Tonbridge Independents oppose the proposed development of 4,000 houses in Capel/Tudeley in that it will adversely affect the quality of life for many of the residents of Tonbridge. Whilst the development itself is within the boundaries of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, it is nevertheless by virtue of its location on the doorstep of Tonbridge, and it will be our town that will be affected by the influx of potentially another 6,000 cars using largely unsuitable roads. The nearest town centre, where the major supermarkets are located, is Tonbridge.
Of course, if these extra cars came to Tonbridge as opposed to Tunbridge Wells there would be additional pressure upon our town centre car parks which are already near to capacity as it is. The nearest railway station for for those travelling to London for work will be Tonbridge station, and again there will be increased pressure upon our local rail infrastructure in terms of more passengers and the need for parking. In addition to this there will potentially be at least another 10,000 patients for local doctors and dentists, not forgetting of course the extra pressure upon Tunbridge Wells hospital and its services.
There were in excess of 8,000 written objections to the Regulation 18 (Preparation of Local Plan) Town and Country Planning Act (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 in respect of the 4000 houses development at Capel/Tudeley, but typically these were all but ignored. Tunbridge Wells Borough Council voted it through, and the application has now progressed to the second stage of the consultation process (Regulation 19 Town and Country Planning Act (Local Planning) (England) 2012). This phase of the consultation provides local communities, businesses, and other interested stakeholders with the opportunity to comment on the policy content of a draft local plan. So in theory all is not lost, not yet anyway.
Tonbridge Independents support the endeavours of ‘Save Capel’ in their continued campaign against this development. We must begin opposition to arbitrarily imposed housing targets by central government. As Independents we believe that the building of new homes should be dictated by local need first and foremost as opposed to arbitrary targets set by government.
Those travelling down the B2017 will know that there is already a major housing development underway in Badsell Road on the periphery of Paddock Wood, and this is one of a number of developments planned which coupled with the proposed Capel/Tudeley development, may in time result in ribbon development from Tonbridge right through to Paddock Wood. Once the Green Belt is gone, its gone forever.
There should be no development without the required infrastructure put in first, and the local authorities should ensure that Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 2012 is rigidly enforced in that the infrastructure costs should be paid by the developers and not the council tax payer. Once our leafleting campaign is completed we will embark upon a canvassing campaign in south Tonbridge with particular emphasis upon the Capel/Tudeley development.
It is absolutely imperative that Tonbridge and Malling Council do not sign a Statement of Common Ground with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council in support of its PSLP (Preliminary Submission Local Plan), and we will apply pressure upon councillors and the cabinet not to sign this. It is unlikely that Conservative councillors would be as keen to do this.