Main Modifications to Ashford Local Plan

Policy S27 - Biddenden, North Street (MM28)

Amend supporting text 4.288 – 4.292 to read:

4.288 The site is considered suitable for residential development of up to around 45 units, which should be located on the southern half of the site. This part of the site is approximately 2.3ha and therefore development will be less than 20 dwellings per hectare. This reflects the density of adjoining properties and is suitable for a setting adjoining the countryside in this location.

4.290 The village of Biddenden offers a range of services and community facilities, however, at present there is an identified need in The Biddenden Community Led Plan 2014 identifies a wish for a new community facility that could be used to provide improved healthcare facilities such as a GP surgery/branch (branch currently operating out of a small room in the village hall) and other village activities. Development of this site provides an opportunity to provide a mixed use community building that could meet these needs. Liaison with the Parish Council, local healthcare providers, the Village Hall Committee and other local stakeholders is essential to ensure that the proposals for a community building would meets reasonable local requirements and is built to appropriate building specifications for the range of potential uses. If a community need cannot be established, there is also potential for the site to accommodate a building for small scale commercial uses, such as local office space.

4.291 Careful consideration must be given to the overall site layout to ensure the community facility or any office space building is accessible to all, without impacting on the residential amenity of the new homes in ways such as parking and overlooking. This can be achieved by locating the community building on the northern part of the site, close to the site entrance on North Street, and providing sufficient car parking for the facility to ensure that on-street parking of its users does not adversely affect residents. The design and layout of the development should reflect the local surroundings and must take into account design guidance in the Biddenden Parish Design Statement.

4.292 The site is currently visually well screened by mature trees and hedgerows. This screening and landscaping should be retained and enhanced to minimise the visual impact of the new development on the existing residents to the east and south of the site and on the character and setting of the nearby Conservation Area and listed buildings, in particular The Willows Grade ll listed building, which is adjacent to the site. As there are ponds on site and known wildlife such as bats and amphibians, an ecological survey appropriate surveys should be undertaken to assess if any mitigation is required in accordance with ENV1. This may include the need for additional planting and measures to provide ecological movement networks.

Amend Policy criteria a, d, e and g as follows:

a) Provide a building which could be used as either a community facility building on-site to accommodate local services and functions, designed in consultation with appropriate stakeholders, or for local office space;

d) Ensure appropriate bespoke on-site parking is provided for the community facility/office building;

e) Retain and, wherever possible, enhance current hedge and tree boundaries around the site to create a soft landscape buffer between new development and neighbouring properties, paying particular regard to conserving or enhancing nearby heritage assets;

g)  Undertake ecological survey work; Ensure appropriate species and habitat surveys are carried out. Results will inform ecological mitigation and enhancement measures to be provided on the site and proposals for implementation, maintenance and monitoring in accordance with ENV1. Particular regard should be given to the ponds and known wildlife on site.