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Buying land? Beware, you might not get planning permission

Council acts to restrict Green Belt land sales

Sevenoaks District Council is taking action to protect a Green Belt site in Shoreham, which is being sold for development.

The council discovered that land is being sold as individual plots with marketing information suggesting the site has the potential for development.

The site is in the Green Belt and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so planning permission for new residential development is unlikely to be granted.

To ensure the site continues to be protected, the council served Article 4 Directions on last Thursday restricting the activities that can be carried out without planning permission. This includes putting up fences, gates or walls, stationing caravans and other temporary uses.

Sevenoaks District Council has also reported the sales to Kent County Council’s Trading Standards for investigation.

Cllr Julia Thornton, the council’s cabinet member for planning, says: “We have committed to our residents that we will do everything possible to protect our much cherished environment. Serving these latest Article 4 Directions clearly demonstrates that we are delivering on this promise.

“Green Belt sites are protected and any proposal to build on them is extremely unlikely to be granted planning permission. People considering these sites should be warned, they are effectively being offered agricultural land.”

This latest action comes after the council served Article 4 Directions on sites in Cowden, Edenbridge (Hever Road), Penshurst and West Kingsdown (St Clere Hill Road) as they too were being sold as individual plots for development.

Anyone who is considering buying a plot of land should check its planning status first. They can do this on the council’s interactive planning map at https://maps.sevenoaks.gov.uk/planning.

Alternatively they can seek advice from the council’s Pre-Application Planning Advice team www.sevenoaks.gov.uk/preapplicationadvice or call 01732 227000.

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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