THE CONSULTATION IS OPEN UNTIL FEBRUARY 26th 2024
TWBC have finally responded to the Inspector’s Initial Findings which he sent to them in November 2022 – only 14 months to respond to a letter, really?! You can read more via the link here which then has another link to the Public Consultation here.
So, what have TWBC been doing for all that time? Well, you could say, as the song does, “Busy Doing Nothing”! They have produced reams of “new evidence” which you can read, should you wish, via the above links. In our view, having trawled through these documents, they don’t say a lot that’s new, so “Busy Doing a Little Bit” might be more appropriate.
In summary, what is in the documents breaks down into three areas:
- The removal of Tudeley Garden Village (TGV) from the Local Plan as TWBC feel they couldn’t produce the evidence the Inspector had asked them for in sufficient timescales. This is good news, but as the Council also recognise that once this Local Plan is adopted, and that probably won’t be until March 2025, or even longer, they will need to do an immediate review of the Plan. This potentially means that the old TGV, or some variant of it, might come back into play.
- The continuation of Paddock Wood/East Capel (PW/EC) as a strategic site albeit with a reduction in the number of proposed dwellings. Most of the Consultation Documents focus on this and the Transport & Infrastructure needed to support it.
- An analysis of possible “Suitable Alternative Sites” which could generate housing numbers to make up the shortfalls caused by withdrawing TGV and reducing the PW/EC sites. This includes a number of sites in and around Five Oak Green (FOG), but there is no indication these will be included in the Local Plan, at least not at this stage.
WHAT CAN WE, AND YOU, DO?
The Save Capel Executive (SCE), working with our Legal and other Professional Advisors, are trawling through the documentation to identify those factors which we believe are the key ones to put in front of the Inspector.
Individuals will be able to participate in the Consultation too as in the previous Regulation 18 and Regulation 19 ones. However, our collective voice didn’t seem to have been heard very well by TWBC as they proceeded in spite of the noticeably clear objections, many of which the Inspector has listened to.
If you wish to participate you can do so online or by email by following this link here and then expanding the “How to Make Representations” section. The Council would like you to respond via their online portal, so that they can more easily consolidate the responses, but the online portal can be technologically challenging and very long-winded. You can use email instead, by downloading the online form and then saving your comments, before you submit them. That will be easier to complete, but you will still need to read the evidence on the online portal for the relevant sections you wish to comment on.
The SCE cannot tell you what to feedback, or put words in your mouth, but you may wish to look at the following sections as part of your response:
- Chapter 3 – Review of the Proposal for a new Garden Village at Tudeley. This focuses on areas of evidence which may come back in the future, specifically you may want to comment on:
- Issue A – Location and Accessibility
- Section a) (from 3.13) Potential for walking and cycling links.
- Section d) (from 3.31) Congestion in Tonbridge Town Centre.
- Section e) (from 3.34) Modal Shift (ways making journeys).
- Issue B – Five Oak Green Bypass – as above, currently removed from the Local Plan, but you can still comment if you wish, in case TGV does come back.
- Issue C – Deliverability
- Chapter 4 – Strategic Growth at Paddock Wood
- Flood Risk and Housing (from 4.17)
- Education Infrastructure Provision (from 4.36)
- Chapter 5 – Transport Related Matters
- Proposed Hotspot Junction changes (PS046 and PS048)*
- Colts Hill Bypass (PS050)*
*References to the Final Evidence documents are the numbers in the following link here.
It is useful to send comments in that show some understanding of the issues, as these are not so easily dismissed, which is why we’ve highlighted sections that are useful to read before making submissions. But whatever you say, sending in comments shows the strength of feeling still exists in Capel… and keep it clean!
Don’t forget to submit your response by midnight on Monday, 26th February 2024
We continue to rely on legal and other professional advice to support our ongoing efforts to fight the campaign through this stage. There will be other stages to come after this one. We can only thank you for your generosity to date but ask you to please donate as below if you are able to. Thank you.