Appeal Success for Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in the Green Belt

November 10, 2021 12:32 pm Published by

TKP is pleased to have been the planning consultants on a scheme approved at appeal for redevelopment and improvement of the existing golf clubhouse and hotel at a site in Sevenoaks to provide a new CCRC for older people (comprising 100 extra care units falling into Use Class C2).  TKP prepared and submitted the application which took close to a year to be determined. TKP were then instructed following refusal of permission to co-ordinate and submit the appeal.  All the need assessment work for the application and appeal was undertaken in-house, with Rachel Coles (Associate Planner) carrying out extensive background research.

Permission had been refused based on being inappropriate development in the Green Belt. Whilst the client requested Written Representations, the appeal was upgraded to a Hearing late in the process.

The two main issues considered were:

  • The effect of the proposal on the openness of the Green Belt; and
  • Whether the harm by reason of inappropriateness, and any other harm, would be clearly outweighed by other considerations which would form very special circumstances for the proposal

The Council acknowledged that they cannot currently identify a 5 Year Housing Land Supply (agreeing to a figure of 2.6 years) and that there is a need for specialist housing for older people within the District. The Inspector concluded, after considering all the evidence John Sneddon of TKP put forward on housing and care provision in the District that:

“I find that, on balance, based on existing supply including that in the pipeline, the population and its projected increase within older year groups, there is currently an existing and significant shortfall and a growing need for this type of housing. The proposed development would make a significant contribution towards meeting this requirement.”

“The scheme would provide 100 units of extra care housing for older people. This would address an existing shortfall and contribute to meeting a critical need. Due to its location on the edge of the settlement with limited direct access to the existing services and facilities, I reduce the weight attributed to this provision. I nevertheless consider this carries significant weight.”

 “The proposal would not be in a highly sustainable location. However, I have found that this carries limited weight against the scheme. Taking this into account, I nevertheless find that the other considerations cumulatively clearly outweigh the harm to the Green Belt I have identified. Consequently, the very special circumstances necessary to justify the development exist.”

John Sneddon (Managing Director of TKP) said:

“We are delighted for the applicants having been involved from the very beginning and giving a view on the site at the formation of different options.   The development team were able to address difficult issues on highways, ecology, drainage and landscape impact during the course of the application. These were resolved to leave just the principle of development in the Green Belt. That work by the team was invaluable. We are pleased with the views the appeal decision expresses on the need and the benefits of this type of accommodation. This builds on the great success Iain Warner (Director, TKP) had on the Green Belt appeal at West Malling (3202040)”.

The Appeal Decision can be found here.

TKP would like to thank the team of consultants who worked collaboratively and conscientiously to gain this approval.

Wedlake Bell LLP provided invaluable work on the unilateral agreement knocking the rough draft we did into shape and Piers Riley-Smith of Kings Chambers gave valuable advice just before the hearing helping to refine and clarify arguments.  The development team included David Parfitt Landscape Consultancy, Box Twenty, Haydens, Tumu Consulting, CDP Architecture, The Ecology Co op, Neil Brant Consulting Highway Engineers, LP Archaeology, Wesson Environmental and MZA Consulting Engineers.