Keeping you informed: Westerham Town Council’s response to survey results

Posted on Dec 14, 2017

Four major issues that could affect the immediate future of Westerham:

  1. the Which Way Westerham concept;
  2. the restoration of Covers Farm;
  3. Sevenoaks District Local Plan; and
  4. the development of the Moorhouse site.

Where does your Council stand?

Which Way Westerham

The results of both Westerham Town Council’s (WTC) survey and that of Sevenoaks District Council (SDC) were clear. By a large majority, Westerham residents opposed the Which Way Westerham concept. The results showed opposition to the two major arguments on which the case for ‘exceptional circumstances’ is based: the need for a bypass and the building of 600 houses as part of the identified need in the Sevenoaks District.

WTC opposed the Which Way Westerham concept in its response to SDC’s survey on the basis of the information then available.

We understand that Which Way Westerham will be submitting their detailed master plan to Sevenoaks District Council shortly with the aim of having it included in the draft Local Plan.  The master plan will be subject to rigorous evaluation by Sevenoaks District Council who will have to decide if it should be included in the draft Local Plan

Your Council has not yet seen the master plan but on the basis that it will be similar to the concept, it will vigorously oppose its inclusion.

Covers Farm

Your Council opposes any plan for restoration that involves the import of infill material.  Whilst Covers Farm must be restored to its original agricultural use, your Council has not been convinced that the existing restoration plan, using material already on site, cannot be implemented. It has already made this view known strongly to Kent County Council (KCC) in response to a scoping report submitted by the Squerryes Estate, and to Sevenoaks District Council.

A formal and detailed planning application from the landowner will shortly be made to KCC. Should that application include significant imported infill, the Town Council will once again object to it in the strongest possible terms.

Without significant infill, the construction of a bypass is not achievable.

Sevenoaks District Council Local Plan, 2015-35

The first draft of this, which will set out the size and location of future development, will be published in Spring 2018. When it has further details of either the Which Way Westerham master plan or the draft Local Plan, your Council will share with the community its analysis of the proposals, on-line, in the press and in a Public meeting; and will if appropriate hold further community votes.  Sevenoaks District Council is required to formally consult communities on the draft Local Plan itself before finalising it and seeking its adoption as legally binding planning policies.

The Moorhouse site

Following the two unsuccessful planning applications for a DPD depot on this site, there has been no further news.  However, the developer’s website states ‘a planning application will shortly be submitted for new B8 space on this 21 acre brownfield site’. WTC is in regular communication with Tandridge Council to whom any application would be made and with the community groups who put in so much effort in opposing the earlier applications.

WTC will also be taking professional advice so that its objections are soundly based and expressed in terms of legally binding planning policies.  It will also continue to work with neighbouring District and local Councils on proposals that could affect the wider area.

On all issues, Westerham Town Council will always strive to

 ’Keep you Informed’