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Land at Iwade Road, Newington FAQ

Questions and answers

We are aware of a breach of planning control at this site, amounting to the laying of crushed concrete, and we are aware of the sensitivities of local residents to potential development here.

Further information will be added over time, as and when matters become clearer on existing issues and / or if any new issues arise.

1. What is the status of the 1985 Planning Enforcement Notice?

The existing enforcement notice, dating from 1985, relates to the use of the land as a caravan site. This notice remains in force, and any use of the site contrary to its provisions could be prosecutable in the Magistrates Court.

2. What is the legal situation regarding felling of trees in a Conservation Area?

The site lies within the Newington Church Conservation Area, and as such all trees with a trunk diameter of greater than 75mm at a point 1.5m above ground level are afforded a level of protection. If anyone (other than a local authority) intends works to such trees, they must give the Council six weeks’ notice of their intention to do so. The Council then has the option to either raise no objection to the works, or to impose a Tree Preservation Order on the tree(s) in question.

We are aware that a number of trees have been felled within this site. The party responsible for the works to the trees is aware that no further clearance or any other works to protected trees should be carried out without notifying the Council under the statutory procedures. No further clearance of trees has taken place since then.

Officers have carefully considered what action can and should be taken in this regard. The site has been inspected and the trees (including the stumps of trees which have been felled) have been considered in detail. Officers have concluded firstly that there is insufficient evidence and justification on which to base a prosecution for the works carried out to date. Secondly, the remaining trees at the site have been appraised and officers have concluded that there is insufficient justification for the imposition of a Tree Preservation Order on them.

3. Do the drainage works at the site require planning permission?

Drainage works do not generally require planning permission. Council Officers are liaising with drainage engineers at Kent County Council regarding the works carried out, and further information will be provided in this regard when it is available.

4. Would a Stop Notice have any further weight over and above the provisions of the existing Enforcement Notice?

A temporary stop notice (TSN) is effective for 28 days only, and only one such notice can be served in respect of any particular breach of planning control. The use of the site as a caravan site is already expressly prohibited by the 1985 enforcement notice, and a TSN would only duplicate its requirements. We cannot, therefore, serve a TSN in respect of the use of the site as a caravan site.

A Stop Notice (SN) can only be served if accompanied by a new enforcement notice. As there is an existing enforcement notice in place in relation to the use of the site as a caravan site, the Council is unable to serve an SN in this regard. The fine for breaching an SN is the same as that for breaching an enforcement notice, and therefore the 1985 enforcement notice has the same power as a stop notice in preventing the use of the site as a caravan site.

The 1985 enforcement notice does not cover any “operational development” – the laying of crushed concrete or any other permanent development at the site. Council Officers are carefully considering whether action in respect of the crushed concrete laid at the site to date would be expedient at the present time.

5. What is the planning process if and when a planning application is submitted?

An application has been submitted and we have consulted local residents, the Parish Council, and other statutory consultees. We have also posted a notice at the site inviting comments, together with an advert in the local newspaper. We will very carefully consider any material planning considerations raised in any representations received from any interested parties.

We are currently seeking additional information from the applicant’s agent in respect of ecological and other matters, together with amendments to the plans relating to the comments of the Highway Authority.

The site is located in the Newington Church Conservation Area. As such the Council, as Local Planning Authority, has a statutory duty to consider the impact on any development of the site on the special character of the conservation area. The Council, as Local Planning Authority, also has a statutory duty to consider the impact of the development on the setting of any nearby listed buildings, including any impact on the nearby Grade I listed church.

The Council will consider any such application against the saved policies of the Swale Borough Local Plan 2008, together with Government Planning Policy, and will take into account all relevant material considerations prior to a recommendation being made to the Council’s Planning Committee.

The Planning Committee meets in public and there are opportunities for public speaking, although for practical purposes these are limited. After considering the issues, including the recommendation made by the Council’s Head of Planning, the Members of the Planning Committee will reach a decision as to whether planning permission should be granted.

If planning permission is refused for any development, the applicant has the opportunity to submit an appeal to the Secretary of State. If the applicant chooses to do so, such an application would be determined by an Inspector from the Planning Inspectorate.

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