Homes are key to vil­lage life

AF­FORD­ABLE: ’Now peo­ple who grew up here can stay’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Opinion - by Mike Ben­nett mben­nett@thek­m­group.co.uk

A COUN­CIL’S ef­forts to pro­vide af­ford­able homes to main­tain vi­able and vi­brant ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties have been praised.

Ash­ford coun­cil’s work, in part­ner­ship with oth­ers, has been wel­comed by Adrian Maun­ders, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of English Ru­ral Hous­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (ERHA).

He was speak­ing at the open­ing of 11 homes in Smeeth, which he said showed what could be achieved when bor­ough and parish coun­cils work to­gether.

Mr Maun­ders was among the guests at Fortes­cue Place, Calland, Smeeth, when Mrs May Fortes­cue opened the lat­est de­vel­op­ment.

Her late hus­band Gor­don, a for­mer Ash­ford Mayor and Smeeth parish coun­cil chair­man, was a driv­ing force be­hind the scheme.

Funded by the Homes and Com­mu­ni­ties Agency in­vest­ment pro­gramme the prop­er­ties are owned and man­aged by ERHA and are aimed at en­sur- ing that those un­able to af­ford mar­ket prices can still live in the vil­lage.

Three of the homes have al­ready been sold on a shared own­er­ship ba­sis and the other eight are be­ing made avail­able at low rent.

The site was pre­vi­ously over­grown scrub­land and a le­gal agree­ment with Ash­ford coun­cil means the homes are only avail­able to peo­ple with a con­nec­tion to the vil­lage.

Strug­gle

Cllr Peter Wood, Ash­ford coun­cil cab­i­net mem­ber for hous­ing, said: “Our part­ner­ship with ERHA has al­ready pro­vided de­vel­op­ments to help peo­ple in eight parishes, with more planned in the fu­ture.”

Brabourne parish coun­cil chair­man Peter Clay­ton said the cer­e­mony marked the suc­cess­ful cul­mi­na­tion of a more than 15-year strug­gle to find land and de­velop the project.

Stu­art Austen, chair­man of Smeeth parish coun­cil, added that the new af­ford­able hous­ing would al­low peo­ple who had grown up in the area to re­main liv­ing there.

Tom Wrat­ten, one of the first res­i­dents of Fortes­cue Place, Smeeth, re­ceives the keys to his new home from Mrs May Fortes­cue

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.