Local Plan

Strategic Urban Drainage Systems (SuDs)

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section D – The Natural and Built Environment

ENV9 Strategic Urban Drainage Systems (SuDs) (2016 Draft / 2017 Main Changes)

Water supply, flood risk and water quality have all been identified as critical constraints to the sustainable growth of Ashford. Ashford’s water environment needs to be managed carefully and the multi-benefits of implementing SuDS within local developments can not be overstated.

SuDS can make a real different to flood risk by managing the quantity of surface water run-off from development, they can also moderate flow rates and prevent sudden water level rises following heavy rain. SuDS can significantly reduce harm to valuable water resources by retaining water within the local hydrological system as well as protecting water resources from pollution by filtering run-off.

Sustainable drainage systems are designed to control surface water run off close to where it falls and mimic natural drainage as closely as possible. Sustainable drainage systems also provide opportunities (in line with NPPF) to:

  • reduce the causes and impacts of flooding;
  • remove pollutants from urban run-off at source;
  • combine water management with green space with benefits for amenity, recreation and wildlife.

The findings of the Discharge Rates Assessment demonstrated that the current Ashford Borough Council SuDS SPD policy (CS20) standard of 4 l/s/ha is difficult to achieve when applying to small site developments. The infrastructure required to store the quantity of water needed to achieve this discharge rate would not be feasible within smaller sites, as long term storage requires large areas of land.

The Assessment also recommended that discharge requirements should be based on site-specific conditions and monitoring (if available). By undertaking site-specific studies, a detailed analysis of what SuDS could be implemented into the site could also be achieved.

Finally, it was also recommended that the Council should consider a higher discharge rate than 4 l/s/ha to apply borough wide if the site is brownfield. This study has outlined that the majority of the allocated sites would be capable of accommodating drainage infrastructure that would be able to discharge to half-capacity within 24 hours, based on a discharge rate of 5 l/s/ha.

In light of the recommendations of this report, the SPD is to be updated to reflect recent changes in local and national policies with respect to the requirements for discharge runoff rates throughout the borough and recent government changes on SuDS.

The updated Sustainable Drainage SPD is anticipated to recommend the following discharge rates based upon the Discharge Rates Assessment:

Greenfield –Discharge rates for undeveloped sites should discharge at a maximum of 5l/s/ha, or 10% below current greenfield rates for the existing 1:100 storm event, whichever is lower. There must be no increase in discharge rate from less severe rainfall events, with evidence submitted to demonstrate this principle.
Previously Developed – Discharge rates for previously developed sites must meet at a minimum a reduction of 10% of existing runoff rates where this existing discharge rate can be established or 10.26l/s/ha where this cannot be established; but must endeavour to achieve 5 l/s/ha or seek to achieve 50% reduction from existing runoff rates for the site (where this can be established).

The above proposals set out the continuation of reducing runoff rates within the Borough through development.

Within the Ashford Borough the requirement for the inclusion of SuDS within major development has been extended beyond that set out within the NPPF, and also includes minor developments. Permitted developments are also encouraged to integrate SuDS into development.

Policy ENV9 – Sustainable Drainage

All development should include appropriate sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) for the disposal of surface water, in order to avoid any increase in flood risk or adverse impact on water quality, and to mimic the drainage from the pre-developed site.

Any SuDS scheme should be compliant with the adopted Sustainable Drainage SPD and any subsequent revisions.

SuDS features should always be the preferred option and provided onsite wherever practicable. In the Ashford urban area if this cannot be achieved, then more strategic forms of SuDS may be appropriate. In such circumstances, developers will need to contribute towards the costs of provision via Section 106 Agreements.

All development proposals will be required to:

  • Ensure all new developments are designed to reduce the risk of flooding, and maximise environmental gain, such as: water quality, water resources, biodiversity, landscape and recreational open space.
  • Ensure that all new developments are designed to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.
  • Lower runoff flow rates, reducing the impact of urbanisation on flooding.
  • Protect or enhance water quality. Incorporating appropriate pollution control measures, to ensure there are no adverse impacts on the water quality of receiving waters, both during construction and in operation;
  • Be sympathetic to the environmental setting and the needs of the local community.
  • Incorporate a SuDS scheme that is coherent with the surrounding landscape and/or townscape;
  • Provide a habitat for wildlife in urban watercourses; and encourage natural groundwater recharge (where appropriate).
  • Demonstrate that opportunities have been taken to integrate sustainable drainage with biodiversity enhancements through appropriately designed surface water systems, as well as contribute to amenity and open spaces;
  • Demonstrate that the first 5mm of any rainfall event can be accommodated and disposed of on-site;
  • Demonstrate that clear arrangements have been established for the operation and maintenance of the SuDS component for the lifetime of the development.

Developers must notify the Council to discharge any relevant conditions before commencement of works on site to ensure a compliant design has been submitted.

Conservation and Enhancement of Heritage Assets

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section D – The Natural and Built Environment

ENV13 Conservation and Enhancement of Heritage Assets
The Ashford Heritage Strategy

The Draft Ashford Heritage Strategy, prepared by the Council, sets out a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the Borough’s rich historic environment, assessing the significance of its broad portfolio of heritage assets, the contribution they make to the environment of the Borough and their potential to contribute to the delivery of other sustainable development objectives of the Local Plan.

Listed Buildings

Ashford Borough is home to a significant number of listed buildings, statutorily recognised as being of particular special architectural or historic interest. They are a valuable and irreplaceable resource for the Borough and the NPPF advises they should be conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance (paragraph 126). As well as being of heritage value in themselves, Listed Buildings often make an important contribution to the character of a wider area and help to deliver positive benefits to the cultural, economic and environmental offer of the Borough. To this end, the Council will support proposals which put such buildings to viable use consistent with their conservation.

Local Listing

Many buildings or structures in the Borough which do not currently meet national criteria for statutory listing nevertheless often have local historical importance and may be worthy of protection and conservation in their own right. Local lists play an important role in celebrating non-designated heritage that is particularly valued by communities.The process of preparing a local heritage list allows local people, in partnership with the Council, to identify local heritage that they would wish to see recognised and protected. Such local lists once agreed by the local planning authority as having heritage significance, will merit consideration in planning matters, with the planning authority taking a balanced judgement having regard to the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the heritage asset itself. Ashford does not currently have a Local List and the council will therefore prepare SPD setting out guidance and recommended methodology on Historic England’s Guiding Principles for Local Heritage Listing in order to support local groups wishing to prepare Local Heritage Lists.

Policy ENV13 – Conservation and Enhancement of Heritage Assets

Proposals which protect, conserve and enhance the heritage assets of the Borough, sustaining and enhancing their significance and the contribution they make to local character and distinctiveness, will be supported. Proposals that make sensitive use of heritage assets through regeneration, particularly where these bring redundant or under-used buildings and areas into appropriate and viable use consistent with their conservation, will be encouraged.

Development will not be permitted where it will cause loss or substantial harm to the significance of heritage assets or their settings unless it can be demonstrated that substantial public benefits will be delivered that outweigh the harm or loss.

All applications which will affect a heritage asset or its setting should be supported by a description of the asset’s historic, architectural or archaeological significance with an appropriate level of detail relating to the asset and the likely impact of the proposals on its significance.

Conservation Areas

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section D – The Natural and Built Environment

ENV14 Conservation Areas
Policy ENV14 – Conservation Areas

Development or redevelopment within Conservation Areas will be permitted provided such proposals preserve or enhance the character and appearance of the Area. Proposals should fulfill each of the following:

  • the scale and detailed design of all new development and alterations should respect the historical and architectural character, proportion and massing, including roofscapes, of the area, the relationship between buildings, the spaces between them and with their setting;
  • the materials proposed should be appropriate to the locality and in sympathy with the existing buildings;
  • buildings and streets of townscape character, trees, open spaces, walls, fences or any other features should be retained where they contribute positively to the character and appearance of the area;
  • the development should not generate levels of traffic, parking or other environmental problems which would damage the character or appearance of the area; and
  • the use should be appropriate.

Proposals for inappropriate demolition, alteration or extension of buildings in Conservation Areas or which could prejudice important views into or out of a Conservation Area, will be resisted where such proposals would be detrimental to their character or setting.

Meeting the needs of the community

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section E – Community Facilities

COM1 Meeting the needs of the community (2016 Draft / 2017 Main Changes)

The provision of good quality community infrastructure and services designed around people and their cultural, leisure, health, learning, social and wellbeing needs is fundamental to the creation of strong, vibrant, healthy and sustainable communities. As Ashford grows and the demand for new or enhanced community infrastructure increases, there is a need to apply strategic policies to ensure appropriate and sustainable provision that supports this demand. This will mean that some community facilities and services may be locally based and aimed at meeting the needs of the local residents in that particular area, whilst others may be more strategic and will need to be delivered in larger facilities and spaces which serve the wider town or Borough.

It has been proved that community infrastructure that offers a range of services at one site, or ‘Hub’, helps to establish a focal and active point that benefits the area and community life. It also enables land to be better used with toilets and kitchens as well as parking and green space shared by a number of users. In general, such a model of provision is also more viable to maintain.

The Council’s approach will be to continue to work with developers and providers and community groups to ensure the provision of community infrastructure in the right locations and at the right time. The Council recognise that – in practice – it will need to adopt a pragmatic approach as large amounts of community provision is subject to planning approval, but has not actually been implemented yet – something which the Council cannot control. Therefore, contributions from new developments may be needed to expand or enhance infrastructure that is already being planned or is in the early stages of being implemented. This may also involve monies to secure the early delivery of such infrastructure where it is appropriate to do so. Adopting this approach ensures that provisions are in place that will support the communities as they develop – a key planning objective of this Local Plan.

Retention of Existing Facilities

Retaining existing facilities wherever practical is the most sustainable way of enhancing and expanding provision. This position is supported by the NPPF which recognises the importance of community and social facilities and requires that LPAs guard against the unnecessary loss of this valued provision, particularly where this would reduce the community’s ability to meet its day to day needs.

The Council therefore aims to protect social and community infrastructure and to guard against unnecessary loss unless there are strong reasons why this is no longer viable or where provision is replicated nearby.

The Arts and Creative Industries

Ashford’s offer has been enhanced recently through the development of a new arts and performance space at St Mary’s Church (in the centre of town) which attracts regionally and nationally significant touring artists and is developing a local audience. The establishment of the internationally renowned Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company has also elevated Ashford’s position as an emerging key destination for the arts. The draft Strategy acknowledges that while Ashford enjoys these facilities, and also enjoys a wider programme of cultural opportunities such events across the Borough, including local festivals, there is a marked lack of spaces such as galleries, multi-use art facilities, theatre and production and rehearsal spaces.

The following strategic arts spaces are identified in the draft Strategy to meet the current deficit and provide a wide range of creative activities and opportunities as Ashford grows:

  • Revelations St Mary’s: as Ashford’s occupancy increases this venue will be a significant space to meet the demands of the local audience and a key strategic centre for presenting a high quality arts programme that enhances the economy of the town centre;
  • Rehearsal and production centre: a large space for touring companies and local community groups to create and show work and smaller spaces for educational sessions. This will aim to drive innovation in the arts and the provision of excellent arts experiences;
  • Making and exhibiting workspaces: a space (or collection of spaces) where creative designers can co-locate, make and present their work in a gallery and offer associated spaces for the community to engage in the arts and crafts;
  • Arts use in community hubs: helping to ensure urban and rural community hubs cater for arts and are well equipped and design to support a range of creative activity.

The Council expects that these projects will largely be funded by way of CIL receipts. S106 contributions will however be used where local community buildings/ indoor sports buildings are required, as stipulated through various site allocations in this Local Plan. These buildings will be required to be designed in a way that allows for a variety of users, including art and creative industries.

The Voluntary Sector

Over recent years the voluntary and community sector (VCS) has become increasingly involved in managing many community facilities and delivering public services. The VCS in the Borough is vibrant and diverse comprising in the region of 850 organisations providing a wide range of services and has been shown to bring considerable advantages and benefits deriving from its value-driven motivation and focus on social needs.

Given the wide nature of the sector, it is accepted that projects which are needed to allow the voluntary sector to continue to play a role in meeting the communities needs will come forward over the lifetime of this plan. Where these projects can be costed and shown to be deliverable, the Council will seek proportionate developer contributions or the delivery of space/ provision on site. It is likely such provision will be focused in and around Ashford Town Centre, but is not limited to this boundary.

The Education Sector

The residential developments proposed in this Local Plan will create a requirement for additional school places and thus for existing primary and secondary schools to be expanded and for new schools to be built. Wider demographic trends also affect the need for school places. The Council’s longstanding approach has been to require developer contributions on behalf of the education authority where new primary and secondary schools or extensions to existing ones are needed to cater for the influx of new children from housing development. The contribution sought is based on ‘pupil product figures’ provided by Kent County Council for the number of primary and secondary school children likely to arise from each new housing development.

The Health Sector

The Ashford Health and Wellbeing Board, comprised of health professionals, local government officers and patient representatives, was established in 2013. The board offers a fresh look at the way the health and wellbeing of Ashford’s residents is observed and measured. It also has an influence over the commissioning decisions made across public health and social care in the borough. It looks at improving the health and wellbeing of the people living in Ashford through joined up commissioning across the National Health Service, social care, borough council, public health and other services that are directly related to health and wellbeing.

Health issues are addressed in policies across this Plan, including those on design, transport, economic development, employment skills and training and provision of cultural and local services. Proposals for new health facilities in sustainable locations will generally be supported.

Community Leisure Buildings

The Council has a long established tradition of delivering ‘multi-purpose community leisure buildings’ which fulfill the needs of emerging and established communities. Recent provision takes into account the scale of the development, the nature of the place being delivered, and the proximity of nearby facilities and its offer. This Local Plan adopts this robust approach, supported by the Council’s, and partners experience, of what kind of facilities are deliverable and viable over the longer term particularly in response to some of the larger site allocations being proposed.

In addition, where indoor sporting facilities are proposed, they should generally provide space for a mixed use of community activity as part of their delivery to make the most efficient use of these buildings and also help with their on-going viability.

Policy COM1 – Meeting the Community’s Needs

Infrastructure and facilities required to meet the needs generated by new development, including sports, arts, community (including youth) and voluntary sector space, education and health provision, open space and play areas shall be provided as the community is established.

Infrastructure or facilities designed to meet localised needs should normally be provided on-site. Other needs will be delivered in liaison with the relevant stakeholders and service providers to ensure that the provision is supplied in a way that meets their requirements and supports sustainability.

Development monies will be secured via S106 where provision relates to a localised need or as identified through the site allocations in this Local Plan. Otherwise, CIL receipts will be used to deliver strategic provision.

Where the need for developments to contribute to, or provide, particular infrastructure or facilities is dependent on their size, floorspace, traffic generation or any other attribute or impact exceeding a specified threshold and any site is brought forward as two or more separate schemes of which one or more falls below the relevant threshold, the Council will seek from each scheme a proportionate contribution of the level of provision so as to match in total the requirement that would apply if the site came forward as a whole.

In the Borough as a whole, the loss of existing community infrastructure will be resisted unless sufficient evidence has been submitted to demonstrate that they are no longer required or are obsolete and that suitable replacement provision is being provided or is located nearby.

Sport, Recreation and Play

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section E – Community Facilities

COM2 Sport, Recreation and Play (2016 Draft / 2017 Main Changes)

The following total quantum’s of recreational, play, sport and open space are required to meet the needs of the new development proposed in this Local Plan that do not already have planning permission (circa 7,000 new dwellings). These figures are derived from the emerging Sports Pitches and Indoor Sports Facility Strategy, alongside standards set out in the current Green Spaces and Water Environment SPD. They take into account planned provision that is earmarked to come forward, such as at Chilmington Green. The figures do not take take into account the role which could be played by provision at schools. This provision should be treated as supplementary as in most cases it tends to have limited public access at key times.

Table 4 – Total Spatial Target for play, open space and sports
Informal space 22.5ha 33.6ha
Children’s play 5.6ha 8.4ha
Strategic Parks 3.4ha 5.04ha
Allotment provision 2.2ha 3.6ha
Sports halls (1 badminton hall or equivalent) 4 6
3G Artificial Pitch 1
Football Pitches 7 adult, 3 junior 8 adult, 7 junior, 2 mini
Hockey 2G pitch 1 adult
Rugby 2 senior pitches
Cricket square and outfield 1

These figures are a ‘target’ as not all residential development coming forward will be required to deliver a proportion of these provisions. For example, some development will be excluded on viability grounds such as most proposals coming forward in the town centre, and a number of developments will fall below the threshold that trigger a requirement for provision. However, this is somewhat countered as CIL receipts can be used to deliver recreation, sport, play and open space, where it is strategic in nature. This type of provision effectively meets a need for all new developments in the Borough. Therefore the identification of a target figure is considered to be a robust starting point for the policy below.

In order to determine the quantum and type of provision required for each qualifying proposal, applicants will be expected to use the Sports England Calculator and the relevant standards in the Green Spaces and Water Environment SPD. Aside from informal space – which will normally be delivered on site and form part of the wider landscaping/ SUDs strategy, incidental space around buildings, discussions with the Council shall then take place as to what exact provision will be sort from any S106 monies to be collected, using the projects identified within the supporting Infrastructure Delivery Plan schedule as the starting point. The Sports England Calculator may also identify additional off-site requirements that need to be considered as well. Where appropriate, these will be added to the Infrastructure Delivery Plan as they are identified.

The Hub Approach

The Local Plan seeks to deliver a community hub model and the strategies emerging for recreation, sports, open space and play all recommend the same model. The sport and recreational hubs are identified on Strategic Diagram 2 which supports this Local Plan. They are:

Discovery Park: a new, major open space and recreational area that is proposed to include a number of sports pitches (including the provision for 3G pitches), a large scale indoor sports building, strategic play space and managed outdoor recreational space. The majority of Discovery Park will come forward in response to development at Chilmington Green and the area is protected as part of the Chilmington Green Area Action Plan, the provisions of which fall outside the scope of this Local Plan. However, an extension to Discovery Park is proposed to come forward as part of the Court Lodge development (policy S3).

Conningbrook Park: a new large water based recreational resource and facilities at Conningbrook Lakes and significant indoor sports provision in the form of the existing Julie Rose Stadium. Complementary provision in the form of strategic play space and informal space will also be provided here.

Ashford Town Centre: a key location for indoor sports provision within the Borough. The Stour Centre is the principal indoor sports facility within the borough and caters for a range of sports, including swimming, badminton, squash, netball and football. In addition the Town Centre is also home to green spaces in the form of Victoria Park, Memorial Gardens and the Green Corridor. The Town Centre will continue to be a key recreational and sporting hub over the plan period.

Finberry/ Park Farm: a community and leisure hub adjacent to the planned primary school that compliments the facilities planned at Bridgefield Park. This Hub aims to deliver a 3G state of the art sports pitch which will be supported by a multi-use play area, a community building with indoor sports courts and changing facilities.

Kingsnorth Recreation Centre: already a well established urban hub for the area and town. This could support an increase in the recreational and outdoor space offer located here.

Sandyhurst Lane: another site already offering social, community and sports provision (comprising two full size grass football pitches and one rugby pitch supported by a pavilion comprising four team and one officials changing room, bar and large function room). New provision is proposed which could include improved sports pitches, informal and natural green space and potentially allotment space.

]Spearpoint: a busy football hub already existing on this site and contains six grass pitches, a newly built pavilion and tennis courts. The courts are currently in poor condition. The aspiration is to refurbish the tennis courts and provide a major new play area. Further leisure development on this site could also be considered.

Pitchside/Courtside: Pitchside and Courtside are adjacent dual use sites in South Ashford on the campus of John Wallis Academy. Pitchside consists of a full size 3G pitch and two full size grass football pitches for community use. In addition the Academy grass playing field has a junior pitch, full size football pitch and full size rugby pitch which are available for occasional community use as demand dictates. Pitchside is supported by a 4 changing room pavilion. Courtside comprises six hard courts supported by a two changing room pavilion with meeting room and office. The primary use of the courts is for netball with tennis the main secondary use. This provides a key mixed use sports hub and has the potential to be extending and upgraded.

Local Provision

Not all of the provision of recreation, sport, open space and play areas will serve a wider catchment or play a strategic role. There are a number of local areas which fulfil a key role in meeting the everyday communities needs. These areas include Bridgefield Park, South Willesborough (Bulleid Place/Swan Centre), Singleton (Cuckoo Park/ Singleton Environment Centre), and Repton Park and Community Centre. These offer multi-use community space for local residents, children’s play and informal recreational open space. Hythe Road Recreation ground should be up-graded to provide a much needed quality open space for informal recreation including multi-use games area. When new development comes forward, there will remain a need to deliver provision at a local scale, to directly serve the community in which it is located.

Policy COM2 – Recreation, Sport, Play and Open Spaces

As a target, the Council shall seek to deliver the quantum of provision as new recreation, sport, play and open space provision by 2030 as set out in table 4 of this Local Plan.

Proposals will utilise the Sports England Calculator and comply with the standards set out within the Green Spaces and Water SPD, where practical.

Informal green space will normally be provided on site in line with the guidance and provisions contained within the Green Spaces and Water Environment SPD.

In Ashford, the provision of children’s play, strategic parks, allotments, sports facilities shall be concentrated on key allocated sites within this Local Plan or at the sports and recreation hubs identified above. Proposals which undermine the ability of a hub to play a role in delivering this provision shall not be supported.

Provision that meets a localised need shall normally be required to be delivered on-site in a way that supports the local community as it comes forward.

In the rural area, provision should normally be delivered in a way that helps maintain, enhance and potentially expand existing provision at the settlement where development is proposed, or at the nearest settlement.

In line with the provision within the NPPF eExceptions to the approach outlined above could be justified, should the following circumstances arise in that:

  • there is suitable open/ green space provision nearby and this provision can be accessed by green routes,
  • there is suitable sports provision nearby and this provision is accessible and the facility is able to and has the capacity to be used by the public at key times and this access can be secured over the long term at determination of the application,
  • delivering such provision would render a scheme unviable,
  • not delivering the required provision is supported by the Council or in agreement with the Parish Council.

In line with the provision within the NPPF, existing open space, sports and recreational buildings and land should not redeveloped or used for other purposes, unless:

  • An assessment has been undertaken which clearly shows the provision is surplus to requirements, or
  • Any loss would be replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in a suitable location,
  • The development is for an alternative sport and recreational provision, the needs for which clearly outweigh the loss.

Allotments

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section E – Community Facilities

COM3 Allotments (2016 Draft / 2017 Main Changes)

Demand for allotments owned by the Council is kept under review, with additional provision being made where necessary. Over the lifetime of this Local Plan the need for additional allotment provision is 2.2ha 3.36ha, the strategy for which will be identified in the emerging Open Space Strategy.

Policy COM3 – Allotments

The provision of new allotments will be supported provided they follow the design principles established within the Public Green Spaces and Water Environment SPD.

Proposals for the redevelopment of existing allotment land will only be permitted where the allotment site is significantly under-used and suitable alternative provision for allotment holders is available nearby, where the site is not needed to rectify any local shortages in informal open space, and where the proposed development would not lead to the loss of an important undeveloped area which plays a significant role in the character of the local environment.

Funding and Delivery of Infrastructure

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section F – Implementation

IMP1 Funding and Delivery of Infrastructure

This Plan is supported by an Infrastructure Delivery Plan [pdf 481 kB] which is an iterative document that sets out the infrastructure that is required to be delivered to support the planned development up to 2030. It has been informed by discussion with key providers and identifies (where known) how and when this infrastructure might be delivered and to what extent new development is directly reliant on its delivery as a means of prioritising the required infrastructure.

Over the last 20 years or so, the Council has successfully managed to fund new infrastructure of many types and forms through Section 106 Agreements. This infrastructure has helped to ensure that new developments are properly served by the services and facilities that support everyday life and that these facilities are delivered at the right time to meet new demand.

The introduction of the CIL Regulations in April 2015 now limits the scope of Section 106 Agreements and their ability to act as a pool for developer contributions towards strategic infrastructure, although they still have a role in the provision of site specific facilities. As a consequence the Council proposes to introduce a Community Infrastructure Levy Charging Schedule alongside this Local Plan. This has been tailored to take account of the general policy requirements contained within this Plan and reflects the viability position at the time of drafting. It is likely that the CIL Charging Schedule will need to be reviewed on a regular basis to reflect changing market conditions.

Nevertheless, the Council still considers that Section 106 Agreements can provide a more certain means of delivering specific infrastructure and services than the use of CIL receipts. This has benefits for developers, residents and service providers and allows for more transparency about what will be delivered and when. Consequently, the Council will continue to work with service providers to identify specific projects which meet additional demand arising from the policies of this Plan, allowing for a maximum of five S106 Agreements to provide proportionate contributions to those projects, in preference to assuming funding will arise from CIL in due course.

The Council also intends to publish a generic development contributions SPD that will provide greater clarity on what level of financial contributions will be sought from the development schemes to deliver the infrastructure that is required.

Clearly, it is not possible to foresee all potential needs arising from development proposals (including windfalls), and so these will need to be assessed at the time against relevant policies in this Plan. Where specific requirements are known at this stage, these have been identified through the site allocation policies.

Policy IMP1 – Infrastructure Provision

The Council will continue to work with relevant service providers to identify and deliver the infrastructure that is needed to support the development set out in this Plan.

All developments shall make provision to meet the additional requirements for infrastructure arising from the development, either through Section 106 Agreements and / or Community Infrastructure Levy contributions.

Enforcement

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section F – Implementation

IMP3 Enforcement
Planning enforcement

The Council’s approach to enforcement is clear. It is the responsibility of individuals and businesses to comply with the law. The Council will do all it can to help advise and treat people fairly but those who flout the system deliberately and/or repeatedly and cause serious harm can expect the strongest possible response. The range of actions open to the Council and severity of penalties are often dictated by central government but, within these limits, the Council will always aim to act in way which deters others from non-compliance.

Residents understandably put great value on the quality of life and local environment that they enjoy – in the Borough’s countryside, towns and villages. When development takes place without permission and causes significant impacts on people’s lives, residents of the Borough understandably expect that action should be taken.

The Council has agreed ‘Local Enforcement Plan’ which sets out how the Council can and will respond. Government advice encourages councils to try to resolve issues by negotiation as this is very often the quickest and most effective way to resolve problems. It is also the best way to use resources. Taking formal action, assuming it succeeds, can be a much longer process than people imagine and consumes a lot of staff time.

or persistently ignore the rules and carry out development that seriously impacts on the wider community, then there should be no doubt that the Council will take formal action whenever possible.

Policy IMP3 – Planning Enforcement

In line with the provisions in the NPPF, the Council have agreed a ‘Local Enforcement Plan’. Provisions within this plan will be enacted by the Council and where negotiations fail, or where individuals deliberately or persistently ignore the rules and carry out development that seriously impact on the wider community then the Council will take formal action wherever possible

Governance of public community space and facilities

Chaper 5 – Topic Policies

Section F – Implementation

IMP4 Governance of public community space and facilities

Development proposed within this Local Plan will deliver a variety of what can broadly be termed public community space and facilities which – in this context – includes open space, indoor and outdoor sports provision, community buildings, venues for art and the voluntary sector, SuDS features and areas around these features and, potentially, the verges next to footpaths and roads.

How this provision is delivered and maintained has a direct impact on the quality of a place. In the past, the Council has generally been successful in securing and managing, with our partners, community space and facilities from developers. This has greatly improved the quality of life for the Borough’s residents and ensures that Ashford remains an attractive place to live, work and visit – a key objective of the Council as referenced in its Corporate Plan.

Although expanding such provision to cater for the new development proposed in this Local Plan clearly delivers many sound planning benefits, it does also create operational and financial challenges for the Council given the pressures on Council budgets. The same is true of our public sector partners. This pressure is unlikely to be eased, certainly in the short to medium term and in fact is likely to be increased, meaning a dynamic and innovative solution needs to be applied to ensure that both the right level of provision is secured to meet need, and that it is managed to a high standard so that the quality place aspirations are sustained.

With such public sector financial constraint, there is a real potential that the quality of community space and facilities is undermined through a lack of resources, particularly if it relies on the public sector adopting and taking full responsibility for the long term stewardship. Furthermore, such a total adoption role provides very limited opportunities and incentives for local communities to have – and maintain – a stake in their area and help develop a positive sense of place.

The Council’s preferred position in recent times has been to not adopt new community space and facilities that come forward in response to development proposals. This remains the case.

Instead, the Council favours stewardship models as a means of ensuring ongoing management of community space and facilities. Such models take various forms, including community management companies, charitable trusts; Parish Council led models, community development trusts, community interest companies, and co-operative or community benefit societies.

The exact form of model will be dependent on local circumstances, the stewardship functions transferred, the extent and type of assets to be managed and the types of financial arrangements needed. Developers will be expected to endow new stewardship bodies with both assets and cash where practical, the latter of which should be at a level at least equivalent to a ten year commuted payment period.

The Council accepts that these sorts of models may only be suitable where there is a sufficient scale of development to create a natural community focus or where there is sufficient scale of on-site community space and facilities to manage. In certain circumstances, smaller schemes could also adopt such an approach, particularly if there is sufficient space and facilities nearby which could be taken on by a joint governance arrangement.

Where a proposal is not suitable to deliver the community based model envisaged above on account of its lack of size or facilities being delivered and / or its proximity to other developments does not allow for a more holistic approach, then a private management company solution might be considered acceptable.

Where this is the case, proposals will need to demonstrate that the private management company proposed will:

  • be run in a way that ensures residents have and retain a key governance role,
  • maintain openness and transparency,
  • be focused on the local development and the maintenance of the environment in the longer term with surpluses reinvested for such purpose,
  • provide a quality service at a reasonable cost over the longer term,
  • allow for residents to take control in the longer term should this be their ambition.

In certain circumstances, such as the adoption of community space and facilities that will form provision within a strategic hub (see policy COM2) or where the Council currently plays a governance role and want to retain this role, then the Council could be the adopting body. In these circumstances, financial contributions will be required towards the management of community space and facilities, for not less than a ten year period.

Given the importance of the issue of governance, all schemes that will deliver substantial levels of community space and facilities will be required to produce a governance strategy that will set out the specifications and details of the facilities to be delivered and how these will be managed and maintained over time. For larger schemes, this will also need to set out how the early governance arrangements will work in practice given that community space and facilities might be delivered before a community is fully established.

Policy IMP4 – Governance of Public Community Space and Facilities

Proposals that will deliver substantial community space and facilities are required to be supported by a governance strategy which will need to be agreed with the Council. This strategy will need to set out what facilities are to be delivered and by when, and how they will be managed over time to an acceptable standard.

Proposals which adopt a community stewardship model of governance will be supported.

Should a private management company model be promoted, then it will need to be established and run in a way that is affordable, gives the residents a key governance role and is focused towards the management of the facilities to be delivered by the development.

Where the Council takes on an adoption role, financial contributions will be secured from the developer towards the maintenance of facilities for at least a ten year period.

Composite Map of Kingsnorth Sites

 

Chapter 7 – Policy Map Extracts

kingsnorthWe created this composite map of the development areas South and West of Kingsnorth proposed in the 2016 version of the Draft Local Plan. This is created from three maps in Chapter 7 of the hard copy of the 2016 version of Draft Local Plan. These maps were not available in the online copy.

Changes to Policy S3 is likely to lead to the the development areas on the Pound Lane site changing.