Housing plan proposing garden village passes the first stage of public inquiry

The team from Corker Outdoor, Award sponsor Jason Varney (Thomson, Snell & Passmore) & Eamonn Holmes

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s local plan has been approved to go onto the next stage of an examination by a government inspector, having passed legal scrutiny.

The plan, which outlines where houses are to be built in the borough over the next 15 years, has proved controversial since it was first drafted in 2019.

To meet government targets the Council is aiming to build more than 13,000 homes by 2038.

Developments in the plan include not just large housing estates in Tudeley and Paddock Wood but there are projects proposed for areas near to the town of Tunbridge Wells including in Broadwater and Pembury.

While the Local Plan has given rise to protests, including the formation of campaign group Save Capel who object to the building of a garden village in the parish, it has succeeded in passing the first stage of government scrutiny.

The neighbouring councils of Wealden, Tonbridge & Malling and Sevenoaks all had their plans rejected over failing to communicate with other authorities on unmet housing needs.

Despite scores of objections having been heard during the first stage covering legal compliance, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has been given the green light by the government’s Planning Inspector to go on to stage 2.

The next part of the hearings will see the inspector scrutinise the location of the proposed housing, infrastructure and other developments in the borough, including the Tudeley and Paddock Wood sites.

At the end of the examination process the Inspector will send a report to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council recommending whether or not they can adopt the plan.

The Local Plan was submitted to the Inspectorate in November 2021 following an extensive period of preparation and public consultation and the examination began in March 2022.

Stage 2 hearings are expected to begin in May.

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