Garden Communities and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - Letter to Councillors

22 January 2019

We have sent another letter to local Councillors, expressing our serious concern about the impact of the Gladman proposal on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty surrounding it. If you are concerned, please write to your local councillors. It is up to them to prevent these proposals from going ahead!

 

Dear Councillor

I am writing to express my concern about the proposed development along North Street, South of Faversham and its effect on the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The site of the proposal is surrounded on three sides by the Kent Downs AONB and it is unconscionable that such a huge development of 5 000 or more houses will be permitted in this location.

Natural England guidance states that:

“Under the CROW Act, you, [the local authority] must make sure that all decisions have regard for the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the AONB. Your decisions and activities must consider the potential effect it will have within the AONB and land outside its boundary”.

The impact of this development will be to ruin this part of the AONB, not only impacting visually on the surrounding natural environment, but bringing construction, traffic, noise and light pollution to the AONB.

Construction, including roadworks, will be a significant contributor to particulate levels. These projects will last many years and the emissions will significantly affect the air quality within the AONB. Construction will inevitably bring an unacceptable amount of dust, light and noise pollution.

Along with the pollution from construction, there will be pollution from increased traffic and traffic congestion all along North Street and into the AONB. There is already great concern about air quality within Faversham Town, along the A2, and this development will bring the same problems to the AONB.

Over 70 per cent of the energy used in homes and workplaces is for space and hot water heating, some 90 per cent of which is currently met using gas-fired boilers which emit harmful NOx emissions. It is unlikely that any new development will include 100% renewable energy provision and this huge housing development will further contribute to air pollution within the AONB and beyond.

The National Planning Policy Framework 2018 states in section 15. ”Conserving and enhancing the natural environment”.

170. “Planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by: 
a) protecting and enhancing valued landscapes….;
b) recognising the intrinsic character and beauty of the countryside …. and other benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land, and of trees and woodland; 
d) minimising impacts on and providing net gains for biodiversity…;
e) preventing new and existing development from contributing to… unacceptable levels of soil, air, water or noise pollution”…

It also states that:

172. “Great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty in … Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty…. The scale and extent of development within these designated areas should be limited. “

180. “Planning policies and decisions should also ensure that new development is appropriate for its location taking into account the likely effects (including cumulative effects) of pollution on health, living conditions and the natural environment, as well as the potential sensitivity of the site or the wider area to impacts that could arise from the development”.

I respectfully ask that that you please pay due regard to these sections of the NPPF and do not let these developments destroy our rural landscape. Your own Garden City Prospectus requires “a significant net gain in biodiversity” in any development. How can this be achieved when the proposed developments are on prime Grade 1 & 2 agricultural land and can only have a detrimental effect on biodiversity within and alongside the AONB?

I will be writing to Natural England to express my concerns regarding this matter. I am very aware that there is a need for new housing in Swale, but we should not be building large-scale developments on prime agricultural land, adjacent to the AONB, or along the already congested A2. Both of the ‘Garden Community’ proposals are huge and inappropriate extensions to Faversham, which will ruin our beautiful town, the surrounding agricultural landscape and the AONB.

I hope that you will give the impact of these proposals the “great weight” required and fully consider the Natural England guidance, the NPPF and your own Garden City Prospectus. Please protect our landscape for future generations!

Yours sincerely

Find your Councillor's contact details here.