Involving the Village

Your Neighbourhood Development Plan team’s role is to try to best capture the input of the village and create a plan that represents a balance between the aspirations of the community, the needs of the wider Borough, and our responsibility to build a sustainable community in our beautiful setting.  So your involvement is crucial.

Seeking your views

The Parish Council started the process in spring 2017, and a few months later TWBC approved our application so work could start formally.

We held our first parish meeting in May, in the Village Hall. Nearly 50 people attended, and heard presentations from Jim Boot (our planning consultant), and Sally Marsh of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). We reviewed findings from our Parish Plan (2015), and used these inputs to start work to understand what we, the parish, wants to see as our Vision for the parish over the plan period (until 2026).  You can see the Vision on our Home page.

Further workshops were held in October (Vision & Objectives), November (Housing Design, Housing Supply), December, (Business, and Transport & Infrastructure), January 18 (Landscape & Environment) and volunteers signed up to do the leg-work of each of our 5 Working Groups. This information gathering phase is now nearly complete, and we have started to share some of our findings and thinking through our Village Exhibition (7th April, Benenden Village Hall). Over 120 people attended, and viewing materials from each of the Working Groups, and some great feedback from the children of Benenden Primary School.

Over summer 2018 the Working Groups made good progress; much of the material was shared at a Village Exhibition on 29th September 2018 in the Iden Green Pavilion.

In January 2019, we sought your views on how we should approach scoring proposed sites for housing before we publish our first draft of the plan.  This article explained our approach, and asked for your input.

By February 2019 we were able to share our Rough Draft of the plan at a Village Event in the Hall.  The event showcased all elements of the Rough Draft, but inevitably there was a focus on Housing Allocation.  Attendees, parishioners and other interested parties were invited to review the Rough Draft Plan, both online, and via hard copies (available to borrow from the Parish Office and the local Community Shop).  Consultation closed in April 2019, and the process of reviewing and incorporating the many pieces of feedback started.

Our formal draft plan was launched to the village on 25th August 2019, with consultation (known as Regulation 14 consultation – see here) running until 31st October 2019.  The feedback was again reviewed, and further changes suggested and approved by the Parish Council, before formal submission to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council.  They have undertaken a further period of consultation (known as Regulation 16 consultation – here for details) October to December 2020.  Your feedback will be reviewed by an Independant Examiner whose role is to ensure that our Plan conforms to relevant National and local planning policies.  They can require us to make changes, before our Plan goes forward to referendum