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Planning and Transport Committee Report to

Annual Town Meeting of Southborough April 1997

By Councillor Andrew Lohmann chair person of the planning and transportation committee

This committee meets every two weeks, visiting and speaking to the applicants and their neighbours the morning of the meeting. The planning committee makes recommendations to the Borough Council who, as planning authority, decide. This council has the same consultation period as the public. The Borough Council usually agree with our recommendations. Planning applications can be new, variations to plans already approved or outline applications. The transportation aspect has allowed the council to express our views on highways and public transport issues.

Again Councillor's Haskett, and myself presented, the councils' case against the proposal for 38 sheltered homes for the Site at Brookfield, London Road at the Borough Planning western area subcommittee. The previous proposal had been for 43 sheltered homes. An appeal inquiry is scheduled for July. (The inquiry inspector has subsequently made an interim judgment that Brookfield proposal can go ahead, with some conditions)

We consulted with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council on Highways matters expressing our view that there should be a one way system of roads in much of Southborough West and a crossing on High Brooms Road, Southborough East. We advised such schemes do not necessarily have to justify them selves on technical grounds they can be proceeded with in any case if I have understood borough council policy properly. The Borough Council's traffic calming proposal for the Common have not yet been finalised. It was pleasing to see the parking restriction zigzag lines appear outside St. Matthews School. A stop sign in the middle of the pavement at the Powder Mill Lane, High Brooms Road Junction has been moved.

We now see 28 houses being built where the Ridgewaye School used to stand.

Again not all applications concern just one committee.  We recommended approval of the application for an all-weather pitch for the cricket ground. This was subject to the material used being acceptable. This recommendation involved debate in both this and the Parks and Cemetery Committee. Last year the council approved the extension of the ground

Castle Hill is a local Land Mark viewed from parts of Southborough surrounded with Ancient Woodland. There is a proposal to cut a 6-lane section of A21 trunk road in to the Hill. The Environmental Impact Assessment submitted to the Inquiry in 1993 was criticised by the Inspector. In the near future this committee will consider pressing for A proper detailed Environmental Impact Assessment to be undertaken. (At present this scheme is in an accelerated review)

The community have done well petitioning to defend the local bus services. (The council has represented peoples concern for bus service through this committee) You can read Cllr Knights’ report elsewhere.

I said last year that this council and the school governors will look ahead to a community facility shared with St. Matthews School. This is more a long term aim since the County Council have applied and given themselves planning consent to extend the school. The extension though needed will result in serious reduction in educational play space. Both Town and Borough Council’s recommended refusal of this application. This extension has been left to the last moment then proceeded with great urgency.

Concern has been raised about the height of the development in Bedford Road. The Old Laundry which has been replaced by 8 one bed apartments. Its height is greater than expected. This council recommend refusal of the subsequent retrospective planning application.

It is evident that the community in High Brooms take pride in the history of the area. Listing some homes is unlikely to occur. We shall pursue making High Brooms a Conservation area, recognizing the community pride. This would allow people to consider the implications before proceeding with alterations to their homes.

The borough council invite our view of applications just outside the town. Two examples of these were proposals at Reynolds lane for 8 three-bed houses, and to build a house on land next to 70 Powder Mill Lane.