Funding boost for South of Ashford Garden CommunityPublished: 09/06/2021
The South Ashford Garden Community (SAGC) has been allocated £250,000 capacity funding by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).
The Garden Communities fund supports accelerated housing delivery and high quality infrastructure in line with the garden community principles; building communities which are flexible, resilient and sustainable for the future.
The SAGC received garden village status in 2019. It includes the Chilmington Green, Court Lodge and Kingsnorth Green developments (the latter two are currently live applications, which are yet to receive planning permission). This funding means a number of priorities for the SAGC can now start to come to life.
The Council adopted SAGC strategy and vision in December 2020, which sets out a series of actions over the next five years. This funding will help to deliver on the early priorities which are:
- Funding for the post of Senior Project Officer, Enabling and Delivery Team
- Health and wellbeing (focusing on facility and service provision as well as wellbeing matters such as early services/projects to support mental wellbeing, active lifestyles, healthy eating, etc)
- Education and lifelong learning (exploring options for apprenticeships and the skills agenda)
- The sustainability agenda (innovation projects including exploring the possibility of community energy companies)
- Sustainable transport strategy, action plan and delivery of early projects (match funded by KCC)
- Projects which deliver on community need and start to build a sense of community among existing and early residents through working alongside the SAGC community stakeholder group and other partners (ideas already generated from the community include further community tree planting and rainwater harvesting).
The strategy received major endorsements by partners including private developers and the Chilmington Management Organisation, ensuring a commitment to achieving the vision for the SAGC. This strategy represents the aspirations of local residents, local organisations and key partners who are looking to ensure that these developments come forward with quality in mind, where infrastructure is planned and delivered in tandem with new homes, as the community grows.
The importance of high quality design and placemaking, guided by Garden City principles but shaped to reflect 21st century living, is a key theme running through the strategy. Most importantly, it offers a vision of living and working in the wake of Covid-19 as we all seek to recover from the impact of the pandemic and come back stronger as a community.
Cllr Neil Shorter, portfolio holder for planning at Ashford Borough Council, said: “Building communities in the style of historic villages, that have evolved over hundreds of years into places that people own and feel part of rather than simply live in is at the heart of what the SAGC is endeavouring to achieve.
“The funding gives us the opportunity to work on initiatives that will knit the new residents and the current residents into playing an important role in developing the area in which they live. As the new homes are built and occupied the residents will have the opportunity to promote leisure, sporting, environmental and public art opportunities to make the SAGC a really memorable place to live.”