Agenda and minutes

Planning and Transportation Cabinet Advisory Board - Monday, 15th November, 2021 6.30 pm

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Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS. View directions

Contact: Emer Moran  Democratic Services Officer


No. Item


Chairman's Introduction pdf icon PDF 91 KB

Announcement on procedural matters.

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The chairman opened the meeting and outlined procedural matters of the meeting. The chairman noted a change in the agenda, that agenda item 8 (Benenden Neighbourhood Plan) would be heard before agenda item 7 (Goudhurst Neighbourhood Development Plan).


Apologies pdf icon PDF 28 KB

The receive any apologies for absence.

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Apologies were received from Councillor Willis.


Declarations of Interests pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To receive any declarations of interest by members of the Council in items on the agenda. For any advice on declarations of interest, please contact the Monitoring Officer before the meeting.

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No declarations of interest were made


Notification of Persons Wishing to Speak pdf icon PDF 29 KB

To note any members of the Council wishing to speak, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Council Meeting Procedure Rule 18, and which items they wish to speak on.

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Hazel Strouts, on behalf of the Friends of the East End, registered to speak in relation to item PT35/21.


Nicola Thomas, Chair to Benenden Parish Council, provided a statement to be read out in relation to item PT35/21.


Minutes of the meeting dated 12 July 2021 pdf icon PDF 151 KB

To approve the minutes of a previous meeting as a correct record. The only issue relating to the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.

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No amendments were proposed.


RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 12 July 2021 be approved as a correct record.


Forward Plan as at 27 October 2021 pdf icon PDF 299 KB

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No amendments were proposed. A question regarding a future report on electric vehicle charging was referred to the relevant officer for a response at a later date.


RESOLVED – The Forward Plan as at 27 October 2021 be noted.



Benenden Neighbourhood Plan pdf icon PDF 266 KB

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Mr Stephen Baughen, Head of Planning, introduced the report set out in the agenda.


Mrs Hazel Strouts, on behalf of Friends of the East End, registered to speak in opposition of the Plan. Points raised included:

·         In their opinion there were no amenities or infrastructure in the area around the East End site and so the development of new housing in this area was not sustainable, in comparison to sites near Benenden which was 3 miles way.

·         The Independent Examiner and the Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP) relied on provision of hospital facilities for the communities’ use, but the hospital wanted to decrease it’s contribution to community facilities and reduce the number of affordable houses, as well as refuse public use of its café.

·         The Hospital site contained 4 local wildlife sites which were of national importance in relation to rare grassland fungi, which required undisturbed land, which the Hospital/Plan proposed to destroy.


Statement of Benenden Parish Council Chairwoman Nichola Thomas, read out by the Clerk, in support of the Plan. Points raised included:

·         Volunteers for the NDP group and the Parish Council have worked on the Plan since October 2017, ensuring that every aspect and detail was considered in the preparation of the plan to encompass the vision as set by parishioners, that in 2038 the Parish of Benenden was to be a “thriving, peaceful and rural place to live, work and rest……offering everyone the chance to be part of an inclusive and vibrant community”.

·         The biggest challenge was how to manage development while having minimal impact on an area that held such an abundance of natural beauty and providing an adequate and affordable housing supply for the needs of the elderly, single people and young families.

·         The plan was put to the test in June at a Public Hearing called by the Independent Examiner, specifically for the Examiner to explore a number of specific issues regarding the two site allocations at East End. The Examiner set out his findings from this hearing in his Final Report, concluding that “the basis for the decisions taken have been robust and based on sound planning principles, particularly the extent concentrating development on brownfield sites….”


In response to the speaker, Mr Baughen made some points of clarification, which included:

·         Points raised by the speaker Mrs Hazel Strouts had already been raised during the independent examination hearing by the barrister instructed by the Friends of the East End. The Examiner had put questions to Benenden Hospital regarding the points that Mrs Strouts raised and had been satisfied by their responses.

·         As per point 3.16 of the report, which set out the conclusions of the examiner, the examiner was clear there was merit in the allocations made within the Plan and confirmed he felt they were appropriate.


Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

·         Concerns regarding the environmental aspects and sustainability of the NDP were voiced.

·         It was clarified that it was not for the Borough to scrutinise the NDP or its process, as  ...  view the full minutes text for item PT35/21


Goudhurst Neighbourhood Development Plan pdf icon PDF 245 KB

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Ellen Gilbert, Principal Planning Officer, introduced the report set out in the agenda.


Discussion and questions from Members included the following:

·         The Independent Examiner considered the evidence and policies used to back the Plan regarding allocation of green spaces. Two packets of green space were removed from the Plan as they did not, in his opinion, meet the high tests set when considering their special significance for allocation.

·         Community were to be given the opportunity to decide on the Neighbourhood Development Plan by referendum.


RESOLVED - That the recommendations to Cabinet as set out in the report be supported.





Urgent Business pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To consider any other items which the Chairman decides are urgent, for the reasons to be stated, in accordance with Section 100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972.

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There was no urgent business.



Date of the Next Meeting pdf icon PDF 28 KB

To note that the date of the next scheduled meeting is 24 January 2022, at 6.30pm in the Council Chamber, Town Hall, Tunbridge Wells.

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The next meeting is scheduled for 24 January 2022