We are sharing our Character Areas Assessment with you in draft so that you can add your comments.

A Neighbourhood Plan enables a community to influence the design and character of future development in their area. This means producing polices which set out specific design requirements for the parish of Boughton Aluph and Eastwell.

Our parish will adapt and evolve over time. Development to provide new homes and businesses will continue to come forward. Most notably, 375 new homes and 20 hectares of commercial expansion at Eureka Park. The Parish Council is looking to ensure that future development in the parish:

  • is suited to the local character;
  • helps to establish a local “strong sense of place”;
  • responds sensitively to local built environment, character, history and landscape; and
  • supports safe and accessible environments.

The ‘character of an area’ is often mentioned in the context of considering development proposals. What is often missing is a clear identification of, and agreement about, the locally distinctive features of an area that give it character that should be given careful regard in considering proposals for development. For this purpose, the Character Areas Assessment sets out to define the character of distinctive local areas within the settlements of Goat Lees and the built-up confines of Boughton Lees and their setting.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that good design is a key element of sustainable development. The fact that over half of the parish is located within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the village of Boughton Lees is designated as a Conservation Area raises the expectation that the design of development should fit well with the local settlement form and also respond well in terms of height, scale, density, layout, orientation, boundary treatment, landscape and materials to the local context. Similarly, the Borough Council’s planning policies seek high quality design which demonstrates a positive response to character, distinctiveness and sense of place. So the Parish Council will promote a high standard of design through the Neighbourhood Plan. A high quality, well designed development can enhance the sense of place and identity of an area and can bring significant benefits to the local environment and economy.

The NPPF states that planning policies and decisions should aim to ensure that developments respond to local character and history, and reflect the identity of local surroundings and materials, while not preventing or discouraging appropriate innovation. This should apply to all types of development.

The Neighbourhood Plan states that all new development should be designed to a high quality and should respond to the distinctive local character of the area in which it is situated. This Character Areas Assessment helps identify the local distinctive character and provides design guidance which is incorporated within the Boughton Aluph and Eastwell Neighbourhood Plan to assist in making decisions about the appropriateness of development proposals.

The over-riding purpose of this Character Areas Assessment is to inspire new development to respond to the parish’s distinctive character and heritage. The document aims to raise the standard of design of new proposals such that they fit well with the area in which they are located. Design which is considered to be inappropriate in its context is unlikely to be acceptable and planning permission should be refused. In addition, by identifying features which detract from the character of an area, the Assessment has identified features which could, through the application of policies in the Neighbourhood Plan, be enhanced particularly through development opportunities.

Find out more and download our draft Character Areas Assessment.

Boughton Aluph and Eastwell Neighbourhood Plan Character Areas Assessment 2018 (draft)

Let us know your views

Tell us what you think. If we have missed anything or we have got something wrong, please let us know. Add a comment in the box below or email us at info@parishplan.uk. Our aim is to create a strong evidence base to underpin the final Neighbourhood Plan document.

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