Landscape is not always just about natural features…this is the Coldrum Long Barrow at Trottiscliffe (pic Walter Coultrip)
As most of us are all too aware, Kent is almost buckling under an onslaught of development proposals and we can but imagine the state of the county should many of them to pass.
But do you know how we fare compared with the rest of the region when it comes to our environment as it is now? If not, read on…
A study published last month (November) by the University of Sheffield and the BBC shows that, in a South East context, Kent is essentially average in terms of how much of our landscape has already been developed.
The analysis shows that 10.6% of the South East is developed, with the Kent figure being a shade lower, at 10.3%. Oxfordshire is the region’s greenest county, with just 7.2% of its landscape built upon.
The full South East league table places Kent at precisely halfway:
- Oxfordshire 7.2%
- Sussex 8.7%
- Hampshire 10.2%
- Kent 10.3%
- Buckinghamshire 10.8%
- Berkshire 16%
- Surrey 17.2%
Back to Kent, and the least urbanised district is Ashford (5%) and the most urbanised Dartford (32%).
The full Kent league table is:
- Ashford 5%
- Tunbridge Wells 7%
- Dover 8%
- Maidstone 8%
- Sevenoaks 8%
- Shepway 8%
- Swale 8%
- Canterbury 9%
- Tonbridge and Malling 14%
- Gravesham 21%
- Thanet 27%
- Medway 28%
- Dartford 32%
How might those figures look in 50 years’ time? Perhaps best not think about it…
Friday, December 22, 2017
We have submitted our comments on the Thanet Parkway new station consultation.
These include the impact on the countryside: “It’s a jarring urban intrusion in an otherwise largely rural landscape, and the station’s proximity to St Augustine’s Cross will significantly erode the tranquillity of its setting.”
St Augustine’s Cross, photo: shirokazan
We also fear there will be more car journeys to reach the station:
“The station as originally envisaged was intended to serve Manston Airport, and therefore to reduce the need for passengers to and from the airport to travel by car. Under the current proposals, this station will be a significant generator of additional car journeys as it encourages out-commuting.”
Plus there is not a good enough alternative way of getting to the station:
“We note the cycle and pedestrian access from Cliffsend, but the fast dual carriageways which form much of the approach to the main entrance to the north of the station are not at all conducive to walking or cycling from other directions.”
The consultation ends on Sunday (19th). Read our comments here.
March 15th 2017.
A planning inspector has refused two appeals by a developer to build up to 330 homes on greenfield land at Pond farm in the village of Newington near Sittingbourne. CPRE Kent was a major participant in the planning inquiry last November.
Pond Farm, Newington, Photo Vicky Ellis
The inspector has now dismissed the appeals on the grounds that “even after considerable weight is given to the social, economic and environmental benefits …… the substantial harm that the
appeal proposals would cause to the character of a valued landscape and their likely significant adverse effect on human health would significantly and demonstrably outweigh those benefits.”
Jillian Barr, CPRE Kent Planner, said: “This is great news for this beautiful part of Kent. The development would have drastically changed the character and landscape of the villages and we were extremely worried about the effect on air quality and human health. The inspector agreed with us on these important points and also agreed the harm caused could not be adequately mitigated. There would also have been a detrimental effect on heritage assets.”
We have raised concerns about the huge scale of a planned warehouse development near Ashford and its impact on the important landscape and heritage setting.
The developers of Stour Park, Friends Life Ltd, have applied for permission to build enormous warehouses, 16 metres tall and covering an area the size of 31 football pitches (160,000 sq m). The site, next to Sevington and Mersham villages, is identified for commercial development in the local plan.
Sevington, photo The Village Alliance
We are concerned that the masterplan does not provide sufficient guidance to ensure that the harm to sensitive heritage, landscapes and communities is minimised and appropriately mitigated. The site is close to the medieval grade 1 listed St Mary’s Church and the North Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is essential that a sensitive approach to important views (heritage and landscapes), ecological mitigation, landscaping and building heights, colour, materials and orientation are agreed from the outset.
St Mary’s Church, Sevington, photo The Village Alliance
Chairman of CPRE Kent’s Ashford Committee, Dr Hilary Moorby said: “We need to protect the setting of this important church and the AONB. The sheer scale of these giant buildings will change this beautiful rural area dramatically and everything possible must be done to minimise the harm.” Continue reading
Good news – Maidstone Borough Council has refused an application for a 29,400 panel solar farm across 28 acres of agricultural land at Great Tong Farm.
We were concerned about the impact the site would have on the landscape and the heritage of the area – the site would be seen in views from the Greensand Ridge and was in close proximity to 23 listed buildings – including seven on Tong Farm itself.
Solar farm in Europe, photo flickr
The site lies in the Special Landscape Area of the Low Weald and Greensand Ridg and is bordered by three public rights of way. Headcorn’s built environment is 76 hectares. Proposed development would equate to 15% of this figure, increasing to 27% in conjunction http://trueviagraonline.com with the 220 homes already granted permission on Tong Farm.
The Kent Historic Buildings Committee, part of CPRE Kent, raised concerns on the setting of heritage assets on Tong and the wider landscape including Grade 1 Ulcombe Church. The objection stated “a considerable number of buildings stand to be affected, both individually, and as a group, and we would say the total effect of the proposal on the heritage environment is substantial”.
Historic England said the solar array would cause “modest harm to the significance of these listed buildings by altering the context that explains their historical purpose”. The site would be visible from Grade 1 Ulcombe Church, classified as an “important view”.
March 1st 2016