Coun­cil set to rule on out­door ri­fle range plan­ning de­ci­sion

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Death Shocks Village - By Sam Wil­liams

A con­tro­ver­sial plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion for an open-air ri­fle range in Ash­ford is due be­fore coun­cil mem­bers for the se­cond time.

The ap­pli­ca­tion for the new fir­ing area at the Ash­ford and District Ri­fle Range, off Chart Road, first went to plan­ning com­mit­tee in Septem­ber 2015.

It was de­ferred how­ever fol­low­ing con­cerns over safety, noise pol­lu­tion and the pos­si­ble im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment.

In ad­di­tion, more than 60 let­ters were re­ceived by Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil ob­ject­ing to the new cen­tre.

The plans will be put to coun­cil­lors again on Thurs­day, Fe­bru­ary 18, and for a se­cond time of­fi­cers have rec­om­mended that the ap­pli­ca­tion be ap­proved.

In sup­port of the de­vel­op­ment, the re­port for the site states: “The pro­posed ri­fle range has been dis­cussed with, and the site vis­ited by, the Na­tional Small-bore Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion (NSRA), the gov­ern­ing body for small-bore ri­fle, air­gun and cross­bow tar­get shoot­ing in Great Bri­tain.

“The f acil­ity has been de­signed to com­ply with the cur­rent reg­u­la­tions and de­sign stan­dards.”

Con­di­tions rec­om­mended by of­fi­cers in­clude re­stric­tions on open­ing times, and that no ex­ter­nal light­ing be in­stalled at the cen­tre.

The re­port adds: “No shoot­ing will oc­cur on the ex­ter­nal range af­ter day­light hours. Dur­ing win­ter months the ex­ter­nal shoot­ing ac­tiv­ity will there­fore be re­stricted by the shorter day­light hours.”

The Ash­ford and District Ri­fle Range, which has more than 100 mem­bers, sits within a tri­an­gle of land bounded by Chart Road, the A28 and the Great Chart recre­ation ground.

If the plans are ap­proved next week, a new 50m Olympic-size out­door fir­ing range would be built at the club.

It would be un­der cover and en­closed by the ex­ist­ing sin­gle- storey build­ing and by twome­tre high chain link fenc­ing.

Noise mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures in­clude some back­stop and noise bar­rier land­scap­ing within the site.

The re­sults of the meet­ing will be pub­lished in the Ken­tish Ex­press.

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR or email ken­tish­ex­press@ thek­m­

Pic­ture: Matt Bris­tow FM4038766

Ash­ford and District Ri­fle Range, Chart Road, Great Chart

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