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Our Garden Village - Tell your story

Published: 21/09/2020

A virtual event is being held this week to hear local stories from lockdown, the good and the bad, and what might be needed most with the arrival of a new community, a garden community to the South of Ashford.

Ashford Borough Council is looking for local people of all generations in Ashford who have stories from their lockdown experience during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Stories of neighbourliness, new found friendships, tragic loss and struggle, or simply those stories of the unexpected and delightfully peculiar!

We want to learn what helped about where you live and what didn’t during this difficult time. Did you go outdoors more and explore new places or did you find aspects of your home which didn’t work so well? What is it about the design and quality of our communities which works well and what needs rethinking?

Telling such stories is of great importance when planning future communities, which is why we’re looking at the arrival of the South of Ashford Garden Community through this lens. This will be a large development, some of which has already begun construction, and those new residents will be looking to bond with their surroundings and the people who have lived in the area for many years. 

How can we learn from the pandemic experience to shape this development into a vibrant community able to weather future storms? How can we ensure new and older communities come together again to overcome further health and economic impacts of the continuing pandemic?

These questions and more will be explored at a special online event on Friday 25 September from 2 – 3.30pm. If you have a story you would like to share, please write to Dan Daley via dan.daley@ashford.gov.uk. We are looking for stories to be told live at the event. Alternatively, you're welcome to send in a video recording (2 to 5 minutes in length).

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Background on Visioning the South of Ashford Garden Community

Local government, ward and parish councillors, private developers and local residents of communities to the South of Ashford have been meeting over the past year to discuss the South of Ashford Garden Community (SAGC). This is a development with the potential to deliver 7,250 new homes in the borough along with new schools, community facilities, a 142 hectare strategic park and local commercial centres.

Now is an important moment to set out a Five Year Vision & Strategy for this development which prioritises community-led governance and land management, economic growth, health provision, culture, art, active sustainable travel and high quality design and character.

This month several Focus Groups have been held to further build upon key themes which emerged from two public workshops held in 2019. These groups will be refining these themes into a set of key principles and recommendations for the SAGC Vision & Strategy document.

The aim is to present this document to Cabinet in December with the hopes it is adopted, not only by Ashford Borough Council but also the developers of the sites, local representatives and other organisations able to support the implementation of its aims.

Agenda for Friday 25 September

At this event we will hear stories from local residents about their lockdown experiences, and a discussion about what worked and didn't work to support them through this difficult time.

We will also hear from Focus Group participants who have been developing key principles which make places better. Guests include ward councillors and the Chief Executive of Ashford Borough Council. All attendees will be invited to ask questions and participate in some interactive polling.

To join the event sign up via Eventbrite.

Further views can be shared via the consultations running throughout this month. To learn more about the SAGC and the consultation programme please visit the dedicated webpage. You can also go straight to the public survey here.