Spread the love

Land at Finches Farm, Five Oak Green

Frequently Asked Questions

We consulted residents on our proposals for the land at Finches Farm during November 2023.  A number of questions were frequently raised by residents in response to the proposals, and this page provides additional information in response to these questions.




What is your evidence that these homes are needed?

Each Local Planning Authority (LPA) is required to meet its identified housing requirement over the Local Plan period, and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) requires the LPA to annually identify and update a supply of specific, deliverable sites, sufficient to provide a minimum of five-years’ worth of housing against their housing requirement. The housing requirement is either identified in the council’s adopted strategic policies, or – when these policies are more than five years old, as in the case of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council – against the local housing need.

The Tunbridge Wells Five-Year Housing Land Supply Statement 2022 / 2023 (published in October 2023) identifies the council’s five-year requirement as 3,494 homes, against a supply of 3,147. This equates to a shortfall of 347 homes over a five-year period, and this shortfall illustrates the need for additional housing in Tunbridge Wells Borough.




What do you mean when you say you’ll be providing affordable housing ‘with the aim to meet identified local needs’?

The proposed development includes up to 140 homes, with 56 of these (40% of the total) proposed as affordable homes.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s adopted Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document highlights that the majority of affordable housing need across both the social rented and intermediate categories – for example, shared ownership – is for smaller, one- and two-bedroom units, with some larger, family housing. This need for smaller units is echoed in the evidence base for the emerging new Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Local Plan.

The proposal, therefore, includes a larger proportion of smaller one- and two-bedroom houses, equating to 68% of the total number of affordable homes, and a smaller proportion of three- and four-bedroom homes, equating to 32% of the affordable housing provision, to assist in meeting the identified local need.




How will the proposed surface water drainage system work to help protect existing homes from flooding?

The surface water drainage system for the proposed development will provide Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS), which act to retain surface water runoff on-site through a network of storage systems and attenuation basins. These will accommodate development-generated runoff from 1-in-100-year storm events plus an allowance for climate change.

A large area for flood plain compensation is provided to the north and west of the proposed homes to mitigate the existing flooding within the site and has additional capacity to help reduce the flood risk in Five Oak Green.

Discharge from the site shall be released at a controlled rate into the existing watercourse.




The existing sewage system in the village already struggles to cope. How will you avoid making this worse?

Discussions are ongoing with Southern Water regarding the capacity of and reinforcement / upgrade works to the existing foul network, to determine the best point of connection for the foul discharge from the proposed development.




Five Oak Green already has a traffic problem. How will your proposals not make this problem worse?

Junction capacity assessments will be undertaken to identify whether the development proposals have a severe impact on any nearby junctions. Any severe impact would need to be mitigated as part of any planning permission. Any mitigation measures will be agreed with Kent County Council as part of the pre-application process.

The proposal will also provide a series of highway improvement works, which will not only reduce vehicle speeds within the vicinity of Capel Primary School but also maintain these lower speeds along the frontage of the site, where speeding has been identified as an issue. Waiting restrictions will be implemented on Five Oak Green Road along the frontage of the site, and within the vicinity of Capel Primary School, which would also have School Keep Clear zig-zag markings.




Kent County Council has rejected previous attempts to install traffic calming measures along Five Oak Green Road. How can you guarantee these will be delivered if your scheme goes ahead?

The proposed traffic calming measures have been agreed with Kent County Council and the delivery / cost will be the responsibility of Rydon Homes. The traffic calming measures form part of a bigger overall package of highway improvement works, secured through a legal obligation linked to the planning permission.




Wouldn’t it be better to provide one formal, controlled crossing of Five Oak Green Road (a pelican / puffin / zebra crossing)? This would be safer for pedestrians.

Pelican / puffin / zebra crossings only act as traffic calming measures when pedestrians are using them to cross the road. At all other times, traffic is free-flowing, and there are no physical measures to slow vehicles down.

The proposed kerbed build-outs provide three crossings for pedestrians along Five Oak Green Road, which require pedestrians to walk across just one lane of traffic, with the design of the build-outs forcing vehicles to slow down on the approach, thereby facilitating safer crossing facilities.




Why are you not proposing a drop-off / pick-up area for parents? That is the biggest problem affecting Five Oak Green Road – cars park along the road and impede the flow of traffic.

Kent County Council policy requires operational parking (broadly defined as staff and visitors) to be provided for schools. This is provided as one space per full time equivalent member of staff plus 10% maximum. Parent and pupil parking is discouraged by Kent County Council.

As part of the proposal, Rydon Homes are investigating locations where the dropping-off and picking-up of pupils can occur without unduly interfering with the operation and use of the highway. This could be in the location of the informal parking areas on Church Lane or by increasing the number of visitor parking spaces within the development site.



Those walking to Capel Primary School along the new off-road route will have three new roads to cross (the two access roads for the development and the staff car park access). How will you ensure pedestrian safety for those crossing these roads?


The design of the two development access roads will utilise tight junction radii, forcing vehicles to slow down before turning into the site. The access roads will meet the appropriate inter-visibility requirements, so that pedestrians / cyclists and drivers can see each other approaching the crossing points and give-way appropriately. Where pedestrians / cyclists cross these access roads, contrasting surface treatments and raised tables will be provided.

The school staff car park access would be in the form of a crossover that would prioritise pedestrian and cycle movements over vehicle movements. In addition, access / egress by staff to the school car park would occur before and after school start and finish times, resulting in no conflicting vehicle movements.

All of the site access designs will be subject to Road Safety Audits.




What are you proposing to do to help mitigate the impact of this development on local doctors / dentists?

In accordance with Core Policy 1 (Delivery of Development) of Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s adopted Core Strategy, all development is required to provide, or contribute to the provision of local services, facilities and infrastructure, where it generates the need.

Typically, this is collected through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) imposed on newbuild floorspace. However, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council does not currently operate a CIL Charging Schedule and infrastructure contributions are secured through Section 106 Agreements, which are legally binding.

Rydon Homes is currently engaging with the council in pre-application discussions to identify the necessary planning obligations.




Why are you not proposing any measures to help increase capacity at Capel Primary School? If your development goes ahead the school won’t be able to expand in future.

Through pre-application discussions with Kent County Council as the Local Education Authority, it was established that the County Council does not wish to expand primary school provision in this location.

Following these discussions, Rydon Homes has engaged with Capel Primary School directly to identify any site-specific requirements. The school has identified a need for more outdoor space, being on a constrained site, as well as staff parking. With this in mind, the proposed development includes the expansion of outdoor recreational space and the provision of staff parking, together with a dedicated off-road pedestrian and cycle route from Five Oak Green through the development site to Capel Primary School.

The land provided for the additional outdoor space will accommodate a ‘Daily Mile’ track, which allows for the expansion of the school in the future, should the County Council later decide to do so.

In addition to these on-site provisions a financial contribution, secured through a Section 106 Agreement, will be required by Kent County Council to ensure that the pupil numbers generated by the development can be provided for. How and where these school places are provided is a decision made by the County Council once funding has been received.




We have seen wildlife on this land. What ecological studies of the site have you undertaken, what did they show, and how will you ensure that your development does not adversely affect the existing wildlife?

Rydon Homes’ appointed ecologist has begun the necessary ecological work to support a planning application. A range of surveys have been undertaken at the site, including:

  • Habitat
  • Badger
  • Reptile
  • Great Crested Newt
  • Bat
  • Dormouse
  • Breeding birds

Being an arable farming and grazing field, the site is of low ecological value and provides several opportunities for biodiversity enhancement. The proposal includes the provision of the required Biodiversity Net Gain, as well as a substantial improvement on the current ecological value of the site due to:

  • The retention of most of the existing trees and hedgerows.
  • Retention of the watercourse through the centre of the site.
  • New tree, hedgerow, and wildflower planting.
  • The installation of wildlife-friendly sustainable drainage features.

No part of the site or the land immediately adjacent to it is currently designated for its ecological value.

Contact Us

If you have any queries, please contact Adam Robinson of SP Broadway on
07711 262 925 or at adam@spbroadway.com