Daffodils by the gateLamb with room to run.Headcorn High streetHyacinths at back doorKentish farm house in winter



WKPS is a non-political environmental pressure group, registered charity 261992.   We have three main aims:

  • To protect and enhance the character and environment of the Wealden towns, villages and countryside
  • To safeguard the amenities of the Weald of Kent
  • To cultivate a wider interest in and care for the beauty, history and character of the Weald of Kent
Please Click this link to download the
Annual Report & Accounts 2015


The Planning Committee met early September in Rolvenden Layne.   This bulletin contains news relating to applications dealt with and decisions handed down since the last meeting in early August, as well as proposed future action on some current applications.
Pretty quiet other than the proposed Halden Field development by Taylor Wimpey. Public exhibition to be held on 8 September. The proposal is for 40 dwellings which represents a substantial addition to the village; the nearest doctors’ surgery is in Tenterden and is at capacity, the local school has a waiting list and there is no possibility for expansion.
A previous development at Glebe Field of 11 dwellings for local needs by ERHA has seen construction problems — inferior quality, drainage problems, ground source heating cost the occupants £40 per week and the original occupants moved out. No local people want to live there.
Land west of Mill Bank, Headcorn.  WKPS responded to Gladman Developments objecting/outlining concerns to its proposed development in reply to their consultation             document.
Headcorn PC draft neighbourhood plan. No comment has been made.
Landscapes of Local Value — Low Weald. MBC meeting on 18 August to discuss deferred proposal to remove designated landscapes. Further email sent on 18 August to head of planning and all councillors on the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation             Committee. Most of the councillors are against the removal and the matter is to be looked at again. There is much confusion as to the status of this among the councillors themselves. Chair seeking further advice.
15/00655/AS — The Gatehouse, Old Palace, Market Place, Charing — Roof replacement      and rebuild of gable to create dwelling, reinstatement of mullion windows. Insertion of front and rear dormers. WKPS supported this application. The Spitalfields Trust has withdrawn the application. Historic England (HE) had discouraged the Trust suggesting that the proposed development would cause some harm to heritage significance. It acknowledged, though, a likely benefit but their concern is about the Great Hall and the north wall. It is hoping for a stronger case to be made for the whole site. HE is in negotiation with Spitalfields Trust.   WKPS hopes a satisfactory conclusion will be reached.
15/5055731/FULL/TW Land rear of Bell House Fabrics and Lloyds Bank, High Street, Cranbrook — Erection of a four bedroom dwelling.  WKPS objection: within conservation area, loss of green space and trees.

15/505503/FULL/TW The Croft, Church Road, Sandhurst, Cranbrook TN18 5NS — Demolition of garage, erection of side and rear extension, raise pitch of the roof, conversion of roof and insertion of roof lights and dormer windows. WKPS objected. APPLICANT has withdrawn and may enter into pre-application discussions prior to submitting a new application.

15/00456/AS Land rear of White House Cottage, 65a High Street, Charing — Erection of single storey dwelling incorporating grade II curtilage listed wall and insertion of lead flashing to grade II* listed garden wall to Ludwell House. (RT) WKPS objected. ABC APPROVED.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This paragraph deals with actions planned rather than already taken.   Readers are asked to note that the opinions and action points  are those expressed by the planning committee as a whole.  They are not always final decisions.  Many items discussed at meetings require further research before we reach a final decision on action to be taken. 
15/505138/FULL/MA Chart Hill Paddock, Chart Hill Road, Staplehurst TN12 0DE — Change of use of land to gypsy caravan site to extend existing site to accommodate stationing of 5 additional mobile homes, including laying of hardstanding, landscaping and erection of a day room. This site has permission (on appeal in 2010) for 1 mobile home, 1 touring caravan & 1 amenity block with a restriction for domestic use only. The site is being used commercially for dismantling of cars and the business is advertised. WKPS to object. The submitted plan is inaccurate as the actual buildings on site are not shown. The proposed utility block is very large, illegal trading, in contravention of existing permission, severe flooding problems on the site.

15/505778/MA Land rear of Neverend Farm, Pye Corner, Ulcombe ME17 1EF — Change of use of land to use a residential caravan site for 4 gypsy families, including the laying of hardstanding, 4 x mobile homes, 4 x touring caravans and 4 amenity buildings. Located next door to an existing gypsy encampment down an unmade track. The area has many gypsy sites (unofficial) and this should now be limited because of the accumulative effect on the local community. Inadequate/incomplete application details re: drainage/waste, etc. Government is to revise legislation so that gypsies must show that they are travellers. Anticipate a flood of applications before the legislation comes into force. WKPS to object.

15/505974/FULL/MA Great Tong Farm, Great Tong, Headcorn TN27 9PP — Construction of a solar farm to include the installation of solar panels to generate electricity with two inverter stations, substation, control room, general storage, security fencing and cameras and associated temporary access track and site compound.  Approx. 12 acre site. Good farm land — orchards, arable and grazing - profitable farm. Screened from A274 but will be visible from Sutton Valence Ridge. Beautiful traditional landscape; soft, undulating countryside. Grade II listed farmhouses and houses in the area. WKPS to object. Solar panels should be placed on industrial/public buildings before the countryside is considered. The application assumes that the Special Landscape Area status of the Low Weald will be removed and quotes MBC policies and the NPPF as inapplicable.

15/505908/FULL/TW Springfield Cottages, Soper Lane, Hawkhurst TN18 5AA — Creation of sand school.  Relatively reasonable after the last refused application. Located in remote area, screened on the southern side, in AONB, no lighting is proposed. No submission to be made.

15/506569/AGRIC/TW Green Meadow, Cranbrook Road, Benenden TN17 4ES — Prior notification for the erection of a hay barn and storage for farm machinery. For its prior approval to: siting, design and external appearance.  Located behind house — very tall barn, field owned by cottage owner, next to a footpath, suspicious proposal. WKPS to object: scale and position, in AONB, justification for the barn.

15/01008/AS Land adj. to Blacksmiths Arms, The Pinnock, Pluckley — Erection of detached two story dwelling and 2m high boundary wall.  Former car park — abandoned. Proposal is supported by locals as a brownfield site. The pub is now residential. 2 storey, 3 bed dwelling. WKPS support in principle as a brownfield site but the design is out of character, ugly, too large, and would crowd the site. Imposing/overbearing. Boundary wall is too high. Outline consent granted in 2014.

15/01036/AS & 15/01037/AS Land north west of Mount Pleasant Farm, Lewd Lane, Smarden TN27 8NP — Removal of condition 3 on planning permission granted in 2008 & 2010 on 2 barns. designated for agricultural use only and buildings to be removed from site if unused. This is an unusual case as it involves a legal problem. Residents objecting to the proposal as the conditions of the original consents should still apply. If unused the barns should be removed not converted to dwellings. Decided that as this is a legal anomaly, No comment is to be made.

15/01073/AS Garage blocks between 16 & 17 The Weavers, Biddenden — Demolition of garages and construction of two chalet bungalows with landscaping and associated parking.  Local needs housing. 8 x garages mostly empty, and an eyesore. Proposed bungalows have a low roof line. Associated parking is to be provided but further away as communal parking. WKPS to support the proposal as local needs housing for older/disabled persons independent living is exactly what is needed.

Two points arising from latest Ashford Planning Committee meeting:

One illustrated the difference between holiday lets and market letting. A barn of no particular architectural or historical interest had been allowed to be converted to a holiday let while tied to the parent farm building in 1988. Now the current owner no longer wanted to market it as holiday accommodation and was seeking permission to convert it to a leasehold property, still tied to the parent property. Among the grounds for refusal was that, despite the fact that the barn was already suitable for residential use, under its present planning condition it could not be someone’s permanent home. If the holiday let condition was removed it would be considered to be a new dwelling in the countryside which is contrary to policy.

The second point of interest concerned a property in Ashford where the applicant had successfully applied to build a 2 storey side extension to his property. However, at the same time this construction was taking place the applicant built a single storey extension along the length of the back of the house and added an extra dormer window in the roof. He was now applying for retrospective permission for the additional extension and the dormer window. The two ward members and the neighbours were furious because the materials used for the second extension were not in keeping with the materials of the property, and the dormer window overlooked a number of gardens removing their privacy. The application was refused on the grounds of unsuitable materials and overlooking the neighbours. However, the planning officer said that had the applicant finished the 2 storey extension and left a gap before starting the single storey extension it would have been permitted development and permission would only have been necessary for the dormer window.


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