New road for Hawkenbury
The landowner of land between High Woods Lane and Hawkenbury Road is in the process of laying a new road through the High Woods area or is allowing a road to be build on his land without planning consent.
Two years ago, part of the wooded area was coppiced. In order to get the timber out of the area, a network of tracks were developed in the area. This stretched from the metal shed on High Woods Lane, throughout the wooded area, to Hawkenbury Road, just below the Hawkenbury Farm.
Rather than allowing the area to rehabilitate after the coppicing of the trees, the landowner has widened the track from the metal shed, through the woodlands to the coppiced area. The road has been further extended to link into Hawkenbury Road. The landowner has been dumping hardcore waste in the excavated track and this being crushed and bedded down to form a road surface. Part of the work has also interrupted the Wealden Walk, a public right of way that runs through the wood, along the back of the pavilion.
The layby on High Woods Lane, close the the bridle path, has been fenced off and is being used as a building materials storage yard.
The planning needed for the new road has not been granted. Tracy Moore, our local, elected councillor, has spoken to the council and the planning enforcement team is aware of the issue. The Planning Enforcement Officer had the following to say to Tracy:
I have had a look at the concern..and spent some time investigating. It appears that an existing dirt track is being upgraded to hardcore and lengthened. There are also other concerns that I have noticed.
I have written to the land owners (3) requiring either a retrospective planning application for the various works or for hardcore, hardstandings and storage of scrap to be removed.
The concerned party has been sent a letter explaining the Council’s action.
A letter has also been received from the Council stating the following:
We have investigated the breach and have decided, after careful consideration taking into account the evidence and relevant policies that, although a breach of planning control has occurred, this breach is not considered so serious that any immediate enforcement action is necessary.
We will request that a retrospective application be submitted within 28 days to seek to regularise the matters. This application would be advertised in the usual way and determined against relevant policies taking into account all relevant matters including any representations received. If no application is submitted or the application is refused, we will consider whether it is expedient to take enforcement action.
A breach of planning control is not a criminal offence and the planning acts allow us discretion not to take enforcement action when , having regard to all relevant considerations, it is not considered expedient to do so.
The council are therefore of the opinion that putting a new road through prime greenbelt land and destroying woodland is not considered serious enough to stop the works continuing.
You do not agree with that opinion, please lodge a complaint with the Enforcement Officer working on the case. His details are below.
ENFORCEMENT NO: 16/00809/0PDEV
BREACH: Unauthorised hardcore track
ADDRESS: High Wood, High Woods Lane, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent
CASE OFFICER: Paul Cole
WEB SITE: http://www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/residents/planning/planning-enforcement
You can also contact your local, elected councillor to complain.
Map of the area: