Local Plan to 2030 - Publication Draft

Exclusive Home Sites

4.392 Following the NPPF guidance which requires LPAs to promote a wide choice of quality housing, it is part of the vision of this Local Plan to provide a full range of housing that meets a wide variety of needs and choice of home for all residents. The opportunity for local need, affordable and starter housing for those not yet on the property ladder will be achieved through policies HOU1 and HOU2, and general market housing, of mixed sizes and varying locations, will be met through the wide range of site allocations within this plan.

4.393 However, there is also a need to provide opportunities for delivering housing which is of an ‘exclusive’ nature, at the top end of the housing market, and will cater for those people wishing to design their own, larger properties.

4.394 Although the NPPF directs that ‘isolated’ dwellings in the countryside should be avoided, it also allows for special circumstances. Paragraph 55 directs that where the design of a dwelling is of ‘exceptional quality’ or ‘innovative in nature’ it is considered an exception to the principle of restraint. The criteria to meet this special circumstance states that such a design should:

  • “be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas;
  • reflect the highest standards in architecture;
  • significantly enhance its immediate setting; and
  • be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area”.

4.395 To meet the requirements of the NPPF that all development should be sustainable, the council has assessed sites on the edges of settlement confines across the borough  that would not be suitable for general market housing due to the location or other constraints, but could be appropriate for this type of extremely low density ‘exclusive’ housing.  This has resulted in two sites that are considered appropriate for allocation for this exceptional use, which can accommodate a small number of ‘exclusive’ high quality designed properties and which would not be detrimental to the setting and character of the countryside and local area they are situated within.

 

 S41

4.396 This site is located between the built area of Chilham village and the small hamlet of Old Wives Lees, on a connecting road between the two settlements. The road is a narrow rural lane, on a steep gradient, with limited vehicle passing places and no footpaths to either settlement. It is therefore unable to accommodate a large increase in vehicular traffic and would not be sustainable for general market housing due to the restricted access to services. However, there are a small number of large detached properties located around the site boundary, and therefore the site is not considered to be completely ‘isolated’ in the countryside.

4.397 The site considered to be suitable for the provision of 2 ‘exclusive’ properties. The properties must be of outstanding design and quality or ‘innovative’ in nature, reflecting highest standards of architecture in accordance with paragraph 55 of the NPPF.

4.398 The site is located within the North Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and has views of the surrounding countryside setting. The innovative and high quality design of the 2 properties and the landscaping of the curtilage must not harm the immediate or wider setting, or have a detrimental impact on the amenity of the neighbouring properties.

4.399 The buildings should be located on the eastern side of the site, in a similar distance from the road to that of the neighbouring properties, to minimise views of the buildings from the AONB to the west. There are two suitable access points at opposite ends to the site which would serve the two dwellings independently, and these are shown on the policies map.

4.400 The nearby village of Chilham is particularly important in heritage terms as it contains Chilham Castle and a large number of Listed Buildings within a Conservation Area which covers most of the settlement. There are also sites of archaeological importance in close proximity to the site. The design of the properties here must be sensitive to these defining heritage assets and characteristics of the local area. Design proposals coming forward must also indicate how the immediate setting will be enhanced.

 

Policy S41 - Chilham - Mulberry Hill, Old Wives Lees

Land on Mulberry Hill is allocated for ‘exclusive’ residential development of up to two dwellings.

Development proposals for this site must:

  1. Meet exceptional quality or innovative nature of design criteria:
    • be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas;
    • reflect the highest standards in architecture;
    • significantly enhance the immediate setting; and
    • be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.
  2. Retain and enhance the existing hedge and tree boundary around the site and screen the development from the AONB and open countryside by creating soft landscaping along site boundaries;
  3. Provide a dedicated vehicular accesses for each dwelling, as shown on the policies map;
  4. Provide a connection to the sewerage system at the nearest point of adequate capacity, as advised by Southern Water, and ensure future access to the existing sewerage system for maintenance and upsizing purposes.

 S42

 

4.401 This site is located on the A28, Ashford Road on the entrance to the built up settlement of St. Michaels, Tenterden. The London Beach Golf Club and Hotel is situated to the north of the site but is not visible, due to the set back nature of buildings. The site is overgrown scrub and contains a significant mature tree and hedgerow boundary, including a prominent Oak on the road frontage. There are views to the open countryside on the opposing side of the road and the housing directly to the south comprises of detached dwellings in large curtilages, creating a rural setting.

4.402 The site contains many trees and hedgerows within and around, and a TPO protects high trees to the rear of the site. If these mature trees and hedges are removed it would significantly harm this rural setting and the character of the neighbouring properties and local area. The site is not suitable for average density, general market housing due to this impact, however, there is a footpath along the road towards the services in St.Michaels, and therefore the site is not considered to be completely ‘isolated’ in the countryside.

4.403 The site was submitted for low density ‘high quality’ detached dwellings and is considered suitable for this ‘exclusive’ home purpose, for up to 3 dwellings only. This amount of development enables the retention of the mature trees and hedges, in particular the large Oak and enhancement of the pond that lies beneath it.

4.404 The design of the properties here must be sensitive to characteristics of the local area and design proposals must indicate how the immediate setting will be enhanced. The buildings must be of innovative and high quality design and must not harm the immediate or wider setting. The properties should be situated away from the road frontage, in large plots, reflecting the built form of neighbouring properties to the south, and will share one access from Ashford Road as shown on the Policies Map.

 

Policy S42 - St. Michaels - Beechwood Farm

Land at Beechwood Farm is allocated for ‘exclusive’ residential development of up to three dwellings.

Development proposals for this site must:

  1. Meet exceptional quality or innovative nature of design criteria:
    • be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas;
    • reflect the highest standards in architecture;
    • significantly enhance the immediate setting; and
    • be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area.
  2. Retain and enhance the existing mature hedge and tree boundary around and within the site where possible to screen the development and reduce impacts on neighbouring properties;
  3. Provide a singular vehicular access, as shown on the policies map;
  4. Provide a connection to the sewerage system at the nearest point of adequate capacity, as advised by Southern Water, and ensure future access to the existing sewerage system for maintenance and upsizing purposes.