TM/21/01278/FL & TM/21/01279/LB – Ightham Mote, Mote Road, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 0NT. Construction of a relocated parking area in the lower section of Mount Field to the east of the Walled Garden and the existing parking area; removal of the temporary visitor reception building and the erection of a replacement visitor reception and shop building, Glasshouse and Bothy within the restored Walled Garden together with associated landscaping and drainage works.
Members of the public and representatives from the National Trust gave representations on the planning application detailed below.
Members of public raised objections on the following:
- Annual visitor numbers have increased from 100,000 10 years ago to an average of 160,000 and rising to 200,000 within the next 10 years; numbers should be limited to preserve the asset.
- There are only 31 days of the year when there is insufficient space, for the remaining days, the car parks are underutilised therefore the evidence for more space is thin. Numbers should be controlled by ticketing so there is no need for an overflow. Cllr Willingham responded by saying that the extra spaces have been reduced from 307 in the previous application to 93, the cars trickle in throughout the day and pre-booking is already in place.
- There are 2 heritage gains – the reinstatement of the walled garden and the first views of the house however these must be qualified against losses. The harm is that the new car park will encroach on Green Belt and the AONB and this must be given weight to the very special circumstances and exceptional circumstances to justify the application. The very special circumstances argument for reinstatement of the walled garden is untrue as historically it would not have contained a shop or visitor centre. Whilst restoring the walled garden is a good idea, it should not be at the expense of the Green Belt.
- The application doesn’t align with TMBC’s objective of being carbon neutral by 2030.
- Traffic is bad, particularly near the green in Ivy Hatch and around narrow lanes.
- The application is the same as the last one, it will give rise to a significant increase in traffic on roads used by walkers and horse riders with only a slightly smaller area of greenbelt being impacted. It was unfortunate that the Parish Council didn’t object to the application when there were so many objections and TMBC made a unanimous decision to refuse the application.
Representatives from Ightham Mote made the following comments:
- They have tried to take on board feelings of neighbours to enhance the asset and are trying to balance conservation with harm to the landscape. The aim is to relocate rather than create a new car park.
- There will be 45 new spaces increasing from 252 to 297, the plan has been significantly revised to reduce the impact of the spaces on the North Drive.
- The target number of visitors is 165,000 however the number of visitors is unpredictable.
- The booking systems will be retained to flatten the visitor pattern.
- There has been a growth in the number of walkers since lockdown.
- The whole site is within Green Belt and AONB.
- Key benefits include reinstatement of the walled garden, and the replacement buildings will be accessible as it will be on one level.
- The aim is to move cars away from the conservation area, sustainable transport, flood mitigation and shared transport facilities (electric charging points).
- They believe that the benefits outweigh the harm, and the application is supported by Historic England.
Cllr Willingham invited Councillor to give their views:
Councillors unanimously agreed to raise no objection to the application with the caveat that we should continue to press for a 30mph speed limit throughout the village which would take in all surrounding roads to Ightham Mote. Comments included:
- Ightham Mote have addressed the points raised in the first application. Whilst encroachment on Green Belt and AONB is concerning, the application is much improved and there is well considered screening to the new car park.
- Ightham Mote is an asset for our village and we understand why they want to consolidate the parking and improve the facilities – the visitor centre and shop were only temporary.
- We have never been made aware of any serious congestion and with the booking system, cannot see that traffic will be a problem.
- The special circumstances will be looked at by Planning Officers who recommended approval of the last application.
- It was thought that more imagination could be given to the design of the visitor centre and shop.
TM/21/01295/TPOC – Ightham Cricket Ground, Tonbridge Road, Ightham, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 9AP. Sycamore T1: make new pollard at 6 metres from ground level, this tree is in decline with cavities present throughout. T2: English Oak, crown lift by up to 2.5m with emphasis on playing field side and low branch near to clubhouse which is interfering with Club House roof. Branches are starting to interfere with the playing field. Remove major deadwood on pitch side.”
TM/21/01135/FL – Gibbons Lodge, Tonbridge Road, Ightham, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 9AP. Change of use of demised agricultural land to residential land.
TM/21/01319/LDE – 5 Chapel View, Chapel Row, Ightham, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 9AQ. Lawful Development Certificate Existing: Use of land as residential garden land.
TM/21/01426/FL – Fairoaks, 2 Tebbs Way, Ightham, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN15 9BJ. Single storey side and rear extension.
TM/21/01521/TPOC – The Bothy and Forge, Fen Pond Road, Ightham, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 9JF. T1 Conifer – fell, T2 Maple – thin crown overall by 20%, T3 Cherry – thin crown overall by 20%, T4 Beech – reduce crown by 3m, T5 Holly – fell (situated at Old Malt House) and T6 Small Horse Chestnut – fell.
TM/21/01452/TNCA – Charters, Tonbridge Road, Ightham, Sevenoaks Kent TN15 9AP T1 Holly Stool – fell.
TM/21/01479/LDE – The Groom Chart Farm Styants Bottom Road, Seal Chart, Sevenoaks Kent TN15 0ES. Lawful Development Certificate Existing: The Groom is now a dwelling house rather than a caravan.
“We question the lawfulness of this as it is development by stealth”
TM/21/00825/FL – Construction of stable block with ancillary tack, hay and feed rooms, 40x20m sand school, muck heap and permeable access road/paving area – Land Opposite Styant Farmhouse, West Of Styants Bottom Road, Seal Chart, Sevenoaks Kent.
TM/21/00973/FL – Rear infill ground floor extension – 25 Upper Spring Lane, Ightham, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 9DP.
TM/21/00975/RD – Details of condition 3 (Site Plan) and 5 (Watching Brief) submitted pursuant to planning permission TM/20/01747/FL (Demolition of existing dwelling and outbuildings and the erection of replacement dwelling) – Fir Bank Coach Road, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks, Kent, TN15 0PE
TM/21/00855/FL – Section 73 Application: Removal of condition 3 (lattice screen) pursuant to planning permission TM/20/01413/FL (Single storey rear extension and patio) – Longcroft, Oldbury Lane, Ightham, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 9DE.
TM/21/00934/FL – Proposed demolition and replacement of existing garage with a new two storey double garage to include home office and additional storage – Tarn Hows, Sandy Lane, Ivy Hatch, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 0PB.