The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework sets-out the rules which the local authorities are required to take into account when determining planning applications and formulating local plans.
With regards the Green Belt, the Framework specifies five aims and purposes. So how important is Halstead when judged against these aims and purposes?
The answer to this question was provided in January 2017, in a report that was prepared for Sevenoaks District Council by Arup, a leading UK environmental consultancy.
GREEN BELT PURPOSE 1
To check against unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas
The Parish of Halstead is identifiable as ‘Land Parcel 76’. As can be seen, Arup’s assessment rates the Parish of Halstead as in the highest category applicable to Sevenoaks district Council (blue with white cross-hatch line).
In brief, the preservation of the Green Belt in the parish is crucially important in supporting the first aim of the Green Belt policy, in preventing urban sprawl.
GREEN BELT PURPOSE 2
To prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another
Arup’s assessment again rates the The Parish of Halstead as in the highest category applicable to Sevenoaks District Council (dark drown shading).
So the preservation of the Green Belt in the parish is crucially important in supporting the second aim, that of preventing towns merging into one another.
Arup rate all the land parcels against the first four purposes, with maps for Purpose 3: To assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment and Purpose 4: To preserve the setting and special character of historic towns as below.
So how did Land Parcel 76, i.e. the Parish of Halstead, do compared with the other 99 land parcels that make up Sevenoaks District?
Well, Halstead has a total score of 11+, along with five other areas, out of a total of 100. Only two areas had a higher score, both with a score of 13.
So, Halstead is in the top 8 for importance, which is, in effect, 3rd equal! How about that!