News

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.

Homeplus development amendments

A revised set of plans has been posted on the Ashford Borough Council planning website for the redevelopment of the Homeplus site.

A decision on the planning application was deferred by the Planning Committee when the application was considered on 17th June 2020: 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 amendments to the scheme include a reduction by one storey of the Beaver Road block and changes to the roof line, which to an extent addresses comments by South Ashford Community Forum. Materials have been changed across the design and heights have been adjusted in other parts of the proposal.

The changes result in a reduction of seven in the number of flats proposed.

Addressing another comment made by SACF, the amended documents include an Energy Strategy that shows an improvement on Building Regulations maximum carbon emissions of 22% compared with 5% for the previous scheme.

A revised Financial Viability Assessment asserts that the developer would be unable to pay the S106 contributions requested by the Council (valued at £1.3m).

ABC Planning case ref: 19/01597/AS

Stagecoach changing social distancing

Stagecoach are changing social distancing on buses in the South East

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease and more people are travelling Stagecoach have reviewed their seating guidance so they can safely carry more passengers.

There will be posters and signage onboard the bus to help you find where to sit. Once on board you’ll be able to sit:

  • One person per double seat
  • Leave the seat behind and next to someone empty
  • Only sit with somebody if they’re in your household or bubble.

See below example plans so that you can see the zig zag seating arrangement:

Lower level seating plan example
Upper level seating plan example

We know you’ve got lots of questions so we’ve put together some answers relating to this new process when travelling on our services.

Q Why is it safe now to sit so close to others on the bus?

A With the virus now more controlled, the alert level has been reduced and there has been a relaxation of social distancing measures across other sectors in England. Now that everyone who can is wearing a face covering on board it was time for us to make a few changes. Along with other public transport operators, we’ve done a risk assessment which means one person can now sit on each double seat, in a zig-zag formation. This will allow more people to safely travel on our services.

Q I haven’t seen this in the Government guidelines, is this allowed?

A In line with the reduced risk level, the Government has relaxed social distancing measures across a wide range of sectors and worked with individual sectors to apply the new measures to that industry. We’ve consulted with government and The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) that this change in social distancing on board public transport is allowed and is necessary to help get the country moving again.

Q What if the person in front of or behind me isn’t wearing a face covering?

A There will be people who aren’t wearing face coverings because they’re exempt for various reasons so please remember to be kind. If you feel uncomfortable sitting in front of or behind them, choose a seat further away or across the aisle.

10-steps to staying safe when you travel:

1. Plan ahead, allow extra time for your journey and try to travel at off-peak times, where possible.

2. Wear a face covering. 


3. Use contactless, smartphone, smartcard, or  have the exact change.

4. Buses will have limited capacity. If your bus has a BUS FULL sign please be prepared to wait for the next bus.

5. Let people off the bus before you get on. Be considerate of the impact of restrictions on the needs of fellow passengers who may have impairments, disabilities or mobility issues.

6. Keep a safe social distance from others, at the bus stop and on board.

7. Only one person can sit on a double seat, unless you’re with a member of your household or bubble.

8. Leave the seat next to you or behind someone empty.


9. Don’t stand on the bus.


10. Wash or sanitise your hands before and after your journey.

Stagecoach timetable changes

Stagecoach are increasing more of their services in the South East from Monday 29th June 2020

Stagecoach thanks all of their customers who have given valuable feedback in recent weeks.

They have listened to this and made changes where they can to bring services back to the communities of Kent and East Sussex.

The services changing on the 29th June 2020 include:

  • Ashford; 2, A, B, C, D & AD.

Please note that timetables are being updated more frequently than usual at this time, so please check the latest temporary timetables below before you travel:

Temporary timetables >

As more people return to work, to help keep everyone safe the number of seats available on buses has been reduced to promote social distancing.

Please plan ahead and avoid the busiest times of day if you can and see below our 10-steps to travelling safely at this time.

  1. Plan ahead, allow extra time for your journey and try to travel at off-peak times, where possible.
  2. You must wear a face covering.
  3. Use contactless to pay or have the correct change.
  4. Buses will have limited capacity. If your bus has a BUS FULL sign please be prepared to wait for the next bus.
  5. Let people off the bus before you get on.
  6. Keep a safe social distance from others, 2m apart where possible – at the bus stop and on board.
  7. Sit in the window seat, leaving the seats in front and behind you empty and don’t sit directly behind the driver.
  8. Only one person can sit on a double seat, unless you’re with a member of your household.
  9. Don’t stand on the bus.
  10. Wash or sanitise your hands before and after your journey.

Homeplus decision deferred

Homeplus proposals elevation

Yesterday evening (17 June 2020), Ashford Borough Council’s Planning Committee deferred a decision on the proposal by A Better Choice for Property for the redevelopment of the Homeplus site on the corner of Beaver Road and Avenue Jacques Faucheux. The reasons sited were quality of design and massing of the proposals. The vote to defer was taken after a motion to Refuse the application failed. A motion to Permit was not seconded.

The meeting papers and a link to view the recording of the meeting are at: 
https://ashford.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=139&MId=3821
The application is at:
https://planning.ashford.gov.uk/Planning/details.aspx?systemkey=113996

NHS Test and Trace

NHS Test and Trace service is now in operation.
You may be contacted by the Service if:
▪️You have tested positive for Coronavirus or
▪️You have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for Coronavirus.

Be aware of scammers taking advantage of the launch of the service.

For accurate detailed information about the service go to
https://www.nhs.uk/…/coronavirus-c…/testing-for-coronavirus/

The NHS Test and Trace service will contact you by email, text or phone.
Text messages will come from the NHS. Calls will come from 0300 0135000.
Children under 18 will be contacted by phone wherever possible and asked for their parent or guardian’s permission to continue the call.

If you have tested positive for Coronavirus:

You’ll be asked to sign in to the NHS Test and Trace contact tracing website at https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk.

On the contact tracing website, you’ll be asked for information including:
▪️your name, date of birth and postcode
▪️if you live with other people
▪️any places you’ve been recently, such as a workplace or school
▪️names and contact details of any people you were in close contact with in the 48 hours before your symptoms started (if you know these details)
If you cannot use the contact tracing website, you’ll be asked for this information over the phone.

The NHS Test and Trace service will not:

▪️ask for bank details or payments
▪️ask for details of any other accounts, such as social media
▪️ask you to set up a password or PIN number over the phone
▪️ask you to call a premium rate number, such as those starting 09 or 087

Do not click links in texts or emails
Do not press 1 if you are telephoned

Stagecoach timetable changes

Stagecoach are increasing some services across the South East from 1st June 2020

From Monday 1st June there’ll be a phased uplift in bus services. At first this will be on some of the busier routes in Kent, but as government lock-down restrictions ease, you will begin to see more buses return to service in other parts of the South East.

The services changing on the 1st June 2020 include:

Ashford routes; 1/1A, 2A, 10X, 11, 111, 123 & 666

Thanet routes; 8/8X, 48, 48A, Loop

Dover routes; 61 (evenings), 90 & 15

Please note that timetables are being updated more frequently than usual at this time, so please check our latest temporary timetables below before you travel:

Temporary timetables

10-steps to staying safe when you travel:

  1. Plan ahead, allow extra time for your journey and try to travel at off-peak times, where possible.
  2. Wear a face covering if you can.
  3. Use contactless to pay or have the correct change.
  4. Buses will have limited capacity. If your bus has a BUS FULL sign please be prepared to wait for the next bus.
  5. Let people off the bus before you get on.
  6. Keep a safe social distance from others, 2m apart where possible – at the bus stop and on board.
  7. Sit in the window seat, leaving the seats in front and behind you empty and don’t sit directly behind the driver.
  8. Only one person can sit on a double seat, unless you’re with a member of your household.
  9. Don’t stand on the bus.
  10. Wash or sanitise your hands before and after your journey.

As more people return to work, to help keep everyone safe we have reduced the number of seats available on our buses to promote social distancing. Please plan ahead and avoid the busiest times of day if you can and see below our 10-steps to travelling safely at this time.

Stagecoach UK Bus 30 May 2020
https://www.stagecoachbus.com/promos-and-offers/south-east/government-coronavirus-measures–changes-to-bus-services
https://www.stagecoachbus.com/promos-and-offers/national/covid-19-travelling-safely