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Plans unveiled for 28 affordable homes, a community project and new landscaped parkland on derelict land in Ashford

Published: 08/05/2024
Computer generated image showing plans for 28 affordable homes, a community project and new landscaped parkland on derelict land in Ashford

Ashford Borough Council has listened to feedback from local residents and revised its ambitious plans to develop derelict land between Eastmead Avenue and Torrington Road, which often attracts fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour.

In autumn 2022, the council asked people to comment on plans to create a multi-purpose site to include a community project aimed at combating isolation in older people, a new parkland, additional parking, a small number of commercial units for start-up businesses, and 35 affordable homes comprising of a mix of houses, flats and town houses.

The housing would be the enabler for the other improvements on the site, which is a derelict patch of land that is overgrown and is blighted by fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour. Part of the site is hard standing which was previously used by the Coneybeare Engineering Company.

The council is now embarking on a second phase of public consultation on plans which have been revised following comments made by local residents and the local planning authority since 2022. The updated plans include:

  1. A professionally landscaped enhanced public green space.
  2. A community sheds project. This aims to tackle isolation and loneliness in older people, providing a space to connect, converse and create. Showing our commitment, we already applied for and received planning permission for this project on part of the site and we are seeking to re-provide it within new layout.
  3. 28 affordable homes to the west of the site which is a mixture of houses and flats. There are now fewer homes and the flats are lower in height to match surrounding homes following feedback (35 were originally proposed in 2022).
  4. A new road layout, which is made possible by the purchase of Eastmead House. This dramatic change is in direct response to feedback from the first consultation.
  5. Removal of the commercial area. This was not seen as a viable option in the end and the space is better used as landscaped open space for the local community.
  6. Public Right of Way and connectivity. It is proposed to reopen the existing public footpath through the site providing north/south connectivity. We are also proposing to formalise the existing pedestrian access via Torrington Road in the west, providing additional connectivity through the site.

The proposed 28 new affordable homes have strong green credentials – green roofs, photovoltaic panels (PVs), energy-efficient construction practices, and water harvesting systems such as water butts and other water retention technologies.

Cllr Bill Barrett, Cabinet Member for Housing and Homelessness, said: “There are around 1,500 people on our waiting list for affordable housing. Like every other authority in the UK, we must do our bit to try and alleviate the housing issues that we face and we are committed to delivering as much affordable housing as possible. These are bold plans that will transform this derelict land and I would urge local residents to have their say once again and help us to shape the final proposals that will make up the planning application.”

3-stage public consultation

In total there will be three consultations, to best capture the views of the community. The current consultation represents stage two and stage three will be the formal consultation as part of the planning application process.

What do you think of the revised plans?

We would really welcome your feedback on the updated vision we have for the site. Come along to our public consultation event on Thursday 9 May at Christ Church Community Hall, Christchurch Road, Ashford TN23 7XB, starting at 3pm and finishing at 6.30pm.

This same consultation is also run online for a period of four weeks, from Wednesday 24 April to Friday 24 May 2024. Feedback can be provided directly on the consultation portal or by completing a paper version of a questionnaire available at the public face-to-face consultation. An information leaflet is being hand delivered to surrounding homes.

It is anticipated that a planning application for the site will be finalised and submitted to the local planning authority in summer 2024.