Housing

Oakliegh House planning application

Image of proposed development looking North along Watercress Lane
CGI looking North along Watercress Lane

A planning application has been submitted on behalf of Ashford Borough Council for the redevelopment of Oaklieigh House.

The development was initially publicised through an online consultation in July 2020. South Ashford Community Forum organised an online meeting to discuss the development during the following month.

As was the case at consultation stage proposals include the demolition and redevelopment of Oakleigh House sheltered housing in Beaver Lane and the adjacent block of flats and development of the grass area between Watercress Lane and Cross Stile.

The planning application varies from the consultation proposals as a result of comments made by residents and by a Design South East Panel. This has led to a two fewer dwellings for adults with learning disabilities.

Schedule of accommodation
Independent dwellings
for older people
1 bed apartments41
2 bed apartments10
1 bed mews cottages3
Total54
Independent apartments
for adults with learning disabilities
1 bed – planning application
(consultation)
12
(14)
2 bed1
Total13
(15)

The application can be viewed and comments submitted via the Ashford Borough Council website
planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=119156

Council Tax refund scam

Ashford borough Council have notified us of a phone scam around council tax which is currently in circulation.

This particular scam involves calls from a company called Greystone Recovery. The caller claims to have information relating to incorrect council tax banding and saying that the recipient is entitled to refunds.

These calls are not coming from the council, and are unrelated to genuine text messages that get sent out from the council about council tax arrears.

If you are in any doubt about the legitimacy of a call, whether they claim to be calling from the council, or another organisation, it is important to hang up and not give any information to the caller.

If you have a query about your council tax band you can visit the Ashford Borough Council website at www.ashford.gov.uk/council-tax/valuation-and-band-charges/ to find out more.

You can find out how to identify and avoid this kind of scam at
www.gov.uk/guidance/council-tax-and-business-rates-scams.

If you think your house may be in the wrong Council Tax Band read Martin Lewis’s advice on Money Saving Expert on how to check and and request re-assessment. Do read the whole of the article as, although there is no charge for re-assessment, it includes warnings about what could happen if the current banding is correct or too low.

There are a number of legitimate companies named Greystone or Grey Stone. We are not aware of any which provide Council Tax recovery services.

ABC Consult on new homes in Harper Road

Ashford Borough Council

Harper Road Development

Open: 26 November 2020
Closes: 15 January 2021

Ashford Borough Council are consulting on a proposal to demolish 24 council owned garages in Harper Road and construct 4 houses.

The Council are holding an online consultation in place of a consultation event at a local public venue due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Following the consultation the Council will consider comments received and where possible adapt the proposals before they are submitted as a full planning application.

The proposal is for four x 2-bedroom houses. The intention is that they will be allocated to people on ABC’s housing waiting list needing social and affordable rental homes. ABC aim to set affordable rent levels on these homes that are around 60-80% of market rent levels in the area. This is to ensure the homes are genuinely affordable to those who are housed in them. These levels will be within the Local Housing Allowance.

ABC anticipate, that subject to obtaining the relevant planning permissions, work would begin on site within a year and that the build time will be around eight months.

The video below explains the development.

Further information and the opportunity to take part in the consultation can found on the ABC Consultation portal at
https://haveyoursay.ashford.gov.uk/consult.ti/harperroad/consultationHome

South Ashford Community Forum would be prepared to host an online resident’s meeting. Please contact us if you would like to attend such a meeting.

Christchurch manse conversion

Christchurch manse with scaffolding

Work to convert the manse at Christchurch into short term accommodation is progressing.

Following the amalgamation of parishes in Ashford, the building was no longer required by the Church of England. Ashford Borough Council bought the home in Beaver Road for £430,000 and is investing around £500,000 to convert it into eight homes, capable of accommodating up to 25 people. An extensive refurbishment programme is underway to add facilities like a communal kitchen, dining room and laundry room.

Christchurch Lodge, as the building has been renamed, follows the same blueprint adopted by the council when it created Christchurch House, a rundown property bought at auction for £278,000 in 2013. It was transformed into good quality short-stay accommodation and was so successful that the money saved on placing homeless people in costly B&Bs meant that Christchurch House payed for itself in four years.

Cllr Bill Barrett, portfolio holder for housing, said tackling homelessness was a huge priority for the authority. He said both the prevention of homelessness and using the council’s own stock to house homeless people, rather than using costly B&Bs, made financial sense.

“Following the blueprint of Christchurch House represents a win-win strategy. For five years it has offered households a better solution than the upheaval of living out of a B&B. It is also good news that the council has saved considerable sums of money it would have had to pay in B&B costs. We are proud of the proactive approach we take to delivering new housing projects.”

Kent-based Jenner Contractors is carrying out the Christchurch Lodge conversion and a feature of the project is the commitment to using high-quality products and materials to ensure maximum build quality, environmental sustainability and energy efficiency.

Ashford Borough Council 08 January 2020
https://news.ashford.gov.uk/news/1m-homeless-initiative-by-ashford-borough-council-taking-shape/

Poplars planning application

Ashford Borough Council (ABC) have submitted a planning application to demolish 14 flats and 3 houses at the Poplars at the junction of Beaver Lane and Beaver Road and replace them with 31 apartments for independent living older tenants.

The proposed development follows the rebuilding of Farrow Court, nearby, Danemoor in Tenterden and the proposed rebuild of East Stour Court in Mabledon Avenue as part of an ABC strategy to modernise and increase their sheltered housing stock.

The new apartments will be for affordable rent to tenants aged 50 or above.

The ABC Planning case reference is 19/00516/AS
https://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=112217

Halstow Way development application

View from open space

Ashford Borough Council (ABC) has submitted a planning application for the construction of 17 affordable rented apartments on the Noakes Meadow public open space.

The application follows a consultation that we reported in February
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2018/02/20/halstow-way-redevelopment-consultation/

The proposals have changed in that the number and mix of properties has changed

  • from 14 x 1 bedroom and 7 x 2 bedroom, totalling 21
  • to 6 x 1 bedroom, 7 x 2 bedroom and 4 x 3 bedroom, totalling 17

The total potential occupancy has increased from 56 to 60 people.

The position of the block has been adjusted so that the access road now runs between the rear of St. Simon’s Church and the block.

We will publish more details when we have had the opportunity to study the application, but the application addresses all issues arising from past use of the land. The major remaining issue appears to be whether it is acceptable for ABC to use this rare opportunity to build truly affordable housing even though it will result in some loss of open space.

The ABC Planning Case reference is 18/01508/AS
http://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=110796

We have as with all planning applications we are notified of for South Ashford posted basic details under
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/category/site/planning-notice/

New rules on multiple occupation

Landlords with properties across the Ashford borough are being urged to prepare for changes to the rules governing Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

From 1 October 2018, all HMOs with five or more people comprising of two or more family units will require a licence to operate. Currently an HMO licence is only required if a property is over three or more floors, so the main change is the removal of the number of storeys from the HMO definition.

The changes are contained in The Licensing of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Prescribed Description) (England) Order 2018. The government estimates that the changes will mean an extra 160,000 properties will need to be licensed in England, with Ashford Borough Council estimating that up to 150 properties will need to be licensed across the borough.

The new legislation will also introduce minimum space standards for bedrooms. Rooms sleeping one adult must be no smaller than 6.51m2. And any rooms sleeping two adults must be no smaller than 10.22 m2. Rooms slept in by children aged 10 or younger must be no smaller than 4.64 m2.

Where minimum space standards are not being met, councils will be able to grant a period not exceeding 18 months to rectify the situation. Landlords must also provide adequate receptacles for the storage and disposal of household waste produced at the property.

Landlords are required to apply for a licence before 1 October and comply with any changes needed to be made. If, after this period you have not complied with the new scheme, you could face serious penalties, including hefty fines and criminal prosecution.

For more information on the changes and to make an application, contact Ashford Borough Council on privatesectorhousing@ashford.gov.uk

Ashford Borough Council  19 June 2018
www.ashford.gov.uk/whats-on/news/storey-time-for-landlords-under-new-rules-on-multiple-occupation-19th-june/

Poplars, Beaver Lane – Redevelopment Consultation

Ashford Borough Council is proposing a redevelopment of the Poplars, Beaver Lane, to 30 units as independent living for older people.

They are holding a public consultation event

  • from 4.00pm to 6.00pm
  • On 5th June 2018
  • At United Church Hall
    Cade Road, Ashford TN23 6JE

Ashford Borough Council want to engage with local residents and keep you informed and hear your views on the proposals. This is only part of the consultation process and they will be happy to receive correspondence via email, telephone or in person.

If you are unable to attend this event and wish to discuss the proposals or have any questions, please contact them:

  • email: site queries@ashford.gov.uk,
  • telephone: 012333 333311, or
  • visit the Civic Centre in person