Consultation Period extended to 31st August
Participate using link at foot of notes
Oakleigh House Development
Date Tuesday 11 August 2020
Committee: R. Shrubb (Chair), J. Shrubb,
Councillors: Cllr L. Suddards (ABC, Beaver), Cllr C. Suddards (ABC, Victoria)
Council Officers: ABC: M. James, G. Holloway, L. Mason
Other Attendees: Names of ordinary members and other attendees are withheld to maintain privacy
Bob Shrubb (BS) opened the meeting welcoming attendees and introduced councillors and council officers.
BS displayed drawings of the proposals from the PRP consultation video.
Features brought to the attention of attendees were:
- Extent of site including existing Oakleigh House site, adjacent ‘Star Block’ and surrounding land, grassed area between Watercress Lane and Cross Stile
- Main block: 3 storeys reducing to 2 storeys near to adjacent housing
- Single storey ‘Mews cottages’ adjacent existing properties
- Disabled adult accommodation (on plot between Watercress Lane and Cross Stile) 2½ storeys.
- ‘Shared space’ (tabletop crossing) between entrances to buildings.
- Opportunities for community landscape improvements on ‘avenue’ between disabled unit and existing houses and opposite side of Beaver Lane
3 ABC introduction to scheme
Giles Holloway introduced the scheme, raising the following points:
- The single storey mews cottages will distance the main block from adjacent properties.
- ABC are considering making these available for sale on the open market.
- The scheme is part of ABC’s strategy for addressing the needs of the ageing population; by 2037, in Kent, only Dartford is expected to have a higher number of residents exceeding 65 years.
- The existing building is obsolete and not fit for purpose; accessibility is poor, the building is not dementia friendly, does not address the needs of the partially sighted. The site layout and presentation of Oakleigh Court and the Star Block are poor.
- Those given priority for renting the units in the independent living accommodation are:
- People 60+ in good health.
- 50+ with health needs
- Units will be adaptable for ambulant disabled and wheelchair users
- This development will compliment existing facilities at Farrow Court and Danemore (Tenterden) and those in progress at East Stour Court (Willesborough) and Poplars (Kingsnorth Road).
- Provision has been made for parking spaces in Cross Stile to address the issue of parking on the grassed area.
4 Councillor’s Comments
Cllr Lyn Suddards said she supported the concept of the scheme but was concerned about the impact of the loss of green space on existing residents.
5 Residents’ Comments
The meeting was opened for comments from residents.
- The main issue that concerns residents is the loss of the green space, which it was said is used by those with young families and offers an area where they can play safely under supervision.
It was asked whether the adult disabled accommodation could be separated from the independent living block and placed on one of the derelict sites close by.
Mark James responded that the two buildings were one project. There will be benefits for the Council in having a second adult disabled unit close to Cherry Tree Court (adjacent to Farrow Court). It was also hoped that an intergenerational relationship could be created by having the two adjacent to each other. Whilst not excluding acquiring land for the purpose this was land that ABC already owns. They accept loss of green space is a contentious issue but having to buy land can add £ millions to project costs. The resident was invited to send details of the land referred to, so Housing could check whether it is in ABC ownership.
- A comment was made regarding the short notice for the meeting and asked whether another could be held for those that are away at the time of the meeting.
Bob Shrubb responded that SACF only had about ten days to arrange the meeting and with no income, limited funds and resources there was a limit to what they could achieve. They had wanted to arrange the meeting before the end of the Council’s consultation.
Giles Holloway responded that this was only part of the consultation and the Council would like to reach those that had not been able to participate in the meeting
- Concern was raised about dust and noise during the construction period and impact this would have on property prices.
Giles Holloway responded by saying that ABC subscribe to the Considerate Contractor Scheme which sets out how the contractor addresses issues which affect neighbours, such as dust, noise, traffic movement, liaison with neighbours and schools and offered to introduce the resident to existing sites.
- The potential for vehicles to park on the inside of the bend on Beaver Lane, as a result of the development, where with vehicles that now park on the outside of the bend could result in reduced visibility and available road width.
Giles said that Kent Highways would be consulted and issues such as this addressed with them.
6 Consultation process
Cllr Charles Suddards asked about the consultation process and how residents affected by the development were contacted.
Mark James said that normally the Council would have held a consultation event in a local community hall, with the information from the PRP Video displayed, giving residents the opportunity to discuss the proposal with the Council and Architects.
With the current restrictions on holding public events they had put the consultation for Oakleigh House online and had distributed leaflets to 200 properties around the site.
As concern had been raised about older people who may not have online access, he suggested a paper questionnaire might be distributed.
Cllr Lynn Suddards asked whether boards could be displayed at a local venue, such as St. Francis Church, for a day allowing residents to visit in their own time. Mark confirmed this could be arranged subject to arrangements with the Church.
Mark said although there had been problems with the Council’s email system at the beginning of the week, he has replied to everybody that had commented on the consultation portal.
When all of the consultation responses had been examined and any amendments made to the proposal, they would post details of comments that had been addressed by changes and the reasons that any comments could not be addressed.
A planning application would then be submitted when residents would have the opportunity to comment formally.
Bob Shrubb closed the meeting thanking everybody for joining and asking that residents participate in the survey on the Council’s Consultation portal – https://haveyoursay.ashford.gov.uk/consult.ti/oakleigh/consultationHome