If you are submitting comments on a planning application, check the details below that set out what we can take into account and what we can't.

We consider:

  • local, strategic, regional and national planning polices and any previous planning decisions
  • whether the proposed use is a suitable one for the area, taking into account noise, smell, disturbance resulting from the use
  • design, appearance, materials, layout and density of buildings
  • significant overshadowing, overlooking or loss of privacy
  • highway safety, parking, access and traffic generation
  • visual effect on the landscape, nature conservation, loss of trees or hedgerows
  • effect on a conservation area or any historic buildings and local archaeology
  • size and location of proposed advert signs

We don't consider:

  • perceived loss of property value
  • private disputes between neighbours
  • loss of a view
  • impact of construction work
  • commercial competition
  • private disputes over rights of way or rights to light and boundaries
  • restrictive covenants
  • matters that are controlled under other legislation

Core strategy

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council adopted the Core Strategy on 25 September 2007. This set out the objectives and aims which determined the pattern of development up to 2021. Although now time expired, it continues to form part of the adopted development plan.

We have a statutory duty to determine all planning applications under the adopted development plan [Note 1] unless material considerations show otherwise [Note 2]. Whilst the Core Strategy may be time expired not all policies contained within it out of date.

The core strategy policies document (PDF - 151kb) sets out our position of the weight of each policy. This is based on relative conformity with the National Planning Policy Framework 2021. The policies will be applied in all circumstances unless any new material considerations arise which alter the position.

To understand what this might mean for your development proposals, contact us for pre-application advice.

Affordable housing provision

Policy CP17 of the Core Strategy continues to be afforded full weight in decision making at this time. However, there have been a number of changes in the national guidance on affordable housing, both in terms of definition and product types since the production of CP17, most notably the introduction of First Homes.

In order to address the need for detailed guidance and to seek efficiencies in processing of applications, an Affordable housing protocol has been produced. The document aims to give applicants information on the information that will be required in the affordable housing statement that should accompany any application with an affordable housing requirement and also lays out how viability will be assessed should less than policy compliant provision be proposed.

See Affordable housing protocol


[Note 1] The Core Strategy forms a part of the adopted development plan

[Note 2] (s38(6), Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004)

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)

From 12 February 2024 new mandatory planning requirements are being introduced that will affect new applications for major developments, and from 2 April 2024 this will also apply to most other development in England. These requirements, under the Environment Act 2021 will require qualifying developments to deliver a minimum of 10% BNG. 

What is Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)?

Biodiversity is defined as the variety of life on earth. 

BNG is a new process in the planning system which will ensure that development will leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was before, enhancing the biodiversity value of sites, and creating a net positive impact on the natural environment

Interim Policy Position Statement

In advance of a Local Plan policy on BNG, the council have produced an Interim policy position statement. This sets out the councils expectations in relation to BNG and has been adopted as a material consideration until the new Local Plan is adopted.

Register land on the Kent BNG Site Register

Kent County Council, on behalf of the Kent Local Planning Authorities, commissioned Kent Wildlife Trust to develop a Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) Site Register for Kent and Medway. The Kent BNG Site Register has been developed to:

  • Provide evidence of the potential supply of ‘off-site’ biodiversity units.
  • Provide evidence to support the implementation of BNG policy requirements.
  • Allow users to register ‘off-site’ BNG sites which have not yet been surveyed (prospective sites).
  • Allow users to register ‘off-site’ sites which have been surveyed and have a completed BNG metric (surveyed sites).
  • Allow the identification of ‘off-site’ BNG delivery sites and facilitate contact between the landowner and a consultant/developer.

The Kent BNG Site Register is distinct from DEFRA’s ‘Register land for off-site biodiversity gain’ which records BNG sites once a legal agreement is in place.

If you wish to promote land for BNG purposes, please consider registering the land on the Kent BNG Site Register

Contact the planning applications team

Phone lines open from 10:00 - 12:00

Telephone: 01732 876230