Planning and Development

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

Working Mens’ Club development proposals

Proposals have been published for the redevelopment of Ashford International Sports and Social Club, previously Ashford Working Men’s Club.

Norman Road Elevation

The proposals include the demolition of the existing social club building and the creation of a replacement social club building at the rear of the site closer to B&Q.

The scheme also includes the development of 31 high quality apartments arranged in two blocks fronting Beaver Road and Norman Road, which will range in height from 3 to 5 storeys.

Parking spaces for the club and the apartments will be provided to the rear of the buildings with the vehicular access onto Norman Road retained. Communal amenity areas and landscaping is also proposed within the site.

The apartments will have 1 or 2 bedrooms and each apartment will have access to at least one parking space.

Beaver Road Elevation

The developers, Cost Plan Group, would like to give club members and the local community the opportunity to share their views on the scheme prior to the submission of a planning application. Due to government guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is difficult to hold a public consultation meeting as they would normally do.

They have created an online public consultation website to encourage you to find out more about the proposal and give your feedback. The feedback received will be reviewed and analysed and where possible used to inform the final application submitted to Ashford Borough Council.

Costplan’s website indicate involvement in a number prominent developments internationally.

Site Plan

Costplan are in the process of preparing a planning application for the Site and the current consultation is part of the process. They will carefully consider all comments received, and use them to inform our final proposals.

The application will be accompanied by a variety of surveys and reports, on matters including flooding, highways and transport, ecology, archaeology, contamination and nutrient neutrality.

The proposals will be detailed with a full set of application drawings including floor plans and elevations.

Once the application is submitted, you will have a further opportunity to make your formal comments to Ashford Borough Council.

Costplan Group
http://www.ashfordsocialclub.co.uk/

Powergen Plots 1 & 2 begin

Plot 1
Studio Flats17
1-Bed Units 130
2-Bed Units110
Total Plot 1257
Plot 2
Studio flat 16
1-bed Units 41
2-Bed Units 84
3-Bed Units 2
Total Plot 2 143
Total Plots 1 and 2400
Plots 1 and 2
Accommodation Schedule

Construction of the proposals for Powergen Plots 1 and 2 has commenced in the last few weeks.

Ashford Borough Council’s Planning Committee voted to permit the proposals in June 2016 for 400 apartments, with final approval being granted in November 2016, as part of hybrid application 15/01671/AS. The application included full details for Plots 1 and 2 while Plots 3,4 and 5 were in outline.

The accommodation proposed is tabulated to the right:

The completion of this development will be a valuable contribution to Ashford Borough Council’s Five Year Housing Land Supply which was 295 dwellings short in July 2020.

Land ownership

A subsidiary of the UK arm of Scandinavian letting company ‘Neighbour’ had purchased the land for plots 1 and 2 and it was intended that they would be built before Plots 3, 4 and 5. In the event the land for Plots 3,4 and 5 was purchased by GRE Assets, who commenced the construction, have completed a number of blocks, with work on those remaining ongoing.

In December 2018 the name of the company owning Plots 1 and 2 was changed from Neighbour Ashford Ltd. to Victoria Road Developments Limited.

In August 2019 the company that financed the purchase of the land, Lendinvest Security Trustees, obtained an order to appoint a receiver for Victoria Road Develepments.

In October 2019 the an application was made to Ashford Borough Council for a certificate  confirming that access works were undertaken lawfully to implement a start of the approved development of the site. The application was been submitted to confirm that the planning approval has not expired hence allowing the site to be sold with planning permission.

However, on 21 April 2021 Victoria Road Developments remained the registered owners of the site and Lendinvest the Lenders.

Previous proposal

The previous proposal for the site, the Zedhome scheme, was permitted on appeal. It included 519 dwellings on Plots 1 and 2 sites plus 8000m2 of commercial and other non-residential uses. in blocks up to the equivalent of 16 storeys. The whole development (including the Plots 3, 4 and 5 sites comprised 1000 dwellings plus commercial and other uses.

East Stour Park appeal delayed.

Riverside view of proposed development

Update, 05/01/2021: We have received notification that the appeal hearing due to commence on 13th January has been ‘cancelled’. We await notification of a new date for the hearing.

Update, 10/12/2020: We have today receive a letter from Ashford Borough Council confirming the hearing date as 13th January for up to 3 days. The letter is reproduced below. You must register to participate in the ‘informal virtual hearing’

09/12/2020: The hearing of the appeal against Ashford Borough Council’s decision to refuse the planning application for the proposed ‘East Stour Park’ development has been delayed.

The hearing was due to take place yesterday (8th December 2020) with provision for a second day today. Although no change to the timetable had been published a new date of 13th January 2021 had been shown on the ABC planning portal but this has been removed.

Today a statement by the Planning Inspector was uploaded to the portal that the Secretary of State had considered whether an Environmental Impact Assessment was required for the site. The Secretary of State had confirmed that an EIA was not required, agreeing with ABC’s screening decision.

Ashford Borough Council letter:

With reference to the above appeal, the Planning Inspectorate has now confirmed that the appeal is being dealt with by way of an informal virtual hearing which will start at 10.00am on 13 January 2021 and it is anticipated as sitting for 3 days but the duration is not fixed and will depend on how the evidence emerges.

An Inspector has been appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions under paragraph 1(i) of Schedule 6 to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to determine this appeal.As I indicated in my earlier letter, I have forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate and to the Appellants all comments that I have received from you or other people relating to the application for planning permission which has led to this appeal.

If you wish to see the Council’s reasons for refusal of the application and the appellant’s grounds of appeal, proofs of evidence, summaries and statement of common ground, these may be inspected online at: https://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=112528 Should you wish for any further information, please contact the ABC Case Officer named in the application details.

Anyone wishing to attend the hearing must make that interest known to the Planning Inspectorate Case Officer as soon as possible prior to the hearing either by email or telephone message after reading the Hearing Attendance Information set out below, which you should include with your hearing notification letters; please also include the Case Officer’s name and contact details as per the site notice published on the councils website.

Hearing Attendance Information

Before deciding whether to take an active part in the Hearing, you need to think carefully about the points you wish to make. All written submissions from application and appeal stage will be taken into account by the Inspector and re-stating the same points won’t add any additional weight to them.

If you feel that taking part in the Hearing is right for you in whatever capacity, you can participate in a number of ways:

  • To take part using video, participants will need to have access to Microsoft Teams (via an app or web browser). This link gives further information on how to use this: https://support.office.com/en-us/teams.
  • Alternatively you can take part by telephone. NB Calls would be to an 020 number which will incur charges. https://www.gov.uk/call-charges

If you wish to just observe the event, you should make that clear in your response to the Case Officer. If you wish to take an active part in the discussions, please make clear in your response to the Case Officer if possible, which topic areas you are particularly interested in.

If you want to take an active part but feel unable to for any reason, and/or the points you want to make are not covered in the evidence of others, consider whether someone else could raise them on your behalf.

Registered participants in whatever capacity will receive individual joining instructions, providing details of any requirements, guidance and support whether joining by Teams or telephone.

Homeplus application deferred again.

Members of Ashford Borough Council’s Planning Committee have again, this evening, deferred making a decision on a proposal to redevelop the Homeplus site at the junction of Beaver Road and Avenue Jacques Faucheux.

The application was originally considered by the Committee on 17th June 2020 when the Committee voted to defer a decision ‘for Officers to seek clarification and scheme amendments as necessary from the applicant to deal with … … improvements to the overall quality of design across the whole site based on Members’ comments on design issues …’

The application was due to be considered again on 16th September but was withdrawn from the agenda to address Habitat Regulations matters – believed to relate to the potential impact arising from excessive nutrients from waste water discharges on wetland sites at Stodmarsh.

At this evening’s Committee Meeting the Committee again deferred the application because they considered that the applicants had not fully addressed the issues raised at the June meeting.

Members also expressed concern that all developer’s Section 106 obligations would be deferred as the development did not meet nationally set viability limits.

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.

Appeal against HMO refusal dismissed

An appeal against a refusal by Ashford Borough Council (ABC) to issue a Lawful Development Certificate for the existing use of a house in Bond Road as a large House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) has been dismissed.

The Planning Inspector has agreed with ABC that the applicant has failed to provide sufficient evidence that the house in question has been used as a large HMO continuously for ten years.

The request for a Lawful Development Certificate followed an earlier application for planning permission for change of use of the property to a Large HMO. That application was refused because “The proposed change of use, due to insufficient onsite parking, would result in an unacceptable impact in on-street parking to the detriment of existing nearby residents and the surrounding road network. Further, any vehicles attempting to park at the front would result in vehicles overhanging the footpath to the detriment of pedestrian safety.” contrary to Policy HOU11 of the Ashford Local Plan.

Under the Planning and Compensation Act 1991 the Local Planning Authority (LPA) cannot take enforcement action against a breach of planning control after defined time limits. In the case of a change of use to an HMO the limit is ten years; after which the use becomes lawful.

Consultation on planning system reforms

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is consulting on two sets of reforms to the planning system.

The first, Changes to the current planning system, includes:

  • changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need
  • securing of First Homes through developer contributions
  • temporarily lifting the small sites threshold
  • extending the current Permission in Principle to major development

This is likely to increase the assessed need for housing in Ashford.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-current-planning-system

The second, Planning for the future, relates to the wider changes that have been announced by the government. The Government press release states that the proposals include:

  • plans to overhaul outdated planning system and reform the way the country builds
  • Plans to streamline process, cut red tape and harness technology to deliver homes faster
  • Valued green spaces protected for future generations, with more building on brownfield land
  • Building beautiful homes with communities at heart of new planning system
  • 30% discount through First Homes, with an emphasis on key workers

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/launch-of-planning-for-the-future-consultation-to-reform-the-planning-system

East Stour Park appeal

image of development

The developer of the proposed East Stour Park development at junction of Romney Marsh Road and north of, Norman Road has appealed the decision by Ashford Borough Council to refuse the application.

The Council’s planning committee voted to refuse the application against officer recommendations following representations from South Ashford Community and a local resident. The Ward Councillor also spoke against granting permission. The reasons given for refusal rested primarily on the site’s location in Ashford’s Green Corridor.

The developer has asked for the appeal to be considered at a hearing rather than by submitted representations, citing a complex mix of considerations and claiming that Ashford Borough Council no longer have a five year housing land supply.