Tudeley set to be saved!

Nov 16, 2023

Councillors agree to drop Tudeley Village from local plan…

On 13th November, members of the Cabinet Advisory Board unanimously agreed to remove the proposals for Tudeley from the local plan. This is the Council’s response to the Inspector’s initial findings published a year ago in November 2022.

Before these recommendations can be confirmed to the Planning Inspector, they will be considered by Cabinet ahead of a vote of the full Council on 13th December 2023.

Our story has made the front page of this week’s Times of Tunbridge Wells which is well worth reading. The online version is here.

“There is much work still to do…”

Whilst the number of houses proposed for East Capel has been significantly reduced, the revised plan would still see around 1,250 houses built on this part of the Parish. As Save Capel has often pointed out, East Capel is in the Green Belt, on a flood plain, and there is a serious risk of merger between an extended Paddock Wood and Five Oak Green.

Stewart Gledhill, Chairman of the campaign, has told the Press “we will continue our fight to protect our wonderful Parish and there is much work still to do. Whilst we support the progression of the local plan, we continue to have serious concerns about the development strategy for East Capel… We will set these out after studying the complete evidence when it becomes available and at the appropriate stages of the examination”.

Save Capel has argued at every stage of this long and drawn-out process that the garden settlement would be unsustainable and Tudeley is simply the wrong place for it. Many others agree, including neighbouring Tonbridge& Malling Borough Council, and the Inspector provided a clear way forward to remove Tudeley Village. Tunbridge Wells Planning Services have finally agreed this is the correct pathway.

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Value for money?

We remain concerned at the considerable amount of time it has taken for Officers to reach the same conclusions as the government-appointed Inspector. We are also concerned at the significant costs to the local tax payer, despite clear guidance given by the Inspector. We understand £1.27 million had already been spent on external advice up until the Inspector’s findings, and a further £851,000 has been set aside to deal with the substantial issues he raised, through to eventual adoption of the Local Plan. Save Capel will continue to monitor and seek updates on the additional expenditure.

New public consultation

Whilst the Cabinet and full Council have yet to agree with the recommendations, TW Planning Services had sought a public consultation starting in the week before Christmas. However, after a plea by Save Capel – which was supported by others – the consultation will now commence early in the new year.

Supporters of the Save Capel campaign and local residents have stuck with this drawn-out and stressful process throughout the four and a half years. Whilst we are delighted with the advisory board’s decision to now ditch the Tudeley Garden Village proposals, there is still a need to be vigilant, to work to protect East Capel, and to contest any inappropriate development proposed for the Parish. We also ask our long-suffering supporters to engage in the next public consultation. Save Capel will offer advice on how to do so nearer the time.

In the meantime, let’s celebrate what is a first and significant victory in the battle to preserve the identity of Capel Parish.

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 savecapel@gmail.com


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

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