More houses for Haysden as Local Plan goes public again

More houses for Haysden as Local Plan goes public again

The news comes as Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council’s draft Local Plan was put forward for a second public consultation – running until December 23.

After they conducted their examination the Government’s Inspectors called on the council to address a number of concerns about Green Belt, infrastructure and sustainability.

Developer Gillings wants to build 115 homes on a triangle of fields between Upper and Lower Haysden Lanes.

The controversial site, next to one of the borough’s most cherished conservation areas, was included in the draft Local Plan.

It identified the land in south Tonbridge, which was ‘safeguarded’ in the 2007 plan, as suitable for 480 new homes to be built by 2031.

Green Belt is supposed to provide a buffer zone between built-up areas and open countryside; but half of the development has been mapped out already.

The latest application comes after a separate proposal, by Hallam at the start of the year, to construct 125 houses on the other side of Lower Haysden Lane.

That was also part of the Local Plan, and included the provision of a two-form entry primary school.

Further strains on the local community right affect medical services, transport and traffic on the busy Brook Street-Quarry Hill roundabout.

The new proposal includes the provision of 46 affordable homes, which is in line with the council’s target of 40 per cent.

These will consist of 18 one-bedroom houses, 17 with two bedrooms and 11 with three; of the 69 on the open market, 39 will have three bedrooms.

The Local Plan Inspectors Simon Berkeley and Luke Fleming said ‘quite a significant amount of new evidence’ had been produced since the first consultation last year.

They said the evidence supporting changes to the Green Belt was ‘brief and lacking in finegrained detail’.

They claimed that the extent of the identified ‘parcels’ of Green Belt land were ‘unclear’, adding: “On this basis, we do not see how this analysis has provided any meaningful input into the site selection process. Unless we have missed something here, this is a significant issue.”

Another disputed area was the supporting services such as schools, medical provision and transport upgrades for new housing.

They said: “We are also unclear whether some of the items of infrastructure are already needed, or whether they are needed as a consequence of specific developments proposed in the Local Plan.

“How could infrastructure for which there is a pre-existing need be secured from developments proposed in the Local Plan?

Ian Bailey, the council’s Planning Policy Manager, told the Times: “The additional information we have submitted simply provides an extra level of detail on specific areas of the plan but does not alter the substance of our proposals.

“We are confident that this significant additional information will enable the Inspector[s] to complete their initial assessment of the plan.”

With regard to the Haysden applications being submitted before the Local Plan has been approved as ‘sound’, he said: “Planning applications can be made at any time and will be determined using the policies in place at that time.

“While the new Local Plan will gain weight as a material consideration as it progresses towards adoption, at the present time it has limited weight in determining current planning applications.”

The consultation on the draft Local Plan was extended by one week. The new material can be viewed at

Public comments, or representations, can be made online at

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