e-mail - clarification of 58 PPG3 - Density

Subject: PPG3 (Planning Policy Guidance Note 3) - Interpretation of Paragraph 58

Date: 20/10/00

From: TWYORKROAD@CS.COM [ since 2002: twyorkroad@aol.com ]

To: governmental departments

Dear Sirs,

Here in Tunbridge Wells, in a tiny, historical road, called York Road, we are confronted with a development which is totally out of proportion for its environment.

The case in point is the re-development of BT's site, straddling the area between Church Road and York Road. The site is of 0.307 hectare and Crest Homes had asked permission in a joint application with Southgate Development Ltd. (the property branch of British Telecom) to build 43 dwellings together with parking spaces of 40 cars.

Crest explained at a meeting in the Town Hall, shortly after having filed its planning application, that their objective was to maximise profits for their shareholders.

The application was refused on the 18.10.00 by a much applauded unanimous decision of the elected Councillors in their function as Tunbridge Wells Western Area Planning Committee.

The Tunbridge Wells Bourough Council officers were very much in favour of the project and did not accept the residents' interpretation of the PLANNING POLICY GUIDANCE Note 3 Paragraph 58, that "seeking higher density...", did certainly not mean overpopulating the area by increasing the output of the guidelines to triple their top limit (50 dwellings per hectare).

Paragraph 57 and Paragraph 58 of PPG3:

Making the best use of land

57. Local planning authorities should avoid the inefficient use of land. New housing development in England is currently built at an average of 25 dwellings per hectare but more than half of all new housing is built at less than 20 dwellings per hectare. That represents a level of land take which is historically very high and which can no longer be sustained. Such development is also less likely to sustain local services or public transport, ultimately adding to social exclusion. Local planning authorities should therefore examine critically the standards they apply to new development, particularly with regard to roads, layouts and car parking, to avoid the profligate use of land. Policies which place unduly restrictive ceilings on the amount of housing that can be accommodated on a site, irrespective of its location and the type of housing envisaged or the types of households likely to occupy the housing, should be avoided.

58. Local planning authorities should therefore:
- avoid developments which make inefficient use of land (those of less than 30 dwellings per hectare net - see definitions at Annex C);
- encourage housing development which makes more efficient use of land (between 30 and 50 dwellings per hectare net); and
- seek greater intensity of development at places with good public transport accessibility such as city, town, district and local centres or around major nodes along good quality public transport corridors.

One cannot imagine that the authors of the Planning Policy Guidance meant by stating "seek greater intensity" anything other than the higher level of the recommendation (50), but certainly not triple.

Otherwise one would expect to read e.g. seek density of 100-150 dwellings "at places with good public transport accessibility such as city, town, district and local centres ..."

Could you please help us in clarifying this paragraph.

You might wish to visit our Internet site http://uk.geocities.com/twyorkroad, where you will find more information about the development in general.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

for the residents of York Road,
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
signing off Daniel Bech

DENSITY - cramming ? lifestyle ?
The high density development of Telephone House, Tunbridge Wells

The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Tunbridge Wells
The aims are to heighten peoples' awareness and concern for the controversial high density development on Telephone House site, Church Road / York Road, Tunbridge Wells.