Cam­paign­ers cel­e­brat­ing town green sta­tus vic­tory

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by James Scott js­cott@thek­m­group.co.uk

RES­I­DENTS have won their cam­paign to have a piece of land in Ken­ning­ton turned into pro­tected open space.

The reg­u­la­tory com­mit­tee at Kent County Coun­cil agreed to give the grass plot on the corner of Bee­cholme Drive and Gras­mere Road the ur­ban equiv­a­lent of vil­lage green sta­tus last week.

The rul­ing means the land is pro­tected from the £3 mil­lion devel­op­ment of 19 eco-homes by Hyde Hous­ing that led to the ap­pli­ca­tion and sub­se­quent pub­lic in­quiry in Fe­bru­ary.

At the in­quiry, ev­i­dence was pre­sented by res­i­dents to prove that the land was well used by the com­mu­nity for out­door ac­tiv­i­ties such as foot­ball and dog walk­ing.

Af­ter two months, in­spec­tor Lara Wood de­cided to rec­om­mend ap­proval of the ap­pli­ca­tion and the com­mit­tee at KCC granted it last Tues­day. Ap­pli­cant Pat Boor­man, whose hard work led to the town green sta­tus be­ing granted, said: “It’s great news af­ter all of the hard work.

“It’s nice we can keep it for all of the chil­dren and dog walk­ers who use it.”

Con­ser­va­tive county councillor for Ash­ford Cen­tral El­iza- beth Tweed sup­ported the ap­pli­ca­tion.

She said: “It’s re­ally good news all round. I’m de­lighted.

“I’ve sup­ported them the whole way through. They de­serve more open space and now they’ve got it.

Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil said it did not want to block devel­op­ment on land it de­scribed as ‘poor qual­ity’ and which it was felt did not con­trib­ute pos­i­tively to the com­mu­nity.

Af­ford­able

Ash­ford coun­cil head of hous­ing Tracey Kerly said: “We are pleased the de­ci­sion has con­cluded the de­bate about the fu­ture of this open space.

“The com­mu­nity now have a vil­lage green which will pre­vent devel­op­ment from tak­ing place on this land in the fu­ture.

“The plans for a small devel­op­ment of much-needed af­ford­able homes on the site will now not take place.”

Pic­ture: Gary Browne PD1703518

Pat Boor­man and res­i­dents cel­e­brate the land on the corner of Bee­cholme Drive and Gras­mere Road be­ing granted town green sta­tus

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