National Planning Summit

Steve Baughen

Head of Planning, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council

Steve is the Head of Planning at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, with overall responsibility for the Development Management, Planning Policy, Strategic Sites & Delivery and Building Control departments.

His background is working in local planning authorities and with a national planning consultancy.  He is the lead on economy and transport in the Kent Chief Planners Group.

TWBC is at Regulation 19 stage with its Local Plan: the Local Plan is being produced in a part of the country where several neighbouring authorities have failed the Duty to Co-operate, and with considerable heritage, landscape (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), flooding, infrastructural and Green Belt constraints.  The Local Plan allocates sufficient sites to meet local housing, employment and other needs, including through the provision of two strategic garden settlements.  TWBC is also producing a Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Centre Plan within a wider framework as part of the town centre’s post pandemic recovery and evolution.

The Local Plan is, and the Area Plan will be, councillor led – Steve leads Planning Services in their close work with Members to develop these Plans and to determine the associated planning applications.

Steve advocates Planning Services working on an “open for business” approach, with Local Planning Authorities using engagement and the skills of planners, specialists and consultees to deliver high quality and well designed places with the necessary infrastructure, to resist inappropriate development and to protect the borough’s valued environments.  He also champions local authority building control, using innovative approaches to deliver a customer focused and responsive service.