Main Changes to Local Plan 2030

Policy S61 - Wittersham, Land between Lloyds Green and Jubilee Fields (MC104)

Policy S61 – Wittersham, Land between Lloyds Green and Jubilee Fields

This site is located on the northern edge of the settlement of Wittersham, between Lloyds Green, a residential cul-de-sac in the west, and Woodland View, a small residential close accessed off the larger Forge Meads and Jubilee Field cul-de-sac. The site wraps around the north and west of open recreational space, a large informal sports field with an equipped play area in the northern corner. The boundary between the site and the recreation space is currently defined by an established hedgerow, but there are two informal footpaths which cross the open space and link Lloyds Green and Forge Meads for pedestrians.

There is currently no vehicle access between the two residential cul-de-sacs, and due to the piecemeal housing additions in Forge Meads, which have extended the close numerous times, there are identified highway concerns. Development of this site provides an opportunity to link the two cul-de-sacs together with a link road running from Jubilee Field to Lloyds Green. This proposal has the support of the local Highway Authority as it removes the problems associated with single access points to large residential cul-de-sacs in an emergency situation. The options for the proposed link road are shown on the policy map.

Along the northern boundary of the site is a vast area of combined woodlands (Combe, Church, Rushgreen & Stemps Woods) which is designated Ancient Woodland, a Local Wildlife Site (LWS) and covered by a TPO. This woodland extends 400m or more to the east, west and north of the site, providing screening to the majority of the site from the wider countryside setting. On the northern parcel, to the east of the site is open countryside and agricultural fields, and at this point there is no planted boundary between them.

The whole settlement lies within the designated High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and therefore development proposals for this site must conserve the natural beauty of the landscape. The significant woodland screening along the northern boundary, and the limited views of the site from the main road in the settlement and the wider area, provide an opportunity to deliver additional housing in this settlement, which does not significantly impact on the views and setting within this important landscape designation.

However, from the east, there is some visibility of the site from the wider area particularly from a PROW footpath that leads from Jubilee Field, and therefore it is proposed that the development footprint of this site must not extend up to the woodland edge of the site boundary, leaving a minimum of a 50m green buffer between the built edge and the woodland, indicatively shown on the policies map. This buffer also enables protection and mitigation of the effects of development on the Ancient woodland and LWS, and could be enhanced as an informal green space and ecological mitigation area.

Based on the requirements for the buffer area in the north of the site and the link road requirement across the site, the remaining developable area of the site is around 2.5ha, and therefore the site is proposed for a residential development of around 40 dwellings. This would result in a density of less than 20dph, which is appropriate and suitable with regards to the AONB location and reflects local character and density.

Given the character and appearance of the surrounding areas and the AONB location, 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, particularly where they will be in close proximity to the new link road access points. Although located some distance from the Conservation Area, there are two semi-detached properties adjoining the south west corner of the site which are Listed (The White Cottage and Corner Cottage). Development proposals for this site must ensure that the setting of these heritage assets is conserved.

Dwellings should be orientated to enable overlooking and natural surveillance to the village recreation area where possible, and should also front the link road. A mix of unit sizes and types will be required here in accordance with policy ** but the larger detached properties should be generally located at the northern / north-eastern parts of the site where the impact on the wider landscape is most sensitive. It is important that the eastern boundary is sensitively developed to mitigate any visual impact from new development. A lower residential density will be appropriate in this part of the site and a landscaping scheme that ‘breaks up’ the urban edge created by built development here will be necessary. This should include the planting of some mature trees to create screening in the short-term.

Due to the close proximity to the public open space and equipped play area adjacent to the site, there are opportunities to upgrade this provision and provide enhancement to the current un-adopted pathways through the area, creating enhanced pedestrian access around the village.

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 S61 – Wittersham, Land between Lloyds Green and Jubilee Fields

The site between Lloyds Green and Jubilee Fields is proposed for residential development with an indicative capacity of 40 dwellings.

Development proposals for this site shall:

a) Provide a minimum buffer of 50m between built development and the woodland edge to the north, to conserve the Ancient woodland and LWS designations, and limit views of the development from the PRoW and wider AONB landscape to the east. This buffer provides an opportunity to create informal greenspace and ecological mitigation if required;

b) Be designed and laid out in such a way as to protect the character and setting of the AONB and adjoining listed buildings, and must take account of the residential amenity of neighbouring occupiers, particularly those in close proximity to the access roads. Dwellings should be a maximum of 2 storey and orientated to enable overlooking and natural surveillance of the adjoining public open space area, and should also front the link road;

c) Provide dual primary vehicle access from Lloyds Green, and one of the options in Jubilee Fields as shown on the policies map, creating a through link road between the two areas;

d) Provide a landscaped boundary along the eastern edge of the northern parcel of the site, which should include mature tree planting in the short term to lessen the visual impact of the development, from the wider countryside;

e) Provide a connection to the nearest point of adequate capacity in the sewerage network, in collaboration with the service provider;

f) Upgrade and enhance the adjoining open space and equipped play area provision if required and enhance pedestrian access around the area to a more formal arrangement than the current un-adopted pathways;

g) Provide new pedestrian and cycle routes throughout the development and connections to existing routes and local services.