Press Release from Cllr Nigel Stratton, Chair of Neighbourhood Plan Working Party

I have read the leaflet from Vistry Group which has been distributed to some of the houses in Pembury.

Any suggestion that the site designated as PE/3 in the emerging Local Plan for Tunbridge Wells (“Local Plan”), was endorsed by the recent referendum on the Neighbourhood Development Plan (“NDP”), would be misleading.

The NDP Working Party made it abundantly clear from the start of our work that the NDP would not allocate any sites in Pembury for development and the plan does not do so. Site allocation is entirely left to the Borough Council as the Local Planning Authority.

We do not endorse any further development in Pembury for a number of reasons including building in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; transport problems; and further pressure on services, such as drainage, to name but a few.

However, we had to acknowledge that there were a number of sites in Pembury which the emerging Local Plan had designated and our aim in the NDP was to ensure that any development that does take place either on those sites or elsewhere is sympathetically and sustainably designed; provides affordable housing for local people; safeguards the High Weald setting of the village such as trees and woodland, ponds, orchards and hedgerows; and that treasured green spaces and views will be retained for the future.

As an appendix to the NDP are the “Design Codes” again setting out what we would want to see in any development such drainage solutions; sustainable buildings and new cycle routes and pedestrian access.

We are yet to know what development will be put forward in the Local Plan both for Pembury and the Borough generally. Until we do, I am unable to comment any further.

It is impossible to see, however, that any further development in Pembury could enhance biodiversity.