Links that may be of interest in meeting future threats facing our communities.
Big Picture: Swale Borough Council (SBC) are obliged by Central Government to revisit their Borough Plan home-building targets - all Counties are being 'encouraged' to increase the number of planning approvals and make more land available. You do have several opportunities to share you views in consultation.
Emerging Local Plan for Swale (2022-2038) - Bookmark the SBC Home Page to keep in touch with current official thinking.
Public Consultation ended: 8th June 2018. To find out how to get involved, use this link to SBC "Current Consultations". To contribute, you will need to register on their Consultation Portal on this link.
New Garden Communities Prospectus: An invitation for developers and landowners to put forward sites and ideas for new garden communities in Swale April 2018. SBC Prospectus download PDF.
Consultation Ended: 12 midday on 3rd August 2018.
This is SBC's response to Central Government pressure to make dramatic changes to the availability of land to meet local needs. It is a game-changer.
Although aimed at developers and landowners, you can understand better the scale and potential impact on our communities by reading the SBC proforma as the first important stage to the review of the Local Plan (2022-2038):
‘Call for Sites’ proforma: The Council is preparing a Brown field Land Register and widening its Strategic Land Availability Assessment beyond identifying potential housing sites, to also include sites for travellers, employment, retail, tourism, leisure or a mix of these uses.
NEW: Revised National Planning Policy Framework (July 2018):
The importance of Air Quality is retained, as is "cumulative impact" policy affecting AQMAs. On-line copy of the NPPF can be found here. This replaces the 2012 version.
Kent County Council, Planning Applications Committee met on 16th May 2018 to "note" the principals contained in the Draft NPPF Revision as it currently stands.
Update: Swale Borough Council's response to Quinn's agents about the need for an Environmental Statement - Use this link to read SBC Letter and the opinions of the Statutory Consultation bodies.
Filling in between Sittingbourne and Lynsted Parish
Last year, we saw a tactical withdrawal of the proposal to develop land to the south of the A2 that falls inside Lynsted with Kingsdown Parish boundary. Why "Tactical"?
- Developers will always step back from an outright rejection because that firmly closes the door - they will want to keep open the option to return to the idea - perhaps as part of the Local Plan Review?
- SBC Officials gave advanced notice of "likely rejection", knowing that their rejection would 'close down' this option for the future...... bear in mind and SBC Officials apparently encouraged the application in the first place.
- In short, the Lw/K Parish development is not yet entirely dead.
What now? "Garden Towns"
Garden Towns. Agents working for Quinn Estates have lobbed a mega-proposal into the Planning Department that matches Central Government proposals for "Garden Towns" as a radical response to housing needs. A single approval on this scale would tie SBC's hands into the future as the developers will hold the whip-hand. Perhaps SBC will look at options for 'phasing' or 'zoning' such a massive development opportunity to retain some control over several competing developers? It is hard to see quite how this will pan out.
Banking of Land. To understand how this will play out, we will need to keep an eye on whether SBC are pressing developers sufficiently to deliver developments already approved under the current Local Plan rather than "banking" the development land to realise profits on selling-on parcels of that land to other developers. Apparently this has already happened for one parcel of land in Teynham Parish! Not one house built!
Planning Portal Papers. Now that Swale Borough Council have confirmed the need for this mega-development to include an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), we must watch and wait. The developers will have to develop detailed proposals on highways matters. KCC and Transport England will lead on whether they feel the road infrastructure can support the proposals. SBC will have to unravel the balance between housing needs and the 'harm' done to the local environment through the addition of traffic along the A2 and into the four AQMAs (Sittingbourne, Greenstreet, Ospringe).
This proposal is an opening gambit from Quinns to establish themselves as front-runners in the SBC Review process for the Local Plan (2022-2038) and SBC's invitation to developers and landowners to submit ideas on land-use and wider delivery of "Garden Towns" to match Central Government rhetoric.
- Screening Opinion link - 17/506492/ENVSCR - Screening Opinion..
- Scoping Opinion link - .17/506551/EIASCO - Scoping Opinion.
DEFRA and "A Green Future"
'A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment' – published 11th January 2018 by DEFRA
To give you an idea of whether you want to download an 11Mb PDF copy. There are some technical papers under this link too. You can also register yourself to receive updates as this policy uncoils....
“This 25 Year Environment Plan sets out government action to help the natural world regain and retain good health. It aims to deliver cleaner air and water in our cities and rural landscapes, protect threatened species and provide richer wildlife habitats. It calls for an approach to agriculture, forestry, land use and fishing that puts the environment first.
.... we will work with the Devolved Administrations as we leave the EU to uphold environmental standards and go further to protect our shared natural heritage. We will continue to work with the Devolved Administrations on areas where common frameworks will need to be retained in the future. This Plan does not pre-empt these discussions.
We will take action on a number of fronts, looking to join up policies in a way that maximises benefits and value for money. We have identified six key areas around which action will be focused. These are:
• Using and managing land sustainably (chapter 1).
• Recovering nature and enhancing the beauty of landscapes (chapter 2).
• Connecting people with the environment to improve health and wellbeing (chapter 3).
• Increasing resource efficiency, and reducing pollution and waste (chapter 4).
• Securing clean, productive and biologically diverse seas and oceans (chapter 5).
• Protecting and improving the global environment (chapter 6).”
This makes interesting reading as background material when looking at the ideas proposed for 11,500 new homes and commercial and social sites!
What price our environment and the destruction of acres of greenfields....?
Swale Borough Plan "Bearing Fruits"
POLLUTION READING MATERIAL
- "So I Can Breathe" - BBC Blog Season - links with a range of associated topics.
31st October 2017: Developers withdraw their application after running out of arguments and evidence. On 1st November, SBC confirmed they are taking no further action.....
See see all the documents here - the Planning Portal page for Lynsted Lane development papers.
RULE No.2: DO NOT WRITE JUST ONCE!
Every change submitted by Developers
means the 'start gun' is fired again by the SBC Planning Department.
After all, if there have been changes, SBC may assume you have changed your mind if you don't react to each change.
WHAT IS "IN IT" FOR SWALE BOROUGH COUNCIL?
- Council Tax. Each new home-owning person or family brings another contribution to Council Tax and some additional spending in the community (less if they commute out of the local community).
- "Job done". If the Quinn/Garden Town idea is delivered - that lets Swale Borough Council Members and Officials off the hook; meeting the central government targets .... it does not mean local construction capacity would meet the plan, nor can we be sure that all the "goodies" ("planning gains") included will be honoured.
- Then there is something called the "New Homes Bonus" - this is paid by central government to Swale Borough Council. Every new home brings with it a 'bonus' equal to the Council Tax paid for six years. In theory, this money goes towards all those promised 'extras' such as schools, GP surgeries, and so on. I found this article that helps make sense of whether this 'bonus' works for us or against us.