Local Plan

External Space Standards

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section A – Housing

HOU15 Private external open space

Outdoor private space is highly valued and it is important for both children and adults to have access to some private or at least, semi-private outdoor space for play and relaxation as well as more practical requirements. In the case of non flatted developments, this can most easily be provided in the form of a private enclosed garden. The provision of a garden also makes it easier to provide outside covered storage for items such as bicycles, garden tools, garden furniture and outdoor toys.

In the case of flats, balconies or terraces/roof gardens may take the place of a garden. Easily accessible communal areas may be acceptable but lack the element of privacy, which is important for relaxation. Lack of outdoor private space will therefore only be acceptable if there are particular design features which mitigate against this lack of provision.

Policy HOU15 – Private external open space

Unless drawings indicate alternative provision of private useable external open space, new dwellings, whether created as ‘new build’, subdivision or conversion shall be provided with an area of private open space in accordance with the table below:

 Minimum sizes for individual private open spaces for flats and houses not overlooked from the road or other public spaces
Number of bedspaces Minimum depth of balconies Minimum area of private space per flat (balcony, roof garden or ground level patio) Minimum depth of private garden area (the width will normally be the width of the dwelling)
1-2 1.5 m 5 10 m
3 1.5 m 6 10 m
4 1.5 m 7 10 m
5 1.5 m 8 10 m
6 1.5 m 9 10 m

Other strategic transport projects

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section C – Transport

TRA1 Other strategic projects
Pound Lane Link Road

The broad location of the Pound Lane Link Road is shown on the Policies Map as a new strategic, single-carriageway link road from Pound Lane to the roundabout at the entrance to the Park Farm development. The creation of this link road is critical to the full delivery of the proposed allocation at Court Lodge Farm (policy S3) but will also provide the opportunity for an additional strategic vehicular link for traffic from the Chilmington urban extension (to the west) to the A2070 trunk road and M20 Junction 10/10a.

A28 dualling and Chart Road improvements

The A28 dualling and Chart Road improvement scheme includes changing the A28 into two lanes of traffic each way between the to be improved ‘Tank’ and ‘Matalan’ roundabouts and will also provide for improvements to junctions on to this new strategic corridor. The scheme will cater for the development at Chilmington Green, providing for improved capacity and safety in this area and relieve congestion and journey times.

Ring road junction improvements

In response to various current residential and commercial development proposals within the Town Centre area, a series of improvements to the junctions around the former Ring Road are needed. Kent County Council Highways are current designing these improvements and it is anticipated that developments will make proportionate contributions towards the key junctions either side of the Beaver Road bridge. This will facilitate early release of new developments that are fundamental to the growth and development of the town centre and its attractiveness as a location for new investment.

Policy TRA1 – Strategic Transport Schemes

The Council will seek the implementation of highway and other strategic schemes that will remove serious impediments to growth and/or secure important environmental benefits. These include a new motorway junction (Junction 10a), the Pound Lane link road, the A28 dualling and Chart Road improvements and measures to improve the former Ring Road junctions.

Where development of a site includes part of an identified strategic scheme, land will be reserved for the route of facility as part of the design of the proposal. Proposals which undermine the delivery of a strategic transport scheme will not be supported.

Public Parking Facilities Serving The Town Centre

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section C – Transport

TRA2 Public Parking Facilities Serving The Town Centre (2016 Draft / 2017 Main Changes)

The Parking Study (pdf 2MB) that supports this Local Plan set out the need for new town centre parking to partly replace existing car parks and partly to cater for additional demand from new development (some of which relates to development that is subject to extant planning approval). It also explored the merits of a Park and Ride Facility on the outskirts of the town.

The Study highlighted that that the town centre currently has enough vacant car parking spaces to cater for current and future demand. However, this position was caveated in that not all of these spaces are truly available in practice as many were located on the periphery of the town centre in relatively inaccessible locations and therefore it is questionable how attractive these spaces are for short stay users.

In light of the above, the Study recognised that a flexible approach to parking was needed, one which can best respond to development as it comes forward in a way that caters for both the needs of long stay and short stay users.

Elwick Place

Elwick Place will become a significant new retail and leisure destination in the Town Centre through the delivery of a new multi-screen cinema and hotel and a number of new restaurants. A new public car park that will provide for an additional 280 car parking spaces will also be delivered. Not only will this car park cater for the retail and leisure development at Elwick Place, it will also become a key facility that supports growth in the wider town centre and also provide flexibility in the parking stock.

Multi Storey Car Parks

MSCP provision is still seen as an important component of meeting parking needs in the longer term to respond to development coming forward. Although not allocated in this Local Plan, land at Victoria Road close to the pedestrian bridge over the railway lines remains a suitable and practical location for such a facility given its excellent accessibility to the core of the town centre area. Discussions are ongoing with the developers here for such provision to be secured. In addition, policy S1 of this Local Plan identifies land within the Commercial Quarter for the delivery of a new MSCP (of around 400 – 600 spaces), on land largely owned by the Council.

Park and Ride

The Council retains the view considers that Park and Ride is an important component of its longer term parking strategy, particularly to support new office development in the town centre. In light of this, a Park and Ride facility is safeguarded at Chilmington Green through the Chilmington Green Area Action Plan (not superseded by this Local Plan) and at the Warren, and will continue to be reserved until it is decided that the facility is no longer required.

In the medium to longer term, it is anticipated that the new office sector in the town centre will thrive and in doing so become a less risky and more desirable investment for the market. In such circumstances, the values secured through the delivery of office accommodation in the town centre will rise substantially and this will result in Park and Ride becoming a more desirable and cost effective option of securing parking space to support new development. In turn this will drive demand and patronage that would financially underpin the operation of a Park & Ride service.

Policy TRA2 – Strategic Public Parking Facilities

The Council will prioritise the delivery of two new multi-storey public car parks, one of which will have an indicative capacity of 300 spaces, and at the other with an indicative capacity of 400 – 600 spaces four strategic public parking facilities by 2030 in the form of:

two multi-storey car parks, at Victoria Road (indicative capacity 300 spaces) and at the Commercial Quarter (indicative capacity 400 – 600 spaces); and,
two Park and Ride facilities at Chilmington Green and at the Warren (indicative capacity 800 spaces).
Proposals which would prejudice the ability to deliver these facilities on a viable basis will be refused unless it has been agreed with the Borough Council that the facility is either no longer required or the alternative provision of the same amount of parking spaces can be delivered in a suitable location.

Residential and Non-residential Parking Standards

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section C – Transport

TRA3 Residential and Non-residential Parking Standards (2016 Draft / 2017 Main Changes)
Residential

A single approach to the provision of car parking is not appropriate for all developments coming forward across the borough during the plan period. This ‘zonal’ approach to parking standards has been part of the Council’s approach for a number of years since the Residential Parking and Design Guidance SPD (2010) was first produced.

The approach taken in this SPD has proved useful, robust and clear for all parties and has helped to deliver adequate parking spaces to support development in a way that delivers better quality places and environments which is a key aspiration of the Local Plan. The Council have revisited the standards in the SPD and revised them slightly in the ‘suburban’ and ‘rural’ areas by promoting slightly higher minimum parking standards for certain types of residential uses.

For the town centre area (as identified under policy SP4) – and within the central areas of larger developments – a more significant change is now proposed. Here the Local Plan now advocates a minimum parking standard of 1 space per residential unit. This standard takes account of local circumstances including car ownership data (and future assumptions), historic problems of insufficient parking facilities in central areas and ensures that sufficient parking spaces are delivered to support development in this location.

Non-residential

For non-residential development the Council has, in common with other Local Planning Authorities in Kent, relied on the advice of Kent County Council and the maximum standards contained in KCC SPG4. These standards have generally proved appropriate for this borough. However, local instances of residential areas being used as overflow car parks for adjoining employment uses are of concern.

To ensure the delivery of maximum parking provision in new non-residential developments in the borough over the Plan period, and to reduce opportunities for commercial developments to deliver fewer spaces than the maximum, Policy TRA3(b) brings forward the sets the maximum standard of SPG4 as the minimum standard for non-residential development in the borough (ie neither a maximum or a minimum). Controlled Parking Zones are also supported as an option for the Council to address specific problems with overspill commercial car parking into residential areas should these occur.

Policy TRA3 (a) – Parking Standards for Residential Development

Proposals for residential development within the town centre area identified on the Policies Map or within ‘central areas’ of larger developments shall deliver a minimum parking standard of 1 space per residential unit on average. It is expected that all of this provision should be delivered on-site.

Proposals for residential development elsewhere shall achieve the following minimum parking standards:

‘Suburban and Rural Locations’
1 Bed Flat or House 1 Space per Unit
2 Bed Flat or House 2 Spaces per Unit
3 Bed Dwelling 2 Spaces per Unit
4 Bed House 3 Spaces per Unit
‘Rural Location’
1 Bed Flat or House 1 Space per Unit
2 Bed Flat or House 2 Spaces per Unit
3 Bed Dwelling 2 Spaces per Unit
4 Bed House 3 Spaces per Unit

Parking to support residential development within the Borough shall follow the design, layout and accessibility guidance contained within the Council’s Residential Parking SPD.

Policy TRA3 (b) – Parking Standards for Non Residential Development

Proposals for non-residential developments within the Borough shall provide parking facilities to the following parking standards:

 

A1 Food retail up to 1,000m2

1 space per 18m2

A1 Food retail of 1,000 m2 and over

1 space per 14m2

A1 Non-food retail

1 space per 25m2

A2 use class

1 space per 20m2

A3 use class

1 space per 6m2*

A4 use class

1 space per 10m2*

A5 use class

1 space per 8m2*

B1 office use (up to 500m2)

1 space per 20m2

B1 office use (up to 2,500m2)

1 space per 25m2

B1 office use (2,500m2 and over)

1 space per 30m2

B1 High tech/ research/light industrial.

1 space per 35m2

B2 use class

1 space per 50m2

B8 Storage and distribution

1 space per 110m2

B8 Wholesale Trade

1 space per 35m2

Hotels

1 space per bedroom

*These use classes are also required to deliver 1 space per 2 staff in addition to the standard set out above.

All floorspace references in this table refer to gross external floorspace.

In exceptional cases, the Council may require proposals to depart from the standards in policies TRA3 (a) or TRA3 (b) if any of the following apply:-

  • A bespoke parking standard is included as part of site specific policy within this Local Plan that seeks to take into account specific local circumstances in that area;
  • In order to take account of specific local circumstances that may require a higher or lower level of parking provision, including as a result of the development site’s accessibility to public transport, shops and services, highway safety concerns and local on-street parking problems;
  • Where an operator or potential occupier requires either more or less parking spaces to cater for their specific operational needs, such requirements can be clearly evidenced and where their presence has wider planning benefits,
  • Where the proposed use can reasonably rely on the availability of public off-street car parking spaces that are nearby;
  • To ensure the successful restoration, refurbishment and re-use of listed buildings or buildings affecting the character of a conservation area;
  • To allow the appropriate re-use of the upper floors of buildings in town centres or above shop units;
  • Should independently verified viability evidence demonstrate that achieving the minimum parking standard identified would render the scheme unviable and that there are overriding planning benefits to justify that the development should proceed.

Where appropriate, the Council will pursue the use of Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) to support the wider strategy for the management of on-street parking, in line with the approach outlined in this policy.

Cycling

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section C – Transport

TRA6 Cycling (2016 Draft / 2017 Main Changes)

The Council is committed to increasing cycle usage in the borough as a sustainable means of transport that also contributes to healthier lifestyles.

Ashford has a well developed network of cycleways that run through the town that have been delivered over recent years many of which link to the quiet rural lanes around the town and in the rest of the borough that are suitable for cycling. In addition, sections of off-road cycleway have been provided in the rural area, notably at Godmersham to Chilham and in Tenterden. Recent monitoring indicates that the use of the routes for cycling in the Ashford urban area has increased significantly, particularly as a means to access the domestic and international railway stations.

The network has been delivered principally via the following means:

  • National Cycle Route 18 has been designated and runs through the urban area and links with the wider county wide strategic cycleway network and National Cycle Route 17 (the Pilgrims Way Cycle Trail) provides a strategic link to Eureka Park.
  • The green corridor network in the urban area provides a comprehensive, primarily riverside, set of cycleway routes that converge in the town centre and provide a direct access to the railway stations. The long-standing green corridor policy has helped to deliver improvements to the cycleway network through the delivery of specific green corridor projects and via the requirement that developments adjoining the green corridor being required to make a contribution to improvements within the green corridor;
  • The Council’s Cycling Strategy [pdf 10MB] was approved in 2011 and sets out a series of network improvements projects to be delivered over the lifetime of the Strategy. the Council is committed to reviewing and revising that Strategy;
  • New developments have been required to deliver cycleways within the development areas and to make links to the wider network in the town;
  • Substantial improved cycle parking provision has been provided at the Ashford domestic railway station

KCC recently consulted on its Active Travel Plan, which sought to promote journeys by bicycle Kent along hospitable routes, noting the potential of these routes to stimulate journeys by bicycle as opposed to by the private car, and for leisure uses, promoting Active Travel. ABC supports this approach and any opportunities to enhance and regularise cycle connections.

Policy TRA6 – Provision for Cycling

The Council will seek to improve conditions for cyclists through the following measures:-

  • Promoting and developing a Borough-wide network of cycle routes;
  • Developments should, where opportunities arise, include safe, convenient and attractively designed cycle routes, including, where possible, connection to the Borough-wide cycle network.
  • Promoting and providing cycle parking facilities in town centres, at railway stations and at major public buildings, and requiring new development to provide cycle parking facilities in agreement with the Council;
  • Taking opportunities to consider active travel when designing new routes and establishing connections with existing routes, encouraging journeys by bicycle

Cycle Parking shall be provided at a minimum as per the follow:

A1 < 1000m2 – 1 space per 200m2

< 5000m2 – 1 space per 400m2

> 5000m2 – min 12.

A2/B1/B2/B8 Short/Medium Term (collection/delivery/shopping) – 1 space per 1000m2

Medium to Long Term (meetings/workplace) – 1 space per 200m2

A3/A4/A5 1 space per 10 seats (min 2 provided)
C1/C2 1 space per 10 beds/units/pitches

or 1 space per 5 students

C3 1 space per unit (flats/maisonettes)

(it is expected that sufficient accommodation will be provided in any case for houses)

D1 Schools – as per current KCC requirement

Medical centres/surgeries – 1 space per 2 consulting/treatment rooms

Others – 1 space per 50 seats or 100m2

D2 Leisure & entertainment – 1 space per 300 seats

Sports facilities & venues – 1 space per 10 participants/members/staff

Sui generis Case-by-case basis

Impact on the local road network

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section C – Transport

TRA7 Impact on the local road network
Policy TRA7 – The Road Network and Development

Developments that would generate significant traffic movements must be well related to the primary and secondary road network and this should have adequate capacity to accommodate the development. New accesses and intensified use of existing accesses onto the primary or secondary road network will not be permitted if a materially risk of road traffic accidents or significant traffic delays would be likely to result.

In rural area, proposals which would generate levels and types of traffic movements, including heavy goods vehicle traffic, beyond that which the rural roads could reasonably accommodate in terms of capacity and road safety will not be permitted.

The approach to Heavy Goods Vehicles

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section C – Transport

TRA9 The approach to Heavy Goods Vehicles (2016 Draft / 2017 Main Changes)
Policy TRA9 – Planning for HGV movement

Proposals which generate significant heavy goods vehicle (HGV) movements will only be supported where the use is acceptable in planning terms, and:-

 a. sufficient HGV parking spaces are provided in a way that is consistent with the Highways Authority’s adopted standards and where possible exceeded, unless exceptional circumstances dictate a departure from these standards in line with policy TRA3(b) above;

b.  a.            the size and layout of the site is sufficient to accommodate HGV manoeuvring movements and parking in a way that does not lead to the public highway being used for either purpose; and,

c.  b.            HGV movements are limited to appropriate times of operation given the context of the site.

c.                 sufficient HGV parking spaces are provided at a level commensurate with use, at not less than the following levels, unless exceptional circumstances dictate a departure from these standards in line with policy TRA3(b) above:

A3 (Transport cafés) 1 lorry space per 5m2
B1 Business (High Tech/Research/Light Industrial only) 1 space per 200m2
B2 General Industrial 1 space per 200m2
B8 Storage & Distribution, or Wholesale Trade Distribution 1 space per 300m2

 

Green Corridor

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section D – The Natural and Built Environment

ENV2 Green Corridor

The Green Corridor Action Plan 2016 (opens as pdf from ABC website), which supports this Local Plan provides a detailed description of the value of each area of the current Green Corridor Network and identifies new areas for extension to the designation and proposes opportunity areas to be considered in the future for extensions (see updated Policies Map). The action plan outlines future enhancement projects and recommended maintenance, and provides information on priorities and estimated costs of the enhancements.

All development proposals on land within or adjoining the Green Corridor designation must demonstrate that the proposal would not harm the overall environment, biodiversity value, visual amenity, movement networks or existing functions of the Green Corridor. All proposals must make a positive contribution to the Green Corridor in respect of its environment, biodiversity, visual amenity, movement networks or functioning and development on sites adjoining the corridor must also take into account its impacts on the setting.

Policy ENV2 – The Ashford Green Corridor

The protection and enhancement of Ashford’s Green Corridor is a key objective.

Development proposals within the identified Corridor designation (and proposed extensions) will be permitted, providing that it is compatible with, or ancillary to, their principal open space use or other existing uses within them, and it can be demonstrated that the proposal would not harm the overall environment, biodiversity, visual amenity, movement networks or functioning of the Green Corridor.

Other forms of development proposals, including those relating to an existing use within the Green Corridor will not be permitted, unless it would be in accordance with a site specific policy in this Local Plan; or where it relates to a) the redevelopment of a suitable brownfield site or b) delivers overriding benefits, and in either scenario, that it can be demonstrated that there would be no significant harm to the overall environment, biodiversity, visual amenity, movement networks or functioning of the Green Corridor.

Development proposals on land adjoining the Green Corridor shall provide suitable access and links to the existing networks of the adjoining Green Corridor wherever possible; and make a positive contribution to the Green Corridor in respect of its environment, biodiversity, visual amenity, movement networks or functioning and its setting.

Development proposals must take into consideration the appraisals, projects and management recommendations set out for the specific areas in the Ashford Green Corridor Action Plan, including the identified proposed extension areas to the designation.

Development and Flood Risk

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section D – The Natural and Built Environment

ENV6 Development and Flood Risk

Ashford is at particular risk from fluvial flooding, as five main rivers converge in the town – the Great Stour, East Stour, Aylesford Stream, Whitewater Dyke and Ruckinge Dyke. Two flood storage reservoirs upstream of Ashford, one at Aldington on the East Stour, the other at Hothfield on the Great Stour currently protect Ashford town from fluvial flooding. These reservoirs were recently tested between December 2013 and February 2014 with the wettest winter since 1910. The region received 258% of long term average rainfall with high peak flows in local rivers. The reservoirs neared full capacity but prevented widespread flooding in Ashford.

In allocating new areas of development, the Local Plan has generally avoided areas with a high probability of flood risk and the functional floodplain. All future proposals should preferably be located in Flood Zone 1, as locating development in Flood Zone 1 means that future development is not reliant on costly fluvial flood defences that may become unsustainable in future due to climate change. It should be noted, that runoff from development within Flood Zone 1 has the potential to cause an increase in the probability of flooding if not mitigated. Therefore, any development which causes an additional flood risk by virtue of increasing runoff would need to be suitably mitigated or it will be considered unacceptable.

Policy ENV6 – Flood Risk

Proposals for new development should contribute to an overall flood risk reduction.

The sequential test and exception tests established by the National Planning Policy Framework will be strictly adhered to across the Borough, with new development preferably being located in Flood Zone 1.

Development will only be permitted where it would not be at an unacceptable risk of flooding itself, and, there would be no increase to flood risk elsewhere.

In exceptional circumstances, where the tests above cannot be met, essential transport or utility infrastructure, or other development on brownfield sites may be allowed if:

  • the development is designed to be compatible with potential flood conditions, and,
  • there are no alternative sites in a lower flood risk zone, and
  • suitable flood protection and mitigation measures are incorporated into the development appropriate to the nature and scale of risk, and
    comprehensive management and maintenance plans are in place for its effective operation during the lifetime of the development (taking account of climate change allowances), and
  • adoption arrangements are secured (where applicable) with the relevant public authority or statutory undertaker, and
  • the development would make a significant contribution to the overall sustainable development objectives of the Local Plan, such that the wider sustainability benefits of the development outweigh the flood risk, and
  • it can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Council and the Environment Agency that adequate resistance and resilience measures have been put in place to avoid any increase in flooding either on site or elsewhere.

A site-specific Flood Risk Assessment (FRA), endorsed by the Environment Agency, appropriate to the scale and nature of the development and the risks involved will be required inline with Planning Practice Guidance and in particular where the Strategic Flood Risk Assessment or Surface Water Management Plan, indicates there are records of historic flooding or other sources of flooding.

In all cases, development that would harm the effectiveness of existing flood defences or prejudice their maintenance or management will not be permitted.

Water Resources and Efficiency

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section D – The Natural and Built Environment

ENV7 Water Resources and Efficiency (2016 Draft / 2017 Main Changes)

South East Water (SEW) supplies the Ashford Borough with potable water. Currently, household demand for water is a high proportion of the current effective rainfall which is available to meet demand, and as such the whole of SEW’s supply area is currently classified as ‘an area of serious water stress’

Public concern about water supply remains high. SEW forecast data shows that if the company ‘do nothing’ there will be insufficient water to meet future demand across their supply area. The SEW Water Resource Management Plan (WRMP) (2015-2040) uses a twin-track approach to managing this supply demand deficit through demand management and water resource development as without these measures and without both components of this approach in place new development may be restricted in future. However, SEW have confirmed that following sensitivity testing on housing numbers their WRMP programme will fully satisfy the growth in demands within their supply area proposed within the Ashford Local Plan.

Demand management measures include a long-term strategy to reduce water use focused on changing customer behaviour. The WRMP has a target to reduce per capita consumption of water across their supply area to 149 litres per person per day (l/p/d) by 2040. This is a reduction against the current baseline of 166 l/p/d and highlights the need for sustained water efficiency improvements. However, there is still a need for the optional requirements for water efficiency on new build. South East Water’s ‘Water Efficiency Strategy’ makes it clear that the standards for new homes are a significant part of the company’s planning for water efficiency; that new homes provide the best opportunity for providing best practice water efficiency in the most cost-effective ways; and that SEW depends on the commitment of the Borough Council to help it meet its targets. The only way, therefore, that overall water efficiency can be improved is for the optional requirement to be sought.

A range of new water resource infrastructure is being proposed to increase capacity within the WRMP some located within the Ashford Borough or adjoining local authority area. This includes a new groundwater source at Maytham Farm, Rolvenden with plans to replace non-operational works with a new treatment works (in 2020), and a new reservoir at Broad Oak near Canterbury (in 2033).

The Government updated Building Regulations Part G in 2015, introducing an ‘optional’ requirement of 110 l/p/day for new residential development, which should be implemented through local policy where there is a clearly evidenced need. The evidence and outlined in detail in the supporting Water Cycle Study clearly justifies the need for more stringent water efficiency targets for new residential development in the Borough.

Policy ENV7 – Water Efficiency

All new residential development must achieve as a minimum the optional requirement set through Building Regulations for water efficiency that requires an estimated water use of no more than 110 litres per person per day.