Harper Road Development

The overall picture

There are currently over 1300 people on the housing waiting list. Many of these people are families looking for a home to raise their children, close to local amenities and good schools. Throughout the pandemic the government has prioritised construction as an essential industry, ensuring that there remains a national focus on delivering good quality council housing. Like every other authority in the country, we must do our bit to try and alleviate the housing issues that we face.

The consultation

This is a genuine consultation to shape the planning application submission. This is the first of two opportunities you will have to comment on the proposals.

Stage 1

As a housing service we hold a pre-planning consultation event (in this case due to present restrictions we are holding an online consultation). The aim is to identify the thoughts and/or concerns of the local community. We take these views very seriously and ask for your honest feedback.

Stage 2

We then take these comments into consideration and wherever possible adapt our proposals before they are submitted as a full planning application that also goes to planning committee. ABC Housing goes through the planning process as any applicant does. You will have a second, more formal opportunity to give your thoughts on the planning application at Stage 2. The council’s housing team does not have the right to appeal the planning decision.

We would ordinarily hold the consultation at a venue in the locality but given the current situation we are holding it remotely this time. However, we are making the experience as interactive as possible by providing the following:

  • This text as an introduction as to why we are looking to develop in Harper Road.
  • A short video produced by the architects BPTW that explains the proposals in greater detail.
  • A separate document that shows the slides from the video presentation.
  • A questionnaire that provides you with an opportunity to express your views on the plans and to ask questions of the council officers and architects involved in the proposals.

Harper Road – the background

The proposed site in Harper Road, South Ashford, consists of 24 garages (of which 14 are let and 10 are empty) surrounded on three sides by 2-storey housing and opposite 3-storey apartment buildings at Little Knoll. There is another garage site behind houses on the opposite side of the road. The area has a mix of tenures, including privately owned, social and affordable housing. In the vicinity there is a primary school with a “Good” Ofsted rating, a children's centre, shops, food and drink establishments as well as the large green space provided at Victoria Park.

The council has reviewed all of the garage sites in its possession and considered each for their development potential. The garage site on the opposite side of the road cannot be developed for housing as it is overlooked on all sides. It can however be fixed up and made secure and attractive to rent. On this second garage site, there are 29 garages, of which only 4 are let and 25 are empty. This would provide enough space for those people currently letting a garage in the overall area. On this site, one of the options that the garage team are looking into is secure and dry storage in the form of shipping containers. If this is a popular alternative this could be provided by them. This option being taken forward depends on what the demand is please so please respond in the questionnaire if you are interested in this option. Note that the containers can be clad in materials that will blend in appropriately with the surrounding street scene.

 Harper Road – the proposals

We are keen to develop this site for affordable housing it currently has 24 garages, of which 14 are let and 10 are empty. The proposal is for four x 2-bedroom houses. The intention is that they will be allocated to people on our housing waiting list needing social and affordable rental homes. We will aim to set affordable rent levels on these homes that are around 60-80% of market rent levels in the area. This is to ensure the homes are genuinely affordable to those are housed in them. These levels will be within the Local Housing Allowance.

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Demolition

Demolition normally forms part of the overall construction of the works, sometimes it is carried out in advance to clear the site ready. However, we employ competent fully qualified contractors to carry out this work, experienced in working on brownfield sites. The garages will be dismantled carefully to take into account materials used. 

Parking

We appreciate that residents will be concerned about parking. During the works, we would be working with contractors to ensure that there is minimal impact on the local roads during this time.

Planning have requirements that have to be satisfied before works can begin. Once the construction phase has finished the parking required would have been provided to ensure there will be adequate provision. We use extensive knowledge gained through our own development schemes across the borough to ensure that the parking provision is appropriate and of course adhering to planning policy. Through the consultation process we welcome any comments about matters that you feel will be important to the development.

The design

The proposals have been designed by BPTW Architects who are highly experienced at providing desirable homes and places that fully consider the surrounding area and properties. High quality design and materials are important to us, we want our developments to complement and enhance the local area.

The buildings proposed are four x 2-bedroom homes, designed to the Nationally Described Space Standard for new dwellings and to meet Building Regulation M4(2) standards. This means they will be accessible homes capable of future adaptation for the families who live there. The buildings proposed take their cue from the surrounding street scene and with consideration given to neighbouring properties and other practical aspects such as parking and refuse.

BPTW Architects have produced a video on their designs: you can view this here.

Timescales

We would anticipate at this stage that subject to obtaining the relevant planning permissions, work would begin on site within a year and that the build time will be around eight months.

Survey

There is a survey available as part of this consultation which we invite you to complete. If you have raised any questions that require feedback then we will come back to you. Please leave your contact details and we can supply a full response.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about our proposals. We await your feedback with interest.

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Privacy Policy

Ashford Borough Council (ABC) is the data controller for the personal information you provide in this form. ABC’s Data Protection Officer can be contacted at FOI@ashford.gov.uk. Your information will be used to inform Local Plan consultations and processing is being conducted relying upon the public interest legal basis under the Town and Country Planning Act. Given the statutory status of the Local Plan, relevant regulations, and the public interest in making information on the Local Plan consultation available, it is appropriate for us to make a wide range of information and documents available on our website. Conversely, however, there is no wider duty or need to disclose information other than that which is statutory. Your telephone number and/or email address will not be published. Your information may be retained and used for further consultation and therefore records will be retained permanently. For more information on your rights please see the council’s privacy statement https://www.ashford.gov.uk/.

Timeline

  • Opened
    26 Nov 2020 at 00:00
  • Closed
    15 Jan 2021 at 23:59