Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Plan
We are currently working on the preparation of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Plan. This plan will comprise a long-term strategy (up to 2040) to help create and sustain a more prosperous and sustainable town centre.
The plan will provide a vision, objectives and a planning framework for the future of the town centre. This is with the aim of allowing it to diversify and adapt to changes, seek sustainable improvements to public spaces and travel and movement, as well as attracting and encouraging investment in high quality and diverse living spaces, working, shopping, learning, leisure and cultural facilities. At the same time, regard will also be had to sustaining and enhancing Royal Tunbridge Wells heritage status and historic attributes. Overall, the town centre will remain a vibrant, active and attractive place that residents and visitors can enjoy now and in the future.
The Town Centre Plan will be a separate document to the overarching Tunbridge Wells Submission Local Plan (October 2021) (SLP) which is currently subject to independent examination. However, it will align with the ambitions set out in the SLP including Policy 'STR/RTW2: Strategy for Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre', which sets out the strategy for the Town Centre providing a framework for the development of the Town Centre Area Plan. This requires the Town Centre Plan, to provide ‘An overall vision for Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre building on its current success, but setting out a flexible and adaptable approach to future uses and sites and ensuring the comprehensive and sustained development of the centre’. The full STR/RTW2 policy wording can be viewed on pages 78-82 of the SLP via the link above.
Study area boundary
The area that the Town Centre Plan will relate to is shown on the map below (this is based on the boundary defined by Policy STR/RTW 2 in the SLP as referred to above). It is realised that the town centre does extend beyond this boundary and as such, consideration will be given to the wider setting of the town centre in the production of the Town Centre Plan, however only sites that fall within this boundary can be allocated within the plan.
First and next steps
A series of early engagement events took place in October and November 2022 to discuss the future of the town centre with local people, businesses and other stakeholders. A Town Centre Study and other supporting evidence base documents were subsequently produced in relation to the preparation of the Town Centre Plan. These documents will be used to inform the first draft of the Town Centre Plan, which will be in the form of an Issues and Options consultation document. It is anticipated that this Issues and Options document will go out to wider public consultation (under Regulation 18) towards the end of this year (October to December) for a minimum period of six weeks. The whole range of documents and background evidence produced will be made available during this consultation.
Call for Sites
We are carrying out a Call for Sites as part of the production of a Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Sites Assessment evidence base for the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Plan. This will help to identify available and suitable sites to be considered to deliver the strategy and vision for Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre over the next 15 years until 2040.
The Call for Sites is particularly aimed at landowners, developers and their agents but it is open to anyone to submit a site. A key provision is that the person submitting the site can confirm that the landowner is willing to make the land available for development should it be considered suitable.
All sites submitted must be located within the defined Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre boundary (as shown on the map above). However, the submission of sites which straddle the boundary (that is, partly located within and partly outside the boundary) will also be considered.
Any sites submitted which clearly fall outside of this boundary will not be considered due to the specific geographical area to which the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Plan relates.
Sites submitted as part of this Call for Sites will be assessed for their suitability for development together with the likelihood of them being available and achievable for development.
It must be noted that even if land is identified by the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Sites Assessment as having potential for development - this does not in any way indicate or confirm that it will be allocated for development in the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Plan, or that it will get planning permission in the future.
The main purpose of the Call for Sites exercise is to give us an initial list of sites to consider in identifying potential land use supply for the Town Centre Plan.
The Call for Sites will run until midnight on Friday 18 August 2023.
Call for Sites submission form
A site submission form (along with a site location plan showing the extent of the submitted sites’ boundary) should be completed as fully as possible and include the relevant details to enable us to consider the site and its suitability for allocation within the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Plan.
How to submit the form
The preferred method for completing this form is by using our Planning Policy Consultation Portal.
You can complete the form and send it to us at:
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council
Royal Tunbridge Wells
Kent, TN1 1RS
Please return your submission form by midnight on Friday 18 August 2023, together with a map that clearly identifies the boundary of the site.
To ask any questions, or to find out more about the Call for Sites or the Town Centre Plan, please email RTWTownCentrePlan@tunbridgewells.gov.uk
How we will use your personal information included in the site submission form
We will use the information you provide to help prepare the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Sites Assessment for the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Plan. We will enter responses onto a computer database for the purpose of recording and collating information. We will carry out an initial appraisal of sites that might be taken forward for allocation in the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Plan.
Information about sites submitted through the Call for Sites may be published on our website before the completion of the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Sites Assessment document. This will include an interactive map to show the submitted sites’ location in relation to other sites and the town centre boundary.
You can find more information by reading our Planning Policy Privacy Notice.