The Tonbridge and Malling Local Plan was submitted for examination in January 2019 to meet the transitional deadline set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (the Framework).  It has now been reviewed by two Examining Inspectors.

At a hearing TMBC confirmed that had they had not delayed the submission of their plan to try to accommodate some of the unmet need from Sevenoaks District Council otherwise they would have had to effectively start again in providing increased numbers of units.

However, the Inspector considering TMBCs Local Plan set out “it appears from the evidence before us that the Council knew for a number of years, prior to the submission of their plan for examination, that it was highly unlikely that SDC would be able to meet its housing requirement in full. Despite this there is no evidence that the Council engaged in any meaningful discussions with SDC to consider how the strategic matter of unmet need could be resolved. Instead, the Council has relied on the fact that SDC did not formally ask them for help. However, from the evidence it seems that SDC chose not to make any formal request for help because they knew that the answer from Tonbridge and Malling would be ‘no’ due to ‘constraints’. We consider Tonbridge and Malling were complicit with this for having said no without any active, ongoing and constructive engagement. This is not indicative of an attempt by Tonbridge and Malling Council to engage constructively or actively to resolve this issue.”

There are a number of points that are primary concerns in relation to compliance, and in particular Duty to Cooperate (DtC). With evidence of such concerns, it is anticipated that the plan will be withdrawn because of a failure to meet the DtC in accordance with duties under Sections 20 (5) (c) and (7) of the Act.

Once again, the delay in the provision of an up-to-date local plan creates opportunities for land owners and developers.  If you have land or property in TMBC which you think could be suitable for development do please get in contact in our team on 01892 831600 or email your site plan to info@bloomfieldsltd.co.uk.