Agenda item

To receive any questions from members of the public under paragraph 17 of Part 2 (The Council and District Council Members) of the Constitution.


Two questions had been received from a member of the public, Mr David Green Chairman of the Sevenoaks Society, in accordance with paragraph 17 of Part 2 (The Council and District Council Members) of the Constitution.


Question 1:  Mr Green


On 25 February 2020 the Council resolved (resolution 41b)) ‘That a definitive statement be sought from the owner of the former Farmers public house site, of their timelines to dispose of the site or to fully implement the planning permission’. What steps (other than the successful pursuit of payment of the Community Infrastructure Levy have been taken by the Council in the subsequent two year period to obtain such a definitive statement and with what result?


Response: Leader of the Council


‘As Members know there is nothing written in legislation that gives us the authority  to make or enforce them to make commence development of the site. We did seek out a statement from them as to the timescales and they responded verbally in June 2021 stating they intended to submit a new planning application, nothing has been received. They have been in contact regarding a future development of the site - a pre application for 69 units. The site has not been submitted as part of the call for sites. We have contacted them again in September 2021 as the site was getting untidy, and have had no response to that contact. However, we contacted them again today following the storms and they have advised that they have contracted with a fencing company to reinstate the fencing on site. We have also undertaken successful legal action to the tune of nearly £500,000 of CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) payments on that site.’



Question 2: Mr Green


Is there any reason (and is so what reason) to believe that works on the site will recommence during the next two year period?


Response: Leader of the Council


‘Members, if you cast your mind back to the last time these questions were asked at Full Council, you will remember that the questioner stated that they were surprised that there weren’t many developers lining up to develop the site. I can assure the speaker that that is just not the case. We have spoken to many developers about the site and the opportunities that the site affords and all have come back saying the value the current owners have placed on the site, it would not be viable to take forward either of the two planning permissions that were received on appeal. Including the planning permission that triggered the CIL payment when they commenced works on the site.


If I was to try and answer the question as to whether I believe, personally believed, they would be starting works on site in the next two years, I have to say that history would not be on the side of those that thought they would. However, with the successful legal action an extra £500,000 worth of costs on top of the costs that they have already incurred on the site. I am hoping that this will force them at some stage either to develop out a viable application for the site, which I’m sure the Sevenoaks Society will support, or sell the site for redevelopment by another party.’


Cllr Purves moved, and it was seconded by Cllr Dr Canet, that the question asked by David Green on behalf of the Sevenoaks Society be referred to Cabinet or Scrutiny.


The motion was put to the vote and it was lost.


Supporting documents:


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