Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan Review
Public Local Inquiry

Inspector: Miss L Graham BSc MA MRTPI
Programme Officer: Mr John Leslie
c/o Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1RS
Tel: 01892554297 - Fax: 01892554214
My Ref: Adv.1/TW - Resp No: 610

Date: 4 April 2003

Mr P Morse
Telephone House Neighbours Association

Dear Sir/Madam


The Borough Council wrote to you on 7 March 2003 explaining details of representations that you have made on the Borough Local Plan Review and I am now writing to advise you of the next steps.

A Public Local Inquiry will be held to consider unresolved objections to the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan Review. The First Secretary of State has appointed Miss L Graham BSc MA MRTPI to conduct the Inquiry which will begin at 10.00am on Tuesday 16 September 2003 at the Council Chamber, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Town Hall, Mount Pleasant Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1RS.
I have been appointed as Programme Officer for this Inquiry and will deal with all procedural, administrative and programming matters.

A Pre-lnquiry Meeting (PIM) will be held on Friday 9 May 2003 at 10.30am at the same venue as the Inquiry. Any person who intends to appear or be represented at the Inquiry is invited to attend or be represented at the PIM.

I enclose a copy of the Agenda for the PIM and a map showing the location of the venue. A draft timetable will be circulated at the PIM on the basis of the returned questionnaires sent to you with the Borough Council's letter of 7 March 2003.

The purpose of the PIM is to allow the Inspector to explain procedural matters before and during the Inquiry. Please note that the merits of your representation will not be considered at this meeting.

I also enclose Guidance Notes for objectors. These will answer many of the routine questions that you might have, and will enable the Inspector to concentrate on any other issues that are raised. It would be helpful if those planning to attend the Pre-lnquiry Meeting could return the slip below or confirm this with a brief e-mail message to me to enable practical arrangements to be made.

The Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions has produced a booklet 'Local Plans and Unitary Development Plans : A Guide to Procedures'. This can be found on the internet at www.planninq.odpm.gov.uk/guides/local/index.htm. If you would like a printed copy, please let me know.

Yours faithfully
Mr J P Leslie
Programme Officer

Public Local Inquiry into Objections to the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan Review

Pre-Inquiry Meeting on Friday, 9th May, 2003 at 10.30am
at The Council Chamber, The Town Hall, Mount Pleasant Road,
Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1RS.

Miss L Graham BSc, MA, MRTPI
Inspector appointed by the First Secretary of State to consider objections to the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan Review


  1. Introductions and welcome
  2. Reference to the Guidance Notes
  3. Outline Inquiry Programme
  4. Matters raised by the Council
  5. Matters raised by objectors and supporters
  6. Any other business.

Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan Review
Guidance Notes for the Pre-lnquiry Meeting

These Guidance Notes provide information and help to all objectors, whether they intend to appear at the Inquiry or rely on written representations. Objectors not represented by professionals will find the guidance at Appendix 1 particularly useful. By providing the information at this stage it is expected that the Pre-lnquiry Meeting (PIM) will be able to concentrate on any queries or problems objectors may wish to raise which-are not answered by this Guidance Note. Please note that the meeting will not be an opportunity to discuss the merits of any objections.

  1. General

    1. The Inquiry into objections to the Deposit Draft of the Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan Review will open on Tuesday, 16 September 2003 at the Council Chamber, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council Town Hall, Mount Pleasant Road, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1RS at 10.00am. The Inspector appointed to consider the objections is Miss L Graham BSc MA MRTPI. She will consider all objections which are duly made, that is made in accordance with the regulations, and which have not been withdrawn in writing. Following the close of the Inquiry she will prepare a report to the Council with her recommendations on the action the Council should take with respect to each objection.

    2. The Programme Officer for the Inquiry is Mr J Leslie. He is not a Council Officer but works under the direction of the Inspector. His phone number is (01892) 554297, fax number is (01892) 554214 and his e-mail address is iohn.leslie@tunbridqewells.qov.uk. His main duties are to organise the Inquiry programme, to ensure that all documents received both before and during the Inquiry are recorded and distributed, and to maintain the Inquiry library. All documents submitted to the Inquiry should be forwarded to him. Any procedural questions, suggestions or difficulties should be raised with Mr Leslie. If necessary he will take these up with the Inspector.

  2. Number and scope of objections

    1. The Tunbridge Wells Borough Local Plan Review was placed on First Deposit for a period of 6 weeks from 10 August 2002 to 21 September 2002. During this period representations were received from 1017 organisations and individuals, comprising 2526 objections to specific aspects of the Plan, including policies, text, maps etc, and 500 representations of support. Following consideration of First Deposit objections a period of Second Deposit commenced on 8 November 2002 for a period of six weeks, ending on 20 December 2002. 487 duly made representations were received, of which 445 were objections to, and 42 were in support of the Second Deposit Draft of the Plan.

  3. The Inquiry Programme

    1. The Inquiry will usually sit between 10.00am and 4.30pm Tuesdays to Thursdays in the pattern of sittings shown in the outline timetable circulated at the PIM. An earlier start to an Inquiry sitting day may be possible by agreement. The detailed programme will change as the Inquiry progresses. It is the objector's responsibility to keep in touch with the Programme Officer to ensure that they are aware of any changes in the programme. The Programme Officer will endeavour to programme and accommodate specific requests for inquiry time, but objectors should not expect to be allocated a particular date and time purely on the basis of their preferred availability. It will be the objector's responsibility to ensure that they are available to present their case when called.

    2. Precise details of sitting times will be announced as the programme evolves.

  4. Inquiry Procedure

    1. Objectors should read the DETR publication 'Local Plans and Unitary Development Plans -A Guide to Procedures'. The document is available on the Internet at www.planninq.odpm.gov.uk/guides/local/index.htm or copies are available from the Programme Officer. Objectors who will not be represented by a lawyer or other professional will find additional guidance at Appendix 1 to these notes.

    2. The Inspector will open the Inquiry and, following a brief opening statement by the Council, will hear the first programmed objection. Objectors need to decide whether they wish to have their objection heard at the Inquiry or dealt with by means of written representations. Both methods of representation carry the same weight. Attendance at the Inquiry will only be useful and helpful to the Inspector if an objector wishes to question the Council's representatives but otherwise written representations will be just as fully considered by the Inspector. The programme for the Inquiry will be based on the information provided by objectors in response to the programme questionnaire sent out to them following the PIM. Written details of those objectors intending to appear at the Inquiry and any additional witnesses that they propose to call should be submitted to the Programme Officer.

    3. Supporters of the Council's case i.e. those who either support the policies or proposals in the Deposit Local Plan Review or who object to sites put forward by other objectors are not normally heard at the Inquiry, unless they are called as a witness by the Council. Anyone wishing to elaborate upon a supporting representation should do so in writing.

    4. The Inspector will ensure that every objector appearing at the Inquiry has the opportunity to make their case fairly and comprehensively but in order to consider objections expeditiously, the procedure for hearing objections will vary according to the circumstances.

    5. One of three formats will be used to consider objections at the Public Local Inquiry and they are detailed below.

  5. Formal Inquiry Sessions

    For objectors with legal or other professional representation the procedure will normally be:

    1. The objector will present their case;
    2. The Council may cross examine the objector;
    3. The Council will then present its case, responding to the objector's case;
    4. The objector may cross examine the Council's witnesses;
    5. The Council will make a closing statement in respect of the objection;
    6. The objector will have the final reply, making their closing statement.

  6. The Hearing Format

    1. For objectors without legal or other professional representation the Inspector may consider it appropriate to use the hearing format. This can be applied where the matters raised are of a straightforward nature. The procedure will normally be:

      1. The Inspector will summarise the disagreements between the objector and the Council;
      2. The Inspector will lead a discussion, focussing on the main issues raised by the objection;
      3. The Council and then the objector will have the opportunity to make a short closing statement.

    2. All objectors will be urged to concentrate on the principles that underlie the Local Plan and the objection. Matters of detail normally considered at the planning application stage are not appropriate for discussion at this Inquiry.

  7. Round Table Sessions

    1. These are used to discuss broad topics such as housing land supply where there are a number of objectors. The discussion is led by the Inspector on the basis of a circulated agenda and they are open to those who have .made relevant objections although legal representation would not normally be appropriate.

  8. Topic Papers and Proofs of Evidence

    1. The Council will be producing topic papers on some subjects which will deal with general matters and technical information relating to that subject, rather than a response to individual objections. Objectors will be able to see any relevant topic paper before they produce their evidence.

    2. A rolling schedule will be prepared for the submission of objectors' proofs of evidence and supporting documents which will be circulated following the PIM. Those relating to the first sessions of Inquiry sittings in September 2003 will fall due on 1st July 2003 with the Borough Council's response due by 22nd July 2003. The general aim is that all parties will have a minimum of three clear weeks to study all the relevant submissions prior to the opening of that particular session of the Inquiry. Failure to comply with this request will place the Inquiry programme at risk. To avoid disruption and inconvenience to other participants, those who fail to comply might be reprogrammed to appear at a later time convenient to the Inquiry. This might not necessarily be at a time convenient to themselves.

    3. At the Inquiry proofs will be taken as read and only a summary of case may be read out. Any document more than ten pages long must be summarised on a 10% basis, i.e. no more than one page summary for every ten pages of document. If there are similar objections on the same topic, objectors may wish to present a joint case. Anyone wishing to discuss this possibility should contact the Programme Officer. Alternatively, a second objector may wish simply to agree with what has been said by the first objector and only present additional points. This would not weaken the force of an objection. In some cases the Inspector might hear the topic objectors in succession and then hear a single Council reply, rather than ask the Council to respond to each individual objector in turn.

  9. Format of proofs of evidence and written objections

    1. All proofs and written representations should concentrate upon:

      1. identifying the aspect of the plan that is objected to;
      2. the reason why it is objected to;
      3. the change that is being sought, with suggested wording where appropriate, and
      4. why the change is being sought.

    2. Objectors should seek to agree matters of fact with the Council before the Inspector considers their objection and submit agreed statements wherever possible. Proofs of evidence should be marked with the objector's reference number, the relevant objection number and the policy/paragraph the subject of objection in the top right hand corner of the front page. If the proof covers multiple objections each objection should be identified. Six copies of all relevant documents should be submitted by objectors to the Programme Officer.

    3. The Council's documents should also identify the relevant objector's reference, representation numbers and the policy/proposal/paragraph to which it relates. Other documents submitted by the Council, including core documents, must be indexed. All documents should be A4 size, with plans and photographs folded or mounted to this size. Measurements should be in metric units. Paragraphs should be numbered. Proofs of evidence and supplementary representations should be bound separately from any appendices. Appendices should have a contents page and the pages numbered consecutively, with each appendix individually tabbed. A library of all Inquiry documents including core documents will be maintained by the Programme Officer and open for public inspection. Copying facilities will be available at a charge.

    4. No document/piece of paper submitted in advance or handed in at the Inquiry will be accepted if it fails to be clearly marked with the relevant objector reference number, representation number and policy/proposal/paragraph number.

  10. Written objections

    1. Anyone who does not wish to have their objection heard at the Inquiry will have their objection considered by the written representation method. In this case, the objector can choose between doing nothing more by way of representations, relying on the original objection, or they can submit further written submissions.

    2. A Schedule will be prepared for the submission of any additional written representations and the Council's responses, which will follow a similar pattern to the timetable for the submission of evidence by those appearing at the Inquiry.

    3. On receipt of the Council's response, objectors may choose to make a further response to the case made by the Council. To avoid protracted correspondence, objectors should only make further submissions in response to the Council's representations where they wish to correct a matter of fact or respond to a point not covered in their own submissions. Objectors should not use this as an opportunity to simply restate the case that they have already made.

    4. Should a written objection or response be unclear the Inspector will ask the Programme Officer to write to the objector or Council seeking clarification. A copy of any such letter and response will be copied to the other party.

    5. The Inquiry will not be closed until all the submissions have been received. If the Council responses are delayed and do not achieve the agreed programme, then a period of three weeks will be allowed to elapse after the last Council response has been issued, enabling any final objector's response, before the Inquiry is formally closed. Once the Inquiry has been closed the Inspector will not receive any further representations from any party.

  11. Site Visits

    1. The Inspector will make a series of unaccompanied site inspections before, during and after the close of the Inquiry. Requests for accompanied site inspections should be submitted to the Programme Officer who will prepare a programme of visits which will be displayed on the Inquiry notice board or shown in the Inquiry programme. Accompanied site inspections will normally only be necessary where the Inspector cannot see the whole site from the public highway. At accompanied site inspections the Inspector will be accompanied by the objector, or their representative, and an officer of the Council. No evidence will be heard on site visits.

  12. Miscellaneous Matters

    1. An attendance list will be maintained on a daily basis, and the press should advise the Programme Officer of their presence.

    2. Limited photocopying facilities will be available for participants during the course of the Public Local Inquiry, for which a charge will be made. Contact the Programme Officer.

    3. An Inquiry notice board will be located outside the Inquiry room, displaying an up to date copy of the programme and other notices.

    4. Any participant suffering from any form of disability, for example poor hearing or eyesight, should contact the Programme Officer for assistance.

Appendix 1 - Guidance for Unrepresented Objectors

  1. You need not be represented by a legally qualified or other person who is familiar with public inquiries in order to present your objection to the Inspector. Nevertheless, the imminent appearance at a public local inquiry understandably makes some people feel apprehensive and uneasy. However, the system is designed to be 'user friendly' and you can make the best use of your time at the Inquiry if you bear in mind a few basic ground rules.

    Before the Inquiry

  2. If you said on your objection form that you want to present your case at the Inquiry, the Programme Officer will have sent you a copy of the programme. You should check that you have been given a date and time that you can attend. If there are foreseeable problems please let the Programme Officer know immediately.

  3. No later than six weeks before your appearance at the Inquiry, you should submit a written statement or proof of evidence setting out all that you wish to say at the Inquiry. Six copies of this proof are required, together with six copies of any appendices and documents. Nothing should come as a surprise to the Council at the Inquiry session and therefore you will not normally be able to raise matters not referred to in your proof. You need not include lengthy extracts from documents held in the Inquiry library, provided adequate references are included. All documents should be A4 size or capable of being folded to that size. Any photographs should be mounted on A4 card and accompanied by a plan showing viewing points. If your proof exceeds 10 pages, a summary should also be submitted, drawing from but not adding to the proof.

  4. Three weeks later you will receive the Council's statement. This is its response to your objection. You should study it and make a list of questions you would like to ask at the Inquiry. If the statement refers to any documents, make sure that you are familiar with them and make sure that you have read the relevant sections of the Deposit Plan and any proposed changes. The documents can be seen at the Council's offices. If having read the Council's statement you consider that you no longer wish to maintain your objection please confirm this in writing to the Programme Officer as soon as possible. This may enable him to re-allocate your time in the Inquiry programme to someone else. Similarly, if you decide that you don't want to appear at the Inquiry and rely instead on written representations, please inform the Programme Officer immediately.

  5. If you miss the deadline for submitting your proof, the Programme Officer will contact you and ask whether you still wish to appear at the Inquiry. If the delayed statement causes complications to the Inquiry programme, you may be asked to come on a different day at a time when it is convenient to the Inquiry, having regard to other participants who have complied with the timetable or to proceed by written representations. On the day of your appearance at the Inquiry, try to arrive at the venue in good time, at least half an hour before the allotted time and let the Programme Officer know that you have arrived. You can enter the Inquiry room at any time before you are due to speak, but if the Inquiry is in session, please avoid disturbing other speakers.

    At the Inquiry

  6. For unrepresented objectors whose objections have been considered suitable for the hearing procedure, the approach taken will be as outlined below. If the Inspector considers that your objection is not suitable for this approach, the more formal procedure outlined in section 5 above will be followed. If you need further guidance please see the Programme Officer.

  7. When the Inspector announces your objection number, your name and the subject of your objection, you should move forward and sit at the 'objectors' table. You will be facing the Council's team. If you are bringing witnesses, they should be seated by your side, but with you seated at the end closest to the Inspector.

  8. When talking to the Inspector, it is usual to call her Miss Graham rather than chairman or some other designation. The Inspector will summarise the disagreements between you and the Council. The Inspector will lead a discussion based on the main issues raised by the objection. The objector and the Council will have the opportunity to ask questions of each other through the Inspector. The Council and then the objector will have the opportunity to make'a short closing statement.

  9. Please try to answer questions put to you as best you can and don't worry if you don't know the answer or can't see the relevance of the point. If you don't understand the question, please say so. If you wish to call any witnesses in support of your case, the process may be repeated if the witness has not already made their contribution.

  10. At the end, you will have the chance to sum up your case, but you must not introduce any new material or points at this stage. Your summing up must only refer to points that you have already made and the response to them. The Inspector will thank you for your attendance and move on to the next objection.

  11. Although this may sound a little formal, the Inspector will make the proceedings as informal as possible and will try to make you feel at ease. If you don't understand the procedure, don't hesitate to ask her. If you are unsure about the procedure, come along beforehand and see another objection being heard, or ask the Programme Officer to explain it to you.

    After the Inquiry.

  12. In some cases, the Inspector will have seen the site of your objection from the public highway before you present your case (e.g. during the adjournment weeks) but will probably need to see it again afterwards. Usually, the Inspector will do this alone and without announcing when it will occur. Sometimes, the Council and the objector, or the Inspector might suggest that an accompanied site visit is necessary, perhaps because it involves going on to private land. The Programme Officer will arrange a date and time convenient to everyone. At such inspections, no new evidence can be heard, but physical features referred to at the Inquiry or in the written statements can be pointed out to the Inspector.

  13. Because of the length of the Inquiry and the number of objections, it will be some time before you hear the results of the Inspector's recommendations. Please note that, unlike a planning appeal against the refusal of planning permission, the Inspector does not make the final decision on your objection, but she writes a report to the Council with her recommendations on all the objections. When the Council has decided whether to accept the Inspector's recommendations, it will produce a report with a list of proposed modifications to the Plan and reasons for any instances when the Inspector's recommendations are not accepted. These will be advertised and publicised, like the Deposit Plan, and you will have the chance to comment upon it. Eventually the Council will adopt the Plan.

Programme Officer April 2003

The Telephone House Neighbours Association, Tunbridge Wells
Objections and Request to change Policy H6(a) - the Policy for Telephone House, Tunbridge Wells - in the Local Plan

Bizarrely, Policy H6(a) allocated for Telephone House was identical to the two refused planning applications for the Telephone House development.
[1st: refused at delegated officers' level - 2nd: refused by the Councillors of the Western Area Planning Committee].
Policy H6(a) is the most controversial document, produced by the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, leading to the Telephone House Debacle.

The Telephone House Neighbours Association informs on CALA Homes (South) Development:
CALA Group acquired the controversial planning permission for the high density development of Telephone House site, Church Road / York Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1.