Landscape and Natural Environment

 

 

Rainy scene

3. Landscape & the Natural Environment

 

Introduction

3.1.      The parish of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst lies partly within the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and partly within the Low Weald. It is an area of ancient countryside and contains what are considered to be some of the best surviving examples of medieval landscape in northern Europe[1]. It is a quintessential landscape of distinct historic character, richness, and beauty.

 

3.2.      Its value lies not just in an aesthetic appreciation, however, but also in the natural environment which provides us with the essentials for life: fresh air, clean water, healthy soils to grow our food, natural resources to utilise in our economy and a rich ecological biodiversity.

 

3.3.      The Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Neighbourhood Plan recognises the importance of both landscape and the natural environment, and when considering future development will seek to ensure their utmost protection, enhancement and celebration in order maximise the benefits they bring both for our social well-being, our economic vitality and our resilience to climate change.

 


 

Overall Policy Aims

·       To protect and enhance the historic landscape character, natural beauty, and rich ecological biodiversity of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst parish both within the High Weald AONB and its setting.

·       To ensure that any new development makes a positive contribution to its distinctive landscape character. Identify and protect distinctive historic landscape features, such as ancient woodlands, shaws and gills, veteran trees, hedgerows, field patterns, routeways, ponds, and watercourses.

·       To ensure new development makes a positive contribution to the green and blue infrastructure of the parish (ecological connectivity) and enhances ecological resilience.

·       To ensure new development does not increase the levels of light pollution in the parish.

·       To protect and enhance valued green spaces, significant views and priority habitats.

·       To promote community access to green space, whilst protecting sensitive sites.

·       To enable and promote sustainable forms of social and economic development that in themselves enhance the environment.

·       To support the spatial strategy for Cranbrook & Sissinghurst parish through the protection of green gaps between settlements.

Draft Policy LN7.1

Special Sites for Nature Conservation

a)    Development proposals which impact on the statutory and non-statutory designated sites as shown on High Weald AONB Unit Map “Green Spaces and Green Networks for People” on page xx should demonstrate that they have identified and considered their nature conservation value in line with their status.

 

b)    Proposals adjacent to such sites should be buffered to minimise damage and indirect impacts such as increased recreational pressure should be considered alongside more direct impacts.

 

c)    Such developments should deliver a net gain in biodiversity. Planning conditions and obligations should secure the protection and appropriate management of these sites in perpetuity, in line with the High Weald AONB Management Plan[2] aspirations.

 

Policy Supporting Text

3.4.      A list of statutory and non-statutory designated sites within the parish is shown on High Weald AONB Unit Map “Green Spaces and Green Networks for People” on page xx. This includes:

 

       Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)

       Local Wildlife Sites (LWSs)

       Local Nature Reserves (LNRs)

       Roadside Nature Reserves (RNRs)

 

3.5.      Further information on statutory and non-statutory designated sites may be gained from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Local Plan 2006[3] (saved policies EN11 and EN15), Kent & Medway Biological Records[4], the MAGIC website[5], the National Biodiversity Network[6], Kent Wildlife Trust[7] and other organisations.

 

3.6.      Responses gathered at the November 2017 draft policy poster presentation, the Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Landscape Character Assessment workshop and the June 2018 public exhibition support the aims of this policy[8].

 


 

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High Weald AONB Unit Map “Green Spaces and Green Networks for People”


 

Draft Policy LN7.2

Special Ecological Protection & Enhancement

a)    Developments which actively support and enable the protection, enhancement and active positive management to conserve and enhance ecological biodiversity and geodiversity, as identified on High Weald AONB Unit “Green and Blue Infrastructure and Ecological Networks” on page xx will be supported.

 

b)    Development proposals resulting in significant negative impacts on biodiversity and geodiversity will not be supported unless clear and significant biodiversity gains can be demonstrated as compensation. Net gain should be determined by applying the biodiversity impact calculator, or whatever supersedes it in the future, such as DEFRA’s Biodiversity Metric 2.0 calculator[9].

 

Policy Supporting Text

3.7.      Cranbrook & Sissinghurst Parish is characterised by abundant woodland habitat, including many ancient woodlands and ponds, connected by a network of hedgerows with mature and veteran trees, and watercourses. This provides habitat for a diverse range of flora and fauna, including rare and legally protected species. The planning system must protect and enhance these ecological assets, maximising biodiversity gains.

 

3.8.      Impacts on biodiversity must in the first instance be avoided (for example by developing a different site or altering site layout), adequately mitigated for and compensated for only as a last resort. This is the principle of the mitigation hierarchy.

 

The Biodiversity Impact Calculator

3.9.      Developed by the Environment Bank, 2015, this calculator has been designed to quantify existing biodiversity value (outside designated sites and priority habitats – see below), in terms of habitats, to ensure no net loss and instead net gain. This is likely to be superseded by a new method of calculating biodiversity net gain or loss, the Biodiversity Metric 2.0, currently being devised by Defra, in consultation with Natural England.

 

3.10.  An appropriately qualified ecologist should use this tool to ensure species requirements are taken into account, replacement habitats are appropriate and suitably located and the protection and management of these habitats is secured in perpetuity.

 

3.11.  Responses gathered at the November 2017 draft policy poster presentation and the June 2018 public exhibition support the aims of this policy, as well as evidence gathered in the Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Landscape Character workshop.

 


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High Weald AONB Unit “Green and Blue Infrastructure and Ecological Networks”


 

Draft Policy LN7.3

Ecological Connectivity

a)    In considering all development proposals, both individually and cumulatively, impacts on ecological connectivity should be identified and considered.

 

b)    Functional green infrastructure (including naturalistic planting of native species known to be beneficial for local biodiversity) should enable permeability for wildlife both around and through new developments.

 

c)    Where roads create potential barriers to species movement, overarching trees should be protected to allow the movement of aerial and arboreal species (invertebrates, birds, bats, dormouse etc.)

 

d)    Planning conditions and obligations should secure appropriate habitat management and continued ecological connectivity in perpetuity.

 

Policy Supporting Text

3.12.  Protected and rare species known to be present in the parish are reliant on suitable areas of habitat to thrive or can become genetically isolated and eventually locally extinct. Providing habitat connectivity extends the area over which such species can live.

 

3.13.  The “Making Space for Nature Review” commissioned by Defra and completed in 2010[10], stated that to reverse biodiversity decline we need to establish coherent and resilient ecological networks – we need more, bigger, better and more joined habitats. This requires consideration of ecological connectivity not at the site level but at a landscape-level.

 

3.14.  Biodiversity Opportunity Areas have been identified by the Kent Nature Partnership as areas where action to enhance biodiversity should be focussed to secure maximum benefits. These areas should be used for targeted enhancement or habitat creation in order to improve nature conservation networks.

 

 


 

Draft Policy LN7.4

Protection & Enhancement of Priority Habitats

a)    In considering development proposals impacting priority habitats, their nature conservation value should be identified, considered and protected in line with their status.

 

b)    Development proposals resulting in the loss of irreplaceable priority habitats such as ancient woodland, traditional orchards and veteran trees will be refused.

 

c)    Development proposals adjacent to such habitats should be buffered to minimise damage. Planning conditions and obligations should secure the protection and appropriate management of these habitats in perpetuity, in accordance with the relevant designations.

 

Policy Supporting Text

3.15.  Priority Habitats are defined by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006[11]. A few examples present in the parish are lowland meadows (e.g. at Mill Farm) and ponds.

 

3.16.  Ancient woodland, traditional orchards, and veteran trees, all of which are abundant in the parish, are irreplaceable habitats and development resulting in the loss of these must be refused. Lowland Mixed Deciduous Woodland (which encompasses our ancient woodland), traditional orchards and Wood-Pasture and Parkland (within which many of our veteran trees are located) are all Priority Habitats. Ancient woodland in particular should be buffered by 50m to reduce disturbance and must be protected from hard-surface run-off from developments, which could potentially damage the ancient woodland gills of the parish.

 

3.17.  Veteran trees outside ancient woodland should be afforded “a buffer at least 15 times larger than the diameter of the tree or 5m from the edge of the canopy if that is greater”.

 

3.18.  Ponds, wetlands, rivers, and streams are Priority Habitats and must therefore also be buffered by 25m from the potentially adverse impacts of development, as described in Draft Policy LN7.7.

 

3.19.  Further information on Priority Habitats may be gained from Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre, the MAGIC website, the National Biodiversity Network, Kent Wildlife Trust, and other organisations (see Draft Policy LN7.1).

 

 

Draft Policy LN7.5

Protection of Priority Species

a)    Development proposals should be supported by complete independent ecological surveys carried out by a suitably qualified ecologist according to nationally accepted standards.

 

b)    In considering development proposals impacting legally protected and priority species their nature conservation value should be considered and protected in line with their status. Such developments should deliver a net gain in biodiversity.

 

c)    Planning conditions and obligations should secure species protection and appropriate management in perpetuity, in accordance with the species designation, and prior to starting development work, developers will be expected to join the district level licensing scheme.

 

Policy Supporting Text

3.20.  Fauna protected at a European level (European Protected Species) are present in the parish including a diverse range of bat species (common, soprano and the rare Nathusius’ pipistrelle, brown long-eared bat, noctule, serotine, Daubenton’s bat, whiskered bat) dormouse and great crested newt. Nationally protected fauna include badger, common lizard, grass snake and slow worm.

 

3.21.  In addition to the above legally protected species, many others are listed as Priority Species by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (see Draft Policy LN7.4). Further information may be gained from Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre, the MAGIC website, the National Biodiversity Network, Kent Wildlife Trust, and other organisations.

 

3.22.  However, records of species are not collected in a systematic manner and the absence of records cannot imply the absence of protected or priority species. Therefore, adequate ecological surveys carried out by appropriately qualified ecologists (preferably members of a professional body, working to a Code of Conduct) must be submitted with planning applications, complying with best practice as outlined in British Standard 42020: Biodiversity – Code of Practice for Planning and Development.

 

3.23.  Ecological surveys must confirm what ecological assets are present (established by thorough surveys), their value, how they will be impacted by the development, how the impacts will be avoided, mitigated, or compensated for and what the net gains/enhancements are for biodiversity.


 

 

3.24.  Where European Protected Species are concerned, the planning authority has a duty under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017[12] to satisfy the three derogation tests: is the development in the public interest, is there no satisfactory alternative and will species be maintained at a favourable conservation status. Local twitchers have reported a hawfinch in Sissinghurst, currently on the “red” conservation status list with the RSPB and more than 28 different species of bird including kingfishers and sparrowhawks have been observed in gardens in Cranbrook.


Draft Policy LN7.6

Biodiversity Enhancements

a)    Development proposals including biodiversity enhancements (over and above the requirements to avoid, mitigate and compensate for impacts on habitats and species) will be favoured.

 

b)    As a minimum, new developments should include integrated bat and bird boxes connected to suitable habitats (including naturalistic planting of native species known to be beneficial for local biodiversity) with sensitive lighting design. Planning conditions and obligations should secure biodiversity enhancements on development sites in perpetuity.

 

Policy Supporting Text

3.25.  There is now a significant body of evidence linking access to the natural environment with health and wellbeing in communities. A healthy natural environment provides ecosystem services such as clean water and air as well as a pleasant place to live, work and take leisure. Local Authorities have a legal duty not only to protect, but also to enhance the natural environment.

 

3.26.  There is an opportunity within new development to provide best practice features which enhance biodiversity. The parish is well placed within the rural context to provide high quality development which integrates such enhancements, and if executed well could perhaps become a case study for future design guidance. Impact on habitats on species should be a key consideration of the design.


 

Draft Policy LN7.7

Local Protection & Enhancement of the Crane Valley

Proposals for development in parts of the Crane Valley, as described on High Weald AONB Map “Crane Valley and Its Setting” on page xx will not be supported.

 

Policy Supporting Text

3.27.  To mitigate against flooding and climate change it is essential that the natural function of the river systems within the parish be protected and restored. The Crane Brook plays a vital role in this mitigation as it is the largest watercourse within the parish which also runs right through the main settlement of Cranbrook, being culverted under the Tanyard car park and St. David’s Bridge.

 

3.28.  Development upstream and too close to the brook (see definitions of the required setback distances, later in this section) will not only increase the risk of flooding in the town centre due to increased surface run-off, but also lead to soil disturbance, erosion, and pollution from contaminants. This will cause substantial harm and significantly reduce the resilience and biodiversity enhancement capabilities of this vital water source.

 

3.29.  The topography of the land as the Crane Brook flows into Cranbrook becomes increasingly undulating, with its banks protected by ancient gill woodland and marshy areas to absorb excess water. These features not only act as natural engineers of the watercourse but also provide an essential function through their combined role as green and blue infrastructure, as a wildlife corridor. The Crane Valley is also very accessible to those wishing to connect with nature and enjoy the countryside and views, being traversed by a network of Public Rights of Way, including the High Weald Landscape Trail.

 

3.30.  At the heart of this is the much-loved Crane Valley Nature Reserve (LNR)1, a 1.5ha woodland, scrub, and wetland haven for wildlife, which is managed by the High Weald Partnership with the support of local Cranbrook in Bloom volunteers. This unique environmental resource is much valued by the community and opportunities to enhance further areas of the valley (both upstream and downstream) for the benefit of the environment, wildlife and people are an aspiration of this neighbourhood plan.

 

3.31.  The nature reserve was the site of a former millpond used in the medieval cloth and iron-working industries, as identified by a local historian[13]. It was one of several such millponds found along the brook which, together with the smaller pit ponds formed from clay-extraction to make bricks and source marl and iron-ore, now form part of the distinctive historic landscape character of the area. These large tracts of wetland and woodland along the Crane Valley were an ideal habitat for large birds such as the crane, heron and egret to nest and thrive, surrounded by plenty of foraging pastures.

3.32.  To make a significant contribution to the net gain for biodiversity and geodiversity the Crane Valley Rewilding Areas will be created by the introduction of riverside buffer zones, of both pasture and woodland, as shown on Map XX, as follows:

 

       25m – Riparian Buffer Zone to protect the riverbank from erosion and prevent sedimentation and pollution of the watercourse from contaminants.

       100m – Buffer managed for invertebrates (pasture, woodland, and wetland).

       500m – Buffer to safeguard future nesting and/or foraging habitat for large birds such as the Crane.

 

3.33.  Evidence gathered during the Landscape Character workshop demonstrates community support for such proposals.

 

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High Weald AONB Map “Crane Valley and Its Setting”


 

Draft Policy LN7.8

Protection of Geodiversity

Development proposals will only be supported if a management plan for the retention of topsoil removed during development and its future dispersal on the same site is produced and approved at application stage.

 

Policy Supporting Text

3.34.  The loss of soil micro-organisms alone will have a substantial impact on biodiversity. According to the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology, one teaspoon of topsoil contains 1 billion individual microscopic cells and around 10,000 different species. These organisms are vital to support a healthy environment and grow food. The retention of this soil during development within the parish is essential to care for our precious landscape and provide essential nutrients for food production.

 

3.35.  This policy seeks to ensure that applicants are aware of the potential impact development may have on its surroundings, lots of it largely unseen given the microscopic nature of topsoil species. Due care and attention regarding topsoil will ensure the protection of geodiversity to the benefit of all.


 

Draft Policy LN7.9

Protecting the Historic Landscape Character

a)    Development proposals within the settlements of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst, and outlying hamlets, should protect and enhance the treescape, ancient hedgerow and watercourse network and species-rich roadside verges (green/blue infrastructure).

 

b)    New developments on the edges of the settlements should demonstrate how their proposal will protect and enhance the existing framework of green and blue infrastructure, and how it will complement and connect to that of the built environment to which it relates.

 

Policy Supporting Text

3.36.  The top of St Dunstan’s Church Tower offers spectacular views of the historic rural landscape, treescape, mature hedgerow and shelterbelt pattern which gives the parish its distinctive ‘green’ feel and provides an important setting for the historic centre. Street trees, the churchyards in Cranbrook and Sissinghurst, the hedgerows and trees which frame and define our recreational green spaces, playing fields, private gardens, remnants of historic parkland and school grounds all contribute to this both within the Conservation Areas and beyond.

 

3.37.  These shelterbelts play a vital role in maintaining soil fertility, offering protection from wind, preventing soil erosion, mitigating against flooding and improving air quality. Street trees also provide essential shade, combat air pollution, absorb noise and soften the aesthetic of the built environment. Trees, hedgerows, streams (including the Crane Brook), ponds and unkempt roadside verges provide valuable habitat essential for sustaining a rich biodiversity of species and biological connectivity to the environment beyond the settlements.

 

3.38.  There are many ancient and veteran trees and hedgerows, as well as significant and historic ponds and watercourses within the settlement boundaries of Cranbrook, Sissinghurst and outlying settlements which need to be protected and enhanced. Any new developments which abut the existing settlements will need to complement, protect, and enhance the existing network of green and blue infrastructure.

 

3.39.  The work of ‘Cranbrook in Bloom’ volunteers significantly enhances the street scene with vibrant floral displays. The Copse in Cranbrook High Street provides an excellent example of how a simple roadside strip of land can be transformed into a wildlife haven which also enhances the street scene. The Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council are also responsible for maintaining many of these areas through the work of the Environmental Management, and Burials & Properties Committees. Evidence gathered at the Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Landscape Character Assessment workshop supports the aims of this policy.


 

Draft Policy LN7.10

Green Gaps & Preventing Settlement Coalescence

a)    Development proposals should preserve the integrity of the green gaps between the historic settlements of Cranbrook, Wilsley Green, Sissinghurst and Hartley as shown on the “Open Spaces & Green Gaps” map and High Weald AONB Unit “Settlements, Buildings and Routeways” on page xx

 

b)    Proposals which are of a scale or scope that would result in the coalescence of the historic settlements will not be supported.

 

c)    Development within these green gaps will be permitted where it can be demonstrated that:

 

       the open & undeveloped character of the gap would not be adversely affected.

       the separate character of the settlements would not be harmed.

       the landscape setting of the settlements would not be harmed.

 

Policy Supporting Text

3.40.  The historic settlement hierarchy pattern is distinctive with the town of Cranbrook being closely neighboured by the village of Sissinghurst, interspersed with the hamlets of Wilsley Green, Wilsley Pound, Colliers Green, Golford, and Hartley. Interspersed amongst these are many historic farmstead settlements which formed the original settlement pattern of the parish.

 

3.41.  This settlement pattern is well documented in the High Weald AONB Management Plan. The importance of the Conservation Areas of Cranbrook, Wilsley Green and Sissinghurst are well documented in the CCAAC Appraisal 2010[14]. All these settlements lie within or within the setting of a highly rural and wooded landscape which is a nationally designated protected AONB landscape.

 

3.42.  Protection of green gaps between settlements is vital to prevent coalescence of the historic settlement pattern. Responses gathered at the November 2017 draft policy poster presentation support the aims of this policy. The green gaps are identified as areas of land between the following settlements:

 

·     Cranbrook & Sissinghurst (including between Wilsley Green & Wilsley Pound)

·     Cranbrook & Hartley

·     Sissinghurst & Wilsley Pound

·     Cranbrook Conservation Area and Wilsley Green Conservation Area.

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Open Spaces & Green Gaps

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Open Spaces & Green Gaps – Eastern Close Up Map


 

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Open Spaces & Green Gaps – Western Close Up Map

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High Weald AONB Unit “Settlements, Buildings and Routeways”

Draft Policy LN7.11

Protection of the High Weald AONB & its Setting

a)    Proposals should conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the parish and have due regard to the High Weald AONB management plan.

 

b)    Proposals should demonstrate that due regard is paid to the components of natural beauty as shown on map High Weald AONB Unit “High Weald Character Components” on page xx and anywhere they exist within the parish

 

c)    Proposals should seek to restore the natural function of watercourses to improve water quality; prevent flooding and enhance wetland habitats.

 

d)    Proposals should relate well to historic routeways and seeks to ensure access is maintained or improved and their rural character is not degraded by loss of distinctive historic features such as banks, hedgerows, verges or other important features. Proposed landscape enhancements related to these features will be supported.

 

e)    Proposals should not result in the loss or degradation of ancient woodland or historic features within it and, where appropriate, contribute to its ongoing management.

 

f)     Proposals should conserve and enhance the ecology of fields, trees including veteran trees and hedgerows; retains and reinstates historic fields; and where possible, directs development away from fields that have been in use since the medieval period or earlier, especially where these form coherent field systems with other medieval features.

 

Policy Supporting Text

 

Water Courses & Drainage

3.43.  Restoration and protection of the natural function of river catchments is essential to mitigate against flooding and climate change. The AONB Landscape character map: Geology, Landform, Water systems & Climate identifies and maps these significant features.

 

3.44.  These distinctive characteristic features of the landscape are valued and require sensitive active management. The ecological role as wildlife habitats and enablers of permeability are important contributors to the richness of biodiversity found in the parish.

 

3.45.  The watershed of the two major river systems (Medway to the north and Rother to the south) lies in the south of the parish along the Hartley-Swattenden ridge. A number of springs are located here along with the sources of several streams and brooks, including the Crane Brook whose source is located in Swattenden Lane and flows north-east into and through Cranbrook (being culverted under the Tanyard car park and St. David’s Bridge) and beyond to the south and east of Sissinghurst. Angley Woods also has several water sources with streams running northeast through Hocker Edge and Colliers Green.

 

Streets, Roads & Lanes

3.46.  The network of often narrow and winding lanes with ancient hedgerows are rich in ecological biodiversity and wildlife connectivity. There are many sunken lanes and wooded green tunnels which are evocative features of this landscape. They have evolved through historic use, for example as old drovers’ routeways through the parish. Key characteristics of these rural lanes include, but not limited to:

 

     Ancient mixed native hedgerow, including holly.

     Hedges coming right up to the road

     Sunken roads with multiple ditch and bank features

     Braided routes and driveways

     Ancient veteran trees within the hedgerow, as well as old stubs and ancient grown-out lain hedges, all growing on the tops of banks

     Semi-native verges rich in biodiversity

 

3.47.  Features such as but not limited to, close-boarded fencing, non-native hedgerow and screen planting, pavements, street lighting, intrusive highway engineering, whilst still seeking effective ways to improve their safety for non-car traffic are significant detractors in the rural landscape of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst parish.

 

3.48.  Instead, chestnut post-and-rail, close-pale fencing, native hedge-planting and hedge-laying and other local traditional boundary treatments should be encouraged.

 

Woodland & Field Structures

3.49.  The High Weald AONB is characterised by the great extent of ancient woodland, gills, and shaws in small holdings, the value of which is inextricably linked to their long-term management. The objectives of the High Weald AONB Management Plan for Ancient Woodland are to enable their active management for their survival in perpetuity.

 

3.50.  The High weald AONB Landscape Character: Ancient Woodlands map shows the extent of such areas within the parish. The High Weald AONB is characterised by small irregular shaped and productive fields often bound by (and forming a mosaic with) hedgerows and small woodlands, and typically used for livestock grazing, small holdings, and a non-dominant agriculture, within which can be found distinctive zones of heaths and inned river valleys. The objectives of the High Weald AONB Management Plan for Field and Heath are:

 

       To secure agriculturally productive use for the fields of the High Weald

       To maintain the pattern of small irregularly shaped fields bounded by hedgerows and woodland

       To enhance the ecological function of field and heath as a part of complex mosaic of High Weald habitats

       To protect the archaeological and historical assets of field and heath

 

3.51.  The High weald AONB Landscape Character: Field and Heath map shows the extent of such areas within the parish. Responses gathered at the November 2017 draft policy poster presentation and the June 2018 exhibition support the aims of this policy. This policy is further supported by evidence gathered in the Cranbrook & Sissinghurst Landscape Character Assessment Workshop.

 

 

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High Weald AONB Unit “High Weald Character Components”


 

Draft Policy LN7.12

Protection & Enhancement of Sissinghurst Castle

Proposals which cause harm to Sissinghurst Castle and its estate will not be supported.

 

Policy Supporting Text

3.52.  Sissinghurst Castle (owned and managed by the National Trust) is both a significant heritage asset and landscape feature, as well as a major visitor attraction making a considerable contribution to the local economy. The site creates a setting for and reflects the local landscape particularly to the East of Sissinghurst village, enhancing the character of the wider Kentish Weald landscape.

 

3.53.  The neighbourhood plan recognises and supports the major contribution that Sissinghurst Castle makes to the heritage of the area. This policy seeks to protect and enhance the Castle and its grounds for the benefit of current and future generations, allowing it to remain a celebrated focal point within the parish.


 

Draft Policy LN7.13

Local Green Space Designations

a)    The green spaces shown in attached schedule and maps (see pages xx to xx) are designated as Local Green Spaces (LGS) and protected from built development, except in very special circumstances (such as essential infrastructure) that justify the need for development and there are no suitable alternative sites.

 

b)    Proposals will not be permitted which cause significant harm to the character and function of the local green space.

 

Policy Supporting Text

3.54.  The aim of the Local Green Spaces designation is to identify and protect important green areas within the parish which are of particular importance to them (NPPF para 100). The criteria for inclusion are specific “where the green space is:

 

a)      in reasonably close proximity to the community it serves

b)      demonstrably special to a local community and holds a particular local significance, for example because of its beauty, historic significance, recreational value (including as a playing field, tranquillity or richness of its wildlife; and

c)       local in character and is not an extensive tract of land” (NPPF para 100).

 

3.55.  The plan wishes to enable and promote continued access to the countryside and recreational green space as well as recognising the historical significance of some of these areas. Their contribution to the rural open feel of the settlements, the health and wellbeing of residents and the ecological networks throughout the parish is recognised.

 

3.56.  The list of designations includes a diverse range of green spaces from the Ball Field in Cranbrook and the George V Field in Sissinghurst to much smaller informal recreation areas such as the allotment gardens, and areas of particular historical significance, such as the Quaker Burial Ground and the Horse Pond.

 

3.57.  Evidence gathered from the Cranbrook Museum, Wellbeing in the Weald, the Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Landscape Character Assessment workshop schedule and responses gathered at the November 2017 draft policy poster presentation and the June 2018 public exhibition support the aims of this policy.



[13] Watermills and Windmills of Cranbrook, C.R.R.Pile (1954)

 

 

 

 

LOCAL GREEN SPACE DESIGNATIONS

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS1

Allotments at the Frythe Estate

  • Map reference TQ776357      
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space as it offers an essential grow-your-own food resource for the community. It is of particular local importance because of its recreational value, as a place of tranquillity and its aesthetic beauty.

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Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS2

Allotments at Oatfield Drive, Southern Section Only (PC owned)

  • Map reference TQ776363      
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space as it offers an essential grow-your-own food resource for the community. It is of particular local importance because of its recreational value, as a place of tranquillity and aesthetic beauty. The Wellbeing in the Weald initiative now have a community allotment plot which enables anyone wishing to benefit from the health-giving aspects of gardening to join in a social environment.


Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS3

Big Side

  • Map reference TQ778367      
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area is part of the school’s private playing fields and therefore does not have official public access. However, the area is visually prominent and contributes to the local character/setting of the settlement. This area is a possible Local Green Space designation but has been put forward for development in the ‘call for sites’ and therefore requires further consideration.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS4

Colliers Green School Field

  • Map reference TQ759388      
  • This site doesn’t lie within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area is used by Colliers Green School for informal recreational activities and is of particular local significance because of its recreational value. The site is visually prominent and is also adds to the local tranquillity and character/setting of this small hamlet settlement.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS5

The Community Orchard Wilsley Green

  • Map reference TQ778370
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this community orchard is used by the local community for informal recreational purposes and is appreciated by many local residents. This area is therefore of particular local significance because of its recreational value. Cranbrook in Bloom volunteers maintain the orchard. This green space also forms a valuable contribution to the distinctive northern gateway to Cranbrook.

 


Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS6

The Copse Nature Reserve

  • Map reference TQ779358
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this small Roadside Nature Reserve is a wildlife haven cared for by the community. It is visually prominent and accessible. It is of particular local significance because of its wildlife and is therefore suitable for Local Green Space designation.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS7

Cranbrook Ball Field

  • Map reference TQ777362
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area is a recreational open space, used by the community for formal and informal activities. This area is therefore of particular local significance not only for its recreational value but also its historical importance, its aesthetic beauty and significant views of prominent buildings in Cranbrook (the windmill and the church). The area is an historic recreation field referenced in historical texts and artworks over centuries. This area has got good public access.

 


Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS8

Cranbrook School Pond, Waterloo Road

  • Map reference TQ779362
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this pond contributes to the visual attractiveness of the settlement and is therefore demonstrably special to the local community. Kingfisher spotted November 2017.

 

 


Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS9

The Crane Valley

  • Map reference TQ775358
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area is of particular local significance because of its richness of wildlife and visual amenity. This area is also of local historical importance (remains of old iron/fulling ponds & watermills sites on site). This area has got public access in parts. However, although this area is already partly identified as Ancient Woodland and as a Local Nature Reserve, this area is particularly special to the local community and acts as an important green corridor going through the built development of Cranbrook. Furthermore, this area is also partly allocated for development in the TWBC Allocations DPD, this area will form part of the non-developable area of the allocated site or in other areas that are proposed for development.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS10

Golford Cemetery

  • Map reference TQ790361
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area is of particular local historic significance and as an important area for the community to use for quiet reflection and contemplation. This area has got public access and is visually prominent.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS11

High Weald Academy Field

  • Map reference TQ769362
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area comprises a school’s private playing field and there is no official public access to the site. Despite this, this green area is visually prominent to the local community and contributes to the character/setting of the settlement. This area is therefore suitable for Local Green Space designation.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS12

The Horse Pond

  • Map reference TQ775361
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this is an important open space that is of particular local historic significance, due to it being where horses drank on market days. Kingfisher spotted February 2018.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS13

Jubilee Field Recreation Ground, Sissinghurst

  • Map reference TQ793375
  • This site doesn’t lie within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area is an open recreational space used for a variety of community activities. These include the annual Sissinghurst Fete and use as a football pitch.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS14

King George V Field

  • Map reference TQ791376
  • This site doesn’t lie within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area is an open recreational space used for a variety of community activities. It is the home of the Sissinghurst Cricket Club, a venue for boot fairs, used for overflow parking for village events and camping and caravan club events. There is space for football activities.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS15

The Long Field

  • Map reference TQ776367
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

The area shaded green on the plan below has been designated as a local green space. The green space has been identified to retain the PRoW and it is of particular local significance for activities such as dog walking. This area is also of local significance because of its richness of wildlife (KCC Habitat Survey 2012 – priority habitat, grassland of importance).

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS16

Quaker Burial Ground

  • Map reference TQ777368
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area is of particular local significance because of its richness for wildlife and historical value.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS17

Rammell Field

  • Map reference TQ780350
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area is part of a school’s private playing fields and there is no official public access to the site. The school let the community use the field once a year for the Cranbrook Fun Day. This green area is visually prominent to the local community and contributes to the character/setting of the settlement. This field is recognised as a Memorial Field.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS18

Sissinghurst Burial Ground

  • Map reference TQ795376
  • This site doesn’t lie within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area is of particular local historic significance. It is a quiet and contemplative space behind the busy main street.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS19

Sissinghurst Green at Cleavers

  • Map reference TQ791377
  • This site doesn’t lie within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because it contributes to the character/setting of the housing development and is therefore demonstrably special to the local community.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS20

Hovendens Green, Sissinghurst

  • Map reference TQ792377
  • This site doesn’t lie within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area is used for informal recreational activities by residents in the surrounding housing development. This area is therefore of local significance because of its recreational and amenity value.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS21

St Dunstan’s Churchyard

  • Map reference TQ777362
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area is an important open space that is of particular local historic significance. This area has got public access.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS22

Tomlin Ground

  • Map reference TQ774367
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because this area is a recreational open space used privately by the local rugby and cricket clubs for formal recreational activities and is therefore demonstrably special to the local community despite having restricted access.

 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS23

Turner Avenue Recreation Ground

  • Map reference TQ778354
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This space has been designated as a local green space because it is an area of open space for the adjacent housing development and is used by the residents for informal recreational activities.

 


 

Local Green Space Designation

Site LGS24

Hennicker Pit and Woodland

  • Map reference TQ765350
  • This site lies within the AONB

 

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION

 

Beauty

 

Historic Significance

 

Recreational Value

 

Tranquillity

 

Richness of Wildlife     

 

Supporting Text

This small area of ponds and woodland is close to the hamlet of Hartley and accessible by a PROW. It is of particular significance because of its historical association with marl, clay and iron-ore extraction. It is valued by the local community as a place of beauty and tranquillity, and a place to enjoy the abundant wildlife.

 

 

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