Wye Planning Matters
Wye Planning Applications
Click the blue bar above to see details of current and recent planning applications in Wye.
The Parish Council is a statutory consultee for planning matters. Councillors discuss planning applications either at the regular Council meeting (on the first Tuesday of each month), or at the Resources and General Purposes Committee, (the third Tuesday of each month). The Clerk publishes the agenda at least three days prior to each meeting, on the parish noticeboards and online here. These notices list the current planning applications to be considered.
The Parish Council aims to achieve the best possible outcome from each development and welcomes informal, pre-application consultations and encourages developers and their agents to make contact. Early engagement and local knowledge can save all parties time and money, and achieve better outcomes for all parties.
Wye Crown in winter: a view of Wye Crown and the North Downs AONB landscape seen from the former Goods Yard. A highly sensitive brownfield site with sub-standard access that is at risk of flooding.
Wye has an exceptionally high quality built and natural heritage, and the Parish Council aims to achieve the best possible outcome from each development. As a statutory consultee the Parish Council welcomes informal, pre-application discussions, and encourages all developers and householders to make contact as early as possible in the planning process. This saves all parties time, effort and cost, and is a free service. Early engagement has been Parish Council policy for over 20 years (Wye Village Design Statement 2000: Basic Principles 4).
Pre-application engagement and front loading
The Parish Council's open approach accords with the National Planning Policy Framework (para 39) which states that:
Early engagement has significant potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning application system for all parties. Good quality pre-application discussion enables better coordination between public and private resources and improved outcomes for the community.
National Planning Policy
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), revised in July 2021, sets out the government's planning policy approach for England. This document, alongside detailed planning practice guidance informs all local planning authority decision making.
Local Planning Policy
Planning is policy-led, and there are policies at the national, county, district and parish levels to guide decision makers. Ashford Borough Council (ABC) is the local planning authority (LPA) for Wye. The law requires all LPAs to 'have regard to the provisions of the development plan, so far as material to the application, and to any other material considerations.' (Town and Country Planning Act 1990, s.70) And that 'determination must be made in accordance with the plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise'. (s.38, Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act 2004)
The Government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and guidance (NPPG) expects LPA's to approve development proposals that accord with statutory plans without delay; and grant permission where the plans are either absent, silent, indeterminate, or where relevant policies are out of date. Unless the adverse impacts of allowing development would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in the NPPF taken as a whole. In short, making decisions on planning applications is a balancing act.
Ashford Local Plan to 2030
Ashford Borough Council has adopted a new Local Plan for the borough. This document forms part of the Development Plan and sets out the planning policies and allocates land across the borough to accommodate new houses and jobs up to 2030.
Wye Neighbourhood Plan
Ashford Borough Council adopted the Wye Neighbourhood Plan in October 2016 as part of its Development Plan. This link redirects to the Neighbourhood Plan section of ABC's website, where you can download the made Wye Neighbourhood Plan 2015-2030, and reference library of supporting evidence. The Parish Council has started the process of reviewing this key policy document in light of recent developments, notably the adopted Local Plan and updated national planning policy guidance. However, as neighbourhood plans must conform to national policy guidance, the review process needs clarity on national policy pending the government's much delayed Planning Bill. In 2022, the government replaced this with the Levelling up and Regeneration Bill.
The Development Plan for Ashford borough comprises the following documents: Ashford Local Plan 2030 (adopted February 2019), along with the Chilmington Green Area Action Plan (2013), the Wye Neighbourhood Plan (2016), the Pluckley Neighbourhood Plan (2017) and the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan (2016).
Parish-led neighbourhood plans once 'made' i.e. adopted, become part of the statutory development plan for that area and the local planning authority (Ashford Borough Council) will use them when determining planning applications in the relevant parishes.
Wye Village Design Statement
Ashford Borough Council adopted the Wye Village Design Statement (VDS) as supplementary planning guidance (SPG) in 2000. This document was one of two Countryside Commission exemplars of community-led planning in Kent. The Parish Counicl is working on a revised Design Guide, in line with recently published National Design Guide. This 'sets out the characteristics of well-designed places and demonstrates what good design means in practice.'
Wye Housing Needs Study
The Wye Local Housing Needs Survey (HNS) 2018 identified how many households with a local connection to Wye are in need of housing. This work updated the 2013 HNS survey, which provided a key piece of evidence for the Wye Neighbourhood Plan. Wye Parish Council has updated the HNS with a repeat survey in May 2022.
The aim of this parish-wide Housing Needs Survey is to ascertain if there are shortfalls in affordable housing provision within the parish of Wye with Hinxhill. Additionally, the 2022 survey also identified the number of older households of all tenure types which need to downsize or move to more suitable accommodation. This report provides overall information as well as analysis of housing need.
The 2022 report above supercedes the 2018 report, which is retained here for comparison.
Kent Downs AONB Management Plan
Designated areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) have the same level of protection in planning terms as National Parks. All twelve local planning authorities (LPA) within the AONB have a duty to prepare and publish a Management Plan as policy guidance. The ultimate goal of the Management Plan is to ensure that the natural beauty and special character of the landscape and vitality of the communities are recognised, maintained and strengthened well into the future.
Kent County Council and the twelve districts adopted the 2021-2026 Management Plan in 2022. This document is a material consideration in planning decisions and it is available online. (The print version is in production).
The Kent Downs AONB Landscape Character Assessment Update 2020 forms part of the statutory Kent Downs AONB Management Plan. Wye is one of the three distinctive landscape character areas (LCA) identified in the Stour Valley Landscape Character Area 4C. These LCAs reflect the diversity and impact of the underlying geology on land use.
The Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Management Plan (2nd Review) sets out the vision of the future of this special landscape. The vision, aims and polices in this plan are adopted as planning guidance by Kent County Council and all twelve districts in Kent. They have a Duty of Regard for the AONB and must protect the land to conserve and enhance its natural beauty.
The production and subsequent reviews of the AONB Management Plan are statutory requirements under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act).
Most of the parish of Wye is within the AONB. Therefore, The Kent Downs Management Plan policies apply to development within the AONB boundary, or which affects the setting of the AONB.
- The Management Plan 2021-2026 is pending adoption by each local planning authority in the AONB. This formal process is expected to be completed in September 2021.
The pre-adoption version and its 20 year vision for natural beauty and landscape character is available to read now via the link above.
The WYE2 development site south of Little Chequers, Wye. This site has full planning permission for 25 dwellings on greenfield land.
Tree Preservation Orders
Ashford Borough Council continues to make a number of Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) in and around Wye. These include the Edwardian arboretum at ADAS, Withersdane and Amage Piggery. TPOs can protect specimen trees, groups of trees or areas of woodland, if their removal would have a significant negative impact on the local environment and its enjoyment by the public, or when it is 'expedient in the interests of amenity to make provision for the preservation of trees or woodlands in their area'. Contravention of a TPO is a criminal offence and is legally enforceable. In summary, a TPO prohibits the:
- cutting down
- wilfully damaging or destroying trees without the local planning authority's prior written consent.
The Secretary of State considers that the cutting of roots is a prohibited activity, so such works require consent. The local planning authority also has power to enforce tree replacement by serving a 'tree replacement notice' on a landowner.
Trees in the Wye Conservation Area
All trees above a minimum size in the Wye Conservation Area are protected, regardless of their amenity value. If these trees are not covered by a Tree Preservation Order then they have automatic protection under section 211 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
In summary, it is a criminal offence to fell or carry out surgery on a protected tree. A landowner can be fined up to £20,000 and required to replant. In the event of a serious breach the Crown Court can impose unlimited fines. Planning law and public liability concerning trees are complex matters, so it is in the landowner's interest to take independent professional arboricultural advice before considering any works.