Planning Policy

Adopted Planning Policy

The Site is wholly designated as ‘Safeguarded Employment Land’ under Policy E1 of the Development Land Allocations (DLA), where employment uses (within B1c, B2 and B8) are encouraged and protected. Policy E1 specifically states that proposals for non-employment purposes in such locations will not be permitted. A small parcel of vacant land in the south-eastern section of the site is allocated for employment development under Policy E3 of the DLA, referred to as ‘Former Mill Hall Centre, New Hythe’. Due to the Site’s location within Flood Zones 2 and 3, Core Strategy Policy CP10 is also a consideration and seeks to direct development away from areas at risk of flooding unless in exceptional circumstances.

The adopted policy position is consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework, 2012 (NPPF) which seek to, amongst other things, deliver a plan led approach and proactively drive and support sustainable economic development to deliver the business and industrial units, infrastructure and thriving local places that the country needs.

Emerging Planning Policy

The Council is currently progressing its ‘New Local Plan: The Way Forward’. The ‘Issues and Options Draft’ was published for an 8-week consultation period in November 2016 and, following this, the Council has now produced a ‘Pre-Submission Publication Draft’, which is due to be published for consultation in Autumn/Winter 2018 (subject to receiving approval from TMBC’s Full Council). Due to the early stages of the New Local Plan, the policies within can only be afforded limited weight.

The Site is safeguarded for employment purposes under emerging Policy LP34 of the New Local Plan. Part 2 of Policy LP34 also encourages the intensification of employment uses (in terms of floorspace and job numbers) at the Site, providing that it is of an acceptable design, does not result in unacceptable impacts on the highway network, air quality and the amenity of the area. Part 3 of this Policy also currently states that alternative uses can be introduced (i.e. those outside B1c, B2 and B8), but only where it can be demonstrated that there is no reasonable prospect of the site being used for employment purposes and subject to meeting the criteria outlined above in Part 2.

As an addendum to this, TMBC has recently made available online a new version of its Draft Local Plan (Regulation 19 Pre-Submission Publication – July 2018), as part of the Agenda for an upcoming Planning and Advisory Board Meeting on 24 July 2018. This latest version now includes the wording for a site-specific allocation for the Former Aylesford Newsprint Site, under Policy LP35.

The Employment Land Needs Update (ELNU) 2017 establishes the Borough’s objectively assessed needs and employment land requirements over the period from 2011-2031. The study reinforces the importance of protecting existing employment sites in order to meet demand and acknowledges that the Council will need to rely on the intensification of employment activity at the Former Newsprint Site (among other existing employment sites), to assist in addressing the shortfall of some 14 hectares of employment land up to 2031.

It should be noted that the Council does not have a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedule in place and, in light of the decision being taken by the Council to not progress any further with its CIL preparation on 19th December 2011, it is unlikely that it will be adopted in the immediate term.

All interested parties are requested to address any planning or highways enquiries through JLL, and not to directly contact TMBC.

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