Note to the 42-page documentation - a print-out of the internet site: -
distributed by residents to the Members of the Western Area Planning Committee, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council -
for the Meeting on 18.10.2000 to decide the planning application for the development of Telephone House, Tunbridge Wells
Joint Applicants: Crest Homes South East (Crest Nicholson) and BT's Southgate Developments Ltd - Agent: Barton Willmore, West Malling

How do the TWBC planning officer Ruth Chambers, the developer's agent Barton Willmore, the Government and Residents calculate the density ?

14 October 2000

Please find enclosed a brochure based on the Internet site of York Road and on the individual views of residents.

In the case-officerís appraisal (included in the Agenda for the Planning Committee 18.10.00) a grave miscalculation with regard to density, had been noticed (Page W10):
The report claims that the site has a density of approximately 126 dwellings to the hectare. As the site is proclaimed in the planning application to be of 0.307 hectare, 126 dwellings to the hectare would mean 39 units and not 43. The officer thinks that this is only marginally higher than the density of historic York Road, which, according to the report, has 105 dwellings to the hectare. This translated, means that the developers should have to be content with 32 units.

The developers quote in their planning statement (6.4. / June 2000):
The density of the proposed development at over 100 units to the hectare complying with the thresholds now sought in both RPG9 and PPG3.
Again on a size of 0.307 hectare, seeking double the PPG3's top level recommendation (50), the planning application should have been filed for 32 dwellings.

To fully understand the issue of the density, one cannot omit, like the developer and the case-officer, Paragraph 57 of PPG3.

The whole text dealing with density in 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:

- 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 a density of 100-150 dwellings "at places with good public transport accessibility such as city, town, district and local centres . . . "

Telephone House, Tunbridge Wells: Bringing the density to more acceptable levels, would of course solve most of the problems with regard to layout, traffic, parking etc.


Take the quantity of proposed units and divide by the size of the plot in hectares

In the particular case of the Telephone House:
43 dwellings : 0.307 hectares = 140 dwellings per hectare

Remember, 1 hectare = 10000 sqm or 2.47 acres

So if you want to know density per acre divide the result (dwellings per hectare) by 2.47
In the particular case of the Telephone House:
140 : 2.47 = 57 dwellings per acre

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

The 2nd Planning Application for the Development of Telephone House

The Internet site of York Road residents -
informing on the 1st and 2nd application for Telephone House, Tunbridge Wells

The Telephone House Neighbours Assocation
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, Kent, TN1