Lenham Neighbourhood Plan Mid-July 2018 Update LPC General, LPC Meeting Minutes & Reports, Neighbourhood Plan 2018



1.0       Introduction

1.1       The Regulation 14 Consultation Draft Lenham Neighbourhood Plan (LNP 2017) was          published in September 2017.  Under the planning Regulations, LNP 2017 has to          reflect the content of the Maidstone Borough Local Plan which was adopted in     October 2017 (MBLP 2017).

1.2       The LNP 2017 therefore shows a possible distribution of 1000 dwellings on seven new     sites proposed for housing development.  These sites are shown on the Lenham Local            Policies Map within LNP 2017.  Sites to the west and south of the village are shown          linked by a ‘possible new road’ running from the A20 Ashford Road to the north-west            over Smokey Bridge to link with the Headcorn Road to the south-east.

1.3       The route of the ‘possible new road’ runs through two sites controlled by Jones Homes   and the Russell family respectively which were allowed for housing development on            appeal in 2015 and 2016.  There are alternative routes for the ‘possible new road’ but     it makes sense for LNPG to engage with the owners of those two sites to seek to    deliver a new road through existing committed development sites.  The new road         would effectively allow some through traffic to bypass Lenham Square by providing         an alternative route from the A20 near Marley to the Headcorn Road near Inkstand             Meadow Farm.


2.0       Land Ownership

2.1       There are eight principle land owning interests relating to sites released for          development in LNP.  These are:

North-East of Lenham

  1. Dean Lewis Estates/Barr


South-West of Lenham

  1. Towers/Eastwood
  2. Knight
  3. Russell


North-West of Lenham

  1. Countryside
  2. Lenham Parish Council
  3. Wealden Homes
  4. Jones Homes (Southern Limited)


2.2       All of these ownerships have appointed professional advisers and have agreed, to a         greater/lesser extent, to cooperate in the production of LNP.




2.3       We understand there is a legal dispute between the freehold owners of site 8 and           Jones Homes (Southern) Limited.  Lenham Parish Council has released certain publicly available papers in relation to this dispute following a formal Freedom of Information      (FOI) request by one of the parties.


2.4       The eight principal landowning interests have agreed to form an Infrastructure     Delivery Group (IDG) to support LNP.  This Group has met some six times over the last   year.  The deliberations of the IDG are not confidential and the minutes are posted on     the Lenham Parish Council website.  The next meeting of the IDG is to be held on         Thursday 2ndAugust 2018.  All those with relevant landowning interests are invited to             attend.  The advisers to one of the landowning interests have kindly agreed to host          the meeting of IDG and the meetings are held at the offices of DHA in Maidstone.



3.0       Drainage


3.1       The IDG has agreed to cooperate to produce a Joint Drainage Strategy.  Four of the          members agreed to fund the Joint Drainage Strategy. Icosa Water Limited was    commissioned to produce the Joint Drainage Strategy and their proposal was issued        to the Group on 6thJune 2018.  The Icosa proposal demonstrates that the sites             proposed for development can all be satisfactorily served by an adoptable foul             drainage and water supply network, conveniently divided into three separate       ‘packages’ to reflect the geographical location of the individual sites.


3.2       It appears to LPC, that through the mechanism of cooperating in the production of a       Joint Drainage Strategy, the landowning interests may achieve significant cost savings over the situation which would have occurred otherwise.


3.3       It will be up to Southern Water Services (SWS) to make the necessary arrangements        at Lenham Wastewater Treatment works to accommodate the foul water flows arising    from committed development at Lenham (some 1364 additional dwellings as of   September 2017).  SWS has been advised by LPC and individual landowners of the      likely programme for the development to 2031.  SWS will continue to be a major             technical consultee to LNP.






  1. Transportation


4.1       LNP is being produced in close cooperation with Maidstone Borough Council (MBC)         partly because the need to provide 1000 additional dwellings at Lenham arises directly          and solely from MBLP (2017) which is produced by the Borough Council.  In order to             comply with the planning regulations, LNP needs to be underpinned by an appropriate    evidence base.  Work with KCC and MBC has revealed that LNP should therefore be          underpinned by a comprehensive Transportation Assessment.

4.2       Such as Assessment would:


  • Investigate ‘the possible new road’ and demonstrate how it could work in terms of its width and alignment;
  • Show what sort of junctions would be needed and at what locations in order to accommodate future traffic flows;
  • Identify what opportunities arise to improve facilities for walking and cycling within the Parish, both associated with the new development sites and otherwise;
  • Identify a scheme for the environmental improvement of Lenham Square associated with better management of through traffic and parking.


4.3       At a meeting held in November 2017 to discuss LNP, Officers of MBC made an offer in     principle to Lenham Parish Council to fund the production of a Transportation          Assessment.  That offer was taken forward by MBC in mid-March 2018 by the      production of a Grant Agreement which has now been concluded.


4.4       On 23rdApril 2018 LPC commissioned Peter Brett Associates (PBA) to undertake the        Lenham Transportation Assessment (LTA) in accordance with the PBA free proposal of     19thApril 2018.  The deadline for the completion of the Assessment is 31stAugust            2018.  This work will be 100% funded by a grant from MBC.


4.5       Work on the Transportation Assessment is progressing well and an up-dating meeting     was held jointly with LPC/MBC/KCC on 2ndJuly 2018 to report progress and identify issues.


4.6       A fee proposal dated 11thJuly 2018 for additional work to provide a more detailed           study of parking in Lenham has been received by LPC and will be considered in the       very near future.


4.7       The preliminary findings of LTA are that the principle infrastructure provisions of LNP      are acceptable in principle.  More work is being undertaken to understand in more    detail how the provisions can be delivered.




5.0       Masterplanning


5.1       The adopted Maidstone Borough Local Plan (MBLP 2017) states at Policy SP8 that            Masterplanning of the Lenham broad location for growth will be essential to achieve    a high-quality design and layout.


5.2       The landowning interests have taken this requirement on board and Masterplans have    been produced for the three general development areas as follows:


North-East of Lenham (Site 1)

South-West of Lenham (Sites 2,3 and 4)

North-West of Lenham (Sites 5,6,7 and 8)


5.3       These Masterplans are the subject of ongoing consultation with LPC and it is intended    that agreed Masterplans (at an appropriate level of detail) will be appended to LNP at             Regulation 14 and Regulation 16 Consultation draft stages.



6.0       Education


6.1       The Lenham School has spare capacity to accommodate the proposed growth,     assuming that capacity is used in conjunction with the possibility of secondary aged students travelling to other schools in the vicinity at Maidstone and Ashford, for example.


6.2       The adopted Maidstone Borough Local Plan (MBLP, 2017) [Policy SPE(4)(ii)] includes        provision for an additional one form of entry expansion either at Lenham or          Harrietsham primary school.  That provision is being made at Harrietsham which will       provide for all existing permitted and allocated sites, outwith the 1000 additional            dwellings proposed at Lenham as a broad location for growth and identified in LNP.


6.3       At current child product levels the 1000 dwellings does not generate sufficient need        to justify a second new primary school site at Lenham.  LPC would regard the          provision of a second new primary school as both unnecessary and as socially divisive.     The LNP will therefore propose that additional primary school provision be made         within the existing Lenham Primary School site and provided for by Community     Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding.


6.4       LPC also propose that LNP will identify a suitable site for the provision of nursery education.


6.5       The best arrangements for the provision of education are the subject of continuing          discussion between LPC and KCC.


7.0       Public Open Space


7.1       One of the basic conditions of any Neighbourhood Plan is that it should be:


“in general conformity with the strategic policies contained in the development plan.”


7.2       In Maidstone Borough Local Plan (MBLP, 2017) the main policy dealing with         publicly accessible open space and recreation is Policy DM 19.  MBC has confirmed   that Policy DM 19 is not a strategic policy.


7.3       It seems to LPC that it is very important to the LNP to understand how MBC will   interpret and apply Policy DM19 in practice.


7.4       Although this issue has been raised in relation to one particular site allocated in MBLP    2017, it remains of general concern.  Further clarification of the mechanism for     implementation is being sought through discussion with MBC.




8.0       Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)


8.1       Lenham Parish Council sought clarification from MBC in June as to what level of   funding might be available for Lenham under the new CIL arrangements.  MBC gave a   very full and helpful reply on 26thJune 2018.


8.2       MBC has confirmed that the Parish will receive the ‘neighbourhood portion’ of CIL           which is 25% if a ‘made’ Neighbourhood Plan exists at the time that a planning       permission is granted.  This is the amount of CIL intended to be spent locally to provide   infrastructure to the local community.


8.3       A key task for LNP will therefore be to estimate, with MBC, how much the            neighbourhood portion of CIL is likely to be and to provide a priority list of broadly         costed projects on which to seek to invest those funds.


8.4       The ‘strategic portion’ of CIL will be pooled and the strategic CIL pool can be spent           across the Borough at the discretion of MBC.  That means that Lenham could receive     above a ‘pro-rata’ allocation of strategic CIL.









9.0       Strategic Environmental Assessment


9.1       AECOM has been commissioned to undertake a Strategic Environmental Assessment       (SEA) of the LNP.  This work will be 100% funded by a grant secured from central         government.

9.2       A preliminary draft report has been produced for comment and another report will be    produced for publication following publication of the Regulation 14 LNP in September 2018.




10.0     Work Programme


10.1     The Lenham Transportation Assessment (LTA) will report at the end of August.


10.2     It is proposed to produce a Regulation 14 Lenham Neighbourhood Plan, based closely    on the September 2017 pre-Regulation 14 LNP, during August for publicity and          consultation with the LTA in mid-September 2018. Consultation will run for six weeks     to the end of October 2018.


10.3     Subject to the responses received and the complexity of the issues raised, it is      proposed to publish a Regulation 16 LNP before the end of 2018.


10.4     We should therefore be considering a public examination in the Spring of 2019 and is      it too ambitious to consider a Referendum being held in April 2019 to coincide with     any other elections which may be held at this time?










Paul McCreery FRTPI

Neighbourhood Plan Advisor to LPC

17thJuly 2018





Lenham Neighbourhood Plan Mid-July 2018 Update
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