these proposals is properly planned for and delivered at the appropriate time. TMBC requests that they are specifically mentioned in all relevant policies with the emerging Local Plan to ensure that this collaborative approach is enshrined in policy.

Both this site and the Paddock Wood sites discussed below require appropriate onsite health service provision to be provided at a primary care level. Given the proximity of these sites to Tonbridge and the proposals for Local Care Hubs that are being progressed by the West Kent CCG, TMBC request that the potential for facilitating Local Care delivery through this strategic site allocation providing land or contribution (our preference is Tonbridge Cottage Hospital) should be explored in detail as part of the next stage of plan development, should this site be taken forward.

DLP_1568

Celia Curling

I am very concerned to hear of your planned development of Tudeley Garden Village and further housing in Capel.

I live in Tudeley for many years while bringing up my family. The access to Tonbridge from Tudeley was very important to us. My husband, a senior civil servant at H.M. Treasury, needed good access to parking at the railway station. The boys and I needed to access Tonbridge for educational reasons. I do not believe the road to Five Oak Green & Tudeley is able to cope with any further traffic. Congestion between the schools in Tonbridge is really bad without further addition.

I am one of a team of church members who offer hospitality and talks to our visitors, who come on the tourist route to All Saints Tudeley, with its famous Chagall windows. Our visitors frequently comment on the beautiful countryside setting of this special Grade I listed church.

Now resident in Golden Green, I am concerned about the threat of flooding to our homes here. Parts of the village have already experienced flooding in 2013/14 and much of this village is low lying.

With mental health and the quality of the air and pollution high on the agenda, I consider access to green spaces and especially an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to be important.

I urge Tunbridge Wells Planning Authority to set aside these ill-considered plans.

DLP_1575

Mr John Hurst

Green Belt - do not develop. Completely egregious proposal.

DLP_1579

David Rowlands

I am a retired resident of Tonbridge and have lived here for 45 years, I worked in the town for over 20 years and now a regular walker in the area and an active member in the community. ( See attached file form) [TWBC: attachment is has been copied in full below].

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

Your plan to create a garden settlement of at 2,800+ at Tudeley and 4,000 at Paddock Wood will cause nothing but harm to the local community, environment and wellbeing of the residents of the Parishes of Capel, Paddock Wood and the residents of Tonbridge. The only benefits are to TWBC through receiving the council tax of these new dwellings and that it solves 60% of their incorrect housing targets with one Vendor without them having to investigate their local brown field sites and other smaller sites within Tunbridge Wells and that they would happily use 600 acres of our green belt.

1. My objections are as follows: - (Please note you have already rejected planned building in this area for building only 6 B&B rooms)

1. GREEN BELT: - Losing 600 acres of Green belt and creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife, clean air, and biodiversity. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. And to quote from Rejected building application 31st July 2018 REFERENCE: 18/01767/FULL. “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. The proposal is thus contrary to Policy MGB1 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan 2006, Core Policy 2 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Core Strategy 2010, and the National Planning Policy Framework 2018. The proposal, by virtue of creating new buildings with associated domestic paraphernalia, works to alter the land levels and potential additional impacts from further parking and works in close proximity to the trees at the rear would have more than a minimal impact on the landscape character of the locality. It would not conserve and enhance the rural landscape, nor would it protect the countryside for its own sake, nor preserve the interrelationship between the natural and built features of the landscape. The overall impact is harmful to the rural character of the area. It would thus be contrary to saved Policies LBD1, EN1 and EN25 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan 2006, Core Policies 4, 5, and 14 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Core Strategy Development Plan Document 2010, the National Planning Policy Framework 2018 and the Planning Practice Guidance.”

2. FLOODING: - Note the danger of Flooding and threat to life as highlighted in rejected planning (quote from Rejected building application 31st July 2018 REFERENCE: 18/01767/FULL). “It has not been demonstrated that the occupiers of the development would not be at risk from flooding or that the development would not increase flood risk elsewhere. Therefore, the development is likely to result in a risk to human life from flooding and is contrary to policies EN18 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan 2006 and Core Policy 5 of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Core Strategy 2010, guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework 2018 and the Planning Practice Guidance”

3. TRAFFIC: - Increase in traffic in the region of 4000 vehicles on already congested roads in particular B2017 that will cause extreme high levels of Carbon dioxide (CO2) near at least 6 local schools queuing at current road junctions and roundabouts. The Office for National Statistics: - Household Labour Force Survey shows that: Percentage of households by combined economic status, April to June 2019 that 60% of households have both residents working which means at least one will use a car and 26% have one family member working which again no doubt will be using a car. I will be interested to see how you as stated achieve “ Zero and low carbon energy production to be considered during early design stages”

4. INFRASTURE: - Unacceptable increase of pressure and stress on local Tonbridge Doctors, Schools, Buses, Roads, and Parking, Tonbridge will become this garden settlement’s town of choice as its much closer than Tunbridge Wells.

5. TRAINS: - Unacceptable increase of commuters on already overcrowded trains at Tonbridge with no room for any increase in carriages due to length of platforms.

6. PARKING: - Insufficient parking in and around Tonbridge now.

7. SCHOOL: - The proposed new senior school will draw children in from all of West Kent. It is a 40-minute walk from the over busy station of Tonbridge. And the plan has a railway line at the back of the school grounds.

8. HERITAGE: - Damage to environment around a very important prized heritage site – All Saints Church at Tudeley, with its world renowned stained unique stained-glass windows.

9. Community: - This plan will divide the communities of Capel, Tudeley, Paddock Wood, and Tonbridge who will pay the price for this disastrous planning application that threatens the wellbeing of all of these communities.

DLP_1584

Mrs Jane Lloyd

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

We live in Goldsmid Road, Tonbridge, (under Tonbridge and Malling Council) but nevertheless, will be very much affected by the 2800 or more residences that are planned to be built on farmland surrounding the villages of Tudeley and Capel. My main objection is on grounds of the uncosted impact on neighbouring communities, but I also object on grounds of damage to heritage, environment, leisure and tourism; and on lack of suitable infrastructure for this size of new community, (and lack of means and resources to provide it).

I am concerned because this number of dwellings planned to be built on this site is totally disproportionate, and will destroy the rural character of the Tudeley and Capel area, and with it, the special peaceful quality of Tudeley parish church, (All Saints), and churchyard, (with its views of Hadlow Tower, oast houses and fields) with its internationally renowned Chagall stained glass windows that attract visitors from around the world. It will create a visual scar with roundabouts, light, noise, and traffic pollution. I think this is an indiscriminate and sprawling development, not representing the best that TWBC can do, nor does this represent the Kent that we wish to showcase to visitors, who will be denied that special experience to encourage further tourism.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, on farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected, it will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife. This is not compatible with preserving the best of our heritage and supporting a policy for a sustainable environment alongside climate change objectives.

The residents of this 'new town' will use the facilities of Tonbridge, as the most accessible centre, not Tunbridge Wells, and it is Tonbridge that will bear the burden; the Council tax of new residents will be paid into Tunbridge Wells coffers. This will mean 2800 or more vehicles using the narrow roads around these villages, and daily trips into Tonbridge will add to traffic on the extremely busy Woodgate Way, Pembury Road and Goldsmid Road.

The infrastructure of the Tonbridge area is totally inadequate to support this number of new residents. There are serious flaws in poorly thought-out planning - the site of the secondary school that is planned nearby is split by a railway line, and adjacent to a major road. There are already insufficient spaces in medical practices to support the Tonbridge population, which has grown hugely in recent years, and there is inadequate Tonbridge town centre parking.

In particular, the impact on neighbouring communities has not been fully costed and evaluated. Many of the vehicles from the 'new town' will use Tonbridge residential roads, such as Goldsmid Rd and Pembury Rd, as a cut-through to Tonbridge town centre, the shops and Tonbridge station. Goldsmid Road is already heavily trafficked. Below describes the type of congestion that already exists, creating a safety hazard for pedestrians, motorists and residents alike:

* Goldsmid Road is very busy in the rush hour, and is used heavily by buses, industrial lorries, and commuter and school traffic. It has several 'bottle-necks'. At the junction with Pembury Rd, vehicles have to queue to turn right.

* It always has parked cars on both sides of the road reducing it to single lane, and cars on our road constantly have to pull up for oncoming traffic, to wait to get through.

* The road through the railway tunnel at the bottom of Goldsmid Road is inadequate for existing traffic, and there are regular queues of vehicles backing up from the tunnel in both directions, trying to get through.

* From our own house, because of parked vehicles, we have a very restricted sight-line when we pull out onto the road, and this manoevre is always dangerous.

* Along Pembury Road and Goldsmid Rd many pedestrians (commuters and schoolchildren) will be adversely affected by the extra traffic pollution from more traffic congestion, counteracting any 'green benefits' of walking.

* The current situation will only worsen when additional journeys are made from the proposed new development.

This proposed new development is on Green Belt land and should only be built upon if an “exceptional circumstance” exists. TWBC’s own assessments in their Sustainability Appraisal show that Paddock Wood can expand and meet most of the plan’s aims without using the Green Belt land at East Capel. The grounds for housing need, as calculated by the government, can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the settlement at Tudeley from this plan.

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_1585

Tricia Bewsey

I can’t help wondering if there’s any point in objecting to the vast scale of planned development for the Paddock Wood and Capel /Tudeley area of the borough.

Many extensive objections were raised to the current developments in Paddock Wood and went on for some years. In spite of good and valid grounds to object the only benefit is alterations to schemes. The fact that the schemes will inevitably happen is a fait accompli.

We now have the first of such developments underway, discussions with sales staff has told us of the extremely limited interest in purchasing these properties. To the point where local rumour has it that Berkeley homes has put two tranches of that site back up for sale. The proposed new school and other benefits to the community are simply not happening.

Yet at the same time ancient green belt land in Badsell road is also being hacked about an enormous development planned yet again. Orchards destroyed.

No sign of the necessary infrastructure promised is happening. No village hall is being built. No swimming pool promised many years ago, no larger car park at the station to cope with new residents commuting needs. No new health centre to cope with one that is already at full stretch. That’s before we begin on the hospitals capacity, and the country lanes that abound around this area. Infrastructure needs to begin in tandem. We all know developers offer a token amount for something but if that something, such as a village hall or school isn’t on the table quickly enough they walk away from that commitment.

At what point do local councils stand their ground with government policies and say enough. Infill by all means, small localised developments definitely. But planning to concrete over vast areas of one of the most expensive property areas in the country seems little short of ludicrous. A minute one bed flat here would buy a reasonable house in the midlands.

If we need developments then let them be in areas where homes are affordable and create jobs and infrastructure to help these areas prosper.

DLP_1588

Maggie Fenton

I strongly object to the Policies STR/CA1, STR/CA2 and STR/PW1 

  1. Lack of public Consultation

    It is not appropriate for consultation with the Community to first take place at Reg. 18. This is a 500% increase in housing in the parish of Capel. Growth Strategy 5 (Garden village)throughout the evidence base documents is just referred to as a possible option SOMEWHERE it is therefore evident that Tudeley (CA1) and East Capel (PW1) (to be delivered on the garden village principle) have never been formerly consulted on

  2. Lack of Process regarding consultation

    Neither the Parish Council nor existing residents have had the opportunity to be formally consulted on either site. The supposed consultation between the PC and TWBC has not allowed for the formulation and provision of a formal response until Reg 18. The whole community has merely been presented with what appears to be a done deal.

  3. Constraints

Almost all of PW1 lies within Flood Zone 3 – only 7% of the Borough has this designation. It would therefore seem that a different site with a lower flood risk (which would accord with NPPF 149) would be to be more appropriate and sustainable. There is a reason the current boundary of Paddock Wood stops where it does – its on the edge of a flood plain! All 3 sites are within the MGB. 2 would impact hugely on the AONB. Planned road infrastructure will cut straight through the AONB.

DLP_1619

Maggie Fenton

Policy STR/CA1 (The Strategy for Capel Parish) p.156

You have developed a strategy which is absolutely, completely, totally unachievable. The risks involved in dumping a “garden settlement” on this Green Belt hamlet are huge. The infrastructure costs are huge. The landowner and co-masterplanner is inexperienced and ill-equipped to deliver such a complex project. Point by point the policy is flawed in the following ways:

  1. The provision of employment and retail provision within the settlement will be minimal and no compensation for the agricultural land and farming/equestrian employment lost if the development goes ahead.
  2. The proposed secondary school site is next to an extremely busy road that is already very congested at school drop-off times. It also crosses a railway line that is at the bottom of a very deep cutting. Can the children cross safely before, during and after the school day?
  3. There is no requirement for more primary school places in the immediate locality. The birth rate is dropping and new homeowners will probably be commuters with no children or elderly people.
  4. 4,000 new dwellings is overkill. The houses are not needed in this area. Spread them out across the borough.
  5. Flood storage areas and other mitigation strategies can be delivered without developer contributions from new housing. Introducing hard surfaces and dwellings on to the meadows and fields will increase the flood risk beyond any mitigation measures.
  6. You say that road locations have regard to KCC minerals allocations but those allocations have not yet been approved. Strategic transport links cannot be provided without destroying large areas of AONB. The offline A228 link will cause horrendous traffic issues at Pembury. Any transport links provided will have to continue on through Tonbridge doubling, tripling or quadrupling the road improvement costs and causing chaos in an already highly congested traffic area.
  7. No comment.
  8. Despite surrounding Five Oak Green with 4,000+ new houses, you state clearly that you want to keep on providing additional housing within Five Oak Green. Unacceptable.
  9. The release of Green Belt land is not permitted within the NPPF as there are no “exceptional circumstances” just a greedy landowner and a lazy planning approach favouring negotiating with a single landowner over dealing with multiple landowners at Horsmonden (which is outside of Green Belt and AONB).
  10. No comment
  11. The impact on carbon sequestration provided by the farmland, meadows, mature trees and hedgerows in CA1 cannot be offset by a nod to zero/low carbon energy production. The impact of this development on climate change is severely negative and shameful.
  12. This site is within the recognised 1km AONB buffer zone and so is entirely unsuitable for development of this scale.
  13. The AONB Management Plan is ignored by this proposed development yet TWBC is signed up to it.

DLP_1634

Amanda Parrett

As a resident of Tonbridge, I am devastated at the plans to alter the landscape and innate character of the town and local area in which I’ve lived my whole life. The very essence of what makes Tonbridge Tonbridge is its position within the countryside; with greenbelt land all around, yet with access to larger towns such as Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells nearby and quiet country villages in between. This is the reason for the town’s popularity and why people pay large sums of money/take out massive mortgages to live here. 

The plans for thousands of new homes and communitites to be built on our doorstep in our surrounding countryside will negate a signficant element of Tonbridge’s appeal and its inhabitants’ quality of life. 

I understand the need for additional housing, but – as with other elements of the TWBC plan – it needs to be distributed more equally throughout the Tunbridge Wells borough, rather than sandwiching our historic town next to a new ‘super town’. 

My 4-year old son started his school life in September this year (at the new Bishop Chavasse school right on the border with Tudely) and already the journey and parking is becoming an issue. The school is set within a new housing estate (a small version of what TWBC plans for Tudely/Capel/Paddock Wood) and it is already obvious that planners have not accounted for what will happen as the school grows. Traffic at the Somerhill roundabout on the approach is very busy at peak times. The new Tudely town will put additional pressure on this busy area, compounding the problem. Will there be new roads/ road layouts / parking areas to facilitate all the traffic from thousands more inhabitants? 

I object very strongly to the scale of the plan on the border of Tonbridge and feel sad at the prospect of losing the character of my home town.

DLP_1636

Peter Crawford

Regarding the plans for additional housing in the Tudely and Paddock Wood area I would ask you to consider the effect of these proposals on the residents of East Peckham. Many people in East Peckham are dependent on the services provided by Paddock Wood.

The following will have a major impact on East Peckham residents:

TRANSPORT- road, rail and bus services are already under stress and the new housing will substantially   increase this

FLOODING - flood control within the Medway valley is the responsibility of various bodies with no overall control or central planning and funding

EDUCATION - students from East Peckham, where there is no provision within the village for secondary education, have to travel to school; many going to Mascall's in Paddock Wood

HEALTH SERVICES - following the closure of the surgery in East Peckham residents are dependent on the services provided by Woodlands Health Centre which already is very busy and parking difficult

The overall environmental impact of these proposals on East Peckham will be extremely adverse.

The call for housing proposals to 2031 has produced a raft of ideas which are likely to be damaging and need to be drastically revised. The concept that each council should produce a plan without reference to the wider impact is basically unsound and there is a pressing need to consider the impact of major housing developments within the Medway valley area from Tudeley to Marden etc

DLP_1648

Tom Tugendhat MP

STR/CA 1 - The Strategy for Capel Parish and AL/CA1 - Tudeley Village

Finally, I wanted to comment on the allocation for the strategic site at Tudeley which has probably attracted the most publicity in the run up to this consultation. It has certainly galvanised the interest of residents in Tonbridge and Golden Green since the proposals were published a few short weeks ago and from the allocation it is obvious to see why.

The boundaries of both Tonbridge and Golden Green are very clear and self-defined. On the south east of Tonbridge, Woodgate Way forms a natural buffer between the town and the countryside, and in the most part acts as the borough boundary as well. In Golden Green, the River Medway acts as a natural boundary between it and Tudeley. The result is that development here cannot be considered to be congruous with either settlement. The lack of acceptance that development at Tudeley would provide north-south traffic movements between it, Golden Green, Hadlow and East Peckham is striking of the need for additional work.

As I mentioned in my response to STR/PW 1 and AL/PW 1, the impact on the rail network is one of significant concern for any development on or near the Southeastern mainline. In the most likely event that a railway station is not built at Tudeley, residents will use Tonbridge station as their closest and I have significant concerns about the travel connections between Tudeley and Tonbridge.

First, considering the most sustainable form of transport, there are no cycle paths between the development and even if one was constructed along the B2017, there are many questions about the route it should take in Tonbridge. For a number of years I have been campaigning alongside Kent County Councillors, Richard Long and Michael Payne, as well as Tonbridge Bicycle Users Group to connect Tonbridge Station with the A21 Non-Motorised User Route and we have found agreeing an acceptable route with all parties extremely difficult. There are no indications that this would be any easier from Tudeley. Consequently, we cannot rely on the bicycle as being a primary and suitable mode of transport for residents in Tudeley.

Furthermore, parking capacity at Tonbridge station is already both limited, and expensive. Access to the car parks can be tricky, especially on the way in from the B2017, with cars having to go through Sovereign Way and Avenue du Puy to get there. This area is also frequently congested at peak times with existing business access, and possible improvements to the road network are limited. Consequently, development of this scale at Tudeley would have an unacceptably high impact on the centre of Tonbridge, and one which I highly doubt can be appropriately mitigated.

It is essential that TWBC looks at the impact of development on key junctions in Tonbridge if its proposals are to be progressed any further. If this does happen, it is down to TWBC to suggest ways that these will be improved which will not have an adverse impact on the quality of life of residents in Tonbridge, will come with the agreement of KCC and TMBC and, crucially, will not be funded by them either.

Turning to Golden Green, it is not possible to adequately assess the impact of development near the village without referencing the terrible flood events which have caused so much trouble for people here in recent decades. Like Tonbridge, in 2013/14 the flooding event hit Golden Green hard and the suitability of the land in the immediate area for further development is questionable. At the time of writing, the River Medway Flood Relief Act 1976 has yet to be amended and consequently we must assess these proposals on the basis that improvements to flood defences at the Leigh Flood Storage Area don't happen as quickly as we would like, although I am confident that they will be delivered. In light of any additional flood defences in the Golden Green area, I have my concerns that the increase in development will increase the flood risk and would request that TWBC engages closely with the Environment Agency to produce accurate models for the Regulation 19 consultation under all eventualities. Of course, these models should extend to Tonbridge as well.

Finally, I wish to cover the health provision needed to make this development acceptable. I am hugely concerned that these have not been identified and cannot find any reference in the Local Plan to the number of GPs needed to serve this development, and where they will be located. My concern is based on my experience representing Leybourne Chase. While TWBC may not be aware, this development of 733 dwellings came with provision for a GP surgery. However, now 5 years on from the first occupation, there isn't a GP on site, with discussions now taking place about changing the use of the building through the planning process.

Like in Leybourne Chase, neighbouring practices are full and in Tonbridge WKCCG has to allocate surgeries to new residents because of their closed lists. Therefore GP facilities are needed on site, but only if agreement can be found with a GP provider to take on ownership of the building. If this doesn't happen, development should not be permitted here as it would put an additional burden on the three Tonbridge GP practices.

In addition, shortly following the conclusion of this consultation we eagerly await the result of WKCCG's study into the need for hubs across West Kent. In Tonbridge Cottage Hospital we have the ideal site for one of these to serve residents across Tonbridge and the borough of Tunbridge Wells and I am concerned that the vague nature of the policy in the current Draft Local Plan leaves open the possibility for a hub to be located at Tudeley. This would no doubt be used as a reason to make any development acceptable, but would also undermine the viability of Tonbridge Cottage Hospital. Therefore, I urge TWBC to do much more work on the health impacts of these proposals on a strategic level ahead of the next consultation.

In summary, based off the available evidence it is clear that the development proposals at Tudeley would fundamentally change the character and nature of Tonbridge and Golden Green. I am hugely concerned that many of the key issues have not been adequately assessed so far and urge TWBC to complete this work so we know what the impact is on communities across the borough boundary. Without this being done, the Draft Local Plan cannot be considered sound, and I would not be surprised at all if it demonstrated that there was an unacceptable impact on towns and villages in Tonbridge and Malling as a result of these proposals.

[see also full response - Comment Number DLP_1577].

DLP_1654

Tom Game

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I live in Tudeley and am a student studying Civil and Environmental Engineering and wanted to object to the draft local plan.

According to TWBC they require an additional 14,776 homes across the borough when government statistics indicate 13,560 and recent ONS figures indicate the population growth is slowing down therefore the real requirement would be lower. This is fundamentally important, as without accurate estimate the proposed Tudeley Garden Village may not even be necessary. For such a controversial development involving destruction of Green Belt, unsustainable infrastructure and compromised flood risks it is essential to be very clear on the future needs.

Notwithstanding the number of additional homes that may be needed it is a totally disproportionate proposal for Capel to bear the brunt of more than 60% of the total housing requirement for the entire borough.

The location of Tudeley Village will mean that residents will treat Tonbridge as their local town putting significant strain on the TMBC infrastructure, emergency services and amenities whilst paying council tax to TWBC. As a result there will be no vested interest for TMBC to repair and maintain the infrastructure or to fund the inevitable development of infrastructure driven by new technology. How can it be sustainable for a neighbouring council to fund TW residents both now and into the future?

The proposal to release Green Belt requires the most rigorous scrutiny, and contravenes the principle of the Green Belt which is to protect against urban sprawl, which is precisely what will happen if this plan is approved. If Green Belt is released it will only be a matter of time before Tonbridge, Tudeley, Five Oak Green, Golden Green, East Peckham and Paddock Wood become a unbroken mass of housing that is precisely what the Green Belt regulation is there to protect us against.

This urban sprawl will increase the risk of flooding as extensive building will mean water has nowhere to flow or run off across the fields, that are saturated during winter months and any solution would need to meet not only today’s risks/requirements but be future proofed against changes due to climate change. If flood prevention is not addressed the impact on Tudeley and neighbouring the communities would be disastrous.

The National Planning Policy Framework specifically states that the potential harm to the Green Belt would need to be clearly outweighed by other considerations to date TWBC have not been able to articulate what these ‘exceptional circumstances’ are and given the infrastructure, environmental and sustainability issues the local plan is both inappropriate and unsustainable

I am also not satisfied that TWBC have adequately considered developing Brownfield sites and whether they have a fully complete Brownfield Site Register. It is far too easy to say there are no suitable sites and they need to be fully accountable to the local residents with their decisions fully audited, we all know it is far easier and profitable to develop Greenfield sites but that is not the point, we should only develop Greenfield sites when there is no Brownfield alternative and much less destroy Green Belt.

Given the majority of people living in the new Tudeley Garden village will drive privately owned cars (some additional 4,000 cars based on an average of 2 cars per home) this will significantly increase congestion on the B2017, the only route into Tonbridge. The B2017 is a narrow winding road (with no pavements) that becomes heavily congested during peak hours with commuters and school traffic heading into Tonbridge. The volume of cars using the B2017 between Paddock Wood and Tonbridge would more than double the current level but there is no scope to widen the road to cope with the increase flow of traffic.

Not only will the release of Green Belt be damaging to the local biodiversity and heritage assets (including All Saints Church and many listed properties) it will not be within reasonable distance of a railway station leading to commuter chaos in Tonbridge with inadequate parking. Whilst TWBC are proposing cycle paths and bus lanes the reality is that waiting for buses will add significantly to their commute and cycling in work clothes with brief cases in anything other than fine weather is simply not viable. These are simply gimmicks by TWBC when the only solution would be to build a railway station at Tudeley.

A major issue for which TWBC have no solution is that access to the Garden Village via Hartlake Road will be compromised by the single lane railway bridge that will be a dangerous bottleneck.

I also challenge whether TWBC are genuinely committed to developing in line with the principles of a garden village, or are they just adding the label ‘garden village’ to make the development sound as if it will enhance the natural environment, providing a comprehensive green infrastructure network and net biodiversity gains, and that uses zero-carbon and energy-positive technology to ensure climate resilience. In addition the split nature of the site will be a significant constraint on the design of a village with a scual center as this will be divided by the main electric railway line running through the middle of the village. TWBC need to be seriously challenged on their proposals before they waste our council tax fund on blindly progressing a naïve and flawed plan.
As a design principle it is almost inconceivable that the proposed site of a new senior school could compromise children’s safety, the location will be surrounded by heavy traffic on the B2017 with limited pavements/walkways and the campus is split by the electrified main railway line, which is an unbelievable proposal given the health and safety risk not only of students accessing the line but in the event of a train derailment this would be an unthinkable disaster.

This is a totally misguided plan that has only been developed as it is an easy option for TWBC to push 60% of their housing plans onto the furthest border of the borough so they only need to deal with a single developer and have paid no regard to the sustainability of the plan or the need to protect local tax funds that are already under extreme pressure.

DLP_1678

Ian & Julia Henderson

I am writing to object to "The Strategy for Capel Parish" (Policy STR/CA1) and the inclusion of land in East Capel in "The Strategy for Paddock Wood" (Policy STR/PW1) in the Tunbridge Wells Local Plan.

I understand my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

My family and I have lived on Old Hadlow Road in Tonbridge for many years and regularly use the roads in and around the Tonbridge and Tudeley area. Specifically our son used to attend the Schools at Somerhill, so we are well aware of the traffic issues that are caused by the amount of traffic using the roundabout at the end of Woodgate Way coming from the Tudeley direction, as well as the tendency to use the road from Tudeley to Golden Green and then up to the A26 Tonbridge to Hadlow Road as a back route. We also use and have used the footpaths and rural area around Tudeley for dog walking etc.

The proposed creation of the garden settlement at Tudeley and a new senior school on the border of Tonbridge will create a huge increase in traffic which the current narrow rural roads are not equipped to cope with. There is already a substantial amount of traffic congestion on the B2017, particularly during rush hour in the mornings and any further development of the area would raise this congestion to unacceptable levels, leading to gridlock in and around Tonbridge, including the narrow, twisting road to Golden Green with a blind bend on a bridge over the river. Public transport is insufficient and too inefficient and people living in a rural area will always use cars in preference, despite schemes to encourage them to use other forms of transport. Commuter traffic will cause further problems with parking and train overcrowding at Tonbridge. Whilst the burden of the increased traffic and related costs to the Tonbridge council, individuals and businesses which will suffer as a result will be borne by Tonbridge the income from the new settlement from council tax will go to Tunbridge Wells. In addition residents from the new settlement would tend to use Tonbridge amenities which are closer than Tunbridge Wells which will cause further burdens to already overstretched health and other services.

The area proposed for a new senior school is completely unsuitable, being on farmland which is cut off from Tonbridge and public transport links in the town by a busy main road (A26) and a railway line. Tonbridge is well served by current secondary schools and the creation of yet another one would pull more children into the area from outlying settlements, so creating further traffic along already congested roads. Schools for the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council area should be built closer to other centres of population in the Tunbridge Wells borough, not on the border of Tonbridge borough.

The development of such a large area of housing on the flood plain is of substantial concern, particularly with the unknowns associated with climate change and rising water levels. It is known that development of housing increases water run off and potential flooding problems and any increase in this area close to the Medway could cause further problems with the already flood prone areas of Tonbridge, Golden Green, East Peckham and Yalding. The road from Tudeley to Golden Green already floods on occasion which would cut off one of the main exit routes from the proposed garden village. The flood risk assessments should be updated before any development plans for such areas are included in the Local Plan.

Sites CA1 and CA2 were not included in the plan preparation process until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017, meaning a large area of housing did not go through all the processes, with no detailed Green Belt Study, no Landscape Assessment, and no Biodiversity Assessment, meaning this part of the Plan is not ready for public consultation. The protection of Green Belt land was a high priority for those who participated in the Issues and Options process, and the building of the garden village at Tudeley and the Capel development would both be on Green Belt land. A growth corridor led approach should be implemented to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

The new housing in Capel parish would destroy current green belt land, including hedges, meadows and productive farmland as well as the wildlife associated with these. It would also destroy an area of countryside and turn Tudeley into a major settlement instead of a country village, disrupting local views and historic assets such as Tudeley church. Whilst there may be local housing need in the Tunbridge Wells area this is more than covered by other provisions in the Local Plan and the destruction of green belt land to provide housing would be unacceptable. The use of Tudeley to provide housing needs now will mean that in the future the Council would view it as an area which could be further developed to provide additional housing - the gap between the proposed garden village and Tonbridge would then gradually be filled until there was a complete corridor of housing along the road from Tonbridge to Capel and on to Paddock Wood (see the reference in 440 of the Local Plan to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations). Such a large extension of Tonbridge would destroy the character of the area and cost Tonbridge council and its residents an enormous amount in terms of burdens on services, transport and roads, whilst having little impact on neighbouring Tunbridge Wells. Development should be spread across Tunbridge Wells borough through development of brownfield sites where possible and, should a large development be necessary, it should be placed in an area with better transport links and more central to the borough, rather than placing all the burden on Tonbridge.

DLP_1681

Jessica Exall

My name is Jessica Exall, I have lived in Tudeley area for 28 years and currently work in education.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” Policy STR/CA1.

In a letter sent by the Hadlow estate to Capel locals it mentions how the new development would create new local jobs and how this would be good for the people in the community. People in Capel already have jobs and what the Hadlow Estate did not consider is how the proposal would negatively affect local businesses and in some cases cause loss of income.

I don’t understand why the TW council are trying to build new houses when the new houses in Paddock wood and Five Oak Green have failed to sell and have been on the market for almost a year. What makes them think the new properties in Tudeley would sell? I find the dealings in all of this sneaky and suspicious and the idea of a village with no roads, only bike lanes is ridiculous. TW council must have plans for big roads they are just not telling the public as that would make it easier to have the plans as a whole dismissed. This all makes the Capel community feel on edge and uneasy about the future at a time of already great uncertainty.

We have a problem in the Tonbridge area with flooding, I am worried if the TW Council go through with their plans the flooding problem will get worse especially with weather becoming far less predictable due to climate change. With new roads and properties there will be problems with draining and the river Medway would flood with increased regularity.

We have highly varied wildlife and areas of ancient woodland in Tudeley that would be lost to this new development. Even if you leave some patches of green there still be a massive decline of birds due to pet cats and other direct and indirect factors relating to the development. The average number of cats owned per household is 2.1, and the RSPB estimate that ‘cats in the UK catch up to 275 million prey items a year, of which 27 million are birds.’ This would be a disaster for local wildlife including wildlife residing in Tudeley Woods RSPB reserve.

My family run holiday lets in Capel and we have people from around the world revisiting due to our beautiful landscapes, wildlife and rich in farming history. In Capel you can still go on walks and see hopfields, a sight that seems to be disappearing across Kent.

In Tudeley we are very lucky to have a church designed by the famous artist Marc Chagall. I am worried the new development would ruin the church. I am a supporter of ‘Churches Conservation Trust’ and they often post about churches that have been vandalised. Lead and tiles have been ripped from roofs, graves vandalised, valuables stolen, but worse is the recurring problem of stones thrown at stain glass windows. This has been happening recently in Hadlow and Goudhurst. How would you stop this be prevented in Tudeley? People travel down from all over Europe to see these windows. All Saints church was voted number 3 on ‘Time Out’ for best alternative art days out. There are only two churches in the whole of the UK with windows designed by Marc Chagall, Chichester Cathedral (one window), All Saint Church Tuedely (12 windows). All Saint Church's windows are unique and deserve to be protected as much as our amazing habitats and wildlife.

DLP_1685

Trevor & Lesley Hill

As residents of Brampton Bank on the B2017 Tudeley we strongly believe the points made below about the “Local Plan” should not just be noted, but given serious consideration by the “Planning Committee”.

Please add our contact details to your consultation database so that we can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. We understand that our comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

We are writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1) and the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1).

Creating a garden settlement at Tudeley (“New Tudeley”) of 2,800 dwellings will cause immense harm to residents of the Parish of Capel and to residents of Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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 sixth 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. We believe this would be an unsafe site for a school given that it would be surrounded by heavy traffic and would require pupils and staff to have a safe crossing facility across the railway to access both sides of the site. As the railway line has a high voltage electrified third rail system there will always be a risk that someone could not keep to the official crossing installed leading to injury and potential fatality.

People living in the “New Tudeley” will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and will want access to Tonbridge town services, a consequence of which will be a need to increase the parking capacity for the station and the town, and the higher volume of traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. The town’s roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable unless there are longer or additional trains. Addressing these issues will need to involve Southern and South Eastern Railways as well as Network Rail, who have already confirmed that a station at the “New Tudeley” is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in “New Tudeley” will probably drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of updating the infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary could cause an increase in the council tax for Tonbridge & Malling residents, whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive the council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will also be an increase in pressure on local health services and amenities, including those that serve Capel Parish.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but we believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley and East Capel but also in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary into Tonbridge & Malling and create an environmental scar across the landscape.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction and loss of 600 acres of farmland, orchards, natural habitat for birds, fauna and flora, and area of natural beauty. This loss will probably have a negative impact on species numbers and the natural food chain.

Historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley, world renown for the complete set of Marc Chagall windows, may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout, which would no doubt have a negative impact on its value as a heritage asset.

Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, yet TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 identified by the government and upscaled it to 14,776. We believe that the housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist and would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the proposed development of “New Tudeley” and other similar proposed developments from this plan. Supplementing this argument we would like to draw your attention to the fact that the plan preparation process did not include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through the plan preparation process as recommended/required by the Government White Paper “Garden Communities”, August 2018. As there is no published Green Belt Study, Landscape Assessment or Biodiversity Assessment for these sites, we think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation given that a significant proportion of the housing sites haven’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan.

The plan strongly indicates that TWBC want to build housing in and around Tudeley and East Capel until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre when alternative sites are available throughout the borough.

We also note that TWBC’s own assessments in their Sustainability Appraisal show that Paddock Wood can expand and meet most of the plan’s aims without using the Green Belt land at East Capel. The comment above about coalescence and the creation of a conurbation from Paddock Wood right across to Tonbridge is very relevant here, as is the land’s use as a flood plain. Building here, even with flood risk mitigation and “betterment” could have disastrous consequences for all, as the measures being looked at are based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change.

Notwithstanding the above we would question whether the plan meets all the principles detailed in the above referenced white paper.

DLP_1689

Jamie Newman

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.

No regard has been yet given for the impact not only to the pre-existing residents of the surrounding area, but to the wildlife, fauna and flora that inhabit it.

The Kent countryside is called the garden of England for a reason. Let us preserve this way of life.

Whilst one can ascribe the popular term of 'NIMBY' to this, it goes far deeper and cuts more malevolently than to be simply dismissed as per the aforementioned. It is abundantly clear these plans have not been thought out, nor researched in anyway.

It is a fault of humanity that we are far too short sighted in our approaches to our continued stewardship of the land. I urge you to take this opportunity to not only consider the short term damages this will cause, but the precedent you regrettably set should these plans be followed through.

Sadly developments such as this do not end once the building is done but continue to expand, destroy and maim both our way of life and those of the species which live there. I ask how you would feel if your garden was paved over to make space for another flat, or your beloved wildlife were forced to relocate because you have tarmac'd over their home.

The world is in increasingly dire straights at the moment, please don't let it get any worse.

I trust you will have the clarity of mind to reconsider these proposals and to further protect this wonderful countryside which we inhabit.

[TWBC: this comment also entered against Policies AL/CA 1, AL/CA 2 and AL/CA 3. See comment numbers DLP_1691-1693].

DLP_1717

Oliver Worsfold

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

As a resident of East Peckham I pay my council tax to Tonbridge & Malling Council and I want to voice my objections to the proposal by TWBC to develop Tudeley Garden Village as this is a naïve and poorly conceived plan to push 60% of TWBC housing plans onto the furthest border of the borough with no regard for the financial and environmental damage on TMBC residents who pay their council tax to fund local needs not those of TWBC.

How can it be reasonable for TWBC to expect the residents of TMBC to accept over 60% of their total housing requirement to be built on the furthest edge of their borough with no regard to the sustainability on the finances, infrastructure, and environment for residents of TMBC. The residents of Tudeley Garden Village will be dependant on infrastructure, emergency services and amenities in Tonbridge but they will be paying their Council Tax to TWBC. By any stretch of the imagination how can it be acceptable for residents living in TWBC to be funded by residents of TMBC? Especially as TMBC do not have sufficient funds to do everything required by their own residents, for example the road in which I live is affected by major parking issues but TMBC do not have sufficient funds to address this issue. Looking forward I can see the cost impact on the infrastructure getting worse, technology will drive a need for ongoing development and it is not equitable to expect this to be funded by TMBC residents?

The close proximity of the Tudeley Village to the boarder with Tonbridge & Malling means that residents will naturally treat Tonbridge as their local town (in fact their postal address is Tonbridge not Tunbridge Wells). As a result some 8,000 additional cars will be using the roads in and around Tonbridge all of which are already congested, which will get worse as TMBC develops additional housing for the needs of our borough going forward. Over the past 10 years TMBC have undertaken sensible development of Tonbridge, which has generally been to the benefit of the area, however there is no doubt that the traffic congestion and parking is barely adequate and will be totally inadequate if there are 8,000 additional cars on our local roads.

If the draft plan is successful the green belt released will be only the start point with more and more green belt released in future years until Tonbridge, Tudeley, Five Oak Green and Paddock Wood become an amorphous mass of housing that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells. As far as I can see the only justification for the plan is that a single landowner (Hadlow Estates) wish to sell the land. Whilst it may be convenient for TWBC to deal with a single developer this does not justify the ‘exceptional/special circumstances’ required under the National Planning Policy Framework as the harm to the Green Belt, local environment, climate change, biodiversity and infrastructure would clearly outweigh the convenience for TWBC and profit for Hadlow Estates. This aspect requires the closest of scrutiny.

Neither is the traffic infrastructure sustainable, the B2017 and Hartlake Road are both narrow roads that can not be widened. In addition there is a single lane railway bridge on Hartlake road that will be totally unable to cope with the volume of traffic into the village creating a bottle-neck and more congestion. The current plan does not currently include a railway station at Tudeley therefore commuters will travel by car to Tonbridge station requiring extended parking facilities in the town centre which is simply unrealistic and not sustainable.

Both the Garden Village and the new school will be split a dangerous electrified main railway line presenting an obvious safety risk to the residents, children, property and wildlife.

I am also very concerned about the increased risk of flooding in communities around the Garden Village. Extensive building will mean water has nowhere to flow or run off across the fields, which are saturated in winter months. East Peckham already has a flood risk and additional development in the area could increase the risk especially with the additional demands on flood defences due to future climate change. If additional measures were required to protect East Peckham and/or other communities in the area, these would need to be funded by TMBC when the root cause of the problem is development by TWBC.

I can see no redeeming feature in the plan, other than it offers a convenient solution for TWBC dealing with one developer and all the impact will be felt by residents in TMBC not TWBC – their selfish approach is quite astonishing.

DLP_1725

Emma Game

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I live in East Peckham and pay my council tax to Tonbridge & Malling Council and am appalled at the proposal for TWBC to develop Tudeley Garden Village as this will mean there are thousands of additional homes, residents & cars creating an unsustainable strain on TMBC infrastructure and amenities.

My specific objections are:

1. Proportionality of the development - if TWBC require additional homes these should be distributed fairly across the borough not dumped on the furthest edge of their borough with the major impact on residents of TMBC residents. Based on the draft local plan the Parish of Capel (and therefore Tonbridge) would bear the brunt of 60% of the total housing requirement for TWBC which is totally disproportionate.

2. Unsustainable cost implications for TMBC Residents– residents of Tudeley Garden Village will be dependant on infrastructure, emergency services and amenities in Tonbridge but they will be paying their Council Tax to TWBC. By any stretch of the imagination how can it be acceptable for residents living in TWBC to be funded by residents of TMBC? Especially as TMBC do not have sufficient funds to do everything required by their own residents, for example the road in which I live is affected by major parking issues but TMBC do not have sufficient funds to address this issue. Looking forward I can see the cost impact on the infrastructure getting worse, technology will drive a need for ongoing development and it is not equitable to expect this to be funded by TMBC residents?

3. Pollution & Congestion –the close proximity of the Tudeley Village to the boarder with Tonbridge & Malling means that residents will naturally treat Tonbridge as their local town (in fact their postal address is Tonbridge not Tunbridge Wells). As a result some 8,000 additional cars will be using the roads in and around Tonbridge all of which are already congested, which will get worse as TMBC develops additional housing for the needs of our borough going forward. Over the past 10 years TMBC have undertaken sensible development of Tonbridge, which has generally been to the benefit of the area, however there is no doubt that the traffic congestion and parking is barely adequate and will be totally inadequate if there are 8,000 additional cars on our local roads.

4. Release of Green Belt if the draft plan is successful the green belt released will be only the start point with more and more green belt released in future years until Tonbridge, Tudeley, Five Oak Green and Paddock Wood become an amorphous mass of housing that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells.

5. Plan of Convenience - so far the only justification for the plan is that a single landowner (Hadlow Estates) wish to sell the land. Whilst it may be convenient for TWBC to deal with a single developer this does not justify the ‘exceptional/special circumstances’ required under the National Planning Policy Framework as the harm to the Green Belt, local environment, climate change, biodiversity and infrastructure would clearly outweigh the convenience for TWBC and profit for Hadlow Estates. This aspect requires the closest of scrutiny.

6. Narrow road access to Garden Village - the B2017 and Hartlake Road are both narrow roads that can not be widened. In addition there is a single lane railway bridge on Hartlake road that will be totally unable to cope with the volume of traffic into the village creating a bottle-neck and more congestion.

7. Unsustainable railway services - the plan does not currently include a railway station at Tudeley therefore commuters will travel by car to Tonbridge station requiring extended parking facilities in the town centre which is simply unrealistic and not sustainable.

8. Senior school outside the catchment area for TWBC – with the standard admission policy based on proximity to the school, residents of TMBC sremore likely to get places in the school than TWBC residents, which makes absolutely no sense.

9. Health & Safety – both the Garden Village and the new school will be split a dangerous electrified main railway line presenting an obvious safety risk to the residents, children , property and wildlife.

10. Protecting the Historic Site of All Saints Church - how can the plan even consider building a bus lane behind the historic Grade 1 Church of All Saints? This is a real warning sign that TWBC have no intention of preserving the identity, attraction and character of the historic sites, or that the transport scheme has not been properly thought through, neither prospect inspires any confidence in the remainder of the plan.

11. Compromising the Flood Plain increasing the risk of flooding as extensive building will mean water has nowhere to flow or run off across the fields , which are saturated in winter months. East Peckham already has a flood risk and additional development in the area could increase the risk especially with the additional demands on flood defences due to future climate change and if additional measures were required to protect East Peckham and/or other communities in the area, these would need to be funded by TMBC when the root cause of the problem is development by TWBC. The

This is a totally misguided plan that has only been developed as it is an easy option for TWBC to push 60% of their housing plans onto the furthest border of the borough so they only need to deal with a single developer and TWBC have paid no regard to the financial damage for TMBC residents who pay their council tax to fund local needs not those of TWBC.

DLP_1730

Hugh Fairbairn

I live in the heart of the Parish of Capel in the middle of Five Oak Green .We love the parish, the sense of community, the surrounding countryside and the general lifestyle we have come to enjoy since arriving in the village some ten years ago. We love the fact that we can leave our house and be walking in the open countryside within moments and the diverse range of habitats to be found right on our doorstep. Head north and you have orchards and arable land leading down to the river, head south and the rolling high weald is a completely different experience.

My wife and I both work in London and use the train from Paddock Wood, so we are fully aware that the line is already over capacity on most peak services. We have also lived through the Village and surrounding areas flooding and would not wish to see any development that would increase that risk. We also have noticed the decline in wildlife species already in the last 10 years and we don’t think irreplaceable natural habitats should be sacrificed in this area of green belt and outstanding natural beauty. We want our future grandchildren and other generations to hear cuckoos the Plants, and nightingales by Hartlake bridge; Owls down Postern Lane and skylarks over the fields.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

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 Tonbridge. The lack of appropriate infrastructure will see a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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 site selection for a school, surrounded by heavy traffic and requiring children to cross a busy train line to access both sides of the site is truly unbelievable.

People living in Tudeley will probably choose to use Tonbridge Station for commuting as Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Tonbridge town services are a;lfready overcrowded and the newly extended multistorey carpark would not provide the extra spaces that will be needed. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).

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.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food, as it currently does.

I believe that the current landowner for this site is promising low density housing as part of his mitigation to protect habits, but this would in itself make it unlikely that the development would provide much if any affordable housing, so it is a case of the wrong type of development in the wrong place.

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

In conclusion I would like to add that I am not a nimbyist – I just don’t feel that the type of development proposed is suitable for these sites due to the many concerns listed above, summarised again here:

1. The Flood risk cannot be mitigated

2. The green belt should not be sacrificed until all other options have been exhausted.

3. There is a complete failure to provide suitable infrastructure to improve the lives of those Already living in the area.

4. It would be placing an unfair burden on a neighbouring council whose facilities and services would be used with no financial gain from the development.

5. The area of outstanding natural beauty is home to many species of wildlife which will disappear if their habitat does.

6. Need has not been proved, and if need exists it is for affordable homes for local people not expensive homes for the extended stockbroker belt.

DLP_1784

CPRE Kent

The overview table for Capel (including Tudeley Village) provides data on the extent of green belt, AONB and over the page at 156 other matters (including ancient woodland and historic features) across the parish and at the main settlements within the parish of Five Oak Green and Tudeley. Given the impact of the development on Tudeley itself it is not clear whether there are no ‘other matters’ for Tudeley, or whether this box in the table is mistakenly blank. If there are Tudeley-specific issues these should be clearly identified in order to enable a full and balanced understanding of the impact of the proposed new settlement.

Section 6 of the policy refers to the provision of new road links and that the exact location of such a link has not been determined.  This raises the question of how much a link would cost, who would pay and when would it be provided.  It is not clear whether development would be able to fund this and other infrastructure requirements.

Section 11 states that “zero and low carbon energy production to be considered during early design stages and incorporated to provide an exemplar scheme.”  Given Government aim to achieve zero carbon by 2050 the policy should omit the phrase ‘and low’. The phrase “to be considered” is at odds with the rest of the sentence.

Text should be replaced as follows: 11. Provide an exemplar scheme that incorporates zero carbon energy production.

At paragraph 5.60 the bullet point summary of the site (page 160) confirms that the site is in single ownership, and then goes on to refer to the Council working with the landowners (plural) – this is confusing.

DLP_1949

Ms Madeleine Bohringer

This is the wrong place for a 'garden village'. The land should be kept as green belt and flood plane. The more we build the more problem there will be with flooding.

DLP_1988

Mr D A and Mrs S M Maclennan

Proposed Developments by the Council

We are very concerned to learn that your Council is proposing to build 2,800 new houses in Tudeley, a large senior school opposite nearby Somerhill and 1,500 new houses in East Capel. A particular concern for us is the impact that these proposed developments will have on us as long-standing residents of Golden Green.

We regularly use the route from Three Elm Lane in Golden Green (our nearest main road), via Hartlake Road and Tudeley Road to gain access to Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells and other areas. From all that we hear, if these developments proceed, there will be resultant chaos on already congested roads in the Hartlake Road, Tudeley Road and Tonbridge areas, whilst associated hard surface work will increase flooding risk in Tonbridge, Golden Green, Hadlow and East Peckham. There is also an unquantifiable, but highly probable, negative effect on the marketability of and prices obtainable on domestic and other property in these areas.

We would like the Council to reconsider its proposals in view of the potentially significant adverse effects that they are likely to have.

DLP_1998

Dr David Parrish

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

UNBALANCED LOCATION: 63% of allocation is on the Tonbridge border - probably due to the ease of dealing with only one (late entry) landowner (and one that wishes to develop the land themselves - despite having no development experience).

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic into Tonbridge from the B2017, 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 mainline railway and alongside a heavily used road. This appears to be a terrible location for a school, surrounded by heavy traffic and requiring children to cross a busy train line to access both sides of the site. 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.

LACK OF INFRASTRUCTURE: People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail has confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

FLOODING and BLIGHT: Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary into Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).

GREENBELT DESTRUCTION: Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

INCORRECT DATA USED: I believe that the housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires the development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing-need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to a large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

INCORRECT PROCESS APPLIED: The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve the destruction of Green Belt. Protecting the Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five-year review of future Local Plans. I believe TWBC wants to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to place their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_2066

Terry Everest

Strongest Objection Possible

Capel is a tiny hamlet

Tudeley an historic village

These huge developments must not go ahead in these locations and neither should this level of development be pursued anywhere.

There are wildflower meadows, woodlands, streams and rivers in this area which would be destroyed by these plans.

This is Green Belt and AONB and needs protection not developments.

There are large areas of diverse and fragile habitat within and near these proposed sites which deserve protection and to remain unspoiled.

There are thousands of opponents to these plans. Both local and semi local.

These developments threaten to create an urban link between Paddock Wood and Tonbridge and possibly even Tunbridge Wells in collaboration with other plans that would severely disrupt wildlife corridors, the green spaces necessary to define our towns, and the environemnt of the whole area.

These cannot go ahead and I refer further objections back to these comments also.

DLP_2151

Sheila & Michael Bunn

We wish to register our objection, in the strongest terms, to the proposed development and construction of 4300 homes on farmland at East Capel & Tudeley.

Apart from the loss of beautiful countryside, our main objection is that this proposed development will impose an incredible burden on the nearest town, Tonbridge, and the local rural infrastructure.

The road network in and around Tonbridge is grossly inadequte for the volume of existing traffic, it is constrained by crossings of the River Medway and the various railway lines. The principal road approaches to Tonbridge (Pembury Road, Quarry Hill, London Road and Hadlow Road), particularly in the rush hours and at school times are already overwhelmed with traffic.

There are other outstanding planning applications for housing developments in Tonbridge that will bring hundreds of extra cars to the town but the suggestion of a further 2800 new homes at Tudeley and 1500 new homes at East Capel could, potentially, inject another 5000 cars into the town and local roads - this is madness.

The road between Tonbridge and Paddock Wood is little more than an upgraded country lane and totally incapable of handling this potential level of traffic.

Tonbridge is already the busiest railway station in Kent and could barely handle any more passengers in the rush hours. Road access to the station is at the principal road bottleneck of the town where there is already traffic gridlock for much of the day.

In summary, this proposal will not only ruin a vast area of the ever shrinking beautiful West Kent landscape but bring misery to the residents of Tonbridge.

We urge you to reject this proposed scheme.

DLP_2155

Paul Marchant

This email is to register my disgust and anger at the proposal to build 2,800+ houses at Tudeley near Five Oak Green.

This beautiful Green Belt land should be left alone and never disturbed by a greedy land owner out to make even more millions or TW council only interested in making a fortune in council tax!

I regularly visit the area in question (which I am willing to bet none of you have any idea what this land even looks like) as I am a keen photographer and huge nature lover. In spring I watch this land burst into life and watch the skylarks chatter happily as they rise and fall. In summer I watch and listen to the thousands of insects, birds and animals enjoying the freedom and peace around them. In autumn the colours of the trees and bushes is amazing and in winter the mist from the nearby river Medway makes this land beautifully eerie and the frost and snowy scenes here are amazing!

Please leave this beautiful land alone. The Council builds far in excess of its quota of houses every year and it’s own figures show this! Pure greed is not a good enough reason to decimate this haven for struggling wildlife. This land is a pathway for deer, foxes, badgers, hedgehogs, birds and insects to follow all the way to the Medway and to cut this link will be devastating when their numbers are declining alarmingly.

Throw out this awful plan and respect the local residents who never want to be a ghetto of Tonbridge or Paddock Wood‘s unchecked sprawling towns. Their councillors are absolutely clueless and just allow anything shoved under their noses if it makes them a fast buck!

We just want our local nature left alone. The council doesn’t need this land as it is building record numbers of houses and its quota has been met for many years to come!

Respect the Rural villages and respect nature!

DLP_2156

Phillip Jesson

I am writing to you as a resident of Tonbridge. I am most concerned about the proposed Local plan being adopted by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for Capel and Tudeley.

Firstly, I am most perturbed that the proposal involves developing the most precious of land resource, our Green Belt!! What is the point of designating land as Green Belt if it is to be challenged in this way!!

I understand there are 600 acres of Green Belt affected by this plan, I am very worried indeed that our precious and important wildlife will be gone and the biodiversity destroyed as a consequence.I have lived in Tonbridge with my family for over 30 years and am particularly disturbed about the obvious increase in the pollution levels for air, light and noise resulting from this plan.

I have significant concern regarding the challenge to farmland and floodplains having experienced the problems with flooding just a few years ago. The proposed plan will place a significant, and probably unfeasible, burden on the Tonbridge infrastructure regarding roads, rail, health care and education.

I strongly oppose the proposal as structured and suggest a major re-draft with much thought placed on the concerns above.

DLP_2163

Mr Robert Assirati

I am a retired civil servant living in the Parish of Capel. I spent my career managing and reviewing major government projects, working latterly for the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury. I was Deputy President of the British Computer Society and an Honorary Fellow of the Association for Project Management. I am still invited by the Government to review their Major Projects for deliverability and value for money several times a year.

Locally I chair the Capel Path Rangers who look after local rights of way, and also chair the Friends of Capel Church. I support the Save Capel campaign and sit on its Steering Group.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

I chose to live in this area because of its rural nature, with beautiful views over the Medway valley and opportunities for walking the network of footpaths and the towpath along the River Medway. I took account of the fact that my house is in both the Metropolitan Green Belt and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and regarded this as a guarantee by government policy that I would not be subject to uncontrolled development. How wrong I was.

I am opposed to building on Green Belt unless there are exceptional circumstances, which I understand is still government policy if not TWBC’s. I do not believe there are any exceptional circumstances for either CA1 or PW1. Other options have been identified, and little effort has been made to identify brownfield sites in the Borough. I feel that the current plan benefits developers and landowners rather than the residents of Tunbridge Wells. In particular, evidence from other developments shows that it is unlikely that there will provide truly affordable housing in any quantity at all. I have just returned from France where just about every town and city is surrounded by apartment blocks (five to ten stories) which are the most economical way of providing housing for those who cannot afford a stand alone property or choose not to spend the majority of their income on housing. I understand that TWBC have approved a large apartment block at the Pantiles, in the heart of the historic centre, with no affordable element at all, and would not be surprised if this happens on the old cinema site as well.

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 Tonbridge. Similar developments have found few purchasers from the local area and have been offering incentives for people to move out of London and commute back in. It is clear that the majority of purchasers will be commuters. The effect of several thousand extra commuters trying to get in to Tonbridge in the rush hours, trying to park and trying to get on to already over-crowded trains will be paralysing. I understand from Network Rail that there is very little scope to increase capacity in peak hours – a few trains extending to 12 coaches – until the line has been fully upgraded to digital signalling which is decades away.

It is also clear that the additional road infrastructure, if it happens, will be too late. The earliest date for the Colts Hill Bypass is 2028, while at least 1500 of the houses at CA1 will be built by 2026. And the proposed link road from Tudeley to the A228 will until then have nowhere to go. So it is clear that for many years the local roads and communities will have to live with construction traffic and thousands of extra residents with no significant road infrastructure improvements.

The CA1 site is positioned on good agricultural land in the Green Belt, but more importantly it lies on the southern slopes of the Medway Valley. As well as the effect on the landscape as seen from the South, there will be a significant effect on views from the Northern slopes, around Mereworth, Wateringbury and Yalding for example. From there the Tudeley New Town will be a blot on an attractive rural landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets. All Saints Church at Tudeley (Grade 1 listed) will end up being surrounded by houses and bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight and hearing of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a tourist attractions and a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).

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. Government policy on Garden Villages states that the developments should involve and have the support of the local communities. There is no local support at all for development at CA1.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. The proposed developments will build over seven of the well used footpaths in the Parish (WT 161, 162, 165, 175, 176, 179 and 180) and affect the view from many others – although the rights of way may be maintained, they will involve walking through housing estates rather than fields and woods. Nine of the planned walks in Capel Path Rangers’ “Walks around Capel” will be directly affected. The Plan will have a devastating effect on those people who use these walks regularly,

I also object to the fact that CA1 was not included in the 2017 Issues and Options exercise and related consultation, which made it clear that any stand alone development was favoured by a minority of people. There was no opportunity to comment on any proposals for West Capel.

DLP_2167

Rena Pope

The proposed TWBC housing plan suggests development on borders for which TMBC have administrative responsibility. This is equivalent to parking tanks on a neighbours lawn. Such behaviour would ruin neighbours relations for ever.

My question deals with one area, Hartlake Road. How many on site meeting were held there before plans were drawn up?

As on site meetings would have established, Hartlake Road is a narrow lane between Golden Green TMBC and Capel TWBC. There is a busy public house and restaurant at the junction with Sherenden Road. There are two bridges in the lane, one over the Medway river, a memorial area where hop pickers will killed TMBC, the other over a railway line TWBC.

It would appear that not content with endangering drivers and pedestrians, you are also intent on dishonouring the memory of the hop pickers and the peace of the dead in the small walled cemetery near  the railway bridge.

I repeat, how many site meetings did you have in Hartlake Road?

DLP_2264

A Price

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

I am a senior citizen and have lived within the area for 52 years. I have been privileged to enjoy this beautiful countryside, walking my dogs along the many footpaths which cross the open landscape. I am strongly against this beautiful green belt agricultural farmland being considered in a plan to be destroyed in order to build a new town, roads and associated civic amenities.

I believe a so called “garden settlement” at Tudeley of 2,800 dwellings is inappropriate and does not follow the principles of garden settlements as defined by the Government. Additionally the settlement will be divided into 2 by the main line railway. There would be a significant increase in traffic into Tonbridge along the B2017, exacerbating the current extreme traffic congestion that exists on this road every morning and evening. The additional traffic will cause increased levels of air and noise pollution as the residents of this new settlement will want to use their private vehicles for the convenience of getting into their nearest town of Tonbridge, even with the proposed public transport bus link.

The major portion of the new housing will be taken up by people being drawn into the area as there would appear to be an excess of housing already available for local residents. Many of these people will be commuters who will want to travel to London to work on trains which are already at capacity. I therefore consider this proposal to build this new town on the Tudeley site to be unsustainable.

Destroying valuable good quality grade 2 and 3 arable farmland located in the middle of the Green Belt is irresponsible and must never be allowed under any circumstances. In fact I understand that the Government require there to be “exceptional circumstances” before green belt can be considered to be used for development. Doing so will deprive our future generations of this valuable and irreplaceable asset forever. Additionally, we must protect productive agricultural land to provide our food, also we need precious green spaces for our well-being both physically and mentally. Why destroy this important local precious asset just because it is an easy planning option for the council planners based purely on one land owner who is willing to sacrifice his heritage for financial gain.

At this stage there are no ideas what so ever being put forward for comment on infrastructure for roads, sewerage, water supply, gas, etc. All very “finger in the air” strategy which we are constantly being told is normal at this stage of the planning process and will be sorted out with a Masterplan. Yet other parts of the Borough have more details available for comment and already have some of the infrastructure in place. The Tudeley site is obviously a late addition to the process, being the easy option for 65% of the apparent local housing need, there are Brownfield sites within the Borough but these are not so profitable for developers.

The Police, Fire and Ambulance services are already at capacity and often overstretched and the proposed creation of a large new town will only make this situation even worse. Furthermore, health and dental services within the area, to accommodate the possible additional 9,000 to 10,000 extra people, will be passed on to the adjoining Tonbridge and Malling Borough council.

Climate change is occurring and the introduction of 2,800 new houses and the accompanying additional civic amenities will add to this global catastrophe, adding more carbon and reducing the carbon uptake of the land and associated flora and fauna. Also Tudeley is located on a floodplain with risk assessments based on old and out of date data, locating houses on a floodplain is irresponsible.

Due to the openness and topography of the area, the proposed dumping of 2,800 houses into this landscape will destroy this beautiful and historic part of your Borough, including AONB, heritage sites, listed buildings and traditional Kentish farmsteads. This would appear not to bother the Council planners since we are far away and out of sight in the far outer reaches of the Borough.

Being a rural area, Tudeley is blessed with a diverse and important list of birds and wildlife, many on the European list of protected species and some endangered such as Bats, Great Crested Newts, Turtle Doves and field nesting birds such as Skylarks, Linnets and Yellowhammers. This legacy cannot be just brushed aside by statements that they will be re-located to somewhere else, this is wishful thinking and a complete fantasy. The birds and wildlife will just decline in numbers and finally disappear into extinction. Ancient and old woodlands along with beautiful hedgerows will also disappear and leave a baron and lifeless landscape devoid of wildlife, is this something the Council will be proud to leave as a legacy for the future?

In summary, this proposed new town plan has been ill thought through, in indecent haste without any regard to the needs of the community of Capel and future generations who desire to live in this rural parish. There are other alternatives that should have been discussed and considered, but the so called responsible officers of the Council hastily “nodded through” this unacceptable scheme without question and in a dismissive way. Furthermore, the consultation response process has been made impossibly difficult, especially to an elderly person such as myself and many others like me, how can this be a democratic, fair and open process.

DLP_2284

Rosemary Worsell

I am writing to protest against T.W.B.C. proposed plan to build a garden village at Tudely and Capel on the grounds that the site is a designated green belt area and a natural flood plain. I guess the members of the council that have proposed this really don’t know the area very well but have chosen this site on the far boundary as it will not impact on the centre of Tunbridge Wells. If the development is allowed to go ahead it will have a huge impact on Tonbridge which is already grid locked every morning and evening adding more pollution to a highly polluted area.

T.W.B.C will collect all the council tax / rates from the area and Tonbridge services will be stretched to breaking point with no additional revenue.

There are various small pockets of land in this area where the land owners have been unable to obtain planning consent on the grounds that it is green belt. Small developments of one or two houses would have little impact on the area but consent has been refused. Very strange how it is o.k. to build on green belt when it’s the council that wants to do it.

I urge you to reconsider this proposal as the impact on Tonbridge and surrounding area will be catastrophic.

DLP_2309

Delia Moss

These proposals if implemented are not welcomed .Reasons are as outlined on the savecapel.com web site ,and I wish to support them.

I am a resident in Golden Green and fear the impact that this proposed development will have in and around this area will be huge in a negative way.

I wish for my objections to be noted and together with what I assume will be many more objections, will result in a major rethink of your local Plan.

DLP_2356

Andrew Sweeney

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

I am a resident of Hildenborough and have been very concerned to read about this proposal.

I moved to this area from London over 25 years ago to escape from the traffic, noise, dirt and general overcrowding of London. I frequently drive in and around Tonbridge and use the train to commute to work.

My first concern is of course loss of the environment, this plan will basically obliterate Tudeley and Capel and the surrounding Green Belt farmland.

Knock on effects on Tonbridge

A lot of the new residents will be motorists and a lot will probably wish to commute from Tonbridge How is that going to work in practise?

1. The traffic situation in Tonbridge is already very bad at commute times and at weekends

2. Parking in Tonbridge is already highly constrained.

3. The train service to London is already congested and at Hildenborough there is frequently standing room only when the train arrives.

It is quite clear this development will have a significant negative impact on the environment and lives of everyone currently inhabiting Tonbridge and surrounding areas

I also notice that this is a TWBC initiative which will have the benefit of additional council tax revenue while most of the impact and cost will be inflicted on Tonbridge.

Tonbridge already has pressures on it to provide additional housing, so this represents a disgraceful offloading of TWBCs problem, but here again I question if there really a problem?

Planning Process

The planning process appears flawed.

TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan.

Housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless there is “exceptional circumstances”

What exceptional circumstances” exist to justify this?

TWBC can use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from the plan.

Furthermore

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process.

This version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan

This proposal in isolation is bad enough but I note East Capel is included “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1).

Is this the prelude to a plan to build a giant new conurbation stretching from Tonbridge to Paddock Wood?

This land is Green Belt land and should only be built upon if an “exceptional circumstance” exists. TWBC’s own assessments in their Sustainability Appraisal show that Paddock Wood can expand and meet most of the plan’s aims without using the Green Belt land at East Capel.

Finally, I note most of this land identified is a flood plain!

How on earth is this sustainable or wise considering concerns about climate change?

This looks like a shoddy attempt by TWBC to afflict residents of a neighbouring area with the consequences of very ill-conceived and unnecessary plan.

DLP_2365

Martin Rohan

I have been a resident in Park Farm in Tudeley for over ten years and thoroughly enjoy living here with my family. I am also a local business owner.

We chose to live in Tudeley for good reason, beautiful surroundings and the area is awash with wildlife that our 9 year old twins see and enjoy on a daily basis.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

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 Tonbridge.

The plan has been rushed, not following correct processes (references below), it is ill thought through from an infrastructure perspective with no coherent strategy and seems only to benefit landowner’s & Developer’s pockets and tick box government housing quotas.

There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, exacerbating the extreme traffic congestion that exists on this road every morning.

The already unacceptable levels of traffic 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, badly thought out, surrounded by heavy traffic and requiring children to cross a busy train line to access both sides of the site. In addition, it is proposed to be opposite the entrance to the School at Somerhill; which already causes traffic chaos.

The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with; with the recent opening of the Aldi and B*M stores Tonbridge is in grid lock every morning and afternoon; it simply cannot cope with any more traffic.

The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).

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.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_2368

David Lovell

I live in Capel and walk extensively in the area, enjoying the beautiful countryside and its diverse landscape. I relish the wildlife, clean air, birdsong and dark skies, but fear all of this will be lost under TWBC’s plans to build thousands of unneeded houses in protected Green Belt land.

I therefore want to object to the intention to build extensively in the area, but the public consultation process is overly complicated, made all the more difficult by a Local Plan of over 500 pages of repetitive and thickly worded planning jargon. It must have been obvious the lay person would find it extremely hard to navigate, yet the process is further complicated by a convoluted on-line mechanism. By its complex nature people will be dissuaded from raising objections, and it is difficult to escape the conclusion this is by design.

Many Capel residents are concerned that, if we fail to comment in the right way, our objections may be misfiled or dismissed. This suspicion is down to a lack of trust in the planning process, compounded by misinformation and the avoidance of questions. Examples of include:

* Head of Planning’s claims of regular consultation opportunities for residents before the shock revelation in May 2019 of the intention to build extensively across Capel. This may refer to the Local Plan process before sites CA1 and PW1 were included, but that would be disingenuous at best.

* At a public planning meeting on 05/08/2019, TW Head of Planning said officers had consulted other boroughs throughout, but on 24/07/2019 Tonbridge & Malling had advised; “On TWBC – we have had Duty to Cooperate meetings with colleagues there, but these were before they proposed the sites in their reg 18 plan – the principle of new settlements was mentioned but there were no sites identified at that time.” Again, if TW planners are referring to consultation prior to the inclusion of the proposals for Capel, this would be deliberately misleading. No response has been received to my repeated requests for clarification.

* At that meeting, in response to a posed question from a councillor, TWBC’s Environment Officer claimed agricultural land in CA1 and PW1 was ‘poor quality’. TWBC’s own assessment in the Development Constraints Study, shows the land as Grades 2 and 3; defined by Natural England as ‘Very Good’ and ‘Good to Moderate’. Grade 4 is ‘poor’ and none exists in the area. However, in an email of 15/10/2019, TW Head of Planning again insisted the land quality was ‘poor’, a misrepresentation potentially explained in the same response: ‘Particular attention will be given to: i) The grade of agricultural land and agricultural activities to minimise the effects on the rural economy and agricultural functionality...’ If the land is ‘poor’, TWBC can claim the loss has little negative agricultural impact, but the loss of highly productive land is hard to justify.

* At a public meeting on 18/09/2019, in response to a question on the site for a secondary school (CA2), Head of Planning suggested Kent County Council had approved the site. KCC has denied this.

* By 24/10/2019 land at Pembury, included in the Local Plan, was cleared by developers even before the public consultation period ended. The clearance was not only disdainful of public concerns but must have been presumptive of planning permission. TW Planning Enforcement officers took no action.

Such misleading comments, avoidance of difficult issues, alongside a lack of detail and assumptive statements throughout the documents, and ignoring sharp developer practice, suggests TWBC have a policy to disguise or disregard inconvenient truths. The public consultation looks suspiciously like a cosmetic exercise, with principal conclusions pre-decided and likely to be disguised by minor changes.

Plans for Capel appear rushed, despite being the main thrust of the Local Plan, and with a flow of misinformation, lack of detail and biased assertions, planning strategy appears to be centred on finding ways to justify the unjustifiable, rather than a subjective exercise on the merits of the Capel proposals. This leads to my concluding the Local Plan is unsound, riddled with inaccurate and self-serving explanation, and cannot therefore be trusted. I therefore strongly object to the proposals for sites CA1 and PW1.

Comments on STR/CA1

GREEN BELT

Having struggled through the Local Plan and a number of supporting documents, I am left with a vision of development for Capel dressed up in speculation and predisposition, with little of substance beyond the notion of building as much as possible on Green Belt. These proposals are unneeded and unnecessary.

The 2014 housing figures used to justify the proposals are out-of-date and miscalculated; only pressure of parliamentary process has prevented the adoption of official figures from 2016. These newer figures indicate the number of 13,000+ homes used by TWBC would drop by over 5,000, more than the total proposed for Capel. Using the 2016 calculation would negate the need to build on Green Belt, and ease problems elsewhere in the Borough, but the Council insists on the highest possible numbers. Moreover, they intend to build a further 9% on top, despite the NPPF allowing a lower figure due to protected land constraints. These excessive numbers suggest a ‘build for build sake’ mentality pervades the Department.

The NPPF states in paragraph 11(b) that; “the application of policies in this Framework that protect areas or assets of particular importance provides a strong reason for restricting the overall scale, type or distribution of development in the plan area.” Footnote 6 expressly mentions the Green Belt as a protected area. As Green Belt and AONB cover over 70% of the Borough, this gives legitimate scope to reduce numbers and argue strongly in favour of using the more accurate 2016 figures, but the Council have declined to do so, claiming the NPPF is ‘ambiguous.’ However, the intention of this clause seems very clear and there is no good reason not to argue for the NPPF exemption and retain the integrity of the Green Belt.

The Local Plan systematically puts aside the principal roles the Green Belt serves. By building a school on Postern (CA2), punching a hole through the Green Belt at Tudeley (CA1) and developing the site at East Capel (PW1) adjoining Paddock Wood, a huge urban sprawl will be created from Tonbridge through Five Oak Green to Paddock Wood, removing all but patches of Green Belt from Capel. There is no effort to stop such merger and urbanisation, but rather to encourage it.

STR1 of the Plan also reveals it is an objective to target Green Belt: 7. The release of Green Belt around the settlements of Royal Tunbridge Wells, Southborough, Paddock Wood, Pembury, and in the parish of Capel, to deliver development allocated in this Local Plan. This objective should be replaced with environmentally responsible objectives, such as use of brownfield and under-used land, but tellingly, use of such land is not included as a strategic objective. I therefore object to this strategy and the destruction of the Green Belt it represents.

About 25% of the borough is unprotected land but has attracted only small-scale development, another inconvenient fact glossed over by Planners. The 400 acres of Green Belt proposed for development in CA1 belongs to a single landowner, and Planners initially indicated it was a significant factor in revoking delegated status.

The rushed nature of the proposals for CA1 suggests this land was offered late in the process, but the readiness by which TWBC latched onto the proposal, without full and proper assessment, suggests it remains the principal factor. However, whilst it is easier to deal with one or two landowners, ratepayers expect council officers to make the right decisions, not the easy ones. Planners should have made demonstrable effort to pro-actively seek land in unprotected and more appropriate areas, but there is little evidence of it.

Similar lassitude is demonstrated by TWBC’s failure to follow policy and guidance by identifying and negotiating use of empty houses, brownfield and under-used land, before turning to open spaces and countryside, and finally to Green Belt and AONB. TWBC have turned this order of priority on its head and targeted Green Belt before other considerations. There is little or no evidence to support the claim brownfield sites were pro-actively sought and, as noted, use of brownfield is not a strategic objective, whereas Green Belt development is.

Developing on Green Belt should only be in ‘exceptional circumstances’ and must be justified and evidenced, and not just to alleviate demands for further housing. TWBC themselves state: ‘…it is not sufficient to redraw Green Belt boundaries based on a site being considered to be in a sustainable location.’ Yet that is precisely what the Local Plan aims to do by targeting Green Belt to accommodate claimed housing need. TWBC has failed to detail any exceptional circumstances of note to evidence a compelling need for this extensive removal of Green Belt, yet continues to push its flawed proposals forward. It should instead remove these proposals and preserve the Green Belt.

The focus on Capel and Paddock Wood for development reveals a gross imbalance; around 60% of the borough’s housing plans. Other areas have been dealt a more even-handed approach, and unprotected areas of the Borough are all but unscathed; a more equitable spread would be a more justifiable outcome. After the imbalance of solar farm placements, and now housing, residents in Capel and Paddock Wood believe our area has become a ‘dumping ground’ for all unwelcome requirements TWBC councillors are obliged to consider.

TWBC’s plans for the Green Belt even surprised James Brokenshire, Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government. In a letter dated 03/07/2019, his Planning Policy Advisor, Alan C Scott, states: “A scheme of 2,800 dwellings would almost certainly be too large to build on land still in Green Belt, so would require the local authority to be convinced that the Green Belt boundary should be adjusted… a local authority can propose a Green Belt boundary alteration only in exceptional circumstances and only if it can show evidenced justification that it has examined all other reasonable options for meeting its identified development needs.” Mr Scott adds: “I am advised that the Tudeley garden village scheme does not form part of the Garden Communities Programme, and is not currently supported by our Housing Infrastructure Fund programme.” Whilst the local authority may have convinced themselves the use of Green Belt is justified, they have failed to publicly explain the ‘exceptional circumstances’ or to show evidence that it has examined all other options, such as pro-actively seeking brownfield and under-used land to meet its development needs. I therefore object wholeheartedly to the intention to use Green Belt in Capel and the proposals should be dropped.

BIODIVERSITY

NPPF para 177 states: The presumption in favour of sustainable development does not apply where the plan or project is likely to have a significant effect on a habitats site (either alone or in combination with other plans or projects), unless an appropriate assessment has concluded that the plan or project will not adversely affect the integrity of the habitats site. However, there has been no cumulative assessment of the effect of development across Capel, compounded by KCC gravel excavations between CA1 and PW1, and the extensive road infrastructure required. The combination of these proposed works will transform Capel from a rural ward with little development, to an urban stretch with little countryside, from Tonbridge to Paddock Wood and from the Medway into the AONB. The cumulative impact on wildlife, agriculture, landscape, local heritage, the local community and the effects of flooding, is likely to be far greater than each aspect of TWBC’s and KCC’s plans taken in isolation. It is therefore vital a cumulative impact assessment is made; however inconvenient findings may be to the strategy of placing the majority of development in Capel and Paddock Wood.

There are EU protected species living in the area; Bats (common pipistrelle, serotine, soprano pipistrelle, brown long-eared and noctule), Great Crested Newts and Dormice. The EU Commission Biodiversity Strategy 2010–2020 aims to halt the EU and global loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services by 2020. TWBC’s strategy directly counters this by targeting countryside, which will have an inevitable and catastrophic effect on fauna and flora in and beyond the local area.

Kent Ornithological Society lists 70 bird species that winter or breed in the Capel sites; 12 are Species of Principal Importance and must be taken into consideration with a view to conserving biodiversity. I have found nothing in the Local Plan to confirm such consideration, or how this conservation might be achieved given such large-scale destruction of habitat. This is indicative of a slap-dash approach to biodiversity, which appears to an expendable inconvenience to TW planners.

Ten breeding species are ‘red-list’ Birds of Conservation Concern due to significant population decline caused by habitat loss, including Turtle Dove, Nightingale and Spotted Flycatcher in orchards and woodland; Lapwings, Linnets, Yellowhammers and Skylarks in the fields. Swans, geese, grebes, ducks, herons and egrets breed or visit the flooded quarries and streams, and four species of owl live in the area (Barn, Tawney, Little and Long-eared), whose habitat must also be considered, but the Local Plan is silent. Destroying the habitats of this rich diversity of birdlife will further reduce their alarming loss and must be stopped, rather than ignored.

Apart from the protected Great Crested Newt, other amphibians and reptiles live in the area, including Toads, Frogs, Lizards and Slow-worms, each requiring protection against habitat loss. Other animals include badger, stoat, field mice, hedgehog, shrews and voles, all relying on the fields, orchards, hedgerows and woodland. Proposed mitigation is vague and therefore lacks sincerity; habitat loss is inevitable to achieving such large-scale construction on open countryside.

In a report submitted to the TW Planning & Transportation Cabinet Advisory Board on 19/08/2019, the Landscape and Biodiversity Officer suggests better woodland management might mitigate the loss of habitat and achieve ‘net biodiversity gain’. However, the land to be lost in CA1 and PW1, which forms the vast bulk of the borough’s development plans, is primarily fields and hedgerows, so woodland management would achieve very little against the inevitable biodiversity loss. I therefore object to the plans the Local Plan refers to on ‘biodiversity gain’ as vague, inadequate and destructive.

The National Planning Policy Framework is specific about protecting biodiversity; for example, paragraph 174 states that ‘To protect and enhance biodiversity and geodiversity, plans should: a) Identify, map and safeguard components of local wildlife-rich habitats and wider ecological networks...’ As shown above, this has not been done in any meaningful way for CA1 and PW1, yet further indication of a rushed plan that is not ready or fit for public consultation. It needs to be redrafted, with a focus away from areas of countryside rich in biodiversity.

ENVIRONMENT

1. Pollution

There will be an inevitable and negative effect on the environment, including an increase in air, noise and light pollution at a time of climate change, which TWBC itself has declared an emergency, but which it will aggravate by this unnecessary development in CA1 and PW1. This declaration appears to be no more than lip-service and TWBC’s commitment insincere.

The concept of over a decade of construction across the area is going to have a detrimental effect on the health and well-being of the residents, but this has been glossed over with condescending comments about encouraging healthier life-styles and electric bicycles. The countryside and open spaces are recognised to improve well-being, but these ill-thought out developments not only remove those wider green and open spaces, but air quality will suffer, noise levels will be incessant and Capel’s dark skies will be lost, all aspects I object to.

Light measurements taken for site CA1 between July and September 2019 show an average reading of 20.55. According to instruction from the High Weald AONB, this is a measurement equal to that area. The Local Plan is vague on how the inevitable deterioration in light pollution levels will be tackled. However, TWBC’s magazine ‘LOCAL’ states the Local Plan proposes a “…new policy which addresses this in rural areas.” That policy is not explained and one is left with the Orwellian concept that turning a rural area into urban TWBC will satisfy their obligations.

2. Climate Emergency

There is a similarly self-serving statement in ‘LOCAL’ about the climate emergency and the positive effect of the Local Plan, with TWBC aiming to be carbon neutral by 2030; an unlikely 6 years before the end of the CA1 construction period. The loss of 600 acres of fields and hedgerows to create over 4000 houses in Capel, where only 940 exist, can only work against this aim, notwithstanding the Plan’s strategic objective 9, which intends ‘to tackle climate change and minimise the impact of development on communities, the economy, and the environment with carefully considered design and by embracing technology, such as renewable energy generation.’ This is a fanciful statement when such large-scale construction, on a sparsely populated and agricultural area, will destroy carbon absorbing countryside and decimate the local community.

If TWBC were serious about climate change they would challenge the 2014 government figures, and build on brownfield and under-used sites, enhancing the Green Belt through planting of trees and promoting organic farming.

3. Community

Capel currently consists of around 940 homes. The addition of over 4000 homes will utterly swamp and devastate the small but strong rural community that exists. Despite this, the TWBC talk about local engagement to drive the plan forward. Whilst there is an acceptance that some level of housing is needed, preferably targeted at the local population, it is evident from local support for the Save Capel campaign that residents do not agree with TWBC’s extensive development plans for the Parish. They are asking for a more equitable approach to the burden of development to be spread across the borough, including a fair share within Capel, but TWBC are proving resistant, notwithstanding their claims of the importance of consultation.

4. Agriculture

The removal of 600 acres of Grade 2 (‘very good’) and Grade 3 (‘good to moderate’) agricultural land will have a negative impact on food production and supply. The planned development at site CA1 will potentially deprive the nation of 6,760 tonnes of produce over 5 years, and 3,238 tonnes at PW1, a combined loss of produce of over 10,000 tonnes; this includes as much as 1.6% of the nation’s black current crop. This shortage is being proposed at a time food supply needs to increase, but will be lost forever if the Local Plan succeeds. I therefore object to the loss of this much-needed agricultural land.

To avoid justifying the consequences of significant loss of productive agricultural land, TWBC has persistently made the claim the land in CA1/PW1 is ‘poor quality’. This contradicts their own assessment in the Development Constraints Study, which shows the land as Grades 2 and 3; defined by Natural England as ‘Very Good’ and ‘Good to Moderate’, whilst only Grade 4 is ‘poor’. In an email on 15/10/2019, the Head of Planning again described the land quality as ‘poor’, a misrepresentation that disguises the inconvenience of destroying productive land; if the land is considered as ‘poor’ then it can be claimed the loss has little negative impact, but ‘good’ and ‘very good land’ lost is hard, if not impossible, to justify.

4. Flooding

TW planners insist building on or close to a floodplain can be mitigated against, and even present opportunities to improve the situation, but there is no detail of how this is to be achieved. Sewage is now such a problem in Paddock Wood that the local MP, Town Council, and residents, are calling on the water companies to account for existing difficulties with the sewage system and their inadequate plans for future development. Adding additional strain on the sewage system by building in such vulnerable areas as CA1 and PW1 is highly irresponsible, and the Local Plan’s failure to detail how to counter the already existing problems exposes another significant flaw in these ill-thought out proposals.

Potential homeowners may also face problems raising mortgages or insurance against such properties, but two requests for confirmation that planners have consulted with financial and insurance institutions to understand the risks, and list those bodies who have given reassurance, have gone unanswered. I can only draw the conclusion this has not happened and claims of flood mitigation are more hopeful than realistic.

The increased ‘run-off’ of water from these thousands of homes, with roads, drives and pavements, not only threatens the viability of the new developments, but poses a hazard to communities downstream in neighbouring boroughs. Yet again the Local Plan is woefully short on mitigation detail and appears more hopeful than realistic. The Local Plan is an environmental, and human, catastrophe in waiting.

5. Landscape

Development of site CA1 is not only next to the AONB, and will impact the views from and into that designated area, but also pays little or no regard for the setting of historic settlements and listed buildings. Buffer zones around these buildings would ordinarily restrict such development but, as with the Green Belt, such planning inconveniences are set aside without proper justification, or professional assessment of the impact, in favour of an inappropriate and large-scale development that will devastate the historic landscape.

The Local Plan therefore shows scant regard for the scheme’s settings, in particular for CA1 which lies in the Low Weald and next to the High Weald AONB. Current views from the AONB and across the high ground to the north show an area of countryside interspersed with historic farmsteads and the cowls of oast houses. Building a significantly sized new town on this area will have a huge visual impact, totally altering and depriving the nation of this historic landscape. Indeed, views across site CA1 from the B2107 skirting the AONB, and Hartlake Road are stunning and worthy of the highest protection, but this is precisely the landscape TWBC proposes to vandalise without due and proper consideration.

6. Heritage

The NPPF states heritage assets are irreplaceable and should be conserved in an appropriate manner, so they can be enjoyed and contribute to the quality of life for existing and future generations. There are in excess of 140 listed buildings in the Capel sites (CA1 = 73 (including two Grade 1 listed buildings), PW1 = 46, CA2 = 22). These figures do not include unlisted buildings in historic farmsteads that are subject to the same considerations as listed buildings around them. The impact needs careful assessment but there is little in the Local Plan to show this has been done. If ‘buffer zones’ to protect the integrity of historic buildings were applied, it would likely show the proposed developments were inappropriate, which might explain the lack of professional assessment.

Of key heritage significance is All Saints’ Church at Tudeley, and the stunning windows designed by Marc Chagall, which are a unique national, and global, asset. Chagall was commissioned to design one commemorative window in the church, however, he considered the light and setting so perfect he designed them all. All Saints’ is the only church in the world to have a complete set of Chagall windows. The development proposed for CA1 will radically alter the setting of the Church and the windows. The full set of windows would surely not have existed had the setting not been so inspiring, and therefore that same setting needs preservation for the enjoyment of the Church’s many visitors. TWBC’s plan compromises the windows and betrays this global artistic treasure.

All Saint’s is not the only historic Church whose integrity will be compromised by the CA1 development. St Thomas à Becket Church, Capel, may be disturbed by a new road connecting CA1 to the A228. Even if that does not happen, the views from the churchyard across to the North Downs will be permanently scarred by the new town. This historic church has 13th century wall paintings, and a yew tree under which Becket is supposed to have preached, and is another national asset that needs protection. Again, the Local Plan shows little consideration of the impact on the setting of the church and the landscape it watches over.

SUSTAINABILITY

Policy STR 2 of the Local Plan refers to the “Presumption in favour of sustainable development”, but there is little of substance around sustainability when applied to the CA1 and PW1 proposals. The word ‘sustainable’ appears more a desire than an evidence-based proposal; the siting of roads is not known, any mitigation about biodiversity loss is vague, as is mitigation against inevitable noise, light and air pollution and flooding risk. Moreover, the loss of productive agricultural land, obligations to co-operate and consult, destruction of a rural community, and responsibility for the siting of the school are hidden by misinformation, or ignored. The process being applied to the Capel sites by TWBC smacks of desperation, which cannot be a sound basis on which to draft a Local Plan. I therefore object to STR 2’s lack of credibility, which indicates the CA1 and PW1 proposals are not sustainable and unlikely to ever be so.

The lack of detail around infrastructure for such a large-scale proposal as CA1 is deeply worrying, as not only are residents unable to comment, but the very nature of the proposal cannot be considered ‘sustainable’. As the siting of new roads remains unknown, costs and effects on traffic flow, particularly within Tonbridge, are yet another ‘presumption’. Increased car use is inevitable, and the excavations in the gravel pits will add HGV traffic to the already straining infrastructure. Moreover, the geographical position of CA1 implies extra traffic will likely travel into Tonbridge, not Tunbridge Wells. The neighbouring borough will therefore pick up the financial and human costs of handling this increased congestion, whilst TWBC collect the rates. This might be seen as cynical rather than sustainable.

The same is true for mitigation against flood risk; more hopeful than realistic, especially given the ongoing problems caused by new developments already ongoing around Paddock Wood. The extra run-off from 6000 homes is going to be considerable and pose a threat to local communities and further downstream, yet the response is little more than a wave of the hand.

There is also no consideration given to the inevitable increase in commuters travelling into London generated by the new developments. Commuter trains are already packed and passengers find it difficult to get a seat at Tonbridge. Developments in Capel and Paddock Wood, and further down the line in places like Marden, will increase the pressure on the stretched rail capacity and by Tonbridge and Sevenoaks the trains will be beyond crammed. The cumulative impact of this focus of development along the railway line has not been addressed and any discussion between neighbouring boroughs non-existent or unresolved.

Network Rail have indicated there will be no station at Tudeley, and even TW Planners concede this much. With no station, the CA1 site will be a new town split by a railway, with very limited means of travel between the two halves (one narrow bridge and a single lane tunnel). This cannot be considered ‘sustainable’ or in line with ‘garden settlement principals’. A town built as two separate entities on either side of a railway track is at best an aesthetic mess, if not a disastrous community concept, and any right-minded person would query why a town was designed in this way; surely it should be one side or the other, or more practically sited elsewhere? The very notion of planning a town at CA1 looks unprofessional and ill-considered, and needs to be scrapped.

The Local Plan is drafted more in hope of finding how to wrap ‘sustainability’ as a word around the proposals for CA1 and PW1, rather than any clear vision of how ‘sustainable’ the project actually is, or even can be.

Policy STR 3 refers to ‘Masterplanning’ and use of Compulsory Purchase Orders, which TWBC can use to acquire land for “…the wider benefit of the community, usually to enable regeneration and development schemes that involve complex or multiple land ownership…” However, negotiation with multiple landowners and the use of CPOs have been ignored for the ease of dealing with one or two landowners willing to deliver the majority of TWBC’s supposed housing requirements, even if their land enjoys protected status. To justify this lassitude TWBC have included as a strategy the worrying objective of releasing Green Belt land for development. Given their stated intention to focus future development around so-called ‘garden settlements’, designated land appears an inconvenience to be removed. The Local Plan exudes an attitude of how to get around inconvenient policies and guidance, rather than adhering to and being guided by them, and I object to these poorly considered proposals.

In terms of ‘masterplanning’ this is also something nebulous described in vague terms, and appears to be a planning phrase used as dressage to cover the destructive elements of their ambitions. It has also been mooted the new town at site CA1 will be ‘masterplanned’ by the landowner’s company, an enterprise with no experience of large-scale development, which is a risky proposition; errors will be impossible or expensive to repair, and may be extremely damaging. As, for example, would be the proposed and inappropriate siting of the new secondary school, split by a railway line and alongside a busy main road that children will need to cross. How this site came to be proposed as suitable is incredible; if it reflects the landowner’s vision, or worse TWBC’s thought processes, the concept of ‘masterplanning’ is off to an extremely poor start. Whatever error manifests itself should the proposals be adopted, no doubt the ratepayer will be expected to yet again meet the costs of TWBC planning indulgence.

TWBC have released a leaflet to explain the Local Plan which states, specifically for site CA1, that a ‘…masterplan approach with community involvement is key to this proposal.’ As the community has overwhelmingly expressed objection to the proposal, logically it should now be removed. It remains to be seen whether this consultation exercise will act on those views or proceed regardless without the ‘key’ element of community approval. The hugely inappropriate site at CA1, to which I strongly object, should be dropped in its entirety from the Local Plan.

DLP_2371

Mr D & Mrs J Beak

Draft Local Plan (Regulation 18) Capel and Paddock Wood housing development

As you can see from our address we live in Hadlow and have done so for the past forty years.

We are mindful of the past flooding that has occurred in our vicinity and if the fields which alleviate flooding are built on how much more misery that will bring.

Over the years we have witnessed the change to our environmental regarding air pollution and congestion on the roads. They have both badly impacted on our lives. Indeed we no longer try to travel between 7.30am to 9:30am and 3:30pm to 6:30pm. The roads around Tonbridge are usually gridlocked during these times. Waiting for a bus subjects us to breathing in high rates of car fumes, affecting our breathing and quality of life.

The expansion of Hadlow College has given rise to unbearable increases in congestion on the roads and air pollution. We are in no doubt, therefore, that the building works being contemplated will be catastrophic to anyone already living in this area.

DLP_2372

Jan Lloyd

Objections to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

I have lived in Tonbridge for over 30 years and so although I am not a resident of the borough of Tunbridge Wells I feel I must write to express my deep concern and anger at your proposals for Tudeley Village.

I regularly walk in much of the area covered by this plan and I often litter pick too – because I love the area and feel very blessed to have access to such a special place. It is special because of the rich wildlife habitat it provides – I regularly see herons, kingfishers, barn owls, kestrels, buzzards, larks, and yellowhammers. I hear cuckoos in spring and turtle doves in summer. There are foxes, numerous types of butterflies, dragon and demoiselle flies – the list goes on. It would not be possible to recreate this habitat once it is lost – it has been built up over many years and your vague aspirations to ‘deliver environmental gains such as biodiversity net gain’ are not credible. Once its gone, it’s gone for good. The existing areas of woodland, hedges and fields should be protected and its Green Belt status maintained. What is the point of designating land Green Belt in the first place if it can just be put aside at the whim of a developer and a council?

Much of this area falls into Flood Zones 2 and 3 – the highest risk of flooding - as anyone walking here in the winter will see. Creating such a large number of new dwellings in such a vulnerable area – concreting over the fields - will put a huge strain on the surrounding settlements and together with the increased risks posed by climate change will surely increase flooding.

I note that you hope to promote public transport and low levels of private car use within the settlement. However all the people who come to live in these new homes will have jobs elsewhere and will, I suspect, want to drive to them or to a rail station. This will cause more congestion in Tonbridge, on roads that are already overcrowded at peak times. It will cause a further deterioration in air quality, which I understand already regularly fails to meet those standards set out to protect health. You are proposing putting a school in the middle of this air pollution, when it is recognised that the young are particularly at risk from poor air quality.

I believe that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council should drop these highly unsuitable plans and instead look to using brownfield and infill sites, and perhaps bringing unused housing back into use.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_2374

Alexander Clelland

I am a resident of Golden Green who daily commutes to Tonbridge and regularly enjoys the local countryside. I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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.

I commute daily to Tonbridge and find the level of traffic already extremely difficult. Additionally, all it takes is one cyclist on Tudeley Road to create massive tailbacks. I dread to think of the impact on traffic if this proposal goes ahead. It will become unsustainable very quickly. Alternative routes along the Hadlow Road will also be affected. There are currently massive tailbacks there in rush hour and this will be exacerbated by diverted traffic from a packed Tudeley Way. Much of this traffic will pass through Golden Green, where drivers already ignore the 30 mph speed limit and cause danger to other road users and residents.

People living in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. Its roads are already full at peak times and can’t be made wider in most places. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. As a disabled person this is particularly important for me and getting a seat is already very difficult, endangering my health.

Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period. Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. The floods in Golden Green were disastrous to the local neighbourhood and isolated the Hamlet for a considerable time.

There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).

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.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food. This is very important post-Brexit when the country will need to become more self-sufficient to counter higher imported food costs.

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_2385

Peter & Veronica Bryant

We agree to setting my comments against both the strategic place shaping policy in the Capel and Paddock Wood sections: these would be Policies STR/CA 1 and STR/PW 1.

In connection to the Proposed Draft Local Plan (Reg 18) please find our comments to this proposal.

As residents of South Tonbridge, we will be directly affected by the Proposed Draft Plan as it’s boarders run alongside Tonbridge & Malling Borough and the road infrastructure will impact our area considerably.

a. The road infrastructure from Paddock Wood to Tonbridge is at breaking point at this present time. With narrow streets in Five Oak Green and bending slow roads throughout the 6 miles, travelling along this route is certainly demanding during peak times of the day. (Early morning rush hour, school leaving times and evening rush hours). With the proposed additional housing along the route, the increase of traffic flow in both directions would be dramatic.

b. With the Ambulance Service stationed in Eldon Way, Paddock Wood, Emergency Services requiring to travel to Tonbridge already have a difficult enough time negotiating the traffic to get to an emergency. With the dramatic increase of traffic this would put lives in danger.

c. At present, bus services use the route from Paddock Wood to Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells. Again with the dramatic increase of traffic flow created by new housing, services would be greatly affected, especially buses being used for the school runs in rush hour times.

d. Tonbridge town already has a dis-proportionate amount of Secondary Schools in the county which require children to be transported into the town from other boroughs mainly by bus. Adding an additional Secondary School into our area, which is on the boarder of the town will only increase the traffic congestion.

e. We find it totally unacceptable that any Green Belt land is used for building, especially in an area of outstanding beauty. This land is protected for a reason. Once this land is destroyed, it will never be re-instated.

f. By destroying Green Belt land you are going against all Government objectives on Climate Change Controls to obtain zero rated omissions.

DLP_2397

Ann & Jeremy Wickens

I just want to add my objection to the plan of building over 4000 houses in Capel.

I would like to know exactly who the houses are planned for. Our son 42 year old son still lives with us, he will not be able to afford one of the proposed buildings because they will be out of his, and I expect most peoples reach.

They will probably end up second homes for the better off with the houses being rented out with sky high rents.

We do not have the road, school or services structures to support such a large amount of houses.

There will be absolute bedlam on the narrow roads especially when there will be more cars parked along the roads. We live near Capel school and it is bad enough now trying to get to Tonbridge when all the parents are parked along the main road.

DLP_2401

Graham Hughes

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

Clearly the development of 2,800 at Tudeley will significantly increase traffic in Tonbridge which is already massively overburdened. The proposed new senior school will also add to the already heavily used roads around Tonbridge and will make accessibility to the town almost impossible adding to the decline of the High street. Indeed Shoppers and local residents will be caught in significant traffic jams and not be able to park ,which already is almost impossible at peak times and therefore as a result they will seek easier out of town shopping alternatives.

I am also concerned for local businesses which may be forced to relocate due to accessibility issues as they simply will not be able to move goods in and out of the area in timely fashion.

The added burden to the currently already overcrowded existing infrastructure, such as buses and trains will obviously be unsustainable.

I have lived in Tonbridge for nearly 40 years and seen the gradual erosion of the beautiful Kent country-side with ill-considered and badly judge large scale housing developments. The purpose of the green belt was supposed to be to protect this legacy for future generations but it seems to be conveniently forgotten when there is money to be made. I imagine the dramatic environment effects that this development will have ,such as flooding etc, will also be ignored for the same reason.

I fully understand the need for more housing however surely it is better to locate a large development in a location with better existing infrastructure and where there is a growing population which is not the case here.

Thank you for the opportunity to express my concerns.

DLP_2474

John Potter & Jan Roberts

We need to express our extreme concern regarding the proposed development by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council close to the borders of Tonbridge in the area near Tudeley and in particular Woodgate Way.

Woodgate Way in Tonbridge has always had an old peoples care home/respite hospital and now has a recent development of sheltered housing as it is a relatively quiet, calm area for older residents of TMBC. We do not believe this would be a suitable spot for new housing and a secondary school. Development of this scale so close to Tonbridge would impinge on all our local services - road, rail and god knows what else. We are already experiencing unacceptable traffic levels within Tonbridge itself.

You should consider the brown field sites closer to your centre rather than building on green field ones very much on your outskirts. You have, right in the middle of your town, a classic case of a brown field site where the cinema opposite the Town Hall used to be. That site could accommodate umpteen flats with close access to the station and shops. It might even encourage companies to invest in all the empty retail outlets in and around the Victoria Centre if they had the prospect of a higher level of customers.

Once green field sites are allowed to be destroyed this will be the downfall of so much and such short sightedness is abhorrent.

DLP_2492

Mr John Wotton

Policies STR/CA 1 and AL/CA 1

object to these policies, which provide for a new settlement of 2,500-2,800 new homes on greenfield sites in the Green Belt, misleadingly named "Tudeley Village", for the reasons given by CPRE Kent in their response to this consultation. I have visited the sites, had detailed discussions with the Save Capel campaign group and spoken at a public meeting which they convened. I support their objections to this proposed development.

DLP_2504

Roger Golland

Your on-line response form seems to be deliberately restrictive and convoluted. On a draft borough plan, where the overall impact on West Kent residents is at issue, it is not feasible to assign specific comments to particular paragraphs of a 554pp document.

I live just over the western border of TWBC. Our neighbourhood will be adversely and permanently damaged by the impact of the proposed so-called garden village at Tudeley and its associated secondary school on the edge of Tonbridge. The Vision speaks of a ‘vibrant’ master-planned village. The reality is that it would be a stagnant dormitory housing estate clogged with vehicles trying to get to the already over-stretched facilities of Tonbridge.

Traffic is already choking the access roads into town, for schools, shops and the railway station – for instance at Vauxhall Roundabout and along Pembury Road. The proposals guarantee thousands more commuting vehicles and log-jams for hours every day. The existing winding road network is inadequate as matters stand. There is nowhere near enough road and parking capacity in Tonbridge, let alone Tunbridge Wells [STR6]. Your sustainability policy claims about clean air, public health, road safety and protection for wildlife in the blast of this development are not credible - assertions without supporting evidence.

Green Belt [STR 4] serves a statutory purpose and exceptional grounds must be given to justify its sacrifice. Expediency and the convenience of dealing with one profiteering landowner does not amount to exceptional grounds. The same landowner has already moved to develop Green Belt land on Tonbridge’s fringes in the TMBC Plan, where the same arguments apply. It is laughable to defend the plan on spurious bio-diversity grounds when ancient woodland and so much green space is to be chewed up unnecessarily.

The plan speaks of increased ‘walking and cycling permeability’, not to mention ‘active travel provision’, whatever that means. There is very little evidence from Tonbridge of a significant move to cycling and walking for children going to school, or people going to work. There are hardly any bus routes available to serve the planned ‘village’ and little reason to believe they will materialise. The notion of ‘low levels of private car use within the settlement’ is pious hope, especially when it is rainy and dark. There are no clues as to what employment will spontaneously appear in the new community to replace horticulture and farming. Many, if not most, residents will be commuters trying to reach Tonbridge station.

The plan suggests that the Tudeley plans are contingent on approval for a new secondary school on the edge of Tonbridge. The selected site, alongside the ring-road, next to industrial units, split by a busy railway line, over a gas-pipe, with limited pedestrian access from any direction, is utterly hopeless, for reasons countless objectors have already spelled out. Absent a suitable school site, can we assume the plans will be dropped?

Tonbridge cannot absorb the numbers proposed. The plan is a monster. It is bound to spoil vast areas of precious landscape. TWBC should challenge the basis of the excessive housing targets imposed by Whitehall (as it is free to do) and adopt genuinely sustainable settlement policies which will protect the environment, not continue to destroy it. An authority pursuing such old-fashioned development sprawl, based on the car and miles away from employment centres, does not deserve to stay in power for long.

DLP_2508

Richard Sankey

I am writing to state my very STRONG OBJECTION to the proposed new town or ‘garden village’ at Tudeley.

I, and my family, have been long-term residents of Tonbridge and make frequent journeys from the town through the village of Tudeley, and the surrounding area, for social and work related reasons. We also have a number of family friends who live in and around the Tudeley area.

As a general comment, like most people, I would wish to see as much new housing built on brownfield sites or in existing urban centres to help reinvigorate them as we see retail zones decline. I appreciate that this in itself will not provide sufficient land to accommodate the number of houses that we need but I don’t believe that best use is currently being made of the land that we already have available without building on greenfield sites.

Where that is needed then I would favour developments on the edges of existing settlements and where the infrastructure is already in place to cope with increased traffic etc, schools and medical facilities. I therefore understand and would not object to the decision to expand Paddock Wood and if that is not sufficient then the land east of Five Oak Green.

What I simply cannot understand is how anyone ever thought that a brand new settlement in and around the beautiful village of Tudeley, on pristine rural land was ever a good idea? This is obviously a neat and simple arrangement for TWBC with the existing landowner but it will clearly destroy the quality of life for existing residents and place massive strain on the already struggling infrastructure serving southeast Tonbridge, where the bulk of traffic would undoubtedly head to. I don’t know if any of the planning team have ever tried to drive in, out or through Tonbridge at almost any time of day but it’s often near impossible, particularly in school term time. And I understand that yet another school is planned for the town too which will only exacerbate this situation.

Despite the fact that this proposed development sits within TWBC the impact would be most heavily felt in Tonbridge & Malling so residents of that borough should be thoroughly considered as part of this. As a commuter from Tonbridge too I well know how busy the trains are already and unless Southeastern, or whoever holds the franchise by then, lays on a far more frequent service then we are going to be in real trouble. Season tickets to London currently cost c.£4500 a year and presumably we’d be expected to pay even more to pay for upgraded services which, for many people, are already close to unaffordable.

It strikes me that much of the development will sit on or close to River Medway floodplain. While this may be mitigated to an extent, in the event of a serious winter or wet period then I suspect it would be very likely that residents would experience flooding and we can’t predict how much more serious this might become if climate change continues. I am particularly angry about the proposed loss of virgin countryside within a Green belt area. To build on it would make a mockery of that policy and devastate local wildlife and an area that many local residents enjoy for recreation. Frankly if you are going to ignore planning policy and build on Green belt in such a brazen way then you may as well do away with them nationally too as they clearly count for nothing. I suspect that should this plan be allowed to proceed then in time we would see Tonbridge and Paddock Wood effectively merge with the land in between being built on as it become less special and more spoilt.

I understand the need for new homes but I believe that this can be achieved without destroying such green countryside of outstanding beauty with a consequent loss of amenity space, damage to flora and fauna and a hugely increased strain on local infrastructure to the detriment of local residents

DLP_2595

Richard Bysouth

I oppose all development in the Capel and Tudeley areas on the basis of destroying Green Belt land.

DLP_2632

Residents of Bourne Park

Please find enclosed 21 Objections to the "Strategy for Capel Parish (Policy STR/CA1), from 20 residents of Bourne Park Golden Green Tonbridge and 1 resident from Hildenborough. [TWBC: Comments DLP_2554-2555, DLP_2557-2560, DLP_2562-2565, DLP_2567-2569, DLP_2571-2573, DLP_2575-2576, DLP_2580-2583, DLP_2585-2592, DLP_2617-2624, DLP_2626-2629]

Bourne Park is a small retirement village and a majority of the residents do not have access to any computer facilities or the internet, and have therefore used the Savecapel.com template for convenience to respond with their comments to the Local Plan.

Some of these residents have lived in this area all there lives and are very upset and concerned that such dramatic plans are being considered for the parish of Capel/ Tudeley, the removal of Green Belt and the flooding concerns which could effect their homes is of great concern, the potential loss of the village community in Golden Green and Tudeley. The loss of views across the valley from the centre of the village, the dramatic change to the landscape as well as the impacts and loss to the rich and vibrant wildlife in the area, with the removal of 1,000's of acres of prime agricultural Green Belt land will have a substantial impact to both human and the wildlife within the area.

Thank you for your consideration

DLP_2639

Mr Nigel Exall

I write in respect of the above consultation, and to express my deepest concerns about the proposed land use planning strategy for Capel/Tudeley.

The policies referenced above promote a comprehensive mixed-use development for Capel/Tudeley, in the form of a ‘garden settlement’, and encompassing approximately 2,500 — 2,800 dwellings; employment provision, a range of local services and facilities to serve such a settlement; and open space, leisure and recreation uses.

Also proposed is a new six form entry secondary school — which is remote from the proposed ‘garden village’.

There are a number of very obvious, and very serious, problems with this proposed Strategy, including (but not limited to):

  • Green Belt,
  • Infrastructure/deliverability,
  • Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty/Heritage Assets/visual impact, e Flooding,
  • Ecology, and
  • The location of the proposed new secondary school.

These shall be briefly addressed in turn as follows:

Green Belt — The site for the new garden settlement falls within the Green Belt, wherein the primary aim of planning policy is to keep land permanently open. In terms of Local Plan preparation this means not releasing land from the Green Belt except in exceptional circumstances. I understand that exceptional circumstances cannot exist if there are alternative, non-Green Belt sites that might be available to accommodate the proposed development. In this case only a small proportion of Tunbridge Wells Borough is washed over by the Green Belt. There is a significant swathe of land to the east of the Borough that is not within the Green Belt, and is therefore free of such constraint. Has it genuinely and robustly been demonstrated that there are no alternative sites available that are outside of the Green Belt? If the answer to this is no, then exceptional circumstances simply cannot exist.

Infrastructure/Deliverability — Clearly the delivery of a new garden settlement will be entirely dependent upon the provision, up front, of the infrastructure to serve such. The provision of such infrastructure is likely to be complicated by the fact that the proposed site is dissected by a railway line. In this context, timescales become important. For instance, by the time a (very large scale) planning application has been determined, conditions have been discharged, and sufficient infrastructure works been undertaken to enable housing and other development to be delivered, it seems incredibly likely that it will be a number of years down the line. As such the strategy does nothing to alleviate housing and employment needs in the short to medium term; and does nothing to meet the stated objectives of producing a Local Plan.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty/Heritage Assets — The site of the proposed garden village lies outside of, but adjacent to, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The National Planning Policy Framework (paragraph 172) states that ‘great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which have the highest status of protection in relation to these issues. Similarly, there are a number of Listed Buildings located around the perimeter of the proposed allocation, including my own home. The current (and historic) setting of those Listed Buildings is one of a distinctly rural environment, characterised by open fields, interspersed with historic field boundaries and other historic buildings. There is simply no way that the introduction of 2,500 — 2,800 new homes, employment, and associated facilities, on a large swathe of attractive, undeveloped, rural land cannot have a significant and detrimental visual impact upon the adjacent Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and upon the setting of the surrounding Listed Buildings.

Flooding — The site itself might not be subject to significant areas of flood risk, but adjoining areas certainly are. Surface water flooding has proven repeatedly to be an issue of serious local concern. Providing a new garden settlement on currently undeveloped, free draining, greenfield land — with the inevitable (considerable) increase in areas of hard surfacing and built form, will simply increase the prevalence of surface water flood risk on the areas of land that adjoin the proposed allocation.

Ecology — Given the extensive scale, and rural/undeveloped nature of the site of the proposed garden settlement, it seems inconceivable that it will not be home to protected species. With such a large-scale development it is impossible to fully mitigate against such wholesale destruction of habitat.

The Location of The New School — As indicated above, the new secondary school to serve the proposed garden settlement is actually located remote from the resulting settlement — approximately 1 mile away at the closest point, and accessed via country roads without the benefit of pedestrian footways. The school would only realistically be accessible by motorised vehicle — pupils, parents and staff are most unlikely to walk or cycle given the nature of the road network between the garden settlement and the school site. Additionally, and linking back to the above referred issue of infrastructure/deliverability, the school site is also dissected by a railway line running east-west through the centre of it. Delivery of the northern half of the proposed school allocation is therefore subject to provision of access across the railway line. The southern half of the proposed school allocation contains a sizeable area of Ancient Woodland, which must be protected as such. Given these constraints, it seems incredibly unlikely that a school could be delivered on site in the early, medium or even long term parts of the Local Plan period.

In light of the foregoing matters, the proposed allocation of land at Capel/Tudeley must be removed from the emerging Local Plan, and an alternative, and more sustainable means of meeting housing and employment needs must be identified.

I hope that the foregoing clarifies my position, but should you require any additional information then please do not hesitate to contact me.

DLP_2642

Anthony Clark

The plight of our fellow countryfolk in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire is a timely reminder, should one even be required, of the need to protect our homes and businesses from the increasing risk of flooding

Much time has been spent assessing and mapping those areas which as a simple consequence of their position are considered to be at the greatest risk. The fact that we know where they are is amply evidenced by the home insurance premiums they attract and it is a constant source of concern for all those who, like me, reside in low-lying areas

Setting aside the obvious but highly questionable funding presumption for the above - which sees TWBC draw rateable income to its benefit while requiring consequent costs and inconvenience to be largely borne elsewhere, in this case by Tonbridge (a town already creaking under the weight of its own recent and particularly extensive residential building programme) and parking (every pun intended) a number of very sound objections these being well documented elsewhere, it is quite clear that on the issue of flood prevention alone, the scheme lacks credence. In fact it beggars belief that the proposal could even have got this far

A plan that would incidentally require the wholesale destruction of Greenbelt in the case if the proposed 'garden' village at Tudeley is a monstrously reckless betrayal of custodial responsibility.  It might tick a box, it might well suit Hadlow Estates (who, may I say, deserve no credit for their obvious complicity in the matter), but it is completely unacceptable for the broader rate-paying community going forward

I appreciate there exists a national need for additional housing and that targets, however arbitrary, have been set. I also understand the challenges of meeting such targets locally and completely where there are substantial areas of precious Greenbelt, areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Ancient Woodland etc to be considered. But considered they must be and, by definition, protected. In essence it shouldn't be necessary for me to point out that this is clearly your job

I expect, at the very least, the proposed development at Tudeley- sitting as it would on the very edge and therefore contributing to the problems of a clearly identified floodplain - to be consigned to history and look forward to learning of this at the earliest opportunity

DLP_2788

Mrs Karen Langston

Policy Number: STR/CA 1 and AL/CA 1

I strongly object to the proposal to create a standalone garden settlement in Tudeley of 2,500-2,800 dwellings.

Whilst the public consultation on the Issues and Options document resulted in some support for growth strategy 5 – growth within a new, free-standing settlement, the strong view within that feedback was that this settlement should not be in the Green Belt or AONB. However, the site proposed lies entirely in the Green Belt, and partially in the AONB.

The NPPF attaches great importance to Green Belts, stating that their essential characteristics are “their openness and their permanence.” (NPPF paragraph 133) It sets out five purposes for the Green Belt designation and protection, which includes, “b) to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another;” and “c) to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment.”

The NPPF allows for changes to Green Belt boundaries where, “exceptional circumstances are fully evidenced and justified.” (NPPF paragraph 136). The draft Local Plan appears to suggest the “exceptional circumstance” in this case is the need to meet an untested housing target. As I argue elsewhere in my feedback, this target is based on out-of-date data, resulting in a much higher figure for new homes than the borough actually needs. In addition, the total number of new dwellings proposed in the draft Plan, through strategic site allocation, excluding windfall, exceeds this target by 1,240 dwellings.

If you consider the extremely high cost of destroying Green Belt land, the strain on inadequate infrastructure to ensure timely sustainability, the destruction of an existing community, including displacement of tenants, the impact on the environment and the failure to safeguard the countryside from encroachment, I argue that this is far from “exceptional circumstance” to justify the proposed development. Had the swathe of land not been offered by a single land owner through the Call for Sites process, I argue that this location would never have been considered suitable, sustainable or desirable for the creation of a free-standing settlement. The site allocation and subsequent policy AL/CA 1 is, I argue, not strategic, but opportunistic on the part of the Council.

I urge the Council to reconsider this policy in the context of the irreversible damage it will cause to the protected landscape of the borough and the severe challenges it will present to achieve the balance of sustainable development (NPPF paragraph 8).

DLP_2792

Sara Miller

I live in Five Oak Green, work locally at Paddock wood school and i have lived here for 15 yrs now and i have recently had the up most concern to the proposed housing development in Capel and the surrounding areas.

We all know we need SOME housing but i have great worry's to what i have seen in the plans to where these houses, new roads and the amount of houses are to to built.

Does no body understand in TWBC the horrendous impact this will leave to all of the surrounding areas.

I have worked in PWPS for 14yrs now and i have already seen an increase in the size of the school numbers and the impact that the doctors suffer. dentists and parking issues. There has also been a mass increase in flooding which is getting worse, only the other day Tudeley road flooded and the top end of Badsell road with just 30 mins worth of rain . No real answers have been given to all of these questions in many of the meetings and Im sorry to say those who are in charge of this large development do not seem to bothered due to ( again sorry to say) by the time these houses are complete those in charge probably wont be here so they do not care and seem bothered . Apologises for that comment ! And why on our beautiful green belt there are brown belt ares to use too, one day the The garden of Eden will simply be the concrete congestion of hell where is the common sense. People visit Kent from all over the world this will not be the case one day, Also why all of these houses in one major beauty spot and why so so so many . What about Cars... the congestion isnt great going to work in the morning to PWPS and yet people i know who travel towards Tonbridge say the congestion is awful at rush hour can you honestly say that this will benefit Tonbridge and its surrounding areas . Because there are so many who do not . If you live in these areas with the concerns we all have would you honestly say its got to happen ... Transport is awful to and what will be the procedures to deal with thousands of commuters how will that work it mayhem at the moment.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, this will be a huge mistake if you live and work here and care about this massive problem you are proposing , this whole area will face massive issues that in the end the council and the government will have to sort out costing millions...Please look carefully at all the plans for this.

DLP_2805

Graeme Veale

GENERAL COMMENTS: with specific reference to Capel sites (CA1)

I am writing to OBJECT to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

Introduction

I am a resident of Tunbridge Wells Borough, living in Postern Lane, and therefore also benefit from being close to Tonbridge. I enjoy the significant benefits of the TWBC countryside and green belt within which my house is situated. The National Planning Policy requires that such countryside and green belt should be both protected and enhanced. The situation of the property was the main reason for choosing to live here.

The Draft Local Plan documents are numerous and quite complex. In addition, cross referencing between the documents is in places non-existent, which leads to confusion and frustration. As an individual with a full-time job and a family I do not have the time to examine each and every part and policy in detail. There appears to be no overarching, well constructed and balanced summary of the documents, apart from the 8 page summary which is at such a high level and therefore of no substance.

The Local Plan website is not particularly user friendly; for example there are drop down menus and colour differentiators, but you are not lead back to where you came from, which means wasted time searching through more menus. Given the investment in the draft plan to date, and the proposed scale of development, some more time spent on user interface and user experience would have been worthwhile. For such a significant plan, these are basic elements which need addressing.

Proper consultation needs to be accessible and user friendly for the people to whom it matters – this local plan is neither of these things and should be significantly revised before going any further.

I find it very frustrating that it has taken over two years and many thousands of pounds in fees and reports in order to get planning permission for a 65m2 single storey extension; and yet, in just over one further year, it seems a plan has been assembled to build 2,800 houses and related services and infrastructure on green belt land, within a mile of our house.

I wish to make specific comments as follows:

Distribution of Development Paper

1. Section 3.3 stands out for me in setting out the 5 purposes of green belt land. These are clarity personified. Section 3.4 states that such areas “should only be altered in exceptional circumstances”. Given the lack of clarity around selection of Option 5 in the Issues and Options consultation, the ‘exceptional circumstances’ are not satisfactorily explained.

2. Paragraph 6.56 confirms that there was no landscape assessment of Green Belt sites. It seems unacceptable to identify land for development, particularly Green Belt land, without understanding its existing value and contribution to the local ecosystem, especially if there are ‘exceptional circumstances’.

3. Section 4 discusses housing needs. These appear to be based on 2014 figures. The majority of lay people are able to google more recent ONS population figures and see the downward impact on housing requirements for all boroughs. Again, this does not speak to ‘exceptional circumstances’.

4. In section 5, a key issue identified in the Issues and Options consultation was:

“Vision should be balanced to both developing existing built town areas and preservation of surrounding countryside and unique historic villages”

Given the allocation of 2,800 houses to a garden settlement at Tudeley, it appears such preservation of countryside has been disregarded, without satisfactory explanation.

5. Issues and options section 5 – The most preferred option for provision of housing was clearly option 4, the ‘corridor’ option. A Garden town was less preferable. There is no real explanation for the U-turn in strategy or decision to move away from the preferred option. This is unacceptable.

6. Section 6.140 – it appears all scenarios set out are about meeting housing needs in full. TWBC has not considered it appropriate to partially meet or consider flexibility depending on numerous possible circumstances, and therefore has not planned in any way for this. This would seem blinkered at best.

Infrastructure

1. Trains – these are already at high capacity for commuters. Expansion is obviously limited by:

a. franchise appointment – over which TWBC has no control

b. existing lines/tunnel limitations – this also has very little scope for development. It is already clear there will not be an additional station between Tonbridge and High Brooms to cater for a new Garden Town. Thus, many of the inhabitants would have to go to Tonbridge or Tunbridge Wells in order to get the train. This will put additional strain on already overburdened stations and lines.

c. Parking – This is already an issue in both Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells and there is no real focus within the infrastructure document as to how to deal with it.

d. Funding sources – These are not fully within TWBC control, making it hard to see how strategy or development can be strongly influenced or coordinated.

e. Overall, there is no real plan or strategy as to how trains and usage will be catered for.

2. Section 3.59 - Cycling provision is in its infancy – even an afterthought. The separate cycling policy document is largely platitudes and waffle about health benefits. There are a few possible route suggestions but far too little of substance which suggests TWBC has no real strategy as to shifting people away from their reliance on cars. Very few people are going to cycle any further than 10-15 minutes.

3. Cycling isn’t the answer in terms of modal shift from cars. As a nation we are too comfortable, too used to cars, too lazy and too obese. To get people cycling, it isn’t just about upgrading or providing new routes, it’s about education, offering bike discounts etc

4. Section 3.63 Car parking:

a. In the Infrastructure document, apparently parking will be provided for. This is completely unacceptable as a ‘plan’.

b. In the parking plan document (dates from 2016) almost exclusively focused on Tunbridge Wells. Absolutely no consideration of new garden town, and also no consideration of parking required at Tonbridge station for additional commuters. This is TMBC’s responsibility and clearly very little by way of cross border communications have taken place.

5. Parking is one of the biggest pressures on transport and adding 2500 houses to Capel is only going to make it worse.

6. Section 3.133 Water – Southern water hasn’t yet carried out capacity assessments? This would appear to be a big hole in the plan, making it unsound.

7. Section 3.151 + Carbon emissions etc:

In order to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050 (government objective), we are going to have to move away from conventional coal and gas fired power. We need to move towards low carbon fuels. This Infrastructure plan appears to ignore this fact completely. It talks about the current gas provision and SGN’s future strategic planning (with an estimated 10% reduction up to 2025).

On the other hand the Currie and Brown (Energy Policy Viability) report suggests no new homes built after 2025 should connect to gas. TWBC needs to think about low carbon fuels, renewable energy, future proofing design and build of property etc. This is simply not addressed in the infrastructure plan. Also note Labour general election campaign pledge that all homes after 2022 should not be heated by fossil fuels.

THIS IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF NO INTERALATION BETWEEN REPORTS.

Local Plan – STR/CA1

1. 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 Tonbridge. There will be a significant increase in traffic into Tonbridge from the B2017, exacerbating the extreme traffic congestion that exists on this road every morning.

2. There is a proposed secondary school to be situated east of Tonbridge (AL/CA2 – site 447 & 454). This utterly preposterous for a number of reasons:

a. It is situated either side of a railway track, the only bridge being a private single lane road.

b. It is situated adjacent to Tonbridge borough, which already has numerous (6) secondary schools within a few mile radius.

c. It is situated some distance from the proposed Tudeley Garden Town, with no obvious access routes by foot or bicycle.

d. It is situated some distance from both Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells railway stations, making it even more inaccessible for secondary school pupils.

e. It is situated adjacent to a roundabout and roads which are already very heavily congested during rush hour periods. I often sit in traffic queues at both ends of the day.

f. It is situated in Green Belt land.

3. Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley and the Hadlow Tower. The church at Tudeley may end up being surrounded by houses, bus lanes and sit next to a busy road in sight of a big roundabout. That will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the complete set of Marc Chagall windows).

4. Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

5. The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

6. Earlier in the plan (in 4.40) you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. I think that TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation that will dwarf Tunbridge Wells town centre. TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge.

Masterplanning

There is discussion about a ‘Masterplanning’ approach. It is not totally clear what this means. In addition, a significant part of the Tudeley Garden Town is to be developed by the single landowner who is linking up with TWBC. This landowner has no masterplanning experience. That is worth repeating. The proposed developer has no masterplanning experience.

If TWBC are to be involved, one would also question its pedigree in this field. The new hospital at Pembury, completed in 2011, is already at full parking capacity. I have been there on 3 separate occasions recently and had to wait between 40 minutes to an hour to park. Clearly, whatever forecasts were made about visits, footfall, etc, were either not heeded, or totally wrong.

Transport Strategy Review – Context and way forward

There really is very little about the way forward in this crucial element of the plan.

Climate Change

Climate change will mean prime agricultural land will become more and more important. The land is rated as grade 2 and 3 agricultural land. Brexit, if it ever happens, will mean home grown, seasonal produce may become more and more important.

Summary

In summary, this plan appears unsound. Certainly, in its current form it is not accessible to the very people from whom it requires a response. It is comprised of hundreds of pages of material, not easily navigable and some of which even appears contradictory.

There appear to be many more questions than answers, and given the very justifiable objections, it is my view TWBC should reconsider this plan as soon as possible.

I CONFIRM MY OBJECTION TO THE STRATEGY FOR CAPEL PARISH (STR/CA1).

DLP_2809

Georgina DuBern

I am aware that TWBC is planning to create a large number of new homes near Tudeley.

I object to the plan on the following grounds:-

There may be a demand for accommodation in Tunbridge Wells over the amount that can be found by converting empty premises and building on brown field sites. However such houses need to be built close to amenities, transport links, shops and jobs, not plonk in the middle of a fertile field miles from anywhere. The impact on Golden Green where I live would be increased traffic in the lanes because the residents of such a development would need to drive their cars to everything, including shopping, work, school, entertainment and the station. Even if food and online shopping are delivered to the houses in vans these days it still contributes to the problem. Also this low lying Medway valley is good agricultural land and should be kept as such.

Furthermore Tonbridge and not Tunbridge Wells would feel the brunt of the increased demands for services that thousands more people would bring. I suggest these houses are developed on the fringes of Tunbridge Wells.

A few planning officers can wreck places where thousands of people are happy. The threat of the intrusion of buildings in beautiful Calverley Park, enjoyed by the populace for generations, is an example.

DLP_2813

Sallyanne Clark

I live in Five Oak Green, and regularly walk and travel through the area proposed for a new garden village in Tudeley. I also walk regularly in the area of East Capel, where further housing is proposed.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

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 Tonbridge.

Just because one landowner has offered a large parcel of land does not make this the best option, even if it makes your job easier. There is something inherently unfair about putting so many houses in one corner of the borough, and expecting Tonbridge to deal with the resultant drain on resources, extra traffic, pollution, loss of landscape, and the increased need for school places, doctors’ surgeries, etc.

Most people living in the new garden settlements will drive privately owned cars, despite initiatives to encourage bus and bicycle use. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings.

Large parts of the developments will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change. Flood mitigation measures may help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk not only in Tudeley but in Golden Green, East Peckham, Five Oak Green, Tonbridge and Yalding. There will be an increase in air, light and noise pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across the landscape. Views from Tonbridge to the Low and High Weald will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley. This will cause great harm to its value as a heritage asset of world renown (due to the unique set of Marc Chagall windows).

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

I believe that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land, unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. So why are you proposing to use Green Belt land?

I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and increased it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, so why are you building so many extra houses?

A significant point is that the plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan.

The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach, and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Earlier in the plan you refer to Tudeley Village securing a long term option for the borough to deliver the needs of future generations. It is clear from this statement that you intend to add more and more housing to this “garden settlement” in each five year review of future Local Plans. Do TWBC want to fill Tudeley and East Capel with housing until they coalesce with Tonbridge to the West and Paddock Wood to the East, ultimately creating a massive conurbation?

TWBC is using Capel to meet their alleged housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place unacceptable pressure on Tonbridge.

DLP_2815

Laura Gandon

I am writing in response to the Tunbridge Wells Local Plan Document, and wish to voice my concerns. My response refers in particular to the proposed building within Capel Parish.

I have been a resident of the village of Tudeley for nearly 6 years. However I have had close ties to the community for over 30 years and have fond childhood memories of playing in the area. My husband and I decided to move our family to the village as we loved the area and wanted the best possible environment to raise our children.

I am deeply saddened to read of the plans to build thousands of houses on the green belt of Capel parish. As a Health and Wellbeing Practitioner I can unequivocally state the impact on the physical and emotional health of local people will be harmful. The benefits of green space for physical activity and stress relief are well evidenced. Have TWBC considered the NICE guidelines and Public Health England guidelines on Tackling Obesity when considering building this new development? The green space is well used for keeping active (I for one walk my dog or run across the fields where building is proposed on a daily basis). Taking away this opportunity for physical activity will impact people's health and wellbeing, and thus generate further cost burden for the NHS.

Destroying green belt is irreversible. The impact on the habitats of animals and plants alike will be devastating. Building on greenbelt should only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Have TWBC conducted a full and thorough analysis of brown site availability across the borough? I doubt that building on greenbelt is truly the last option available to TWBC. A more equitable approach would be to spread the housing burden more fairly across the borough rather than allowing a small hamlet to take the full weight of the load. I have fostered in my children a love of the British countryside and the wildlife that live there. Please do not take this away from them.

The pressure on local travel networks has also been given little consideration. The train networks have already indicated that train services into London are operating at full capacity. It is likely that a significant proportion of the new Tudeley residents will commute into London from either Tonbridge or Paddock Wood Stations. Other neighbouring Kent boroughs further down the railway line are also planning to build new housing to fulfil their Local Plan housing need. Has the additional train commuting pressure been scoped in partnership with the other boroughs to predict future numbers and how train services can fulfil this demand?

The Local Plan shows some additional roads and "improvements" to current local roads. I am concerned however that the demand on the roads from the extra residents will be too much and gridlock will occur. The roundabout at Woodgate Way/Tudeley Road and the proposed new roundabout at the current Hartlake Junction will only create pinchpoints for the sheer volume of traffic to queue from.

I am a neighbour of Tudeley Church and am amazed at the number of tourists that visit. They originate from local destinations as well as across the country and internationally! Visitors always comment on how peaceful the setting is. Building close to this ancient and famous church would negatively impact the experience and therefore the tourist revenue this brings to the area. The stained glass windows (created by Chagall) would not show the same beauty with background street light "noise" from a village of houses and the street lights.

My children attend Capel School which is a wonderful educational setting. One of the reasons that children at this school flourish is because it is a small village school with a strong sense of community. The Teachers and staff care about every individual child within the school, and the children all get to know each other regardless of whether they are in the same year group. Strong relationships are fostered across the ages. For example just this week my daughter in Reception class has been read to by Year 6 children and also had a lesson with Year 4 children about Diwali. If Capel Primary School is expanded to meet the extra school places required, the school will be negatively affected as it will not be able to fulfil it's current values and ethos, and continue to care for our children in this way. I have taken this quote from the School website "We believe in the value of knowing every child as an individual and the importance of all members of our community working together to see each other thrive".

The proposed Capel development has a railway line running through the middle. This will create 2 major issues. Firstly, difficulties crossing the railway line, as there are currently 2 single-track crossing points. These will not be adequate with the increased pressure created from the extra residents. And secondly the creation of a split-community. The expanded new population will no-doubt be divided into 2 separate communities and will not be cohesive. I worry that community tensions can create negativity and safety fears.

The plan promises new infrastructure (school, preschool, doctors, shops etc) but we are yet to see how this will materialise and the developers will be held accountable to provide these in a timely manner and to meet the needs of the current and new residents.

I urge you to reconsider the inclusion of Tudeley Garden Village within the Local Plan. It will be devastating for current Tudeley residents and the wider borough, as well as the future of our children. There are better planning strategies for TWBC to consider, and they need to consider these with more integrity.

DLP_2816

David Warwick

I am writing as a Tonbridge resident to express my deep concerns over the proposal by TWBC to develop land for over 2000 homes on land adjacent to the hamlet of Tudeley plus other plans involving a secondary school adjacent to Tonbridge and road improvements. All of these proposals have a direct and negative impact on Tonbridge whilst the impact on Tunbridge Wells is negligible.

The impact of all the additional traffic generated by new housing developments on the already overloaded roads around Tonbridge would be horrendous and you do not need to be an expert traffic planner to recognise this. Improving the B2017 between Paddock Wood and Tonbridge will only serve to deliver traffic more quickly to the already busy road into the Tonbridge Industrial Estate.

With respect to the rail services, it is unlikely that new residents will choose to use Paddock Wood station with two services an hour to London over Tonbridge station with four services an hour. Parking at Tonbridge station will then become an issue all of which impacts TMBC ratepayers while costing nothing for TWBC.

It is also my understanding that the choice of development near Tudelely was based more on the fact that TWBC would mostly be dealing with one land owner than any sensible, well thought out impact assessment with the added benefit to TWBC that although the developments are within TWBC, the major impact will be upon Tonbridge and its residents.

In summary, I believe that TWBC should reject this scheme and reconsider the location of additional housing developments to avoid the negative consequences of schemes such as this.

DLP_2819

Sylvia Bourne-Moore

I am angry and distraught at the proposed development proposed by Tunbridge Wells Council. The loss of Green Belt land comprising much of good quality agricultural land is a scandal. Also the loss of an area of outstanding natural beauty along with its habitat.

The development would have a devastating effect on Tonbridge and its inhabitants. Building has already been proposed at Haysden so along with Tudeley, Capel, Golden Green and Mabledon it is being attacked on four sides. How can any town cope with this level of development. The effect on the environment would be devastating. The infrastructure could not cope, roads and railway provision would be overwhelmed. The catastrophic result would also hurt Tunbridge Wells. It would become a deeply unattractive place to live and work and businesses would not wish to relocate there and existing ones might decide to move.

The final insult is that Tunbridge Wells Borough Council is willing to inflict its housing shortage problem on a neighbouring borough and take no responsibility for providing services but take the rates from the new householders and businesses.

You cannot seriously build a so called Garden Village which has the potential to become a Town if a second phase is allowed so close to two large existing towns, plus the villages of Hildenborough and Hadlow. The building in Paddock Wood would also have a detrimental effect. If this scale of building is really necessary, which is doubtful it would be hoped it would be for local people and not for housing more commuters from London which defeats the object. It would make sense to build it on the other side of Tunbridge Wells on land which is not green belt such as Horsmonden, even though you would have to deal with more than one landowner which is mostly the norm. The fact that the railway would not be so convenient would then attract local people and not bring in commuters.

Please search your conscious before agreeing to blight West Kent for ever and making it a place no one wants to live or work.

DLP_2821

Sam Rawlins

As a resident of Tonbridge, living only 10 minutes away from Tudelely, I am rather unhappy at your proposals to develop land for over 2,000 homes and a secondary school. Tudeley is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful villages in the area and it would be a great shame to ruin this. As well as making Tudeley an unattractive place, if carried forward your plans would heavily increase traffic flow through the local area, creating noise, light and pollution complaints. I certainly do not want to be affected by this, so please think about the local community before progressing further with these plans.

DLP_2822

Mike Hyde

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have announced plans to build a number of new homes in Tudeley, East Capel, and Paddock Wood, and a new senior school opposite Summerhill. The purpose of this email is to add my thoughts to those that say this is a terrible move by TWBC for those living around the proposed area. I will concentrate mainly on the Tudeley and the school developments, as I am less familiar with the details at East Capel and Paddock Wood.

The development proposed at Tudeley is for 2,800 new houses. The area currently is prime agricultural land with virtually no housing at all (maybe around a dozen dwellings in the immediate area). Of course, this will change the nature and look of the area completely and irrevocably. It has no access to any significant services, and no amenities at all. The roads around it are completely rural. It is the most unlikely place to consider putting such a significant house development, and is as separated from Tunbridge Wells as it could be – almost like TWBC are trying to get rid of it!

A development of 2,800 houses will be home to in excess of 6,500 people very quickly. It will require there to be amenities added to that development – shops, primary school, doctors, etc. This will add further to the scale of the development, and it will become a small town in its own right where currently there is nothing but completely rural activity. If such amenities are not included, the new residents will have to find such in surrounding villages, which are already devoid of many of them themselves, or in the nearest town, Tonbridge. They will not be getting these from Tunbridge Wells (or anywhere in the TWBC area) which is too far away, and across the A21. Nor from Paddock Wood which will be trying, unsuccessfully , to absorb its own new residents in the proposed developments at East Capel and Paddock Wood itself.

This will all put a tremendous strain on the nearest town, Tonbridge, and its amenities, shops, and railway station. All of these new residents will be paying their council tax to TWBC, but will be a cost, and a major inconvenience, to TMBC. Tonbridge station and general parking is already a significant problem, as is the availability of seating on the trains from there. And there is not a wide choice of suitable shops there either. I am not aware of what the primary schooling availability is like in Tonbridge, but would be very surprised if it could readily, or at all, take on this new influx of children.

The roads around the new development will need to be significantly changed and improved, and access to the umpteen new residential roads arranged, as there is very likely to be gridlock at all rush hour times. This development (and the one at East Capel also) will cause very significant problems for current residents at Tudeley, Golden Green, even East Peckham, in addition to the new residents in these houses. The possibility of a new school at Summerhill will add to that even further. There is already a problem on the road past the existing schools there at school drop off and collection times; all of this will effectively cut off the current residents of local villages from the A21, and will force more traffic onto the Hadlow Road and through Tonbridge, which has enough troubles of its own already. The new school is not near any existing travel services – it is a fair distance from Tonbridge station for example.

The new development is intended to be built both sides of the main train line between Paddock Wood and Tonbridge, requiring new bridging to be put in place, causing at least short term delays to a train service already beset with scheduling problems.

If it essential to build something at Tudeley, it would seem to be far more sensible to make that a small development. The area could probably absorb 20 houses alongside the existing roads, or even 100 or so in a couple of cul-de-sacs off of those roads. This level of increase would be far less of a problem (and easier to design and build) than what is being proposed. And there must be many other areas in the TWBC area that could absorb similar levels of new build.

Presumably, TMBC will have the need to find places for new builds in its area at some stage. This current proposal will have already caused a very significant problem to Tonbridge and its immediate area, probably preventing other local development around Tonbridge where otherwise building could be considered.

The impact on the natural environment will be catastrophic, both from a farming and a wildlife viewpoint. The Medway valley is a flood plain; putting down housing and roads will make the problems currently experienced significantly worse. Golden Green and its immediate surround suffers from this, but East Peckham, which is just a little downstream, has very great problems from flooding which this will make much worse. It is quite likely that at least part of this new proposed development will experience a major risk of flooding itself.

It is fair to say that everyone in this locality has been totally surprised by these suggestions, as a more unlikely location for such a development is hard to imagine. As I intimated at the start, Tunbridge Wells is pushing its problem on to, and into, Tonbridge to the complete detriment of this rural farming area, the local residents’ amenities and access, the already present flooding risk, Tonbridge and its surrounds as a town, and to TMBC too. It should not go ahead!

DLP_2823

Ashley Gittens

As a resident of Deakin Leas, South Tonbridge I strongly object to the plans to build new homes and a new school in the area when local infrastructure is already at breaking point.

During peak hours the traffic around Tonbridge station and Pembury Road is gridlocked. It is virtually impossible to turn right out of Deakin Leas or Baltic Road in the morning without risk of causing an accident. As such alternative routes have to be found which add to journey times. To add further congestion to these roads is a very bad idea.

I commute from Tonbridge station to London each morning. Regularly I can not find a seat so I have to stand for my 40 minute journey which costs £4,500 / year. Walking to the station after 07:30 becomes very challenging due to the inflow of school children using the station for the local schools. I frequently have to walk on the road. To add further inflow of pupils to this area will further gridlock this already unsustainable situation.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_2825

Helen Parrish

I Object to the Tudeley Garden Village proposal at Capel in the TWBC Local Plan (LP) for the following reasons:

1 The call-for-sites land details supplied to TWBC by Hadlow Estate is incorrect.

There are at least 4 Freehold dwellings annotated incorrectly as Hadlow Estate property. Mine is one of them. How many more incorrect details have been supplied to TWBC

2 63% of the Local Plan “Housing Needs” are

Unplanned (i.e. we need to wait to the “Master-Planning” stage for answers)

Sited where there is 0% Infrastructure

Located in Capel Parish Council (70% of this in Tudeley) – there is no fair dispersement across the Borough

3 There is no Plan B

if their Plan A does not work (when more suitable locations do actually exist e.g. Horsmonden – but where, coincidentally, the Leader and Deputy-Leader Council of the have their wards and live – or Frittenden). If sole Plan A is found UNSOUND – their would be a complete waste of Tax Payers money

4 It is biased development

developed by a biased, wrongly structured, TWBC - The Planning Organisation and Cabinet has a common Chairperson for all committees

They are using a late entry (Hadlow Estate) to the call-for-sites offering (where 4 alternatives exist)

For a site split in two by a major Railway Line

to place these 63% of “Housing Needs” which are based on the wrong figures (ONS)

placing it next to Tonbridge & Malling Borough’s resources (knowingly therefore not affecting TW’s resources for which I pay my Council Tax)

enabling an inexperienced, non-community orientated, nor a high building-standards Estate (Hadlow), to Master Plan the 63% of TWBC requirements

due to TWBC’s ease of having to deal with only one landowner

5 It Plans to build on the only area of the Borough which is ...

Green Belt (i.e. in the middle of it – not at the edge) – with no re-allocation of compensatory Green Belt suggested. There is no mention of the “special circumstances” required by the NPPF to justify Green Belt destruction

On, and next-to, Flood Plains

On, and next-to, AONB

On prime, productive, agricultural land (A2 and A3 cereal, orchards, berries etc.) and equestrian fields

Across fields of abundant bio-diversity

6 It Ignores ...

Brown Field and Unoccupied Field site potentials (due to out of date data?) - Brown Field land in the middle of Tunbridge Wells has been empty for over 10 years – and changed hands as an “Investment” between developers I understand the effects on Climate Change and the Environment (Flora, Fauna, Air Quality, flooding, arable land, local farming/equestrian employment)

early consultations (2017 pre-LP) – with a non-representative Borough Councillor for Capel PC – and employing NDAs (even the Press)

co-operation with T&MBC – which T&MBC, contradicting TWBC’s many such statements, say does not exist. The NPPF Para 35 states that Local Plans must be “based on effective joint working on cross-boundary strategic matters”. As this is not so the Local Plan for Capel must be Unsound.

This Local Plan is full of Contradictions with too many issues and hurdles to surmount

DLP_2978

Robert Johnston

There are no good things to say about the extraordinary number of new homes planned for the T.C.P.W. area.

It takes no brains to realise the effect on these areas of road congestion, air and noise pollution, educational and medical demands, increased flooding, insufficient retail outlets leading to overcrowded parking and shops. Quality of life for existing residents will suffer immensely.

House prices will almost suffer due to the oversupply and for the reasons above.

9% of TWBC's population will be subject to 65% of the new housing.

Planning with no thought for people's lives.

Think again.

DLP_3004

Liz Drew

I’m writing to express my concern about your proposal. The local area is already very congested as it is. More traffic into Tonbridge will be chaotic.

Are so many houses needed? Why in those areas? Can there be expansion in existing housing estates?

Green belt should remain so for the future. Obliterating the beautiful countryside and views is catastrophic.

How is it TW council pushing for this when in fact it’s Tonbridge that will suffer ?

DLP_3010

Steven Tate

I write hoping this email will be taken into consideration. I want to register my objection to the development on the following grounds:

1) Lack of infrastructure, especially transport. All commuter traffic will use Tonbridge station and this is already busy at rush hour.

2) The junction at A26 / B2017 is totally unsuitable for the level of traffic and delays already exist, especially at the A26 / Vale Road junction.

3) The B2017 itself is not a major road and is already dangerous in terms of being a narrow yet fast and busy road. As a cyclist, this is one of the blackspots for riding due to the level and speed of traffic which already exists.

4) Given the lack of transport infrastructure, this development will mean multiple cars per household, adding to the local load.

5) Building on ancient green belt land and spoiling the character of the Kent countryside.

6) Linking Paddock Wood with Tonbridge, effectively creating urban sprawl in the countryside.

Please register my strong objections to the development and understand we will continue to campaign to stop it.

DLP_3061

Kathleen Davey

This plan put forward in injunction with the Hadlow Estate and continued and kept under wraps in an abolition of both parties and you should be ashamed of yourselves in bearing the names of Councillors.

This part of the landscape is a haven to escape from all the other disgraceful planning you have instigated over the years.

The land will flood just as in Sheffield because areas here already have.

As for road congestion it will be inescapable, made like spaghetti junction that residents here already suffer.

You have no appreciation of the environment, first look around at the village areas where planning has ruined peaceful landscapes with modern buildings which are alien to the countryside. These buildings you suggest will be sold to outsiders with money as second homes and they, the inhabitants will have no appreciation whatsoever of the countryside. I hope if this goes through you can live with your consouics - I doubt it, so many lives you are happy to ruin.

Well done T.W.B.C.

DLP_3139

Andrew Pinhorn

I am not a resident of Tunbridge Wells Borough but live near the Borough boundary with Tonbridge. I have lived at my current address for 22 years and prior to that for 5 years in Golden Green. I know the area around Paddock Wood, Capel and Tudeley well. This is an attractive rural landscape and an important reason why I choose to live here.

I am writing to object strongly to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR / CA 1) and “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (STR / PW1) on the grounds that this will involve the release of Green Belt Land.

This land was designated as Green Belt many years ago to ensure that important countryside was kept open, that urban sprawl was stopped and to preserve the special character of historic areas. It follows that the Green Belt designation should only be overturned rarely and in exceptional circumstances.

In my view, the merits of this Green Belt Land are striking in terms of agricultural use, amenity /therapeutic value, ancient woodlands and hedgerows, biodiversity. These merits far outweigh the dubious benefits should of more housing. The exceptional case argument has not been made.

The proposed destruction of Green Belt land is strongly opposed by local residents.

The Local Plan needs to be stopped in its current form.

DLP_3194

Harriet Maidman

I write as a local resident to raise my strong objections to the proposals by TWBC to build over 4000 new homes in Tudeley and East Capel and a large school near Somerhill. Namely “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1) and the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1). I understand you may publish my objection but not my contact details. My objections are:

The residents of the 2800 homes proposed for Tudeley (possibly 6000+ people) will come to Tonbridge for their services eg health service, schools and other amenities as it's closer than Tunbridge Wells. As a council tax payer in Tonbridge I strongly object to carrying the cost of increased demand for our local services which will be stretched beyond capacity and TWBC walk off with the council tax payment.

This is over 600 acres of greenbelt (GB) and prime agricultural land, including major floodplains, which would be destroyed. TWBC has brownfield and non GB and non-AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) land available across the borough and previously under consideration in 2018. There are no “exceptional circumstances” to merit greenbelt being used on this scale.

In particular, for me as a commuter, it will push thousands more people onto the Paddock Wood and Tonbridge commuter trains. In Tonbridge, the roads at peak times are already very heavily congested and not able to be widened. Parking is a nightmare. Where will all these cars and people to go? TWBC are simply viewing the additional commuters at Tonbridge as somebody else’s problem. This is not acceptable and has not been thought through.

DLP_3255

Kent County Council (Growth, Environment and Transport)

Highways and Transportation

The Local Highway Authority conditionally supports this policy

Paragraph 6 of Strategy for Capel lists destinations to provide strategic transport links to. It should possibly include destinations to the north (Maidstone, Kings Hill, M20). Further work is required to assess this. KCC recommends this paragraph begins with the following statement: Strategic transport links and junctions shall be provided/improved between....

Further additional changes are requested:

Paragraph 6 – “Strategic transport links and junctions shall be provided/improved between Tonbridge, Tudeley Village, the A228, Five Oak Green, Royal Tunbridge Wells/Southborough, destinations to the north in Tonbridge & Malling and Maidstone boroughs, land at Capel and Paddock Wood and Paddock Wood Town Centre. To include the provision of an offline A228 strategic link. The exact location of such a link has not been determined. Links from Tudeley Village to the east should minimise the impact on the road network in the settlement of Five Oak Green and have regard to Kent County Council minerals allocations in the vicinity. The exact location of such a link has not been determined”

Additional paragraph – Strategic sustainable transport infrastructure (dedicated public transport routes, segregated footways and cycleroutes) shall be provided/improved between Tonbridge, the proposed secondary school, Tudeley Village, Paddock Wood and Tunbridge Wells

Additional paragraph - Provision of improved vehicle and cycle parking at Paddock Wood station and Tonbridge Station.

Additional paragraph - Opportunities will be explored for a train station at Tudeley Village on the Southeastern Main Line route. If deemed suitable developers will deliver through contributions. If deemed possible for construction in the future, land will be safeguarded.

Education

Proposed growth within Paddock Wood and Tudeley Village is forecast to generate the combined need for an additional eight forms of entry of secondary provision. It is proposed two forms of entry are provided through the expansion of the existing Mascalls School prior to the establishment of a new 6FE secondary school within the area. The total level of growth cannot be accommodated through the expansion of Mascalls alone and therefore Policy STR/PW 1 relating to growth in Paddock Wood must reflect the need for sites relating to the policy to contribute financially to the provision of the new 6FE secondary school.

Heritage Conservation

Scale 1 - Development of this site (or part of) should be avoided

Major heritage issues to consider, especially impact on historic landscape. There are many designated heritage assets directly adjacent or perhaps within this site, farmsteads and church. There is a potential sensitive WWII crash site as well, with high potential for as yet unknown significant archaeological remains. Proposed Tudeley Village has potential for multi-period remains. It has not been subject to detailed formal archaeological investigations and as such KCC’s understanding of the heritage of this site is limited. Factors KCC are aware of include: potential for early prehistoric in the River Terrace Gravels; on topographical grounds there is potential for later prehistoric; 13th century or earlier community focused around the church with some bloomeries identified to the north; post medieval farmsteads and small industrial complexes; WWII crash site near Bank Farm

Prior to allocation, this site requires a full Archaeological, Archaeological Landscape and Historic Building Assessment; a Geophysical Survey to locate any industrial remains close to All Saints Church Tudeley.

In addition, the impact on the historic settlement pattern of this area of Capel could be very high.

The historic landscape in this area is of considerable importance with a strong horticultural and post medieval industrial character. Given the size of this proposed development scheme, there is a need for detailed consideration of the impact on the surrounding historic landscape, including nearby villages, key historic buildings, sensitive archaeological landscapes, including lanes, field boundaries and historic land use features.

DLP_3377

Pamela Stanley

I have lived in Five Oak Green for 60 years. I like where I live but am distressed by this unfair plan which will destroy my parish forever and ruin so many lives. I know lots of people who hate this plan but aren't writing because thy say it's a waste of time and you will build what you want, where you want.

I object to The Strategy for Capel Parish (Policy STR/CA1)

Capel is a lovely rural parish and that is why people live here. It has plenty of green, open spaces and places to walk, breath and observe wildlife. It is just not right to place such a large part of the borough's houses in such a rural area.

It will cause even more traffic problems on the road (B2017) through Five Oak Green and onto Tonbridge or Paddock Wood and these are already terrible at all peak times. How will TOnbridge and Paddock Wood town centres and rail stations cope with the traffic, parking and commuters (especially considering the extra houses being built from Ashford to Marden)? There is no further train capacity; what do people in Paddock Wood and Tonbridge think about this?

The plan will mean development from east Paddock Wood through to the new school of Somerhill on the fringes of Tonbridge. It will also require upgrading in roads notably the A228 through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and then another across Capel to join to Tudeley New Town. Hartlake Road is entirely rural but will become choked with traffic. Capel will have roads and houses everywhere. We will need to get in our car to find a place for peace and quiet!

There are better alternatives to these proposals! The A21 corridor and Knights Park offer better alternatives with ready access to the A21. Capel may have to accept a small amount of additional housing in line with other rural parishes but that should be in line with its rural aspect and population (as with other Parishes within the borough).

Large parts of Capel are in known flooding areas which is a major reason why no large development has taken place before. Five Oak Green floods regularly and this is despite the flood mitigation that has been put in. Concreting from Paddock Wood to Tonbridge cannot be a worthy plan when it is a flood area and known to be so?

DLP_3388

Andy Ornsby

I live in Five Oak Green and have spent a significant time living in the village.

I am objecting to the Strategy for Capel Parish (Policy STR/CA1)

Capel is a rural parish and that is why most people live here. It is wrong to place such a large part of the borough's houses in a rural area such as this. It will cause massive traffic problems on the road (B2017) through Five Oak Green and onto Tonbridge or Paddock Wood and these are already terrible at all peak times. I cannot imagine how Tonbridge and Paddock Wood town centres and rail stations are going to cope with the traffic, parking and commuters (especially considering the extra houses being built from Ashford to Marden). I'm aware there is no further train capacity.

The plan will mean development from east Paddock Wood through to the new proposed school at Somerhill on the edge of Tonbridge. It will also require a huge upgrading in roads notably the A228 through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and then another cross Capel to join to Tudeley New Town. The cost of building these roads will be enormous as will future upkeep. That money could have been better spent elsewhere. Hartlake Road is entirely rural but will become choked with traffic. Capel will have roads and houses everywhere. We will need to get in our car to find a place for peace and quiet! Whatever happened to mindfulness?

There are better alternatives to these proposals! The A21 corridor, land near Mabledon and Knights Park offer better alternatives with easy access to the A21. Capel may have to accept a small amount of additional housing in line with other rural parishes but that should be in keeping with its rural location and population (as with other Parishes within the borough).

Large parts of Capel are in known flooding areas which is a major reason why no large development has taken place before. Five Oak Green floods regularly despite the flood mitigation that has been installed. How can concreting from Paddock Wood to near Tonbridge be a worthy plan when it is a flood area and known to be so?

DLP_3405

Priscilla Jane May

Can you make this clear as I don't have email, I am using my husband's email.

My husband has already responded and I wanted to do the same but was unsure as to how to do this. He tells me to make it clear that as a co owner of our property and have been for the 43 odd years we have lived here I am right to file an objection to your local plan. having seen my husbands email of objection there is little I can probably add. I have seen the plans and knowing the area better than my husband as I like walking and when we started our family I stopped working and apart from a spell of working as a cleaner as we got in a spot of bother with the bank when trying to give a lot to our children by way of things to do etc it got a bit difficult.

I am familiar with the area where you want to put a village, or as my husband calls it, a new town. Our eldest of 3 daughters will be 48 in 1 days time to give you some idea of how long we have stayed in capel. Before this house it was a terraced cottage about 100 yards away.

Now my main objection is to an area that seems to be called CA1.

I am less sure of the position near Paddock Wood which my husband tells me is in the parish of Capel.

The planned houses at Tudeley of 2,800 dwellings will cause harm to residents of Capel Parish . There will be a significant increase in traffic to Tonbridge and out again. I am the only driver in the family as my husband has epilepsy, a prosthetic leg and shoulder and hasn't been able to drive for nearly 40 years and I have personal concerns as to the increase in traffic s well as to the sense of it. Pembury Road will coincide with a proposed new 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 makes no sense to me having to do a school run in my day with our 4 children all going in to Tonbridge, for a school, surrounded by heavy traffic and requiring children to cross a busy train line to access both sides of the site.

Many of those who will live in Tudeley will use Tonbridge Station for commuting and Tonbridge town services that will need more parking. The increase in traffic will be more than Tonbridge can cope with. It is bad as it is and can’t be made wider in most places. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. The rail company have, so I am told, that a station at Tudeley is not on. Most people living in the new houses will, I assume drive their own cars. Has a bus company been approached? bicycle use is out of the question. My husband has already been nearly wiped of this planet by a hit and run truck/.small lorry as the roads in the main for the whole of Kent are pathetic. KCC might be able to learn a lesson from Prince Charles. There will be an increase in pressure on Tonbridge health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden houses at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.Not much parking to be had in Tunbridge Wells either.

Large parts of will occur on the Medway floodplain with flood risk assessments based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change.This worries me as we have a tributary of Alders Stream running through our property and have flooded badly in the past. We have built a large overflow ditch which works and so has not let us down. help, but I believe that flood risks will increase. Covering farmed fields with houses and roads will make the Medway flood more often and cause increased flood risk in Tudeley There will be an increase in pollution that will spread across the boundary in to Tonbridge & Malling and create a visual scar across our beautiful landscape which I hold so dear The views out to the north Downs, which are incredible in good weather will be impaired, including the setting of historic assets like All Saint’s Church in Tudeley , not to mention our own church built in 1127, save for the tower added later. The church at Tudeley where as a christian I often go, to may end up being surrounded by houses, save for a small area to the back, I suppose to allow light in to the Chagall windows. Houses 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.

Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and has to be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area. This area should remain rural with agricultural land that can be used to provide food.

I believe that housing need can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist.It is in a sense "our Green Belt" and there is no sense in taking it away from us. What happens to the quality of our life or does that not come into it?

TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the houses in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable.

DLP_3424

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.

The Section 85 ‘duty of regard’ requires all relevant authorities to have regard to the purpose of AONBs when coming to decisions or carrying out their activities relating to, or affecting land within these areas. The PPG says of AONBs “Land within the setting of these areas often makes an important contribution to maintaining their natural beauty, and where poorly located or designed development can do significant harm. This is especially the case where long views from or to the designated landscape are identified as important, or where the landscape character of land within and adjoining the designated area is complementary. Development within the settings of these areas will therefore need sensitive handling that takes these potential impacts into account” (Paragraph: 042 Reference ID: 8-042-20190721, revised 21 07 2019).

Impacts will not just be confined to the visual or physical effects such as on habitats or watercourses connecting the AONB with its surroundings, but will also add to the visitor numbers using the AONB and the traffic travelling through it, affecting the sense of naturalness, remoteness, tranquillity and dark skies.

In our view the development of a new large village (‘Tudeley village’) of up to 2800 dwellings at Capel together with the secondary school and proposed strategic link road bordering or within the AONB and the addition of 4,000 homes around Paddock Wood close to the AONB will have a significant effect on the purposes of AONB designation. This issue has not been properly considered by the Plan or its supporting documents.

DLP_3439

Lindy Hall

I live in Five Oak Green (FOG) and have spent the majority of my childhood and adult life in the village.

I am objecting to the Strategy for Capel Parish (Policy STR/CA1)

Capel is a rural parish and that is why most people live here. It is inappropriate to place such a large part of the borough's houses in a rural area. It will cause even more traffic problems on the road (B2017) through FOG and onto Tonbridge or Paddock Wood and these are already terrible at all peak times. I cannot imagine how Tonbridge and Paddock Wood town centres and rail stations are going to cope with the traffic, parking and commuters (especially considering the extra houses being built from Ashford to Marden). I'm aware there is no further train capacity.

The plan will mean unrestricted development from east Paddock Wood through to the new proposed school at Somerhill on the edge of Tonbridge. It will also require a huge upgrading in roads notably the A228 through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and then another cross Capel to join to Tudeley New Town. Hartlake Road is entirely rural but will become choked with traffic. Capel will have roads and houses everywhere. We will need to get in our car to find a place for peace and quiet!

There are surely better alternatives to these proposals! The A21 corridor, land near Mabledon and Knights Park offer better alternatives with easy access to the A21. Capel may have to accept a small amount of additional housing in line with other rural parishes but that should be commensurate to its rural aspect and population (as with other Parishes within the borough).

Large parts of Capel are in known flooding areas which is a major reason why no large development has taken place before. FOG floods on a regular basis despite the flood mitigation that has been applied. How can concreting from Paddock Wood to near Tonbridge be a worthy plan when it is a flood area and known to be so?

DLP_3520

Peter Scrimshaw

I object to the inclusion of land in East Capel in “The Strategy for Paddock Wood” (Policy STR/PW1).

This land is Green Belt land and should only be built upon if an “exceptional circumstance” exists. TWBC’s own assessments in their Sustainability Appraisal show that Paddock Wood can expand and meet most of the plan’s aims without using the Green Belt land at East Capel. The comment above about coalescence and the creation of a conurbation from Paddock Wood right across to Tonbridge is very relevant here, as is the land’s use as a flood plain. Building here, even with flood risk mitigation and “betterment” could have disastrous consequences for all, as the measures being looked at are based on old data that does not fully consider the impact of climate change.

DLP_3523

Nick Burbidge

I am a resident of Tonbridge who commutes into London daily and I am writing to object to “The Strategy for Capel Parish” (Policy STR/CA1).

Building 2,800 houses in Tudeley is an extremely ill-thought out plan for a number of key reasons:

1. There will be a significant increase in traffic in to Tonbridge from the B2017, 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. Not only is this 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 increase in traffic will lead to daily gridlock

2. Many of the people moving into the proposed Tudeley development will use Tonbridge Station for commuting. The increased numbers of passengers on already packed commuter trains from Tonbridge Station will be unsustainable. Commuting from Tonbridge will become a daily misery. Parking in and around Tonbridge Station will be even more difficult. Apparently, Network Rail have confirmed that a station at Tudeley is not viable at present and so will not be built in this plan period.

3. The costs of infrastructure on the Tonbridge & Malling side of the boundary will have to be carried by Tonbridge & Malling residents whilst Tunbridge Wells will receive council tax from the residents in the new dwellings. Essentially, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council are making this Tonbridge's problem which is unacceptable on any level. The cost to Tonbridge based businesses due to traffic issues may drive businesses from the area. There will be an increase in pressure on health services, amenities and car parking as residents from the new garden settlement at Tudeley will use Tonbridge as their local town, not Tunbridge Wells, because Tonbridge is much closer.

4. Creating so much housing in Capel Parish will require the destruction of woodland, hedgerows, meadows, and farmland that is Green Belt land and should be protected. It will spoil the landscape and kill wildlife that is very special to the area, including rare species.

5. I have been told that housing need calculated by the government can be reduced if it requires development of Green Belt land unless “exceptional circumstances” exist. I would like to see TWBC use this argument to remove the garden settlement at Tudeley from this plan. TWBC is already providing more than their housing need figure in the draft Local Plan. TWBC has taken the housing need figure of 13,560 given to them by government and upscaled it to 14,776 despite having strong grounds to lower it due to the large amount of Green Belt and AONB land in the borough. Taking 1,216 (the upscale) from the 2,800 planned for Tudeley and then asking the government to allow the housing need to fall by 1,584 to factor in the lack of “exceptional circumstances” for building on Green Belt land, would be a much better approach. Recent ONS figures show that population growth in the borough is slowing, making this proposed approach honest and relevant.

6. The plan preparation process didn’t include Tudeley (sites CA1 and CA2) until after the Issues and Options Process in 2017. This means that the largest housing area in the plan didn’t go through most of the plan preparation process. There is no detailed Green Belt Study for these sites, no Landscape Assessment, no Biodiversity Assessment. I think that this version of the draft Local Plan isn’t complete enough to be ready for public consultation when the land for such a big proportion of the housing hasn’t had the same level of assessment as the rest of the plan. The Issues and Options process led to most people (60%) wanting a growth corridor led approach. Less than half wanted a garden settlement and that was when they didn’t know the garden settlement would involve destruction of Green Belt. Protecting Green Belt was a key priority for people who participated in the Issues and Options consultation. I think that the plan should be re-written to implement a growth corridor led approach and to protect Green Belt land within the borough.

Essentially, TWBC is using Capel to dump their housing needs on green fields and meadows, polluting a rural area rather than spreading development across the borough on brownfield sites or placing the garden settlement in the middle of the borough, to make it accessible north and south. The developments in Tudeley and East Capel are unsustainable and place huge pressure on Tonbridge infrastructure. The lives of Tonbridge residents will be made worse, especially those of us who commute. Meanwhile, TWBC pocket the council tax.

Please add my contact details to your consultation database so that I can be kept informed of all future consultations on Planning Policy documents. I understand that my comments will be published by the Borough Council, including on its website.

DLP_3537

Paul Smith

I wish to object to the current draft plan in respect of Tudeley 'new town' and East Capel for the following reasons:-

  1. To the unnecessary loss of prime arable Green Belt land and the destruction of habitat involving multiple 'at risk' species, given there are alternative sites available, not involving Green Belt land and better placed to meet the Borough needs as a whole.
  2. To TWBC advocating the loss of Green Belt lands for no other reason than the convenience of volunteered lands from large scale land owners.
  3. To TWBC promoting the development of Green Belt lands when there are no grounds to argue special circumstances.
  4. To TWBC upscaling their housing need figure when the current ONS information advises a trend to lower needs.
  5. To the draft plan having been developed without an aggressive policy to identify brown field sites contrary to Green Belt policy.
  6. To the cavalier inclusion of Tudeley 'new town' and East Capel in the draft plan in the absence of a detailed Green Belt study, Landscape or Biodiversity Assessment.
  7. To the inclusion of East Capel, Tudeley 'new town' and the new senior school which would effectively result in an urban coalescence from Paddock Wood to Tonbridge, contrary to the fundamentals of Green Belt policy.
  8. To the new senior school proposal which is both remote from the 'new town', divided by a railway line and would exacerbate the existing peak traffic difficulties in that area.
  9. To the proposal for Tudeley 'new town' which will adversely affect the setting of All Saints Church at Tudeley.
  10. To a proposal that places over 60% of TWBC upscaled housing 'need' in one ill placed extreme TWBC 'boundary' coalescence and leaves TMBC (not being in receipt of community charges resulting from the draft plan proposals) to cope with an inevitable overwhelming influx of 'new town' traffic and the burden of inordinate cost issues arising.
  11. To the Tudeley 'new town' for which there is no local need and by its location will exacerbate existing traffic difficulties accessing Tonbridge at peak times (it can currently take me 20 minutes to travel two miles into Tonbridge alone, when motoring to work)

DLP_3554

R D and P A Gregory

Save Capel

We are writing this protestation to register our overwhelming objections to the proposed building of 2500 homes in Tudeley area togethet with the addition of a further 1500 homes in the Paddock Wood area.

It is appreciated that new homes are required in the area but the numbers put forward are beyond any sensible reasonable proposal. No doubt as with other development throughout the country they will be the larger and more expensive houses that will be beyond the aspirations of the local less well off residents. It is noted that when the previous approved developments have been built the affordable part tends to diminish as the profit factor tends to take over.

Yes, new housing is reqired, why does a large number have to be sited in one location. As the Green Belt seems to have lost it's original concept, why cannot small developments generally be built as an extension to eh current villages similarly as took place after the second world war. Presumably the large developers are not interested in this type of scheme but prefer to have these giant schemes to make larger profits.

Who are going to live in these new properties, people from away who will overload the current services. The train services will be overloaded, likewise with car parking in the shopping areas. What of the other amenities such as drainage, power, refuse and the like going to be overcome.

Definitely we are for many small developments, but are emphaticcaly against this monsterous proposal that has been put forward.

Please take heed of the feeling against your proposal and reconsider.

DLP_3686

Capel Parish Council

Object

This strategy is absolutely, completely, totally unachievable. The risks involved in plonking a “garden settlement” on this Green Belt hamlet are huge. The infrastructure costs are huge. The landowner and co-master planner are inexperienced and ill-equipped to deliver such a complex project. Point by point the policy is flawed in the following ways:

  1. It is difficult to see the provision of employment and retail provision within the settlement as it lies so close to Tonbridge. This is no compensation for the loss of agricultural land and farming/equestrian employment if the development goes ahead.
  2. The proposed secondary school site is next to an extremely busy road that is already very congested at school drop-off times. It also crosses a railway line that is at the bottom of a very deep cutting. It stands to be demonstrated whether children can cross safely before, during and after the school day. It is also directly opposite the Grade 1 listed Somerhill and contains ancient woodland. CPC understands this is not a choice KCC Would have made as the site for a new school. We think it is completely inappropriate and do not support it.
  3. The requirement for more primary school places in the immediate locality has yet to be demonstrated, as the birth rate is dropping.
  4. 4,000 new dwellings in two new developments in such a small rural area, with such a limited infrastructure is inappropriate. The houses will not provide for the needs of this parish. If needed it would be better to spread them out across the borough.
  5. Flood storage areas and other mitigation strategies can be delivered without developer contributions from new housing. This is an ex post facto justification as far as Five Oak Green is concerned as the borough were seemingly unaware of the EA scheme until February 2019, well after the plans for both schemes had been drawn up. CPC notes the alacrity of the borough in using this proposal which has been on the drawing board since 2010, to allege ‘betterment’ for residents as a result of this proposal, despite their previous lack of interest in this issue. Introducing hard surfaces and dwellings on to the meadows and fields of East Capel and Tudeley will increase the flood risk beyond any mitigation measures.
  6. Strategic transport links cannot be provided without destroying large areas of AONB, and it is noted you cannot provide the exact location of such a link; which makes it difficult to comment on. Given the uncertainty, Capel Parish Council would like the offline A228 link to be reviewed in the wider context of this possible new road infrastructure. It may be the online option would cause less damage to the AONB, and the offline plan is already 20 years old. You will need to be aware of the impact this will cause on the road at Pembury. Any transport links provided will have to continue on through Tonbridge with a huge impact in an already highly congested traffic area.
  7. No comment.
  8. Despite surrounding Five Oak Green with 4,000+ new houses, you state clearly that you want to keep on providing additional housing within Five Oak Green. The village envelope of Five Oak Green should remain as it is in these circumstances given the disproportionate development in the rest of the parish.
  9. The release of Green Belt land is not permitted within the NPPF as TWBC has not proved “exceptional circumstances”. Dealing with a single landowner at Tudeley does not amount to exceptional circumstances, and TWBC have two other options for Paddock Wood which would not require them to build on the green belt at East Capel.
  10. Agree
  11. The impact on carbon sequestration provided by the farmland, meadows, mature trees and hedgerows in all three Capel sites cannot be offset by a nod to zero/low carbon energy production. The impact of this development on climate change is clearly negative as demonstrated in your own sustainability appraisal.
  12. This site is within the recognised 1km AONB buffer zone and so is entirely unsuitable for development of this scale. The associated road infrastructure will have an even more damaging impact.
  13. The AONB Management Plan is severely compromised by this proposed development.

You have a Master planning and Delivery approach within this policy that does not reference the involvement of developers and landowners. It is our understanding that the master planning of East Capel will be led by the Council. However, the master planning of Tudeley appears to be shared between the Council and Hadlow Estate. This is not consistent and the product of having one developer to deal with. Hadlow Estate are not experienced developers and have failed to share their plans and ideas with the parish council or the wider community. We fear these ideas will be completely inappropriate for this Low Weald landscape and that they will try to build a high end urban development completely out of keeping with the local heritage and landscape, designed to appeal to an upmarket London based clientele. We strongly urge the council abandon this idea and failing that to take a more pro-active role with the landowner in managing this development.

Comments on paragraph 5.60 (Allocation Policies) p.159

This site is unsuitable for a garden settlement because it has a main railway line running through the middle of it. There only two crossings. At Hartlake Road on its boundary (no more than a country lane) and Sherenden Road which is so narrow that only one car can pass at a time under the railway embankment. There are no proposals as we understand to change this as it would require major works to the railway which is the main Tonbridge – Dover line. CPC believe it is two settlements divided by a railway line, neither of which satisfy garden settlement principles.

This site is under single ownership. This appears to be the overriding factor in its selection. The landowner has no track record in managing or master planning a development of this size, and they are not widely trusted to do so within the wider Capel community in our judgement.  No-one has had any positive form of engagement with them since the development was disclosed, and thus nobody has any idea of what this development might entail.

Development on the site will adversely affect flood risks in Tudeley and neighbouring Golden Green, East Peckham, Hadlow and Tonbridge. The River Medway is more prone to flooding and the impact of a failure in the Leigh Barrier has not been considered, particularly in light of rapid increase in sea levels and other Climate Change. The Five Oak Green flood risk will be reduced by a storage reservoir on the Alder Stream, that can be delivered and funded by a much smaller scale of development than that envisaged by this garden settlement.

The Biodiversity on this site is extraordinary. As is rightly noted, it is also adjacent to a Biodiversity Opportunity Area and directly adjacent to AONB.

DLP_3764

Geoff Croker

Re: Objection to Strategy for Capel Parish (Policy STR/CA1) & (Policy STR/PW1) 

I wish to raise my strongest objection and concerns to the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Draft Plan for a Garden Village (New town) at the CA1 site, Capel East and Paddock Wood sites all of which appear to have manifest as potential white elephants, with CA1 and its inherent complex nature proposed by some twisted logic .The proposed development at CA1 is I believe misplaced in both scale and its location. The combination of these joint proposals would result in some 8000 homes within a small area of 3 miles of the borough. Residents are likely to face higher Council Tax/ rates to fund these proposals, and the council risk facing a very large number of compensation claims.I believe it would be wise to halt this Draft plan promptly to avoid a repeat of the Calverley Park outcome which has apparently wasted £10,000,000.of residents money, the Draft plan sum that could be wasted is likely to be much greater.  

The impact on the small and rural parish of Capel and the detriment to the surrounding AONB which would contradict section 15 of the NPPF with associated quarrying construction and roads will be huge, with creation at source and overspill of pollution in many forms for an unhealthy and unnecessary time period which would likely undermine the Environment Bill 2019-2020 currently being assessed in parliament. This Bill makes provision for “improving” the natural environment regarding Waste and resource efficiency, provision of Air Quality, recall of products that fail environmental standards, makes provision for Water, Nature and Biodiversity and “Conservation Covenants” and regulation of Chemicals and for connected purposes. Such proposed housing numbers will be to the detriment of the Governments carbon aims, why would a responsible council wish to do this? I am informed no Environmental Assessment has been undertaken. Please note I have covered these topics further later in this letter.

Greenbelt

The Draft plan is against section 13 of the NPPF Building on greenbelt, this is only considered under “exceptional circumstances” paragraph 133 and 137 and it does not appear TWBC have examined fully other reasonable options.On the 27.4.2018  Savid Javid stated quote " Housing numbers will not justify building on the greenbelt" and Robert Jenrich Secretary of State for Housing Commerce and Local Government  stated on 26.10.19 quote "Ruled out building on the Greenbelt" !

The proposals would virtually join Tonbridge to Tudeley Five Oak green and Paddock Wood making a none sense of basic planning principles it appears however that this may well be the intention. The Environment Bill will aim to enhance green spaces rather than build on them.

Assessment for Sites

Following the very poor notification and confused consultation process and what may be deemed a possible lack of Due Process being that the vast majority of residents in the parish were totally unaware of the Draft plan. Furthermore it appears a relatively small percentage of parishioners were able to respond despite quotes at public meeting by council heads. It is unacceptable that non internet users appeared ignored and unable to comment. It appears also the majority some 60% of respondents wanted a growth corridor approach and were unaware of the potential greenbelt destruction.

The assessment undertaken was "Not Rigorous" or Robust and really must be so .The planning preparation did not include Tudeley sites CA1 and CA2 until after the issues and options process in 2017 this means the largest housing area in the plan “did not” go through most of the plan preparation process, but was simply included in the second call for sites. It appears many brownfield sites are available within the borough with others not having been identified. The Queens speech in 2015 prioritised the selection of Brownfield sites for housing with councils able to prioritise planning permission for brownfield sites with Local Development Orders why has this not been pursued?

Other buildings and sites are also available,