The consultation is over – oh no it isn’t

Mar 4, 2024

The consultation is over – oh no it isn’t! The panto season seems to last all year round at TWBC!

At midnight on Monday, 26th February 2024 the latest Consultation on TWBC’s Local Plan closed. However, as this newsletter was being drafted, we were advised by the Council that the consultation period has been extended by another 6 weeks to 12 April. This is double the original timeframe and was only announced the day after the original consultation period had ended, and only AFTER Save Capel and others had sent their representations in. The excuse given is a ‘fault’ in the Council database, although what the fault is, and why it wasn’t spotted before is not explained. Very frustrating for all those of us who worked so hard to meet the original deadline.

If you have already made personal representations, thank you very much and there is no need to do so again. If you hadn’t managed to do so, you now have until 12th April and advice can be found on our previous newsletter via this link

Your Executive been working very hard with our legal, transport and flooding advisors, to create a robust and detailed submission on behalf of Save Capel and all our supporters.

There are three documents in all:

The main submission – “Representation by Save Capel under Regulation 19(non-statutory)”

  • Appendix1 – “Transport Evidence Addendum”
  • Appendix2 – “Evidence Paper re the Deletion of Tudeley Garden Village from the Local Plan”

You can view the full documents via this link to our website

The Process

The Consultation lasted for six weeks, requiring us to review and analyse 35 documents with 1,262 pages of “evidence” produced by TWBC over a period of 14 months and at a significant cost to TWBC residents. The total costs for the Local Plan preparation to date is thought to be in the region of £4.5m.

In spite of all of that, in our view, we consider that TWBC has done insufficient work to address the soundness of their Local Plan. A wholesale new strategic approach is required, particularly given the deletion of TGV and its proposed 2,800 dwellings. Instead TWBC have focused on trying to justify its second Strategic Site at Paddock Wood/East Capel (PW/EC).

Save Capel’s Conclusions

Of course, we acknowledge and support the deletion in full of the TGV proposal. Additionally, having been concerned about the reappearance of TGV, in some shape or form, we have sought to provide well-reasoned arguments for convincing TWBC, and the Inspector, that it will never be a viable or sustainable proposition. We believe Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council (TMBC) are sympathetic to this too.

In principle we are also supportive of the 1,000-home reduction in PW/EC. However, the latest revisions raise significant questions about their soundness, sustainability, viability ,and deliverability. The bulk of our submission concentrates on these issues.

Our conclusion regarding the rest of the Plan as it stands is that the Plan’s progression should be paused whilst TWBC undertakes a comprehensive review of reasonable alternatives that are already available. This would avoid the potentially wasted time and costs of further examining this version.

SC therefore urges TWBC to extend its timetable to complete the wholesale and fundamental review of its planning strategy, within the structure of the current local examination, including a review of alternative sites throughout the Borough as the core part of that reconsideration. Any such review should have as a key assumption the need to prevent any development within Capel prior to delivering improvements in Transport and Infrastructure.

So What Happens Next?


Flow chart

Does it sound like a never-ending story to you?

It could take two or three months for TWBC to finish their review of the Consultation Submissions; so things could be a little quiet for a time. It’s clear that the fight will go on, we just don’t yet know what shape or form that will take. As soon as we do, we’ll let you know.

In the meantime the Executive are going brush the dust off the excellent work that was done in 2019 and 2020 on alternative sites. TWBC didn’t listen to us then, or in 2022, this time they might have to! We want to be helping them to see that they need a better Plan, and that it is achievable, without dumping the biggest burden on Capel Parish.

Our external advisors have again been very insightful with their assistance and generous in providing the campaign with excellent value for money. Currently, our liquid funds are almost exhausted, so if you are able to, and would like to, donate to help the future of the campaign please see the Donate section below.

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In many ways the Save Capel campaign has been a fabulous success so far thanks to your support and generosity.

We will pursue this Consultation with our usual vigour and try to ensure that whatever development is proposed for Capel Parish, and there may have to be some, is as sensible and sustainable as possible.

As ever, the Save Capel Executive would like to thank you all for your continuing support. We’d love to hear your feedback on this via email to

Stewart, Ian, Dave, Maggie, Charlie, Jan, Mark, and Chris

Your donation could make the difference. Please help us Save Capel

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