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Urban Extension Landscape Capacity Study (June 2010)

In order to inform the Local Development Framework, we need to consider the landscape significance of any proposals to extend the Borough's principal urban areas. The Council therefore appointed Jacobs Engineering UK Limited to carry out the Swale Urban Extension Landscape Capacity Study, June 2010.

The urban areas examined are possible extensions to Faversham, Sittingbourne (including the potential growth around the Kent Science Park), Iwade, Minster, Sheerness and Queenborough and the study was carried out in the winter of 2009/2010.

The study looked at 27 study areas using map data and site visits and assessed the landscape character and urban edge influence. It used an established matrix methodology to assess the local landscape value against local landscape sensitivity to determine each study area's capacity to accommodate change. The study also offers guidelines and mitigation for development in each study area as well as generic guidelines for urban expansion in Swale.

The report points out the limitations and assumptions of the study, for instance that the study is limited to landscape factors which are just one element in considering the overall acceptability of development. This study does not accept the inevitability of development, but assesses which locations could best accommodate change in landscape terms should there be an overriding need to release land for development. It also points out that landscape sensitivity across study areas vary and there are often local variations with each study area.

For ease of viewing, the report has been split into sections:

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