Should consider brownfield sites
We, as a family, wish to register our objection to the proposal to build the The Large Burton Estate estate of over 700 homes in Kennington.
Our objections are specifically as follows: 1. We understand the proposed site comprises Grade 1 agricultural land, which the National Planning Policy Framework defines as “only to be considered in exceptional circumstances”. As far as we are aware, no exceptional circumstances exist which would permit such development on this site. Why, therefore, is this site being considered for development over other brownfield sites in the area?
2. We understand there are no plans to enhance the main roads which residents of the proposed new estate would use, i.e., Willesborough Road and the A28. We have the following concerns regarding this:
(a) Willesborough Road is already narrow, particularly at the S-shaped bottleneck near the Blackwall Road junction. The increased vehicle movement caused by the proposed new estate would only serve to worsen the existing congestion problems, and heighten the danger caused by juggernauts travelling to and from the factories. Moreover, as this road is the main access for ambulances travelling to and from William Harvey Hospital, the increased congestion poses a very real threat to those suffering from life-threatening conditions (e.g. strokes) where prompt hospital treatment is vital. As fire engines also frequently use Willesborough Road as a “shortcut”, the potential delays and corresponding threat to life is once again heightened.
(b) Willesborough Road is also a connection point between Kennington and junction 10 of the M20. Increased vehicle movement will only serve to worsen traffic congestion on what is already an extremely busy motorway junction.
(c) The A28, being a small urban road rather than a motorway, already suffers frequent traffic build-up during rush-hour periods. As a family, we regularly travel from Kennington to Ashford International Station by car, and often find that the journey time can be close to 60 minutes during rush-hour for what is effectively a two-mile distance. Increased vehicle movement will only serve to exacerbate what is already a serious problem, particularly when Operation Stack is in operation.
3. A housing estate of over 700 homes would increase the population of Ashford by at least 1,400 people or more, yet there appear to be no plans to expand existing amenities to serve such an increase. The William Harvey Hospital already suffers from lack of bed-space and long waiting lists, and cancer treatment in particular has been downgraded to a tem- porary building – hardly suitable for such a population “explosion”. Existing doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries are already full, as are the existing primary and secondary schools, with the Towers Secondary School in particular already having to cut staff to deal with budget difficulties. We presume that the prospective new residents of such an estate have not been counted in Ashford’s existing population, so how are the existing amenities supposed to cope with such an influx?
4. Such a large new housing estate would inevitably cause increased pressure on existing utility services such as gas, electricity, water, drainage and sewerage. We are concerned about the corresponding possibility of “overload”, and the difficulties this would cause to existing households in the Kennington area.
We therefore call upon ABC to reconsider the proposal to develop “The Large Burton Estate” in Kennington. Mr B E Collins & Mrs V J Collins Canterbury Road, Kennington Mr G S Holman & Mrs H M Holman The Ridge, Kennington personally was not seeking to imply anything more.
I was therefore surprised to see his comment to the contrary in last week’s letters page (‘Scurrilous’ deal claim rejected).
Having first raised this matter with the Kennington Community Forum in December and having received no response, residents will now welcome a statement that goes some way to allaying their concerns.
And on a point of clarity, the proposal for 1,150 homes has been in the public domain since January 2014 and that these sites should go forward also known by a key member of the Forum who is a councillor.
My commitment as a councillor to voice the views and concerns of residents – no matter how uncomfortable this may sometimes prove to be – is important to both me and the ward I am proud to represent. Winston Michael, Ashford Independent Councillor, Boughton Aluph and Eastwell ward