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Controversial developments around Ash, Fawkham and Hartley to be left out of Sevenoaks Local Plan


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Controversial proposals to build hundreds of homes on Green Belt land will not appear in the Sevenoaks Local Plan, it has been confirmed.

Hundreds responded after site MX61 - Ash Place Farm, south of Redhill Road, New Ash Green - was earmarked for the large-scale development, which would have included 580 new homes.

It was consulted on alongside, but not as part of, the final draft of the Local Plan - known as the Regulation 19 Publication - after being submitted too late for inclusion.

The proposed development at Ash Place Farm. Picture: Berkeley Strategic Representations
The proposed development at Ash Place Farm. Picture: Berkeley Strategic Representations

Tonight, a full meeting of Sevenoaks council will be asked to approve the submission of the draft Local Plan, without amendment, to the Government's Planning Inspectorate.

This leaves site MX61 out of the document, which will guide what can be built in the district for years to come.

Sites MX52 and MX53 - Corinthians and Banckside, Hartley - were removed from the draft plan last year, after NO Hartley Expansion campaigners rallied against the proposals.

During the consultation, a spokesman for Sevenoaks council said: "The Local Plan aims to provide 10,500 homes in Sevenoaks by 2035.

Residents gathered at the council's drop-in sessions to find out more about the development
Residents gathered at the council's drop-in sessions to find out more about the development

"We will only consider development in the Green Belt in exceptional circumstances - where there are social and community benefits."

More than 800 people shared their views on the proposals.

The main issues raised were a loss of Green Belt land, the impact on traffic and transport and the loss of New Ash Green's village identity.

Cllr Cameron Clark, who represents Ash and New Ash Green, said: "I am pleased it is now confirmed that none of the large greenfield development sites around Ash, Fawkham and Hartley have been included in the Sevenoaks District Local Plan.

"This is the right decision to protect the valuable Green Belt that surrounds our villages.

"We will continue to enjoy the views and country walks that have been undisturbed for so long.

Cllr Cameron Clark (Con), who represents Ash and New Ash Green
Cllr Cameron Clark (Con), who represents Ash and New Ash Green

"It is also good to note that Sevenoaks council supports the regeneration of New Ash Green village centre, but this will only be done if the detailed guidance in the Local Plan is followed to protect shops and community facilities."

It is likely developers will now ask for permission from the Government's Planning Inspectorate to speak at public hearings.

They could argue that the Local Plan is unsound, as it doesn't provide enough housing to meet the Government's formula, and suggest their sites will help meet the shortfall.

If the planning inspector agrees, he could ask Sevenoaks council to review the plan, and resubmit it with more housing.

However, the council is confident the plan is sound, complying with Government policy to protect the Green Belt land which covers 93% of the district.

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