A called-in inquiry opened today into a development in the High Weald AONB, comprising 165 dwellings and associated landscaping in a site allocated in an emerging local plan. The applicant (Berkeley Homes) and the Council (Tunbridge Wells BC) are in favour of the development, with the Council resolving to grant permission before being called in at Natural England’s request. It is opposed by Natural England, the High Weald AONB Unit, and CPRE Kent. The matters which will be explored will include the question of Biodiversity Net Gain, and the application of the exceptional circumstances test in para. 177 of the NPPF.
Andrew Byass is appearing for Natural England.