Main Changes to Local Plan 2030

Comment ID MCLP/1064
Document Section Main Changes to Local Plan 2030 Policy S51 - Aldington, Land North of Church View (MC94) Content [View all comments on this section]
Respondent Aldington & Bonnington Parish… [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 31 Aug 2017
To be "Sound" a Plan should be Positively Prepared, Justified, Effective and Consistent with National Policy
Do you consider that this ‘Main Change’ is sound? No
If you consider the ‘Main Change’ is unsound, on which grounds do you consider it so (see guidance)?

Please set out your representation here, relating to "soundness". If applicable, what changes do you propose to make the document "sound"?

To help the independent Planning Inspector manage the examination, we ask that representations are concise and, where they are necessarily detailed, that you provide a concise summary setting out your main points.

Comment

Ashford Borough Council Local Plan 2030

The Parish Council is being consulted by the Borough Council on the Local Plan 2030 and the Main Changes to the Local Plan.

Prior to responding to the consultation, the Parish Council made representation to the Ashford Borough Council Cabinet at its meeting on 15th June 2017 on the subject. The Chairman of the meeting requested that all comments made at that meeting be submitted as part of the present consultation process.

The Parish Council resolved at its meeting on 10th July 2017 to seek the views of the residents of Aldington and Bonnington to ensure that the electorate’s views are taken into account in the representation made by the Parish Council.

To this end every property on the electoral register was mailed a questionnaire asking three key questions:

Do you:

  1. Support all further development in Aldington?
  2. Accept the proposed sites (30 houses) and wish the Parish Council to work with planners and developers for the best possible outcome?
  3. Oppose all further development in Aldington in the near term?The questionnaire also asked residents for their views on suggested projects to update the Village Wish list and any other projects that they wished to be considered by the Parish Council. The results of the survey have been collated and an overall response rate of 20% has been achieved, which needs to be taken into account in the Parish Council’s submission. In summary, the individual questions gave the following response rates: 
  1. 7%
  2. 23%
  3. 70%.Residents also recorded comments, the majority of which centre around lack of infrastructure and in particular the poor access to the village, as all routes in and out have pinch points and restricted visibility.

The Parish Council has been lobbied by residents for some time now about the cumulatively high rate of development within the parish, and there have been repeated calls for a rest from development in the near term to allow the growth from the previous local plan and windfall sites to be absorbed. There has been growth of some 27% in houses during the last 10 years as well as growth of 58% in population to date. The initial draft plan of June 2016 gave false hopes that there would be no further development in our parishes in the short term as Sites SS4 and SS5 were both rejected as not being suitable for development on the grounds that the site would be very visually intrusive in the landscape and would extend the village away from its central core.

MC 94 Policy S51 – Aldington, Land North of Church View and MC 95 Policy S52 – Aldington, Land South of Goldwell Court

The Parish Council respects and supports the views of the residents obtained during the survey and therefore finds that Major Change 94, Policy S51 – Aldington, Land North of Church View and Major Change 95, Policy S52 – Aldington, Land South of Goldwell Court are unsound. The Borough Council’s submission forms have been completed to this effect and have been submitted independently of this letter. However, it is felt that the response form, limiting the text to 100 words for the convenience of the independent inspector, leaves insufficient room for a truly reasoned response to be given. Reference has been made to this accompanying letter, containing a fuller explanation of the Parish Council’s response to each relevant policy, in each form submitted.

The inclusion of new Policies S51 – Aldington, Land North of Church View (MC 94) and S52 – Aldington, Land South of Goldwell Court (MC 95) – has again resulted in residents’ lobbying against further development. The Parish Council has therefore made a detailed comparison of the original survey conducted for sites SS4 and SS5 with the recent survey carried out when the sites were reconsidered. Whilst there are some anomalies in the site description between the compass points, it is clear that the main reasons for the initial refusal on these sites was that they would be visually intrusive in the landscape and would extend the village away from its central core. The new proposal seeks to mitigate this by considerably reducing the number of houses but proposes what is in effect ribbon development of Goldwell Lane, which is contrary to the Town and Country Planning Act of 1925, which was introduced to prevent this.

The Parish Council considers the conclusion of the current survey to be flawed in that it quotes Aldington as being a sustainable settlement with access to many local services. It also states that the site is located on the edge of the current built form. In terms of sustainability, the local infrastructure has not kept pace with cumulative development. Aldington does not benefit from mains gas; therefore any new development has to rely upon alternative means of providing heat in the form of LPG or oil which has to be brought in by road, again impacting on narrow country lanes. It has been proven with previous developments in the parish that the capacity of the sewerage network is open to question, and reassurances need to be sought before any development commences that capacity is available. There is no doctors’ surgery in close proximity, the nearest being at Sellindge which is not accessible by public transport. The only public transport link is not suitable for anyone wishing to use it to travel to work, as the buses do not run in the early mornings or evenings. Furthermore, there is no weekend service. In terms of the site location, the type of development being proposed is effectively ribbon development, which could expand the village still further in the future with infill development.

Should Policies S51 and S52 remain in the final version of the local plan and the proposals of Policy HOU1 be implemented (MC 48), this would result in 4 of the 10 dwellings being Affordable Housing. Whilst this is to be welcomed, this will no doubt reduce the S106 funds possibly being made available for projects within the community. In addition, the suggestion of contributions towards the enhancement or maintenance of the nearby public open space, together with equipped play area provision, is not welcomed by the Parish Council as S106 monies from a number of previous developments have already seen the parish well equipped in this respect. Furthermore, the area fronting Roman Road, including the play area, adult fitness equipment and the Multi Use Games Area are on land owned and operated by the Reynolds Playing Field Charity, not the Parish Council or the Borough Council. It is notable from our survey this month of residents’ wishes for an updated Wish List that further play areas or enhancements to public spaces do not rank highly. Contributions towards other community projects, upon which the Parish Council has sought the views of the residents, would be more appropriate and much more welcome. In this regard, it is significant, in the light of the infrastructural impacts of the cumulative development experienced to date, that residents’ top-ranking wishes are for 1) an improvement in the bus service; 2) installation of a speed indicator device; and 3) introduction of other traffic-calming measures.

The Parish Council, whilst having taken account of the views of residents, is also mindful of the requirements being placed on the Borough Council by central Government on the number of houses to be built. Whilst the proposed allocation is a small number (30) in terms of the total required by the Borough as a whole, this is still a large percentage increase for Aldington: a further 6% in terms of housing numbers and population. It will place additional challenges on the already-under-pressure infrastructure.

Should either or both of the two policies remain in the final approved Local Plan, the Parish Council would wish to have the opportunity to work closely with the planning department and developers to ensure the best possible design, layout and quality of build, with minimal disruption to the village’s everyday life, and the most relevant allocation of S106 funding for the benefit of the community as a whole.

Attachments
Do you consider it necessary to participate at the oral part of the examination? Yes
Does your representation relate to a new or a previously-submitted omission site?
  • Not Applicable
If you have previously commented on the Local Plan, as a result of this ‘Main Change’ do you wish to withdraw, replace or add to any previous comments?
  • Not Applicable – this is a new representation
Do you consider that this ‘Main Change’ is Legally Compliant in accordance with the relevant regulations?
  • Don't know