Challock Parish Council Public Meeting
High Tree Lodge Planning Application Minutes
Wednesday 4th March, 7.30 pm
Members of public present: approximately 53
Michael Fisher (Chairman), Dianne Sandy (Clerk), Russell Jaques (Vice Chairman), John Ramsden, Max Thomas, Anthony Aitken, Tracy Brown & Duncan Hardie.
ABC Ward Councillor Noel Ovenden
Chairman Michael Fisher welcomed everyone to the meeting.
High Tree Lodge Planning Application
The Chairman read out the following statement:
The original confines set out the following aims:
• The confines pilot came up with a clear vision for the slow long term growth of the village to maintain its unique character while allowing small scale growth that will help maintain its vital amenities.
• The agreed village confines is fair and caters for small scale development without any major impact on the village both aesthetically and environmentally but still allows the village to expand organically over the foreseeable future.
• Development has come forward on smaller infill sites as opposed to one or two larger sites.
• There is no identified need for large-scale housing development sites in the village, as the smaller sites within the village confines will easily deliver more appropriate scaled development.
In autumn 2016 under the draft local plan a consultation on omission sites took place. Through a public meeting the Parish Council in consultation with its parishioners objected to the proposed sites for Challock and that the village had already contributed to enough housing. However, due to a shortfall in the number of houses required to meet the Local Plan 2030; ABC allowed for Clock House to be included and to be added to the Local Plan. The Clock House Green development was approved by ABC cabinet in October 2019. Throughout the planning application process, objections were made by the Parish Council and parishioners.
In August 2018 ABC carried out a consultation on the Main Modifications to the Local Plan. Under the main modifications to the Local Plan 2030 the settlement matrix states for Challock it is suited for HOU3a/HOU5 inclusion – Range of services in large village. Mixed settlements pattern with opportunity for infill and limited edge of settlement growth due to AONB location but due to settlement size this would sustainable.
Traditionally, the village ‘confines’ for planning purposes has been defined by the following written definition in successive versions of the Local Plan:-
“the limits of continuous and contiguous development forming the existing built-up area of the settlement, excluding any curtilage beyond the built footprint of the buildings on the site (e.g. garden areas)”
The village confines are considered an informal guideline when determining planning applications. There are a number of criteria in the policy which relates to aspects such as relationship with built form, character of the area, residential amenity which would all need to be considered as part of any application to weigh up the pros and cons. Similar there is policies governing the loss of open space as well.
Emerging Policy HOU5 stipulates that residential development within, adjoining or close to the existing built up confines will be acceptable in principle, providing certain criteria are met.
This led to a further exercise on the redrawing of the confines map, with consultation with our parishioners in autumn 2018 and 2019. The aim was to ensure the confines map is tighter to limit the amount of housing applications and in particular the risk of large scale development.
“The new confines map was approved at ABC cabinet meeting in October 2019. Councillor Jaques attended the meeting and read out Challock Parish Council’s response:-
“Though it was discussed at the Public Consultation Meeting in October 2018, HOU3a & HOU5 under the modifications there was still ambiguity where Challock fits in. The impact of HOU5 had not been made clear with the majority of parishioners and the Parish Council. It is through the meeting with Daniel demonstrating the possible effect of the original confines when applying the HOU5 policy it became more evident. The Parish Council is disappointed that we have missed the opportunity to challenge the allocation of HOU5. To continue with the original confines we would have best been suited to HOU3a only. The whole process since the Cabinet approved the village confines in 2015 has declined into disappointment with changes to the local plan with the omission sites and then the modifications has in fact altered what the confines project set out to do. By placing Challock in HOU5 has put us in the position for possible large scale developments which the confines project was preventing. Now with both confine maps and the inclusion of HOU5 policy we are at risk of large scale developments and the loss of our green spaces.”
Under the open forum the Parish Council received questions and the following comments was received and noted.
1. Infrastructure - lack of bus service, no mains sewage, school filled to capacity, none or inadequate footpaths plus safety concerns. Safety concerns of the A251 main road. Infrastructure has not changed for decades.
2. Concerns regarding the protection of what is remaining of green spaces, wildlife and ANOB.
Conduct independent wildlife associations’ RSPB, Bat etc. surveys. Evidence of bats, dormice, greater crested newts, nightingales within the vicinity.
3. Lay person versus experience developer – PC to consider hiring the services of a consultant.
4. HOU5 policy ambiguous regarding the near too test.
5. Cricket ground – boundary check, stray cricket balls. Contact Sports England.
6. ABC Ward Councillor Noel Ovenden - Housing target is currently running at 88%. The site is near too services within walking distance to local services i.e. post office, local primary school, bus stop, pub etc. Have a battle as the site is accessible to services in the village. Need to be robust in our arguments when sending comments to ABC Planning Committee. Ward Councillors on the committee would prefer individual comments from parishioners said from the heart rather than a letter template.
Documents available to parishioners at the meeting were Challock Parish Council Statement, High Halden Action Group notes, Objection Letter template and petition.
It was agreed for the letter templates and petition to be held at the post office made available for parishioners who were unable to attend the meeting.
Chairman Michael Fisher thanked everyone for attending and for their feedback.
Meeting closed at 8.40 pm