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CGI image showing the proposed development on Harper Rd in Ashford, which is subject to an online public consultation.

Public consultation launched on plans to bring affordable homes to South Ashford

Published: 03/12/2020

Ashford Borough Council has begun an interactive community consultation into plans to redevelop a block of garages in Harper Road, Ashford, to create four quality affordable homes.

Usually the council would hold an event in a community hall but due to Coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings this is not possible. So in line with a raft of recent redevelopment plans, the Harper Road consultation has moved online. Residents will find a video explaining the proposals, plans and documents and a questionnaire for people to complete and ask questions of officers and the architects involved with the proposals.

In recent months the council has run several online consultations into plans to redevelop sites in South Ashford. Those consultations prompted some interesting community engagement and plans are now being revised in light of the constructive comments made.

This is the first of two opportunities people will have to comment on Harper Road. The housing service holds a pre-planning event, aimed at identifying the thoughts of the community. We then take these comments into consideration and adapt our proposals before they are submitted to the council’s planning committee. We then go through the planning process and residents will have a second, more formal opportunity to comment on the application at this stage.

Cllr Bill Barrett, portfolio holder for housing, said: “We are striving to alleviate the housing issues that we face and I’m delighted that we are bringing this scheme forward at Harper Road. We have more than 1,300 people on our waiting list for affordable housing. These are people who depend on affordable housing and need somewhere to live that is more suitable for their needs.”

Harper Road – the background

The proposed site in Harper Road consists of 24 garages (of which 14 are let and 10 are empty) surrounded on three sides by housing and opposite apartments at Little Knoll. There is another garage site behind houses on the opposite side of the road.

The council has reviewed all of its garage sites and considered each for their development potential. The garage site on the opposite side of the road cannot be developed for housing as it is overlooked on all sides. It can however be fixed up and made attractive to rent. On this second garage site, there are 29 garages, of which only four are let. This would provide enough space for those people currently letting a garage in the overall area. On this site, one of the options that we are looking into is secure and dry storage in the form of shipping containers, which can be clad in materials that will blend with the surrounding street scene.

Harper Road – the proposals

The proposal is for four two-bedroom houses. The intention is that they will be allocated to people on our housing waiting list needing social and affordable rental homes. We will aim to set affordable rent levels on these homes that are around 60-80% of market rent levels in the area. This is to ensure the homes are genuinely affordable to those are housed in them. These levels will be within the Local Housing Allowance.

Visit the online consultation portal to learn more about the proposals. The deadline for comment is 15 January.