Main Changes to Local Plan 2030

Policy EMP11 - Tourism (MC62)

Page 208 Policy EMP11 Paras 5.209 – 5.215

Admin, Response to rep 2001

Amendments to text and Policy EMP11 – Tourism

Insert following new paragraph after 5.209 and amend paragraph 5.210 :

The NPPF requires local planning authorities to plan for tourism development and specifically supports the role of sustainable rural tourism and leisure development that benefit businesses in rural areas, communities and visitors, and which respect the character of the countryside. This should include supporting the provision and expansion of tourist and visitor facilities in appropriate locations.

5.210 Ashford's Corporate Plan (2015- 2020) identifies one of its key priorities is to have a borough that 'recognises the value of tourism and the benefits its brings to our towns, villages and the borough as a whole.

Amend paragraph 5.213, Insert new paragraph after 5.213, and amend paragraphs 5.214 and 5.215:

5.213 Ashford has the benefit of a good accommodation base in terms of range and quality of bed spaces and is ideally located to attract both UK and overseas visitors. The proximity of the Channel Tunnel and the location of the International Station, with its high speed links to the continent and London, means that Ashford is uniquely placed to benefit from an increase in overseas and domestic visitors. The fact that Canterbury, Rochester and major attractions such as Leeds Castle and Sissinghurst Gardens are nearby also mean that Ashford is a natural centre for tourism. Ashford’s unspoilt ‘Garden of England’ countryside with its picturesque villages, large number of listed buildings, its small, but important range of museums, its quality attractions, and cultural heritage assets and the ‘honeypot’ of Tenterden, add to the appeal. The urban areas of Ashford and Tenterden Towns, as well as the large areas of surrounding countryside make a valuable contribution to the current tourism offer in the Borough, as well as providing for future opportunities to expand and enhance the offer.

The Council is therefore supportive of tourism development, including a range of new tourist accommodation, in appropriate locations, with more major tourism development being promoted in Ashford and Tenterden towns. Rural tourism development is also encouraged in order to take advantage of the Borough’s large areas of attractive countryside, where this would not be harmful to the character of the environment that attracts tourists in the first instance.

5.214 There are a number of planned tourism facilities proposed in Ashford Borough, which will continue to improve Ashford's attraction as a tourist destination. For example, planning permission has been granted for an International Model Railway Exhibition Centre, and Chapel Down Winery is planning to open a state of the art brewery and visitor attraction on Victoria Road in Ashford.

5.215 The following policy seeks to retain existing facilities and support the development of new tourism facilities in appropriate locations, in both urban and rural areas.

Changes to policy EMP11 – Tourism as follows:

Policy EMP11 –Tourism

The Council will support the retention of existing tourism facilities and encourage sustainable growth of tourism through the provision of a wide variety of new facilities in appropriate locations across the Borough.

Proposals for new hotel and B&B development will be permitted in locations that are accessible by a choice of modes of transport and will be particularly encouraged in the Ashford ­and Tenterden urban areas.

Proposals for conference and exhibition facilities in Ashford town centre, potentially in association with a hotel development, will be supported subject to other Local Plan policies.