NDP – What has it and what will it achieve?

The Final Submission Draft of the NDP is due to be signed off by the Steering Committee and the Planning Committee on Monday 20th June 2022, with the Steering Committee commencing at 6pm in the Town Council Chambers, and the Planning Committee to be held afterwards at 7pm. These meetings will both be open to the public, and members of the public may register to address the Committee by emailing Georgie Elliston at planning@sevenoakstown.gov.uk.

Below is a summary outlining the NDP’s purpose, as well as current and predicted achievements throughout its progression.

  1. The NDP is part of the Statutory Planning Process and therefore has ‘statutory weight’ in considering planning applications. It will also add local detail to the existing and emerging Local Plan.
  1. The NDP precedes the emerging SDC’s Local Plan and will therefore introduce important new policies around such issues as biodiversity, net gain and managing surface water to reduce risk of flooding.
  1. The NDP identifies design principles and the benefits that should be delivered as part of potential development on vacant and under-utilised sites in the town.  This includes guidance on the scale and massing of development that would be appropriate. Whilst site capacities have been removed from the main text of the NDP on planning advice, reference remaining in the consultation appendix, this guidance will be important to delivering appropriate development on the identified sites.
  1. There have been several planning applications submitted over the last year where it was agreed if the NDP had been in place it would have helped oppose such applications. The NDP puts in place a policy whereby ‘The Town Council will normally require major planning applications to be submitted to a Design Review Panel for review early in the planning process’.  Had this been in place, this could have addressed for instance, public concerns with parking provision and housing density at the Sevenoaks gasholder site, concerns about medical provision at the Tarmac Quarry site, the bulk mass of the design at Berkley House.
  1. The NDP has been updated and incorporates climate change aspirations and initiatives
  1. Promoting safe walking and cycle routes via – reinvigorating the dormant Cycle Strategy, supported 20 mph proposals
  1. Introduced proposals for a Cultural Quarter and improvements to Public Realm
  1. Identifying and in some cases progressing enhanced community and sports facilities
  • Bat & Ball Station and Access Ramp
  • Bat & Ball Centre (identified as a priority and refurbished as per Policy COM1, which has been widely successful and benefited the community especially throughout COVID-19)
  • Business Hub
  • Sevenoaks Day Nursery development
  • 3G Hockey Pitch at Hollybush Rec
  • Greatness Football Pavilion
  • Oast House
  1. Identified objectives supported by the community
  1. Policies relating to protection of Sevenoaks character, heritage, and identity
  1. Proposals to develop and enhance key areas of the town including Station Square
  1. Proposals for new blue and green infrastructure including additional allotments and further protection of current.
  1. Proposals for improvements to Bat & Ball junction
  1. Proposals for development of key sites that would not have otherwise been identified as the District Council requires site owners’ agreement and a demonstration that sites are deliverable within the Local Plan period to allocate them.  E.g., Edwards Electrical site.
  1. Engaged residents in the process formally and informally (see consultation statement), and most importantly reflected these in the NDP and voted for in  a referendum rather than local council committee.  The initial public response identified the following most important objectives:
  • Improve the areas that detract from the positive character of the town
  • Undertake an Integrated Transport Study
  • Improve the gateways into and out of the town, including the stations
  • Protect the architectural characteristics of the town
  • Retain pathways, historic alleyways and promote for pedestrian use
  • Support tree retention and tree planting
  • Protect green belt and green spaces
  • Promote an effective pedestrian, cycling and vehicle strategy
  • Consider inclusion of Sevenoaks in TFL’s Oyster Card charging zone
  • Consider 20 mph speed limits in areas of town
  1. Due to the length of time to develop the NDP some supporting documents will need review and updating, although key principles remain – this should be part of the future NDP Action Plan
  1. Provides an overall indicative development plan for lobbying for additional infrastructure e.g., health and education facilities.
  1. Having the NDP adopted and in place, with its policies on high quality housing and design guidance reduces the risk of unwanted development from developers that would have otherwise been able to push the application through due to the presumption in favour of sustainable development.

Any questions may be directed to Georgie Elliston, Planning Committee Clerk: planning@sevenoakstown.gov.uk.

Registering to speak at a Committee meeting is done so on a first-come first-served basis, and interest must be registered before 12noon the day of the meeting.

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