Our Garden Village – Local People Shaping the South of Ashford Garden Community

Overview

Between August and October 2020, Ashford Borough Council is organising a series of consultation activities to help write a Five Year Vision & Strategy for the South of Ashford Garden Community (SAGC). Despite the challenges of social distancing measures, Ashford Borough Council is reaching out to local people in the Wards, Parishes and wider areas most likely to be impacted by the proposed developments within the Garden Community. The aim is to produce a Vision & Strategy which joins up the proposed developments with these existing communities, including the new residents currently moving into Chilmington Green.  Through surveys, focus groups, webinars and a dedicated webpage, your input will be taken seriously. It will be essential that this Vision & Strategy works to benefit existing and new residents of South Ashford.

What is the South of Ashford Garden Community?

The South of Ashford Garden Community (SAGC) is made up of three developments, Chilmington Green (40 homes of 5,750 built to date) and two proposed sites: Court Lodge (950 homes) and Kingsnorth Green (550 homes). Together they represent 7,250 homes (2,175 affordable), a 142 hectare public park along with new schools, GP surgeries, play spaces and ecological areas to be protected. The areas within which these developments lie was designated a Garden Village by Homes England in 2019. This designation brings with it central government funding and a commitment to creating a high quality environment, supporting local jobs and ensuring timely delivery of new homes. Homes England defines a Garden Community as:    

  • a purpose built new settlement, or large extension to an existing town
  • a community with a clear identity and attractive environment
  • it provides a mix of homes, including affordable and self-build
  • planned by local authorities or private sector in consultation with the local community
  • As well as building new homes, the communities develop:
  • job opportunities
  • attractive green space and public realm areas
  • transport infrastructure, including roads, buses and cycle routes
  • community infrastructure, schools, community and health centres
  • a plan for long-term stewardship of community assets

Background

According to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), since 1998, the ratio of average house prices to average earnings has more than doubled. That means the most basic of human needs – a safe, secure home to call your own – isn’t just a distant dream for millions of people. It’s a dream that’s moving further and further away. As demand for homes outstrips supply, they’re faced with ever-increasing rents – the average couple in the private rented sector now send roughly half their salary to their landlord each month making it nigh on impossible to save for a deposit.

For this reason, the current Government is trying to support Small to Midsize Enterprise (SME) house builders to bridge the gap in housing delivery. Their aim is to see 300,000 homes built on average per year across England. While housing construction at Chilmington Green has seen delays in light of Covid-19, they are now working at pace with new residents moving in each month. Partnership working with Ashford Borough Council, Kent County Council and with Homes England continues to helpbroker resolutions to key infrastructure delivery. Bringing forward developments such as Chilmington Green will help to fill the gap in housing provision, but it must also be a great place to live, work and play.  

It was with the Garden Community designation in 2019 that development partners, Parishes, Ward Councillors and community members began discussing how Chilmington Green would need to look beyond its redline boundaries to future sites which were allocated in the Ashford Local Plan 2030. Whether the sites of Court Lodge and Kingsnorth Green receive planning permission or not (to be determined at Planning Committees late 2020 / early 2021), there’s good reason for community members to look at the South Ashford and consider the challenges such developments may bring, and also the potential benefits.

For these reasons two public workshops were held that year which were hosted by the Homelands Football Club. One was held in March and another in September. The roundtable discussions focused on a mix of broad topics such as transport and more specific planning challenges around open space management. From the workshops a series of key themes were drawn up and reported back to participants. These are the themes which will be discussed further through this consultation.

The Consultation

To ensure continued participation and influence in this process, a series of online focus groups, webinars and surveys will be launched in September 2020.  Local people will have an opportunity to participate in different formats depending on their interests. The outputs of each activity will be shared publicly via newsletters and will be published to a dedicated page on the Ashford Borough Council website.

By building on the tested principles of English garden towns, a vision for the South of Ashford Garden Community can bring together multiple communities and neighbourhoods through shared governance and stewardship. The key themes created to date are the building blocks of the Strategy which must guide developments such as Chilmington Green and future proposed developments within the area. Equally this work will help inform the design of Discovery Park, a 142 hectare strategic park which sits within the Garden Village. This is a park for the whole Borough which will begin to take shape in the coming year.

Further reason why the timing is right for this vision & strategy is to set the bar for quality placemaking, ecological preservation, healthy living and community-led governance. It will include an action-plan with different people, organisations and businesses playing a role. The final version will be presented to Ashford Borough Council’s Cabinet members for adoption in December 2020.

Please take 15 Minutes to complete the survey (Closing date 02 October 2020). Please read our Report Back document before taking part?

Click

Timeline of the Consultations

2 September – 2 October | Public Survey Open

 

7, 9 and 10 September on Teams | Community Focus Groups – Small groups representing voices from across the South Ashford area gather to tackle specific topics relating to the SAGC, LIMITED SPACES**

 

17 September 18.00 to 20.00 on Teams | SAGC Community Stakeholder Group – Local residents meet with ABC Planning Officers, Parish and Ward Councillors to discuss local issues and wider SAGC planning, ALL WELCOME

Teams Link

25 September 14.00 to 15.30 on Teams | Our Garden Village Webinar Part 2

 

A virtual event to hear local stories from lockdown, the good and the bad, and what might be needed most with the arrival of a new community, a garden community to the South of Ashford.

Tell Your Story at the Event

Ashford Borough Council is looking for local people of all generations in Ashford who have stories from their lockdown experience during the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Stories of neighbourliness, new found friendships, tragic loss and struggle, or simply those stories of the unexpected and delightfully peculiar! We want to learn what helped about where you live and what didn’t during this difficult time. Did you go outdoors more and explore new places or did you find aspects of your home which didn’t work so well? What is it about the design and quality of our communities which works well and what needs rethinking?

Telling such stories is of great importance when planning future communities, which is why we’re looking at the arrival of the South of Ashford Garden Community through this lens. This will be a large development, some of which has already begun construction, and those new residents will be looking to bond with their surroundings and the people who have lived in the area for many years. How can we learn from the pandemic experience to shape this development into a vibrant community able to weather future storms? How can we ensure new and older communities come together again to overcome further health and economic impacts of the continuing pandemic?

Write to Dan!

These questions and more will be explored at a special online event on Friday 25th September from 2 – 3.30pm. If you have a story you would like to share, please write to Dan Daley via dan.daley@ashford.gov.uk. We are looking for stories to be told live at the event. Alternatively, you're welcome to send in a video recording (2 to 5 minutes in length).

Book your place

 

Join the meeting

 

9 November | Final Issue of Strategy submitted to Cabinet

 

17 December | Presentation of the Strategy to full council

 

2021 – 2025 | Implementation of Strategy and Action Plan if approved

*Anyone is welcome to attend the Focus Groups, however it is important all have a chance to speak therefore spaces are limited. If there is a date you would like to attend, please write to dan.daley@ashford.gov.uk If spaces are full, you will still be able to hear and debate the outcomes of the Focus Groups by attending one or more of the Webinars.

 Privacy Notice for the Survey:

This survey has been designed in a way as to minimise the collecting of any directly identifiable personal information; however, personal information may be collected as part of your answers to any open questions. In such cases, Ashford Borough Council will be the data controller for any information collected.

 

Any information collected will be used to inform our Five Year Vision & Strategy for the South Ashford Garden Community, the results of this survey may be reported upon to internal and external partners such as the CMO, parish councils and Kent County Council . Processing is being conducted under the public interest legal basis and any collected information will be held for as long as it is needed to inform our strategy.

 

For more information about your data protection rights please see the Council’s data protection pages which can be found at www.ashford.gov.uk or contact the Data Protection Officer at The Data Protection Officer, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford TN23 1PL.

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
    2 Sep 2020 at 09:00
  • Closes
    2 Oct 2020 at 23:59

Documents

Respond