Forum responds to Park Masterplan

Kentish Express 17 March 2016

Kentish Express
17 March 2016

South Ashford Community Forum are pleased that Ashford Borough Council’s Cabinet have recognised the importance of Victoria Park and Watercress Fields to the residents of Ashford and that the planned development in the area creates both the need and the opportunity to provide investment into the Park.

Some residents have expressed concern that the proposals might cause a loss of open space in the park but we believe that this results from misunderstanding of what is intended. It is important for people to understand that the Masterplan is Draft and constitutes outline proposals that will be subject to consultation. Detailed proposals will be developed from the Masterplan and implementation is dependent on the availability of funding from grants and contributions from developers, of sites such as the Powergen and Jemmett Road Campus. The timetable given in some of the information being circulated is the outline programme for Fountain Zone work, not the implementation of the whole plan. Even these proposals are subject to two successful bids to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

We look forward to working with the Council in development of the proposals and will continue to provide updates at our meetings and via our website and facebook page.

Community Council ballot outcome

Even though we are aware that, as stated in the original literature sent to residents, the results of the ballot (for and against) are non-binding on the Council and are one part of the consultation process, we are disappointed with the voting, .

Whilst we appreciate that the Borough Council were trying to maintain neutrality, they could have been more informative regarding the precept. Many people saw the top figure quoted of £88 pa and assumed that the Community Council precepts could be similar. The Council’s literature didn’t indicate why Tenterden’s precept is so large and hence not likely to be representative of the urban areas. This fuelled ill informed statements made against the creation of Community Councils. The situation was not helped by the minimal coverage in the local press, despite this potentially being the biggest change in local governance, in the Borough, since 1974.

If the Borough Council do not create a Community Council for South Ashford, South Ashford Community Forum will continue do its best to represent the views of the residents and will seek increased support from the Borough Council to enable us to do this more effectively.

South Ashford Community Forum 9th November 2015

Kentish Express 12 November 2015

Kentish Express p27

South Ashford’s Community Council Campaign

The launch of South Ashford’s Community Council Campaign petition appeared in the Kentish Express

Our Press Release:

Forum petition requests formation of Community Council

Since its creation in 1974, Ashford Borough Council, in common with many Borough and District councils, has governed a larger area than its predecessors. While some of the local councils in town areas, e.g. Tenterden, and the parish councils in the rural areas, have continued to exist following reorganisation in the 1970s, other councils, such as the Urban District Councils, were subsumed into the larger Borough Council. As a result, 40% of the all voters in the Borough, about 2/3rds of voters in the urban area of Ashford, do not get the advantages of being represented by a local council.

Ashford Borough Council has started a Community Governance Review that could correct this anomaly.

South Ashford Community Forum has sent a petition to all of the households in the area it serves, requesting that Ashford Borough Council considers the creation of a Community Council to represent South Ashford. The Forum is asking that all voters in the area sign the petition, which can be returned in the supplied postage paid envelope.

If the petition is successful the Forum expects that the Borough Council will include the formation of a Community Council in draft proposals to be published as part of its Review. The Council will issue the proposals for public consultation later this year.

Community Councils are a great way to give residents a more powerful voice in the local area. Their role is to represent the community, provide services to meet local needs and improve the quality of life and community well-being.

  • They are the first tier of local government in England. The Localism Act of 2011gives more authority and power to local government.
  • The Councils are democratically and financially accountable to the community.
  • They have the legal right to be informed about planning applications.
  • Councils can help support groups in the area, through funding, providing somewhere to meet, or by publicity.
  • Community Councils have a range of powers and can provide, maintain or contribute to services.
  • Examples include: leisure centres, youth projects, bus shelters, car parks, community transport schemes, crime reduction measures (e.g. anti-social behaviour, CCTV), cycle paths, allotments, community safety schemes, street cleaning, street lighting and traffic calming.

More information is provided on the South Ashford Community Forum website


South Ashford Community Forum is an open forum set up to represent the views of people living and working in the non-parished area of South Ashford and to help communicate those views to Ashford Borough Council, Kent County Council and other statutory organisations.

Kentish Express 2nd April 2015 page 6

Kentish Express 2nd April 2015 page 6

Community Forums Hustings Events

The Hustings Events organised by Ashford’s Community Forums appear in the local press.

The Press release for the events:

Meet the Candidates

Ashford’s Community Forums are giving voters the opportunity to meet with candidates for the Borough Council elections. An event arranged by each of the Forums will be attended by Borough Council candidates for the Wards the Forum serves. All who live in these Wards are welcome to attend the meeting.

The wards covered, times, dates and venues of each of the meetings are listed below. More details of each event can be found on the respective Forum’s website where any changes will be advertised.

Kennington Community Forum

Bybrook, Kennington, Little Burton Farm, Bockhanger and Boughton Aluph & Eastwell Wards

at 18:45 on 31st March at St. Mary’s Community Centre

South Ashford Community Forum

Beaver, Norman and Victoria Wards

at 19:00 on 22nd April at Ashford International Sports and Social Club

Central Ashford Community Forum

Godinton, Stour, Bockhanger and Victoria Wards

at 19:30 on 28th April at Furley Hall

North Willesborough Community Forum

North Willesborough, Highfield and Aylesford Green Wards

at 19:00 on 29th April at Willesborough Baptist Church

Ashford’s Community Forums are open forums set up to represent the views of people living and working in the non-parished areas of Ashford and to help communicate those views to Ashford Borough Council, Kent County Council and other statutory organisations. All who live or work in the Forum areas are welcome to attend the relevant Forum’s public meetings.

Local press articles:

Kentish Express 26th March 2015

Kentish Express 26th March 2015

Ashford Herald 26th March 2015

Ashford Herald 26th March 2015

Kentish Express 16th April 2015

Kentish Express 16th April 2015