Central government in Whitehall sets the housing targets and requires that the local planning authority delivers then within the National Planning Policy Framework. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government polices the targets through the Planning Inspectorate. Swale is currently developing a Local Plan within the constraints and demands of central government policy and Whitehall's idea of how many houses are needed. Swale has to demonstrate that it has both an adequate supply of land for housing development and that the houses, for which it has given planning consent, are being built. It has to meet volume and delivery targets. Developers secure planning consent on sites, but they will only build when they can sell at prices which enable them to achieve the return they seek. Meeting delivery targets is an additional challenge.
If Swale is judged to be failing to meet either its land supply or completions targets, the developers can appeal and are in a strong position to win. The Planning Inspectors are not neutral arbiters; they are the enforcers of central government policy. Faversham's experience at Perry Court was a result of not having an adequate supply of land in the local plan. Swale had minimal influence over the Perry Court development because of the high risk of losing at appeal with substantial costs awarded against it.
The next local plan now being developed by Swale is required by central government to deliver 9,880 houses over 15 years in addition to 13,981 allocated in Bearing Fruits (the previous plan) and a 5% buffer. In the Local Plan Panel on 30th July Swale councillors will determine the proportion of housing to be allocated to the four parts of Swale. In and around Faversham sites for 6,000 houses have been put forward for development
We have some concerns about the lack of planning detail in the Vision and Development Growth Options paper going to the Local Plan Panel on July 30th. The decisions made by the Local Plan Panel and subsequently by the Cabinet and Council will profoundly affect everyone who lives and works in Swale.
Viability. What is the viability test being applied? What evidence is there that viability is greater in the east? How does viability around Faversham compare with viability south and east of Sittingbourne?
Infrastructure. Given the substantial investment in a new town centre for Sittingbourne is additional housing not needed to ensure that Sittingbourne thrives? Would not additional housing in the west enhance the vitality and viability of Sittingbourne town centre? We expected to see more detailed treatment of infrastructure in the discussion of the options.
Employment. TheVision and Development Growth Options paper appears only to be addressing housing allocations.
Inconsistency. The paper recognises Option B "would result in the dilution of the separation of settlements and undermine the individual identity of local communities, particularly surrounding Faversham." This is not mentioned in Options C or D where the impact would be still greater.
The assessment of Option D’s cites further development as a con “significant impacts on the character and setting of Faversham town.” The commentary on Option C cites development as assisting “in enhancing the vitality and viability of Faversham town centre.”
Whilst Local Plan Panel members have reviewed a whole series of papers over previous months, there has been very limited public engagement. With only one week between publication and decision about the distribution of additional housing, there has been inadequate time for members to consult or for the electorate to engage.
Windfall sites are sites not specifically identified in the development plan. Developers are keen to build in and around Faversham as the market supports higher prices in this part of Swale. Faversham is very likely to receive more than 30% of the applications for windfall houses over the plan period, given the buoyant market demand for housing. The provision of such a high windfall figure, it was 8.6% in Bearing Fruits, significantly increases the vulnerability of Faversham to housing developers. If delivery falls behind schedule, developers will take the opportunity to put in more windfall sites for development.
The Five Options going to the Local Plan Panel on July 30th
Option A is our preferred option. Swale and Faversham are unable just to say no to further housing if we do the developers will win on appeal, and it is likely that central government would remove what remains of local control over development.
Option B As is highlighted in the paper going to the Local Plan Panel Option B “would result in the dilution of the separation of settlements and undermine the individual identity of local communities, particularly surrounding Faversham. Option C would even further damage Faversham.
Option C would mean Faversham accepting a further 3,500 houses upt to 3,000 more as windfall. That would be 6,500 houses in addition to the 2,200 allocated under Bearing Fruits. A total over the two plan periods of 8,700. That is roughly equal to the number of houses in Faversham now. Faversham would double in size over the next 15 years.
Option D would require Faversham to take a further 1,000 homes taking the total to 9,700 more than doubling the size of the town over the next 15 years.
Option E would require significant greenfield rural development including the North Street development and is clearly unacceptable, the impact of that development on Faversham and traffic on A251 would be very damaging to the town.
Truly affordable housing
The paper going to the Local Plan Panel presents a set of broad principles, the first of which is "to provide for homes and jobs that are best suited to meet identified local needs." The Faversham Community Land Trust secured funding to have a Faversham Housing Needs Assessment undertaken by a specialist consultancy. The survey will enable the "identified local needs" to be taken into account in both the Swale Local Plan and the Faversham Neighbourhood Plan. The results will be available in mid-August. We know that the response rate, 14%, is high by comparison with experience elsewhere.
In early July Kent County Council published a 100-page dossier detailing the "acute" shortage of "genuinely" affordable housing in the county. KCC wants central government to give local authorities more control to develop truly affordable housing and KCC is seeking to change the government's "arbitrary" definition of affordable housing to reflect affordability based on income rather than local market priorities. The Faversham Society wants to see more truly affordable housing in Faversham to enable the children of Faversham residents to continue to live and bring up their children in the town. Extended families able to trace their history in Faversham back several generations make a significant contribution to the cultural heritage of our town, and the Faversham Society does not want to see this lost.
The Society has had a working group working on the assessment of the individual sites proposed for development in and around Faversham. In early August these will be published on our website and we shall be inviting members to contribute additional information and comments on the sites which have been put forward for development.
Later in the year having received feedback from our members on each of the sites put forward by developers, we shall consider our recommendations for which sites should be permitted for development through the Faversham Neighbourhood Plan and the Swale Local Plan.
Our preference is Option A. Central government requires that we take some more housing. Option A presents the most equitable distribution across Swale, with 30% windfall across the district we would still almost certainly taking a large part of the additional 3,000 homes.
The Faversham Society and St Mary of Charity Church are keen that the people of Faversham have an opportunity to hear about plans for the future of our town from the developers and that there can be open public discussions about what is best for Faversham.
The open public meeting is in St Mary of Charity Church from 19:30 on Monday 15th October. The meeting will be co-chaired by
Rev Simon Rowlands and Dr Harold Goodwin
Representatives from the Duchy of Cornwall and Prince’s Foundation will be attending to provide an update following community and stakeholder workshops held across the Spring of 2018.
Swale Borough Council is currently undertaking a review of its Local Plan and has invited landowners and developers to submit proposals for New Garden Communities. As a local landowner, the Duchy of Cornwall is responding to this, putting forward a site on land south of Faversham which might be appropriate for future development.
The Enquiry by Design workshops were established to work with the local community in Faversham and surrounding areas, to better understand the town, gain local knowledge and explore opportunities for the site. The Duchy will present the findings from the workshops and provide updates on the Housing Manual and next steps, within the Local Plan Process. During the meeting, representatives from the Duchy and Prince’s Foundation are keen to listen to your thoughts and answer questions you may have.
The Society is willing to organise similar meetings for all developers. Our interest is in encouraging informed engagement in the planning process as Faversham grows and in creating heritage for the future.
Back in August the Duchy of Cornwall sent out this communication.
"As you know, Swale Borough Council is currently undertaking a review of its Local Plan and has invited landowners and developers to submit proposals for New Garden Communities.
As a local landowner, the Duchy of Cornwall is responding to this, putting forward a site on land south of Faversham which might be appropriate for future development. In the spring of this year, we held a number of Enquiry by Design (EbD) workshops and a drop-in exhibition, to work with the community to better understand Faversham and how the site should be developed, should it be allocated by Swale Borough Council in the Local Plan.
If you attended and participated in these events, we would like to sincerely thank you – the community’s input, insight and ideas have been invaluable.
A great deal of information was gathered throughout the EbD. The following main themes emerged early on and were reinforced throughout the engagement process. These provide a top-line summary and do not include every point raised, but rather ‘broad brush’ categories.
The Duchy of Cornwall has now made its submission to Swale Borough Council in response to their New Garden Communities Prospectus. This will be reviewed by officers and councillors, before being made available to the public in the coming months. We will also ensure that we keep the community updated throughout the process, wherever possible.
A final output, currently being prepared by the Prince’s Foundation, is the Faversham Housing Manual, which will be based on the activities undertaken and feedback given at the EbD workshops. The document will set out simple but specific guiding principles of architecture and urban design for new development, using both illustrations and written descriptions. The Manual achieves this by setting out principles of good placemaking as well as a set of housing, public realm (streets and spaces), and block layout types that reflect Faversham’s individual character and the particular preferences of the community towards each of these.
Once the Housing Manual is complete, we will ensure it is made publicly available via our website, and we are happy to issue hard copies upon request. We will be in touch again shortly."
You can find details of the Enquiry by Design work that the Duchy has been doing here http://www.favershamenquirybydesign.co.uk/
Published August 10th 2018
• Swale is facing considerable challenges as to how it can plan for the significant levels of new homes that it will be expected to provide in future.
• We are asking landowners and developers to submit proposals for new communities so that we can see if this option should be considered by the next local plan.
• We have prepared a Prospectus which explains what a ‘garden’ community is and what we will expect to see included within any submission.
• Submissions will be independently assessed and we will then decide whether any new communities should be shortlisted as one of the options to be considered by the next local plan.
They are looking only for submissions from developers
The consultant's report suggesting possible sites:
Swale Borough Council has published an early consultation document intended to inform the next Local Plan. Called “Looking Ahead”, the document asks some key questions about the issues facing Swale to the year 2038.
The consultation closes 8th June details
Swale Borough Council has published an early consultation document intended to inform the next Local Plan. Called "Looking Ahead", the document asks some key questions about the issues facing Swale to the year 2038. Please read more details below as to how to take part in this using our online portal.
We have also published a quick questionnaire in order to help us establish future priorities. This is also available to complete on the online portal. You do not need to register to take part in this.
If responding to our consultations, you will be asked to provide personal information at various points. Data Protection Legislation governs the way we collect and use the personal information you provide to us. You have specific legal rights in relation to that information and the Council has specific legal responsibilities. Please read carefully the notice that will be provided when you respond to the "Looking Ahead" consultation online. If you choose not to respond online, it can either be downloaded via the link below or as a ‘hard’ copy collected at Council offices or libraries. Where we have requested permission in the notice, please indicate by putting an ‘X’ in the relevant box. We will not be able to process your comments without the completed notice.
For most of our Local Plan consultations we use an online Consultation Portal, which has the following advantages:
You can read documents and consultation comments without the need to register. To provide any comments on a current consultation, you need to register before using our consultation portal.
You can also view our consultation documents at the Swale Borough Council Offices and libraries during these locations’ normal opening times:
Written representations on documents should be made either:
Paper versions of the form can be completed electronically (on screen) or completed by hand and returned:
If you have any questions please call us on 01795 417118.
All comments must be received by the date specified on the event detailed above.
Revised Details Land at Preston Fields, Salters Lane, Faversham, Kent, ME13 8YD
The Faversham Society has some serious generic concerns about the impacts of development south of the A2 on connectivity, safety and congestion. We request that Swale Planners pay particular attention to the road, pedestrian and cycle linkages between developments south of the A2 and the town.
We are particularly concerned that the drawings include a roundabout at the A251/A2 junction an idea about which the Society has serious concerns.
The A2 is rapidly evolving into a residential street in the middle of a town, not a road along the outside of it. This needs to be recognised in individual site plans and in the next SBC development plan. Planning for the new developments south of the A2 needs to recognise the long-term plans for a 20 mph zone across the town
There is a danger that the Preston Fields development will establish precedents which others will follow. In our view that would be very undesirable.
We need to see pedestrian and cycle infrastructure as well as vehicle infrastructure. We want to see light-controlled pedestrian crossings particularly around the periods when school children are going to and from school
There needs to be a footpath along the south side of the A2 and a two-way cycle path on the north side of the A2
The Society wants KCC to develop a plan for the London Road and Canterbury Road that anticipates the full transport needs of Faversham - pedestrian and cycling transport - not just the needs of vehicles.