Housing

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

Gypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople consultation

Help shape our Local PlanGypsy, Traveller and Travelling Showpeople Issues and Options

Ashford Borough Council

Opens: 21 Feb 2018
Closes: 6 Apr 2018 at 17:00.

Ashford Borough Council are committed to meeting the identified needs of the Gypsy and Traveller community within the borough. In order to meet this need, the Council is in the process of developing a Development Plan Document for Gypsies and Travellers.  This document seeks the views of the Gypsy and Traveller communities, residents and stakeholders, on the issues and options for Gypsy and Traveller site selection in Ashford.

The issues and options outlined within this consultation are not a statement of intention by Ashford, instead they are designed to highlight the key themes and suggested options upon which they need your views. Consultation on the issues and options report and consideration of the responses to consultation will assist the Council to analyse the merits and drawbacks of all the practical options available for providing sites for Gypsies, Travellers and travelling showpeople. As part of this issues and options consultation, they are seeking to identify suitable sites to consider for inclusion as Gypsy, Traveller and travelling showpeople sites within the DPD.  Suggestions for the inclusion of specific sites are an important aspect of consultation on this particular Issues and Options report.

The format of the consultation is to provide some background information and then pose a series of questions to help guide responses, and there is the opportunity to raise further issues and options as part of this consultation. (more…)

Halstow Way redevelopment consultation

View from open space

Did you attend the event yesterday evening, 21st Feb?

South Ashford Community Forum would like to know your views.

  • Do you live in the immediate vicinity of the Noakes Meadow open space? Did you receive a notice of the event?
  • Affordable housing is desperately needed in Ashford and the Council have used some land they own to produce excellent small developments.
  • The land on which these flats are to be built is designated open space. the Council are proposing that S106 money from this development and others is used to improve the remainder of the space, to compensate for the reduction in area. Is this an appropriate use of open space.
  • The plans allow for 28 car parking spaces to comply with the requirement in the draft local plan but data indicates that car ownership in flats in Ashford is 1 car per 2 dwellings. Should this much space be used for parking?
  • Is the location appropriate for 3 storey development about 12m to to ridge?
  • The proposals show the site fenced. Does it need to be, or is this creating a ‘gated community’.
  • What will the impact be on the existing residents of Halstow Way?

(more…)

Homelessness Support for Vulnerable Adults Consultation

Kent County CouncilHomelessness Support Service for Vulnerable Adults in Kent

Kent County Council

Opens: 22 January 2018
Closes: 4 March 2018

Kent County Council (KCC) funds homelessness support services for vulnerable young people (16-25), adults who are over 18 and offenders who need additional support. Currently, those services can be categorised as either ‘supported housing’, ‘floating support’ or ‘rough sleeper outreach’.

We would like to hear your views on the proposals contained within the consultation document, which refers to plans for those 18+, and your thoughts on how we might improve the future delivery of homelessness support for vulnerable adults in Kent. Your views will be used to help shape the future of these services after October 2018.

Have your say

We would like to hear your views on our proposal.  We recommend you read the consultation document which can be found in the ‘Consultation Documents’ section below. To take part in the consultation, please fill in the online questionnaire which is available in the ‘Respond to this Consultation’ section below.

Alternative formats: If you require any of the consultation material in an alternative format or language please email alternativeformats@kent.gov.uk or call 03000 421553 (text relay service number: 18001 03000 421553). This number goes to an answering machine, which is monitored during office hours.

Privacy: Kent County Council collects and processes personal information in order to provide a range of public services. Kent County Council respects the privacy of individuals and endeavours to ensure personal information is collected fairly & lawfully.  We will follow our Data Protection Act guidelines to keep your information secure and confidential.

We recommend using Google Chrome if viewing and downloading consultation documents from mobile devices.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation Document (PDF version) https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/889378/33054309.1/PDF/-/Homelessness_Consultation_Document.pdf
  • Consultation Document (Word version) https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/889378/33054245.1/DOCX/-/Homelessness_Consultation_Document.docx
  • Questionnaire (Word version) https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/889378/33089189.1/WIZ/-/Consultation_Questionnaire__21.01.18.doc
  • Questionnaire (PDF version) https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/889378/33089221.1/PDF/-/Consultation_Questionnaire__21.01.18.pdf
  • Equality Impact Assessment https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/889378/33054437.1/DOCX/-/Equality_Impact_Assessment.docx

Respond to this Consultation

  • Respond by filling in the online questionnaire https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/consult.ti/homelessnessconsultation/respondByQuestionnaire

ABC Property Company to invest in Travis site

Ashford Borough Council has announced that its property company ‘A Better Choice for Property’, is to buy apartments to be built on the Travis Perkins site on Victoria Crescent.

The purchase, the company’s biggest yet, represents a multimillion-pound investment in the town.

Tracey Kerly, Ashford Borough Council’s Chief Executive, said: “The property company demonstrates another innovative way that the Council is supporting the complex and various housing needs of a growing population.”

She added: “We are delighted to be working with Leath Park Developments on this exciting development which will be built to the council’s lifetime homes and strict space standards that go further than national prescribed space standards. We look forward to growing the business further in the coming years, with the aim of generating more revenue to maintain and enhance overall service provision.”

Darren Welch, Managing Director of Leath Park Developments (a Jenner Group Company) said: “This is another example of Ashford Borough Council’s proactive approach to providing local housing in the area and we look forward to working closely with the development team to deliver 28 high quality apartments at Victoria Crescent.”

A Better Choice for Property effectively operates as a buy-to-let investment company, targeting people in work in Ashford who can afford to rent. They are given one-year tenancies that can then be extended by further yearly increments or on a monthly rolling contract, affording flexibility to the tenants, while enabling communities to develop. The emphasis is on providing a high-quality customer experience to tenants from start to finish.

The property company has carefully grown a portfolio of 24 two, three and four-bedroom properties in the borough, ranging from flats to detached houses. The company paid interest to the council of £129,000 in the 2016-17 financial year. This money has been put towards the provision of services across the borough.

It is anticipated that in the next three years the company’s portfolio will grow to around 400-500 properties that are either in its ownership or that it is committed to owning off-plan.

Ashford Borough Council 18 December 2017
www.ashford.gov.uk/whats-on/news/property-company-expands-with-off-plan-purchase-18th-dec/

Details of the planning application can be found in our post of 6 July 2016
https://southashford.org.uk/index.php/2016/07/06/former-travis-perkins-trading-co-ltd-victoria-crescent-tn23-7hp/

Combatting ‘rogue landlords’ inquiry

Private Rented Sector

Commons Select Committee for Communities and Local Government
Opens: 09 October 2017
Closes: 24 November 2017

The Communities and Local Government Committee launches inquiry into whether councils have adequate powers to tackle ‘rogue landlords’.

This inquiry into the role of local authorities in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) will focus on the provision by councils of private rented accommodation and whether they have sufficient powers to deal with bad practices.

The inquiry will also examine barriers to intervention in the private rented sector, whether landlord licensing schemes are promoting higher quality accommodation and the effectiveness of complaint mechanism for tenants. (more…)

Housing problems likely to persist for years

The Public Accounts Committee report says Government lacks ambition in addressing housing need and is dependent on ‘broken’ market.

Housebuilding lagging behind demand

The number of homes built in England has lagged behind demand for housing for decades.

The effects of this long-running shortfall in housing reveal themselves in the growing barriers people face in getting on the property ladder, or simply affording their rent.

The human costs are emphasised by the growing problem of homelessness, with the number of families living in temporary accommodation rising from 50,000 in 2011–12 to 72,000 in 2015–16. Almost 120,000 children in England live in temporary accommodation today.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (the Department) has an ambition to deliver 1 million new homes over the five years of this Parliament.

But despite acknowledging that the housing market in England is “broken”, it remains dependent on the existing market, which is dominated by a handful of private developers, to realise its ambition.

Plans to deliver will not come close to matching demand

Even if this is achieved, the Department acknowledges that it will not come close to meeting the actual level of housing need, so problems of affordability and homelessness are likely to persist for years to come.

The Department’s lack of ambition on such a fundamental issue is matched by a lack of information, in particular on the impacts and value for money of the roughly £21 billion the government spends each year on housing benefit.

The Department has recently published a White Paper outlining proposals for accelerating housebuilding, and the Committee looks forward to monitoring the development of its programmes.

Commons Select Committeefor Public Accounts 28 April 2017
www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news-parliament-2015/housing-report-published-16-17/