Category Archives: Planning

Have you received your plan?

We have produced the initial version of the Goudhurst Neighbourhood Plan and it is now time to seek feedback on the objectives and policies.

You should have received a paper copy of the the Goudhurst plan. If you have not received one then send us an email and we will arrange for a delivery.  Alternatively, you can download a copy of the plan.

Give us your feedback.  You can submit feedback directly through the NDP website or complete the MS Excel worksheet and email the results to

Feedback will be collated and all feedback will be published. Feedback will be used to update the plan before it is submitted for formal examination.

We will also be holding two drop in sessions in the Parish Hall on  the 21st November 6:30-8:30pm and the 8th December 9-12:00.

Fantastic Turnout on the 24th

A big thank-you to all those who attended the public meeting in St Mary’s on the 24th May.  The presentation from TWBC and the NDP team took a little longer than planned but there was a lot of ground to cover.  The good news from the evening was that TWBC are not considering Goudhurst as suitable for more than a small amount of development. The bad news was the Borough does not have its 5 year land supply required under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) so is at risk from speculative development – a good reason to get our plan in place as soon as we can.

We made two documents available at the meeting:

The first set out our Our Vision and Objectives developed in the autumn workshops and the second set out a summary of our policies   which are detailed below. We would very much like to hear your feedback on the policy outlines as they stand. We would like to understand where you have concerns and what you believe is missing from the plan. Let us know either on  or via Facebook.

Finally, thank you to the Rev. Hugh Nelson for making St Mary’s available to us for the meeting and also the the bellringers who moved their practice to the Friday.

Policies & Projects

Policy area

Policy Outline


Countryside and Environment


Retain the profile of our hilltop villages To limit development on the slopes of our settlements and in prominent positions and maintain a distinct green gap around our settlements and along the ridgelines
Conserve Landscape and Heritage Assets


To ensure new development complements our Parish. 18.9% of our properties are listed and over 70% of our houses built before 1874, giving a very distinctive character to our settlements
  Manage the LBD To manage how the Limit-to-Built Development changes over time



Countryside and Environment


Bio-diversity To ensure new development does not adversely impact the natural environment
Development in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) To ensure that any development complements the AONB and improves the rural environment (Most of the Parish lies within the AONB and therefore some development in the AONB is inevitable.)
  Light Pollution/

Dark Skies

To remain a dark skies community and continue to minimise the impact of light pollution whether from public or private sources
  Green Spaces To conserve existing and seek new green spaces within any major developments, emphasising the rural character of the Parish.
  Trees To protect trees, particularly ancient woodland.
  Views To protect important views (in and out) of our Parish, valued by residents and visitors
Housing Number of new homes To manage the number of new homes in the parish to meet local demand within numbers that residents regard as acceptable
  Housing mix To require  mixed development with an emphasis on smaller houses meeting local need
  Tenancy Mix To ensure developments include a proportion of housing that local people can afford
  Housing for rural workers To support homes restricted for occupation by agricultural or forestry workers
  Replacement Dwellings To control the size and scope of replacement dwellings
  Conversion of existing buildings To provide more residential properties using redundant buildings
Design Design Standards To ensure that development – including extensions –  enhances our community by respecting its setting and in  the quality of individual and spatial design, including boundaries
  Climate Change New homes need to be more efficient and future proofed – including in drainage and the collection and re-use of water
Traffic Car Parking To ensure one parking space for every bedroom in new developments to reduce impact of parking on the roads
  Traffic Impact To ensure that new developments do not inhibit free flow of traffic or increase parking on local roads; and to seek mitigation where possible.
  Pedestrian Footways To ensure that where possible new developments provide safe pedestrian access to bus stops, schools and other village facilities.
Business Supporting new businesses To encourage the development of businesses and employment making Goudhurst a good place to invest
  Retention of commercial premises To retain shops and businesses in our community
Community Community Facilities To secure developer contributions to improve local facilities
  Accessibility To ensure new development is accessible to all
  Assets of Value To protect significant assets in the Parish from change or loss
  Broadband and Mobile To support the provision of improved service within the parish
Projects Traffic Congestion To address the issues of traffic congestion in Goudhurst high-street
  Parking in Goudhurst To ensure parking is available to allow residents and visitors to use the services and facilities in our villages
  Improving road safety To lobby to reduce speed limits and implement traffic calming
  Improve Parish wide communications To provide improved communications across the parish making events, activities and opportunities in the Parish accessible to all.




Selecting sites in Goudhurst for Development

Tunbridge Wells have issued two call-for-sites (2016 & 2017) which were intended to identify land for development. These two activities brought forward 23 sites across our Parish for consideration for future development. 

Although we have not issued a ‘Goudhurst only call-for-sites’ we have developed a set of Site Assessment Criteria to allow us to objectively review sites submitted in the TWBC process. Our own Site Assessment Criteria allows us to complete a consistent analysis of any sites now and in the future.

What are our criteria?

Our criteria only assess the land and its suitability of the land for development. There are no specific schemes (x houses or Y flats) proposed at this stage of the planning process. Any proposed scheme would need to comply with the policies in our plan as well as borough and national policy.

Site Description
  • Covering location, size, current usage surrounding land, boundaries, natural features and if the site has previously been developed or has planning history
  • Is the site within the Limits-to-Built-Development
  • Relationship with surrounding land uses
  • Is the site visually enclosed or exposed?
  • Site Topography
  • Are there any constraining features e.g. Pylons and electrical power lines etc.
  • Does site have access to power, water, drainage and broadband
  • Site viability – adequacy of existing roads
  • Does site have access for waste removal and emergency services
  • If the current access is inadequate or could it be improved
Access for pedestrians
  • Is there Pedestrian access
  • Suitable for cycling
  • Any Public Rights of Way
  • Access to local public transport
  • Access to local services
  • Distance to important sites (SSSIs)
  • Distance to sites designated of local importance
  • Any impact on biodiversity, ecology or geodiversity
  • Are there any tree preservation orders on the site?
  • Proximity to Ancient Woodland?
Flood risk
  • Is there a risk of flooding
  • any impact on the landscape of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
  • Impact on areas such as Conservation Area, Scheduled monument, parks Listed Buildings etc.
  • Ownership
  • Deliverable

All of the sites submitted to the two TWBC Call-for-Sites requests have been assessed. 

One last workshop!!!

You are invited to one last workshop!

The neighbourhood plan is in final development and we need your help to work through the finer details of the plan before we publish our first draft in June.

If you have any thoughts of how you would like our communities to grow and change over the coming years or how we can overcome some of the issues and concerns raised in our community then please come along to the Parish Hall Goudhurst on the 28th April at 9:30.

The workshop will review our options for development within the Parish and also identify and finalise the list of projects and activities to be included in the final plan. These will range from improving or creating village amenities to addressing traffic congestion. This is a chance to get your project on the list.

We will also answer any questions you may have about how future development in other parishes and the borough might impact on our community.

So put the 28th April at 9:00  in your diary and join us for coffee in the Parish Hall before the meeting – make your opinion count.

Photographic Competition – Exhibition of all entries and Announcing the Winners

On the 10th April we will be announcing the winners of the Neighbourhood Plan photographic competition in St Marys church at 19:30.

The competition has been running for 12 months and we have had some fantastic entries.

Over the year, we shortlisted monthly winners in each category and these are listed below. We will select category winners and an overall competition winner from these entries.

Come along at19:30 the 10th April to celebrate everyones contribution in a exhibition of all of the competition entries



Under 16

Places Special to you




What is Sustainable in Goudhurst?

We have just completed our Sustainability Analysis Scoping document and have sent it for review to a set of statutory consultees (Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Natural England, Historic England and the Environment Agency). This document is an important milestone for the team and forms part of the delivery required by planning legislation.

But what is a Sustainability Analysis Scoping document?

The document contains an overview of all of the evidence we have gathered over the last 15 months looking at the village from three perspectives:

  •  Social – Understand the impact of change on our Parish looking at services, our residents’ needs and issues etc. This covers topics such as deprivation, education, equality, health, housing and transport.
  • Environmental – We live in a very special part of the country and our Parish has a number of unique features, habitats, and environments that need to be protected and enhanced. Here the topics were air quality, biodiversity, climate change, energy, heritage, land use, landscape, resources, waste and water.
  • Economic – The Economic theme looks at business and economic development in the Parish and how the Neighbourhood Plan can support economic growth and jobs.

We analysed all of the data to identify which elements were relevant to our Parish and from that, we created a set of sustainability objectives, identifying areas that could be impacted by any future change.

The objectives (listed below) are aligned with specific topics. For each objective there are a list of guide questions. These questions will be applied to all options and proposals listed in out plan – ‘Does this option Reduce……..’ . Depending on the option under review answers will be yes, no or not relevant. The results are scored.

We will measure all proposals and options being considered for our Neighbourhood Plan against these objectives to gauge the the sustainability of any individual proposal. We will only include those proposals in our plan that can be demonstrated as sustainable.

High Level Objective
Guide questions – Does the NP…?
1. Air Reduce air pollution
  1. Reduce reliance on fossil fuels for heating
  2. Reduce road congestion and resulting negative impacts on air quality
  3. Promote the use of sustainable modes of transport, including walking, cycling and public transport
2. Biodiversity Protect and enhance biodiversity and the natural environment
  1. Identify protect and enhance sites of biodiversity value across the Parish and improve their integrity.
  2. Improve condition of SSSIs
  3. Create and protect wildlife corridors
  4. Maintain and/or enhance areas identified or managed for nature conservation and seek to extend such areas.
  5. Increase or restore local parish habitats such as hedgerows, streams and arable field margins.

·   Minimise pollution of all kinds

3. Business Growth and employment Encourage business growth and local employment
  1. Improve accessibility to businesses in the centre of Goudhurst Village.
  2. Support the growth of tourism in the Parish
  3. Strengthen the local economy by promoting the development of local businesses that are appropriate in scale to the rural context of the Parish.
  4. Prevent, where appropriate, the loss of economic floor space to housing.
  5. Facilitate the creation of local employment opportunities.
  6. Support the provision of a community business hub offering networking and other facilities for home workers and small businesses.
  7. Enhance viability of the local economy by encouraging diverse employment opportunities.
4. Climate Change & Energy Reduce carbon footprint and adapt to predicted changes
  1. Reduce carbon and energy usage


5. Deprivation Reduce poverty
  1. Reduce rates of fuel poverty
6. Education Improve educational attainment and enhance the skills base
  1. Meet demand for primary school places – with priority to Goudhurst and Kilndown Primary School for parish residents
  2. Secure fair access to secondary education for parish residents
  3. Support the development of the skills needed for everyone to remain in work.
7. Equality Increase social mobility and inclusion
  1. Improve/support integration with the community
  2. Improve inclusion/awareness of groups and societies in the Parish
8. Health & Wellbeing Improve health and wellbeing, and reduce health inequalities
  1. Meet demand for elderly care services
  2. Improve opportunities for physical activity
  3. Promote design of buildings and spaces to reduce crime and the fear of crime
  4. Improve accessibility for everyone to health, education, recreation, cultural and community facilities and services.
9. Heritage Preserve and enhance historical and cultural heritage assets
  1. Conserve and enhance features and buildings of historical and/or cultural importance.
  2. Protect and enhance areas and sites of archaeological, historical and/or cultural importance.
  3. Recognise the role of heritage assets in the local tourism economy.
  4. Preserve the unique character of the hilltop settlements
  5. Preserve medieval field patterns, routeways and farmsteads considered some of the best in Northern Europe
10. Housing Provide sufficient housing to meet identified needs
  1. Meet identified needs for affordable housing – with priority to those with a parish connection
  2. Meet demand for 1, 2 and 3 bed market housing to suit expanding families and older households downsizing
  3. Meet the need for good design
  4. Facilitate self-build
  5. Integrate new development with the design and setting of the existing village.
  6. Require sustainable building practices that conserve energy, water resources and materials, maximise the proportion of energy generated from renewable sources, ensuring the design and location of new development is resilient to the effects of climate change
11. Land use Protect soils, and reuse previously developed land and buildings
  1. Protect the AONB
  2. Develop on previously developed sites in preference to greenfield land
12. Landscape Protect and enhance landscape and townscape
  1. Preserve the ridgetop settlement profile(s) of Goudhurst, Kilndown and Curtisden Green
  2. Preserve the historic field patterns, routeways and historic farmsteads which characterize our Parish
  3. Improve access to footpaths and bridleways
  4. Encourage the creation of new footpaths
  5. Protect and enhance Ancient Woodland
  6. ·   Maintain dark skies policies
13. Noise Reduce noise pollution
  1. Consider the effect of noise pollution
14. Resources Reduce the impact of resource consumption
  1. Prevent unsustainable demolition and rebuild projects
  2. Improve use of responsibly sourced materials and low environmental impact materials e.g. traditional weatherboarding
15. Services & Facilities Improve access to and range of services and facilities
  1. Support superfast broadband connectivity beyond the centre of Goudhurst.
  2. Improve mobile phone coverage
  3. Create/improve services for the elderly
  4. Create/improve services for the young
16. Traffic Reduce traffic congestion and improve road safety
  1. Reduce the volume of traffic through the Parish
  2. Reduce the volume of heavy goods vehicles
  3. Improve pedestrian and cyclist safety
  4. Reduce the impact of traffic on heritage assets
17. Travel Improve travel choice and reduce the need to travel by private vehicle
  1. Reduce dependence on private cars
  2. Improve access to train stations
  3. Improve bus services
  4. Support car sharing initiatives
  5. Improve opportunities for active travel including cycling and walking
18. Waste Reduce waste generation and disposal
  1. Re-use or recover through recycling, composting or energy recovery
  2. Enhance existing recycling facilities
  3. Reduce construction waste
19. Water Manage flood risk and conserve, protect and enhance water resources
  1. Address the problem of low pressure in the mains water supply in areas of the Parish.
  2. Manage existing flood risk areas and ensure that the risk of flooding is not exacerbated by new development.
  3. Require the use of water harvesting and recycling systems, particularly in new developments.


Goudhurst SA Scoping Report 1.0

The Fegan Society and its connection with Goudhurst

You may not know the story of the Fegan Society which took children from the streets of London from the 1870’s and gave them education and support. The society is still active supporting children.

The original base for the charity was what is now Blantyre prison and elements of the original buildings can still be seen. James Fegan and his family are buried in St Mary’s churchyard.

You can find out more from an exhibition in Tunbridge Wells  which will take your through this story.  Seasons of Change: The Fegans’ Story, Tunbridge Wells, 13th – 18th March