Saxon Shore DIG and the planning information day.

After a very successful Saxon Shore Planning information workshop, I wanted to thank Ashford Borough Council & Shepway district Council officers for taking the time to support Saxon Shore in being more informed.

The Saxon Shore DIG – Development & Infrastructure Group will be a group of residents who have volunteered to prepare the area for representations to the local plan update.

The first meeting will be in February, and will focus on establishing task groups to assess each of the sites

Currently, Saxon Shore has

7 sites being considered and 2 sites that have already been agreed. These sites have the real potential to add 800 homes to the Saxon Shore area over the next 15 years, and because of their locations, could act, if granted, as a precedent to circum navigate unsustainability clauses in the National Planning Policy Framework and to open up even further development in this rural area, emaciating the rural way of life and quality of living.

The policy update that will accompany the updated core plan includes policy HOU 4 – this policy states:

Minor residential development & infilling of a scale that can be easily integrated into the existing settlement will be acceptable within the confines of the following settlements:

Aldington, Appledore, Appledore Heath, Bethersden, Biddenden, Bilsington, Boughton Lees/Eastwell,Brabourne Lees/Smeeth,Brook, Challock,Charing,Charing Heath, Chilham, Crundale, Egerton,Egerton Forstal, Godmersham,Great Chart, Hamstreet, Hastingleigh, High Halden, Hothfield, Kenardington,Little Chart, Mersham, Molash, Newenden, Old Wives Lees, Pluckley, Pluckley Thorn, Pluckley Station, Rolvenden, Rolvenden Layne, Ruckinge, Shadoxhurst, Shottenden, Smarden, Stone in Oxney, Warehorne, Westwell, Witersham, Woodchurch & Wye.”

There are some requirements to be met that are as vaque as the policy itself in terms of what this will mean in real numbers. “Minor residential development” means that developments of 10- 50+ homes could be considered, and the policy does not mention any cap, so areas could have a number of such developments permitted within the full life of the plan or considered as windfall or exception sites within this timeframe outside of the allocated numbers in the plan.

Whilst, I am sure that there are many residents who support some development, I am sure from conversations that I have had accross Saxon Shore, that indescriminate emaciation of the rural setting, is not something that the majority of Saxon Shore residents would welcome.