No park­ing com­mon sense

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

I sym­pa­thise with Mer­ryl Lawrenson who could not park in Ash­ford and missed her train (‘I missed meet­ing as car park was full’, KE, Jan­uary 28).

This could well be­come the norm with all the de­vel­op­ments in Ash­ford town cen­tre, if you con­sider some ex­am­ples of what we al­ready know.

The Dover Place car park (be­side the Everest Inn), which she usu­ally uses, is only a tem­po­rary car park. This will soon be built on for Ash­ford’s Com­mer­cial Quar­ter and hous­ing.

The plans for an 897-seat cinema, 58-bed ho­tel and restau­rants along El­wick Road say there will be a car park for 282 cars. Sim­ple maths says… You know where I’m go­ing.

The Stour Cen­tre car park is now closed too early each evening to be of any use if you want to go up to Lon­don by train for an evening.

The plans for the Stour Park de­vel­op­ment off the M20 in­clude huge ware­hous­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion fa­cil­i­ties. There will be no hold­ing area for lor­ries ar­riv­ing early for their slots, and in­suf­fi­cient car park­ing for the pro­jected num­ber of em­ploy­ees.

Many of the new hous­ing es­tates in the bor­ough have in­suf­fi­cient res­i­dents’ park­ing and are be­set by oth­ers park­ing in their roads be­cause they don’t have enough park­ing where they work.

Much of this de­lib­er­ate un­der-pro­vi­sion of park­ing is driven by ‘sus­tain­abil­ity’ tar­gets to get more peo­ple to use pub­lic trans­port or be­come ‘non-mo­torised users’. Whilst this may be a noble aim, the re­al­ity is that for many peo­ple the use of pub­lic trans­port or walk­ing/cy­cling is im­prac­ti­cal, in­con­ve­nient or im­pos­si­ble.

The pop­u­la­tion of Ash­ford is re­lent­lessly in­creas­ing due to the thou­sands of houses be­ing built. If peo­ple are ex­pected to make use of the town cen­tre they need to be able to park. Oth­er­wise, they will avoid it.

There are other de­vel­op­ments in the pipe­line which will ben­e­fit the town cen­tre, but park­ing must keep pace. For ex­am­ple, in all the pub­lic­ity for the new El­wick Col­lege I have not seen any men­tion of ad­e­quate park­ing pro­vi­sion.

Un­less Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil (ABC) al­lows some com­mon sense to be breathed into the plans for the town, it is not dif­fi­cult to an­tic­i­pate the con­se­quences for us all.

Ev­ery­one can con­trib­ute by tak­ing an in­ter­est in pro­posed de­vel­op­ments, at­tend­ing ex­hi­bi­tions of pro­pos­als, ask­ing sen­si­ble ques­tions and sub­mit­ting com­ments (eg, on ABC’s plan­ning web­site). Alan Foxon Aldington Frith Pope, a mem­ber of the Ash­ford As­tro­nom­i­cal So­ci­ety.

It is, how­ever, in­cor­rect to state that East­well Tow­ers is in Ken­ning­ton.

With all due re­spect to Ken­ning­ton res­i­dents, East­well Tow­ers stands proudly in the parish of Boughton Aluph and East­well, the parish bound­ary com­ing at an oblique an­gle near Goat Lees Lane in Faver­sham Road.

Tow­ers School is thus in Ken­ning­ton.

The im­pos­ing Tow­ers Gate­way was con­structed in 1843; the ar­chi­tect was Wil­liam Burns.

The gates them­selves were con­structed at the Great Ex­hi­bi­tion at Crys­tal Palace in 1851.

Al­fred, Duke of Ed­in­burgh, the se­cond son of Queen Vic­to­ria, leased the East­well es­tate from 1878 for a pe­riod of 20 years.

The parishes of Boughton Aluph and East­well were united in 1894.

The cricket clubs of Boughton and East­well and Ken­ning­ton have great tra­di­tions, play­ing each other in friendly ri­valry even be­fore Eng­land and Aus­tralia con­tested their first Test Match in 1877. Ivor Robert Groves East­well

David Pope’s spec­tac­u­lar pic­ture of East­well Tow­ers

Pic­ture: Gary Browne FM4025911

Alan Foxon says the Stour Cen­tre is no longer an op­tion for peo­ple want­ing to park their cars some­where while they spend the evening in Lon­don

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