No parking common sense
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
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