Should con­sider brown­field sites

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Special Report -

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

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