A Neighbourhood Plan cannot change the past but it can help to ensure that we learn from it and do not repeat past mistakes.
Here are some local issues we have identified as parish residents ourselves, problems that our neighbours have told us about and through our community consultation. Some issues may fall outside the scope of the Neighbourhood Plan which can only address future development and land use but if they impact on the day to day life of residents it is helpful for us to know about them. These will be passed to the Parish Clerk to compile a Community Action Plan and will form a useful evidence base for the Parish Council in their future decisions.
- Urban encroachment.
- New housing developments must maintain the balance and proportion of what we already have.
- The rural character and identity of our residential areas are at risk from future development. Elements of the Parish Design Statement should be incorporated into the Neighbourhood Plan.
A need for local affordable housing for local people. People with a connection to the parish to have a priority.
- A need for suitable housing for the older people.
- No low grade, poor design housing. New buildings must be well designed and relate to the landscape, heritage and distinctive rural character of the parish in the built style of housing.
The impact of building on the areas proposed for development on the existing community and local infrastructure and amenities including schools, GPs and roads.
- Past development in Goat Lees has been conducive to anti-social behaviour and made it difficult to maintain the integrity of communal areas. Some of the alley ways serve no use. There must be no continuation of the past poor design decisions in future developments.
- New development must have good connectivity for home working, schoolchildren and small businesses.
- There must be clear maintenance plans for the ongoing costs of SUDS drainage.
- The rural setting of our parish is coming under threat from urban sprawl. New development could blur our existing settlement boundaries. For example, the northern side of Sandyhurst Lane, previously seen as the boundary between urban and rural, is exposed to development unless it is formally designated as a green space.
- Parish development boundaries, i.e. urban versus rural, need to be clearly defined so as to contain our parish boundaries within a green envelope/necklace.
- The redevelopment of the golf course at Sandyhurst Lane would be a loss of both a local sports resource and an important green space and boundary on the south side of the parish.
- Our key green spaces, landscapes and important views (both looking into and out of communities) must be protected and preserved for future generations. Examples include the village green at Boughton Lees, and the green entrances to Goat Lees and Boughton Aluph.
- Important wildlife sites must be protected. Maintaining linked green spaces and habitat corridors are essential to support the movement of local wildlife.
- Drainage schemes for new housing must not lead to the pollution of local waterways.
- At peak times, traffic levels on the A251 and other roads in the parish are very high leading to congestion. There are strong concerns about the impact of future development on the already stretched road infrastructure. The planned future development of Eureka Park will bring significant additional traffic including commercial vehicles.
- Cycling can be dangerous on some local roads. More cycle paths would be welcome.
- There is no mains gas, drainage or sewerage in the rural parts of the parish.
- The existing communications infrastructure is patchy. Not all parts of the parish are able to obtain fast or superfast broadband, severely affecting home working, schoolchildren and small businesses.
- o There is a need to attract quality business development in the parish which offers aspirational, perhaps high tech, employment opportunities for the local community, especially the young.
o Parking has been a concern in Goat Lees in the past. Future development of the Eureka business park must include adequate parking provision to prevent overflow onto local roads.
- Our recreational spaces must not be lost to development. These essential facilities must be preserved for the community. They must be of appropriate size and well maintained.
- Pressure on school places resulting from planned future development at Eureka Park.
- A new GP surgery would be welcome in the parish so residents do not have to travel far for these services.
- Local amenities such as shops, community halls and features like the village pub at Boughton Lees are very important to local people and must be maintained. Local amenities must be commensurate with increase in population including from planned development at Eureka Park.
- The parish has some important heritage assets. The historic environment must be protected to be enjoyed by future generations.
- Ancient woodlands (e.g. Lake Wood and King’s Wood) must be safeguarded together with trees that are subject to preservation orders.
- Retaining a historic park at the heart of the parish is essential to the rural character of our community and provides an important green space.
- Footpaths of national and international significance run through our parish, most notably the North Downs Way. These routes and the heritage landscape they pass through must be preserved to be enjoyed by local people and visitors.
- Areas of the parish have been identified as having archaeological potential.
Other issues not related to the development of land (for inclusion in a Community Action Plan for the Parish Council)
- Litter is a problem around the Goat Lees parade of shops and alley ways. Fly tipping is a problem on quiet rural lanes.
- Speeding traffic on the A251 as it passes through residential areas.
- Heavy goods vehicles using narrow local roads in our parish as a cut through between major roads and use of A251 as a motorway to motorway link.
- Dangerous for pedestrians on rural lanes – Wye Road and parts of Sandyhurst Lane.
If you think we’ve missed something, please add it in the Comment box below.