Main Changes to Local Plan 2030

Policy S59 - Mersham, Land at Old Rectory Close (MC102)

Policy S59 – Mersham, Land at Old Rectory Close


This site is located immediately adjoining the northernmost part of the built up part of the village of Mersham, on The Street, one of the main entrance roads into the village from the A20. To the north of the site is open fields, which are then dissected from the wider area by the M20 motorway and the A20. To the south is the residential edge of the settlement, and the south western corner adjoins a recreation field which is accessed from Glebelands cul-de-sac.

The site is currently an enclosed field bounding the entrance to a small cul-de-sac of housing, Old Rectory Close, which consists of 7 large detached properties, and wraps around to the rear of and to the side of Glebe House, a Grade ll listed building located on the frontage of The Street. The site and the relatively new 7 properties once formed a paddock relating to Glebe House. There is an open space area on the left side of the road entrance which contains a flagpole but is mainly mature trees and hedgerows, limiting views into the site and the existing housing in the close from the main road.

The site is considered suitable for up to 15 dwellings. The developable area of the site, taking into account the existing trees and ponds, is around 1ha, and therefore residential development would result in a low maximum density of 15dph, which is appropriate and suitable with regards to the Conservation Area location and reflects local character and density. The access to the site should be from Old Rectory Close, as shown on the policies map.

Along the north-east boundary of the site runs a drain as well as two ponds bounded by mature trees. The pond at the site’s eastern boundary, adjoining the road, is substantial, and there are other ponds in the surrounding landscape.

The site is located within the Mersham Conservation Area, and in addition to the neighbouring Glebe House, there are a number of other significant heritage assets in the immediate location, including the Grade II* Listed ‘Newhouse’, which is a substantial property located on the opposite side of The Street. In addition there are further associated assets of Gardeners Cottage and the original Garden Walls which are both Grade ll Listed. However, there is already significant screening with mature trees and hedgerows between the site and these heritage assets, which must be retained and enhanced where possible. Development proposals for this site must ensure that the setting of these heritage assets is conserved.

Given the character and appearance of the surrounding areas, countryside edge, Conservation Area location and the setting of the nearby Listed Buildings, a scheme of 2 storey buildings would be most appropriate here. The design and layout must take account of the residential amenity of neighbouring occupiers, and minimise views of the development with improved landscape screening, in addition to ensuring that the trees and ponds are retained within the layout of the development to create ecological corridors.

Due to the close proximity of the village recreation ground, on-site provision of public open space will not be expected but appropriate contributions towards the management, maintenance and enhancement of the village recreation ground provision will be sought. There is an opportunity to create an informal footpath access to the adjoining recreation field which should be explored and connections to footpaths and cycleways provided which link to the local network.

Southern Water’s assessment has revealed that additional sewerage infrastructure would be required to serve the proposed development. The development will therefore be required to make a connection to the nearest point of adequate capacity in the sewerage network. Early liaison should take place with the service provider in this regard.

Policy S59 – Mersham, Land at Old Rectory Close

The site at Old Rectory Close is proposed for residential development of up to 15 dwellings. Development proposals for this site shall:

  1. Be laid out to complement and not detract from the setting of the listed buildings adjacent to and nearby the site and conserve the setting of the Conservation Area within which it is located;
  2. Be designed and laid out to take account of the residential amenity of neighbouring occupiers. Layout should take account of surrounding areas, marking a transition between open countryside and rural settlement;
  3. Provide primary vehicle access on to the Old Rectory Close, as shown on the policies map;
  4. Retain mature trees on site, incorporating these into a coherent overall landscape design;
  5. Provide new pedestrian and cycle routes throughout the development and connections to existing rural routes and local services; in particular provide an access through the site to the adjacent playing fields;
  6. Retain the on-side ponds integrated into a coherent landscaping scheme that maintains and enhances ensure habitat connectivity to the wider area for biodiversity benefit;
  7. Provide a connection to the nearest point of adequate capacity in the sewerage network, in collaboration with the service provider.