Main Changes to Local Plan 2030

SECTION C - TRANSPORT INTRO (MC63)

Pages 211 - 213 Transport intro Paras 5.228, 5.241

Admin; Response to rep 2654, 287 and 2387

Amended and additional supporting paragraphs within Section C – Transport as follows:

5.228 The funding package for the Junction 10a scheme includes £16m of ‘developer funding’ (of a total of c.£80m). In recent years, the Council has levied proportionate developer contributions to a package of transport-related measures in the south Ashford area through Section 106 Agreements based on saved Local Plan SPG6 (insert title Providing the Transport Needs arising from South Ashford Study) which was most recently updated in 2004. This has included an element of funding to be used for the delivery of a future ‘Junction 10a’ scheme.

5.241 In response to various current residential and commercial development proposals within the Town Centre area, a series of improvements to the junctions around the former Ring Road are needed. Kent County Council Highways are current designing these improvements and it is anticipated that developments will make proportionate contributions towards the key junctions either side of the Beaver Road bridge. This will facilitate early KCC has designed a scheme of highway mitigation which provides confidence over scheme funding and future implementation as local developments that will make proportionate contributions towards the key junctions either side of the Beaver Road Bridge, now benefit from a resolution to planning consent with contributions to be secured via s106 agreements. The highway improvement will facilitate the release of new developments that are fundamental to the growth and development of the town centre and its attractiveness as a location for new investment.

Insert new paragraphs after 5.241:

Rail Infrastructure

The Council acknowledges the significance of the railway to the borough, and to Ashford town in particular. Rail plays a key role in supporting economic development in the borough, and the High Speed service has been a key driver for employment growth as a result of the 38-minute journey times into London.

Ashford International has become a central staging post, with the aforementioned High Speed line and further links through Kent and into Sussex and continental Europe. During the lifetime of this plan, the busy transport interchange on the northern side of the station will need to be enhanced to provide for the changing needs of the borough, ensuring that an effective and sustainable interchange provides for more integrated journeys, supporting onward bus, cycle and pedestrian connectivity. This should be delivered as part of the suite of works associated with the development of the Commercial Quarter, and with involvement from the Council as landowner of International House.

In addition to Ashford International, there are a further six railway stations within the borough – Appledore, Charing, Chilham, Ham Street, Pluckley and Wye. The priorities for these are to improve cycling facilities and customer information systems, and the provision of waiting shelters. Additionally, in the case of Appledore station, there is an opportunity to enhance pedestrian and cycling routes between the station and the village. Contributions may be sought via Section 106 agreements to contribute towards these improvements.

The key rail-related priorities in the borough at the current time are as follows:

  • Ashford International Rail Connectivity Project (Spurs): an EC and SELEP-funded project to upgrade signalling at Ashford International to European Train Control System (ETCS) standard, allowing the continuation of international stopping services at the station.
  • Ashford – Hastings Line upgrade: project to deliver an extension of High Speed services to Hastings and Bexhill via Ashford International, to include electrification of the line between Ashford and Ore.
  • High Speed Capacity: catering for increasing demand and growth in Ashford town in particular, to include the lengthening of trains and provision of additional services at peak times.

In addition to these, other priorities include the retention of services at frequency at more rural stations to ensure the accessibility and vitality of these villages; provision of renewed rolling stock consisting of more sustainable low emission trains; and the enhancement of station accessibility. While the Council is not responsible for rail services and infrastructure, it will work with relevant service providers and authorities to bring project forward that facilitate sustainable development within the borough.