Prime land must be saved from homes

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Points Of View -

Your ar­ti­cle (Can our town take an­other 700 homes? KE, Jan­uary 29) did not ques­tion why Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil (ABC) should wade back into th­ese very sen­si­tive sites when they were pre­vi­ously closed from de­vel­op­ment. Read­ers may re­call that pre­vi­ous at­tempts to de­velop th­ese and other sites led to a groundswell of op­po­si­tion from hun­dreds of lo­cal res­i­dents with a high pro­file cam­paign across both na­tional and lo­cal me­dia putting pro­pos­als un­der in­tense scru­tiny.

The Plan­ning In­spec­torate re­in­forced the then coun­cil leader’s pub­lic drop­ping of th­ese sites be­cause of the sig­nif­i­cant in­tru­sion into open coun­try­side out­side of the built part of Willes­bor­ough Lees, the loss of the high­est grade agri­cul­tural land, and the neg­a­tive im­pact upon the sur­round­ing coun­try­side and ad­join­ing Con­ser­va­tion area. Chilm­ing­ton Green be­gan as a pro­posal, so res­i­dents should not be fooled into think­ing it can be dropped later as the hous­ing num­ber to find else­where makes con­sid­er­a­tion far too late in the process. With ABC need­ing 4,400 homes from the 25,000 plus sub­mit­ted there is plenty of other suit­able and less dam­ag­ing land avail­able so Ken­ning­ton sites are not needed. High grade land clas­si­fi­ca­tion should have ex­pelled them from the be­gin­ning. Fol­low­ing the In­spec­torate dis­missal, Bo­vis pub­licly an­nounced they would no longer pur­sue, so what en­cour­aged them to re­sub­mit.

Is 750 homes the tip of the ice­berg and thou­sands the more likely sce­nario once th­ese sites set the prece­dent?

Res­i­dents see sim­i­lar­i­ties with the big­gest plan­ning fi­asco that took place at Wye sev­eral years ago when ABC was forced to re­verse pro­pos­als un­der the threat of a ju­di­cial re­view. The book “Saved” gave the in­side story on one of the big­gest en­vi­ron­men­tal cam­paigns and ex­posed how big busi­ness aided and en­cour­aged by lo­cal bor­ough and county rep­re­sen­ta­tives mis­led the pub­lic. The im­pact goes be­yond Ken­ning­ton for the district at large be­cause re­leas­ing the high­est grade agri­cul­tural land will ef­fec­tively mean it is “de­vel­oper” open sea­son on Ash­ford, and no patch of green land is safe from de­vel­op­ment.

Govern­ment placed great im­por­tance on in­creas­ing food pro­duc­tion over for­eign im­ports be­cause of the ex­pected pop­u­la­tion in­crease and that is why pol­icy en­shrines preserving the best land. So why is Ash­ford go­ing against sound di­rec­tives?

Coun­cil lead­ers should be left in no doubt res­i­dents want th­ese sites dropped now and are pre­pared to take di­rect ac­tion. Ken­ning­ton Com­mu­nity Fo­rum should be at the fore­front of this so why is their voice nowhere to be heard? Res­i­dents won­der whether a deal was struck with coun­cil lead­ers in or­der to ob­tain “parish­ing”, es­pe­cially be­cause coun­cil lead­er­ship sur­pris­ingly over­turned the ap­pointed coun­cil com­mit­tee de­ci­sion.

Any­one tak­ing in the views of the mag­nif­i­cent coun­try­side and the Wye Crown will un­der­stand why the area is so spe­cial and jus­ti­fies preserving for the en­joy­ment of all Ash­ford; and as a mat­ter of de­cency, in­tegrity, and sel­f­re­spect coun­cil should drop them now. Win­ston Michael, Ash­ford In­de­pen­dent coun­cil­lor for Boughton Aluph and East­well

Your re­port about the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment as the large Bur­ton Farm Es­tate (which has long been in the lo­cal plan) is only a part of the sce­nario, be­cause on top of this 700 houses, an­other few hun­dred homes are sched­uled to be built on the other side of the rail­way line at Con­ning­brook Lakes, which would only place an even greater strain onto an al­ready po­ten­tially over­loaded in­fra­struc­ture.

A coun­cil spokesman said that it is just spec­u­la­tion at this stage - oh yeah! Ted Prangnell Ken­ning­ton

The Large Bur­ton Es­tate plan is yet an­other ex­am­ple of an area al­ready un­der plan­ning de­vel­op­ment now com­ing as an ‘ap­par­ent sur­prise’ to both the pub­lic and the me­dia.

There is no prob­lem with folk ar­gu­ing their cor­ner over any de­vel­op­ment, but the KE re­ports sparks fly­ing now, in 2016. The sparks should have been fly­ing in 2005. A sec­tion of the de­vel­op­ment map taken from page 191 of The Greater Ash­ford De­vl­op­ment Frame­work (pub­lished in 2005), clearly shows this very site was des­tined for de­vel­op­ment (along with junc­tion 10A).

Cen­tral Govern­ment has recorded Ash­ford as a ma­jor de­vel­op­ment town since 2003. Un­der th­ese cir­cum­stances ev­ery mem­ber of the pop­u­la­tion needs to be aware of what is planned. The in­for­ma­tion is read­ily avail­able from ABC, and with­out check­ing it any res­i­dent is at risk of suf­fer­ing an ‘ap­par­ent sur­prise’. An­other ’ap­par­ent sur­prise’ oc­curred over the de­vel­op­ment at Chilm­ing­ton Green.

It can be guar­an­teed that there will be many more such ‘sur­prises’ in the fu­ture. Ian Wolver­son Chilm­ing­ton Green

With re­gards to your ar­ti­cle on the schools to be built at Chilm­ing­ton Green, on the one hand peo­ple and coun­cil­lors are up in arms about the Large Bur­ton es­tate but build­ing per­mis­sion has been given to de­stroy the beauty and wildlife of Chilm­ing­ton. Our coun­try roads will be de­stroyed and light pol­lu­tion in the sur­round­ing ar­eas will ruin the tran­quil haven for wildlife and for those who do not wish to be in the middle of ev­ery­thing.

The rea­son peo­ple move to the area is for peace, rest, na­ture preser­va­tion and a way of life which the coun­cil sees fit to de­stroy with yet more houses.

Only brown­field sites should be used in our al­ready sprawl­ing messy mis­fit town. I’m hor­ri­fied that th­ese of­fi­cials see fit to de­stroy yet more of Eng­land’s Gar­den of Eden. It’s more like ad­ump­ing ground. Shame on you. Wendy Green­way, Sha­dox­hurst

Ken­ning­ton res­i­dents are once again baf­fled by Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil’s per­verse de­ter­mi­na­tion to de­velop the vil­lage into noth­ing short of a small city - but with­out any of the as­so­ci­ated in­fra­struc­ture.

Once again the coun­cil ap­pears to be wel­com­ing de­vel­oper pro­pos­als for a huge hous­ing es­tate in the area de­spite:

The un­cer­tain fu­ture of the A&E depart­ment at the Wil­liam Har­vey Hos­pi­tal

Ex­ces­sive de­mand for ex­ist­ing school places that means par­ents al­ready strug­gle to achieve their first choice

A strain on lo­cal health­care ser­vices lead­ing to longer wait­ing times

A road sys­tem which is strug­gling to cope with ex­tra traf­fic And all of this fol­lows:

A huge protest from lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties

A de­ci­sion by a pre­vi­ous coun­cil leader not to build on th­ese sites

A re­jec­tion of the same sites by the Plan­ning In­spec­torate three years ago as they were deemed to be Grade 1 agri­cul­tural land

Can some­one please tell me what is go­ing on? Mark Street Ken­ning­ton

The prospect of build­ing 700 homes in Ken­ning­ton with­out any ad­di­tional in­fra­struc­ture is a sig­nif­i­cant con­cern. Along­side the Chilm­ing­ton Green de­vel­op­ment we will not only see new schools, a high street and other ser­vices, but also much needed up­grades to roads into Ash­ford town cen­tre.

And while in re­cent years we have seen a new much needed re­lief route to the South of the town – Vic­to­ria Way there doesn’t cur­rently ap­pear to be any such plans to the north of the town, de­spite ever worse con­ges­tion and nu­mer­ous ac­ci­dents on Can­ter­bury Road, a res­i­den­tial route.

Is it not time to con­sider ur­gently a new road from the Con­ning­brook round­about into the town via the Hen­wood Es­tate as well as an upgrade to pub­lic trans­port in the area? Si­mon Jow­ers Ash­ford

I moved to Ash­ford some years ago now,

I am some­what con­cerned about Ash­ford’s ex­pan­sion and the im­pact it will have on lo­cal roads and ser­vices.

I signed the pe­ti­tion against the Chilm­ing­ton Green de­vel­ope­ment, on the grounds of the im­pact on lo­cal roads, which at cer­tain times of the day will make them one big traf­fic jam.

With the new pro­pos­als for the Large Bur­ton es­tate, I feel things will get much much worse.

There will be more road traf­fic to and from the M20 junc­tion 10, which will have an im­pact and am­bu­lances ac­cess­ing the Wil­liam Har­vey Hos­pi­tal, putting lives at risk.

I strongly be­lieve that Ash­ford Bor­ough Coun­cil is only in­ter­ested in coun­cil tax rev­enues. More de­vel­op­ment in Ash­ford will have dra­matic im­pli­ca­tions on ex­ist­ing lo­cal res­i­dents.

I have lived in Sin­gle­ton for some years now and have seen more traf­fic on the lo­cal roads since the Sin­gle­ton Hill de­vel­op­ment. The A28 is at a stand­still from 8am to 9am on week­day morn­ings lead­ing to the M20 and will get much, much worse once Chilm­ing­ton Green is de­vel­oped, with no pro­pos­als for new roads to and from the M20. An­drew Wood Sin­gle­ton

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.