Local Plan to 2030 Regulation 19 - Publication June 2016

Local Plan to 2030 - Publication Draft

Traveller Sites

4.405 The following two sites are specific allocations for sites for travellers in accordance with the need to plan for the housing requirements of the gypsy and traveller population in line with government guidance contained in the National Planning Policy Framework and its companion document "Planning policy for Traveller sites"

Biddenden - Priory Wood

 S45

4.406 This existing gypsy and traveller site is located in the parish of Biddenden on the main Tenterden Road and within the Clapper Hill wooded farmlands landscape character area. It is located within a row of linear, low density development with a single access point provided between an extensive hedgerow, it is not visible from the road. The site currently has permission for one pitch which was granted in 2005. It is proposed that the area outlined above, which is only a small area of the overall site, has the capacity to provide for two additional pitches.

4.407 Due to the location of the site, the new pitches should be placed on the site where there is the least impact on neighbouring occupiers and any landscape views. This approach to caravan ‘siting’ could also be complimented with additional tree screening to lessen the impact. The ‘siting’ of the pitches and the need for any additional screening should be considered further at the planning application stage.

4.408 The wider boundary of the existing gypsy and traveller site is located directly adjoining ancient woodland to the south. However, the proposed position of the additional pitches is located 120m from this woodland. Despite this distance from the ancient woodland the site for the new pitches does contain a number of trees and prior to the positioning of any static caravans or hard standing for touring caravans, a survey of the trees that could be impacted upon must be undertaken to identify trees that are of merit. If this is found to be the case, then new trees of the same species should be re-provided elsewhere, planting these on the wider site would be seen as an acceptable approach.

4.409 Finally, to ensure that the site can be provide for the benefit of the wider gypsy and traveller community any pitches should only be occupied by those persons who meet the most current definition of Gypsies and Travellers.

Policy S43 - Biddenden - Priory Wood

Planning permission for 2 permanent pitches at Land at Priory Wood, as shown on the policies map, will be granted if the following criteria are met: 

  1. The total capacity of the site does not exceed 3 traveller pitches.
  2. Access to the site is via the existing access off Tenterden Road
  3. The additional pitches are sited in a location that provides the least impact on neighbouring occupiers and the landscape.
  4. New trees are planted to replace any trees of merit that have been lost due to the development

Westwell - Watery Lane

 S46

4.410 This site is currently located on a parcel of land on the outskirts of the village of Westwell. The site directly adjoins the sidings of the M20 motorway to the north and is located within a wider agricultural field to the south, which itself is bounded by the railway line. The buildings of Sunnybridge Farm are located to the southwest, some 80 metres from the site entrance.

4.411 Area A of the larger site is currently utilised as a single Gypsy and Traveller pitch, which is resided on by a specific named family on a temporary permission basis.

4.412 Area B of the site is currently an agricultural field, which has the ability to accommodate an additional 4 pitches

4.413 Although both sites are currently separate, proposals that unify the sites into one single site of 5 pitches would be seen as a suitable approach, although keeping them independent in their own right would also be considered acceptable. In both instances the design and layout should facilitate proper management and access, in addition to providing a layout conducive to community and individual well being. Utilising the guidance set out in the licencing document ‘Model Standards 2008 for Caravan Sites in England- Caravan Sites and Control of Development Act 1960’ should be used when designing the layout of the site, as this is currently the most up-to-date standards available on pitch design. However, any design for the scheme should utilise the most up-to-date guidance available at the time.

4.414 The overall site is located within an area designated as AONB. The primary purpose of AONB designation is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty. Despite this designation the provision of a Gypsy and Traveller site in this location is considered tolerable, as the area has been significantly altered by the provision of the M20 Motorway. In addition, the site is relatively low lying, and although visible from the Motorway itself, can be easily screened and remodelled through landscaping and planting. Therefore, any proposals for development of this site should provide a landscaping scheme to mitigate against any potential impacts on the AONB, which would need to be agreed by the Council.

4.415 Due to the location of the site within direct proximity of the M20 motorway, the site would need to provide some form of acoustic protection on its northern boundary, to ensure the well being of the residents that will reside there. Whether this could be provided via planting or other acoustic measures would need to be explored in further detail at the planning applications stage. The possibility of providing this acoustic protection in connection with the landscaping scheme would be seen as an acceptable approach.

4.416 Finally, to ensure that the site can be provide for the benefit of the wider gypsy and traveller community any personal permissions regarding parts of the site should be removed at planning applications stage and the site shall only be occupied by those persons who meet the most current definition of Gypsies and Travellers. 

Policy S44 - Westwell - Watery Lane

Planning permission will be granted for a maximum of 5 pitches at Watery Lane, Westwell, if the following criteria are met:

  1. Noise mitigation measures are provided on the northern boundary of the site
  2. Suitable landscaping is provided for the site to minimise its visual impact on the landscape
  3. The design of the site utilises the most up-to-date guidance on pitch design and layout.