Supplementary Planning Documents and informal guidance

Policies in the Local Plan Core Strategy and saved policies in the Local Plan First Review help guide development in the Borough. They provide a consistent basis for making decisions on planning applications.

Policies are supported by our adopted Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) and Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD). These are material considerations that provide more detailed advice on policies in the Local Plan and are used to help when making decisions on planning applications.

We also provide informal guidance, which we advise you to follow when planning developments and submitting a planning application.

Supplementary Planning Guidance

Residential Layout Guidelines SPG2

All planning applications for new dwellings, extensions to existing dwellings, flats, maisonettes, and bedsitters (new build or conversion), must comply with the Borough Council’s adopted Residential Layout Guidelines.

View the Residential layout guidelines (including Housing Standards Policy Statement)

Advertisement Control Policy Guidelines SPG3

The aim of this policy is to seek a balance between commercial advertisement requirements and the maintenance and improvement of our commercial environment.

View the Advertisement Control Policy Guidelines

Shopfront and Commercial Premises SPG4

A variety of security measures are referred to in this supplementary guidance and their relative merits discussed taking into consideration the impact they have upon the external appearance and their locality.

View the Security Measures for Shopfront and Commercial Premises April 2020 – Supplementary Planning Guidance 4

Conservation Areas Maintenance / Replacement Windows and Doors Guidance SPD

This design guidance explains the principles of good practice for the care of original windows and doors:

  • why repair is preferable to replacement
  • why some modern replacement windows and doors are considered unacceptable in unlisted buildings in conservation areas

If your property is not listed, or in a conservation area, permitted development rights may allow you to replace your windows and doors without planning permission. You will be required to use materials of a 'similar' appearance to existing examples. If you are interested in preserving the character or reinstating traditional windows and doors in your property, read our guidance below or alternatively we have a quick guide to windows and doors.

Read the Conservation Areas Maintenance / Replacement Windows and Doors Guidance SPD

Householder Extensions / Alterations Design Guide SPD

This document is intended to provide design guidance on extensions and alterations. It is important to ensure that any extensions or alterations to a home are:

  • well designed
  • well-built
  • sympathetic to their surroundings

By doing so we can ensure that there are no adverse effects on the original house, immediate neighbours, the local view of the street, as well as the character and appearance of the local area.

This guidance applies to dwelling houses only, and not to flats, maisonettes or other non-self-contained dwellings.

Read the Householder Extensions/Alterations Design Guide supplementary planning document.

Conservation Area Appraisals

There are 23 conservation areas in the Borough. Conservation Area Appraisals and a Management Plan have been prepared for each of these areas. These are material considerations and will be taken into account when considering planning applications within and adjacent to these areas.

View the conservation appraisals and maps.

Kent County Council Supplementary Guidance

We have adopted the following documents produced by Kent County Council as supplementary planning guidance:

Kent Downs AONB Management Plan

There is a Management Plan for the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which sets out a clear vision, aims and policies for the conservation, management, and enhancement of the AONB and its setting up from 2021-2026. We have adopted this document to fulfil our duty under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act., as have all the other local authorities which have the AONB in their area.

Informal planning guidance

Developing your front garden for parking

If you are planning to develop your front garden for off street parking you will need to apply for a dropped kerb and you may need planning permission. Please read our informal guidance notes on applying for a dropped kerb, installation of Electric Vehicle Charging Points and Front Driveway Guidance. 

Shopfront Design Guidance

We aim to protect and enhance the character of our shops and local shopping centres with  high standards of design. These informal guidance notes support Advertisement Control Supplementary Planning Guidance 3 and Security measures for shopfront and commercial premises SPG 4 above.

  • Design Sheet 1 - Introduction to the general principles of shopfront design, access to upper floors and the need for consent.
  • Design Sheet 2 - Elements of a traditional shopfront, historical shopfront design and the shopfront window.
  • Design Sheet 3 - Design details: door and access, stall riser, pilaster and fascia
  • Design Sheet 4 - Materials: timber specification and finish
  • Design Sheet 5 - Signs and advertisement; fascia, projecting signs, lettering, and lighting
  • Design Sheet 6 - Canopies, blinds, and security

Listed Buildings

Information for owners and occupiers is available in our Listed building guidance notes

Conservation Areas

Details on the extra planning controls that are in place in conservation areas to protect historic environment and its architectural features can be found in our Conservation areas guidance.

Article 4 Directions

Conservation areas, individual properties and woodland can have an Article 4 Direction which removes certain permitted development rights.

This document lists the Article 4 Directions in the Boroughs conservation area and advises on their development.