Getting Back in the Swing – October Update

Having spent the best part of 4 months away from Benenden on business I resumed my duties as Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee on 11 September.  At our meeting we reviewed progress of each Working Group, agreed how best to present an update on progress to residents of the Parish, confirmed outstanding work and timescales.

I was delighted to hear that a great deal of progress has been made.  The Housing Design Working Group (WG) has completed all of its actions including drafting proposed policies and plan chapters.  This is a great effort and thanks should go particularly to Graham Beveridge and Peta Grant.

Housing Supply, Business & Economy and the Environment & Green Spaces WGs are also ‘on the home straight’.  Each group has a little more work to do including continuing to discuss implications of the Tunbridge Wells Policy Framework with planners at the Town Hall, but we hope they will conclude their work over the next few months.

Our Infrastructure WG is focused mainly on road safety, green transport options and mobile phone reception.  It is difficult to get real engagement with Transport & Highways or utility companies, but we are drawing up our list of requirements to meet future needs.

Once we have a draft plan there are a number of check points in the process, each will take some time to negotiate.  Tunbridge Wells Borough Council have to check our work and ensure it complies with their policies, an Independent Examiner also checks the draft to ensure it complies with National Policies and NDP Guidelines.  Of course there is also extensive local consultation culminating in a referendum of residents of the Parish.  So even though much of our information gathering is complete I think it will be early summer before we have a plan and maybe even longer before it is signed off and incorporated into the TWBC Local Plan.

We had an Public Exhibition on Saturday 29thSeptember at Iden Green Pavilion.  Doors opened at 12 noon and Neighbourhood Development Plan Working Group members were on hand to discuss progress so far until 2.00pm.  Some of the material that was shared is now available on the website, under Involving the Village above.

Last month’s magazine article on the work of the Business and Local Economy WG included an incorrect e-mail address.  We would like to get your views on the ideas outlined by the Business WG – please use the link on this website, or this e-mail address: