22 December 2017
Ashford Local Plan 2030 approved for submission
Further to our news items of 30 November and 6 December (below), both the Cabinet and the full
Ashford Borough Council have now met and approved the submission version of the Ashford Local Plan
2030. The Plan will now be submitted, on or before 31 December 2017, to the Planning Inspectorate (on
behalf of the Secretary of State).
The formal minute approved and adopted by the Council reads as follows:
That (i) the Council authorise the Head of Planning and Development to submit the Local Plan to 2030,
attached as Appendix 1 to the report (and as amended by the further minor amendments at Appendix 3
to the report), to the Secretary of State for independent public examination.
(ii) the Council grant delegated authority to the Head of Planning and Development to: -
(a) make any further modifications he considers necessary or desirable before or during the Examination.
(b) ask the Inspector to recommend modifications to the draft Local Plan under Section 20 (7C) of the
Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, if such modifications are considered necessary to make the
Plan sound and/or compliant with legal requirements; and,
(c) take any action he deems necessary to progress the draft Local Plan through the examination process.
The Appendices referred to are available to view via the links in our news item of 6 December (below).
Public examination of the Plan is expected to start in April 2018.
18 December 2017
Further update on threat to our local bus services
In our email of 30 November on the threat to local bus services, we stated that the SLRA had written to
our KCC Councillor (Charlie Simkins), objecting strongly to the likely impact on all the bus services serving
We have today received a reply from Charlie, which echoes some of the statements made by Paul Carter,
Leader of Kent County Council, in the local press recently. The reply is reproduced below:
Thank you for your email expressing your Chairman’s concerns regarding funding for socially necessary bus
subsidies.and in particular the apparent threat to local services in our area on which so many people of
all generations depend.
While bus subsidies are among the potential savings for consideration in the coming budget, KCC fully
understands the importance of these to Kent residents. We are having ongoing dialogue with bus
companies in an endeavour to deliver better value for money to our tax payers as well as investigating
and working on implementing alternative lower cost transport options including; ‘Click and Ride’ taxi
share schemes, community minibuses and the Kent Karrier Service that could potentially significantly
reduce the number of affected routes in advance of the planned public consultation starting on 18th
January. It was premature to release the list of published routes and I apologise that this has caused such
I am sure you are aware of the financial constraints in which Local Government is operating with the
amount of money available from central government decreasing while demand and cost for council
services has been increasing. We continue to lobby central government for additional funding and are
currently awaiting the Local Government Settlement which is expected in the next few days.
I would like to assure you that no decisions regarding potential changes to bus subsidies have been made.
A full Equalities Impact Assessment has been prepared and will be continually updated to ensure that we
meet our statutory duties under the Equalities Act. The responses to the consultation will be a key factor
in our decision making.
In addition to the above, Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council, has announced his personal pledge
to handle the forthcoming programme of negotiations with the bus operators to try to persuade them to
keep a significant number of routes going without subsidy. As your local member I am particularly
concerned over the possible threat to services which run through my Division (the 123 2A and 10X services
are of particular concern) and I will be lobbying the Cabinet Member specifically to emphasise the
importance of these services to local residents.
I would ask you to participate in the forthcoming consultation expressing your views loudly and clearly.
I will keep you informed as the situation develops and may I take this opportunity of wishing you and your
family a merry Christmas.
KCC Member for Ashford Rural West
The SLRA will be responding to the public consultation (17 January to 27 March 2018) and encourages
members also to do so.
In addition to the 123 and 10X services which Charlie mentions (and which serve Potters Corner), we are
also concerned about the 666 route which serves the Faversham Road end of Sandyhurst Lane.
6 December 2017
Ashford Local Plan 2030 - Submission version
Further to our news item of 30 November, the appendices have now been published to the paper on the
"Submission Version of Ashford Borough Local Plan 2030" to be considered by Cabinet tomorrow evening.
These appendices are:
1. the Submission Version of the Local Plan
2. Responses to representations made in the proposed “Main Changes” consultation
3. Schedule of minor amendments to the Plan
4. Equality Impact Assessment
The appendices may be downloaded from the Cabinet agenda page here (item 13). We have also
downloaded a copy which is available on our website here.
5 December 2017
Christmas & New Year Bin Collections
SLRA members who normally have their refuse, recycling, food and garden recycling bins collected on a
Thursday will have the following arrangements over the Christmas and New Year period:
Recycling (green): Collection due on Thursday 28th December will take place on Saturday 30th
Refuse (grey): Collection due on Thursday 4th January will take place on Saturday 6th January
Recycling (green): Collection due on Thursday 11th January will take place on Friday 12th January
Normal Recycling, Refuse and Food collections will resume on Thursday 18th January.
Garden Recycling (brown): No collection on Thursday 4th January. (The next collections will be 7th,
21st December and then 18th January)
The full schedule is here, but there is no need to print it - Ashford Borough Council are delivering it to
NB Ashford Borough Council is asking for bins to be out by 6 am and also state that collections may be up
to one day later than the published dates.
4 December 2017
Kennington Community Forum
At present, part of the SLRA area is concurrent with part of the Kennington Community Forum area. This
is the even numbered side of Sandyhurst Lane from the M20 to the boundary with Boughton Aluph &
Eastwell (even numbers 54 to 196). This will change in May 2019 when, as a result of boundary changes,
the aforementioned properties will become part of Westwell Parish.
So, from May 2019, no SLRA members will reside in the Kennington area, but members may nevertheless
be interested in the progress which the Kennington Community Forum is making towards the creation of a
new urban council, which will also occur in May 2019. (There will be no further issues of Kennington News
which has hitherto kept Forum members informed).
Kennington Community Forum is one of five urban community forums set up 15 years ago. In 2014, Ashford
Borough Council agreed to hold a Governance Review and, as part of this, Kennington was one of two
forum areas which voted to go to the next stage and create an urban council.
In order to achieve this, it is now necessary to bring the existing Community Forum to a close and
establish a shadow urban council, ahead of the local elections to be held on 2 May 2019. These will
include the election of 16 councillors to provide the community in Kennington with a new statutory level
of local government (equivalent to parish councils in rural areas).
As part of this process, Kennington Community Forum held an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) on 28
November 2017 and agreed to dissolve the Forum on 31 March 2018, with existing funds being distributed
to local charities. The way will then be clear for Ashford Borough Council to set up the shadow
Kennington Urban Council to make the necessary preparations for the creation of the actual Council in May
The minutes of the EGM, together with a press release publicising the dissolution of the forum from 31
March 2018, may be viewed here. The minutes include a review of the past achievements of the Forum.
30 November 2017
Update on threat to our local bus services
Further to our news item of 29 November, the KCC Environment and Transport Committee met today and
agreed the proposed timetable for consultation on the criteria for assessing contracts for subsidies to bus
services in Kent to achieve a £4 million budget saving and the consequent possible withdrawal of services.
The proposed criteria result in ALL* routes serving both ends of Sandyhurst Lane being included in the list
of routes affected.
The timetable agreed is as follows:
· Agree contracts proposed for withdrawal to be included in the consultation - 1 December 2017
· Consultation Go Live - 17 January 2018
· Budget approval - February 2018
· Consultation Ends - 27 March 2018
· Consultation review and proposal amendments as appropriate - April 2018
· Recommendation to Environment & Transport Cabinet Committee - 25 May 2018
· Contract notice to bus operators - 1 June 2018
· Contract Withdrawals - September 2018
The debate, lasting 2 hours, included many criticisms, such as the absence of any impact cost
assessment, the fact that the timetable includes budget approval before the consultation has even
concluded, the failure to identify services subsidised by developer contributions, the fact that the
committee paper recommendation refers to ‘withdrawal of services’ rather than the ‘withdrawal of
subsidies’, the fact that whilst the criteria for assessment are the subject of consultation, the existing
criteria are being used to give the impact on bus services in the same consultation, etc.
The SLRA and members will be able to register their views during the public consultation which will run
from 17 January 2018 till 27 March 2018. It appears that there is only this single opportunity to make
representations, following which the Council will amend the proposals “as appropriate” and then
implement them without further consultation.
The SLRA has already written to our KCC Councillor (Charlie Simkins), objecting strongly to the likely
impact on all the bus services serving Sandyhurst Lane and pointing out that new housing developments,
such as those proposed in the draft Local Plan and those which have been the subject of recent planning
applications, have been justified on the basis of existing transport infrastructure which includes these
* (except service 124, which is a school service from Egerton to Ashford running once per day on school days only).
30 November 2017
'Rural means Rural' campaign
A Facebook campaign entitled 'Rural means Rural' has recently been launched by Jane Martin, Ashford
Borough Councillor for Saxon Shore. The campaign states:
"The campaign for Rural Means Rural is the voice of residents in the villages surrounding Ashford, Kent,
who are concerned about inappropriate housing development in the countryside. Ashford is surrounded by
farming communities and beautiful Kentish countryside, many areas of which are Sites of Special
Scientific Interest, Ancient Woodland or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The communities living here
are served by a network of very small, narrow country lanes with high hedgerows and services are often
minimal. The cumulative effect of continuous development puts a strain on these lanes and other village
services that needs to be considered holistically. The residents feel that their concerns are being ignored
in favour of meeting government housing targets and the commercial interests of developers.
A number of villages that are experiencing increased pressure for housing development are very concerned
about this lack of consideration for the rural environment and special characteristics that contribute to
quality of life in a rural village. This is a joint movement of a number of villages with similar experiences,
for residents to make their voices heard, and ultimately to safeguard the unique characteristics of their
communities and landscapes for generations to come.
The campaign aims to start dialogue with the relevant decision makers and bring about the opportunity
to present our Landscape Protection Policy as a framework to slow the pace and ensure development
meets local needs and is appropriate for the area. We also have a petition that calls specifically for the
incorporation of our Landscape Protection Policy into the National Planning Policy Framework and for
Ashford Borough Council to adopt this into their Core Plan 2030.
We are calling for:
Aldington to be given a rest from further development
Shadoxhurst to have a green belt to maintain its distinct identity
Keep Ruckinge and Bromley Green small and rural
Keep Brook green
... and any others who wish to join please get in touch"
The Facebook page is available here. A further campaign page is available here.
30 November 2017
Progress with the Local Plan
The Cabinet of Ashford Borough Council will meet next Thursday, 7 December 2017. The agenda
(available here) confirms that they will be considering the latest “Submission version” of the Ashford
Local Plan 2030, with a view to recommending that the full Council approves the Plan at its meeting on
14 December 2017. The Plan will then be submitted, before the end of the year, to the Planning
Inspectorate (on behalf of the Secretary of State) for public examination. This is expected to start in
The agenda to the Cabinet meeting includes a report on the Council’s proposed responses to the 1150
representations made in the consultation on the “Main Changes” to the Local Plan, which closed on 31
August 2017, and the resultant Submission version of the Local Plan.
Unfortunately, at this stage, this published report comprises only the covering paper and not the
appendices, which contain the Submission Plan (appendix 1), the proposed responses to the “Main
Changes” consultation (appendix 2) and further minor amendments (appendix 3).
It is not, therefore, yet possible to view the final Plan, but we shall advise as soon as we are aware that
it is available.
29 November 2017
Threat to our local bus services
Recent publicity on the threat to bus services in Kent has arisen because Kent County Council has drawn
up proposals to withdraw subsidies for 78 bus services in Kent, to save £4 million. The area with one of
the largest number of routes under threat is Ashford (11 services). More importantly for residents in our
area, ALL of the services which operate from each end of Sandyhurst Lane are on the list.
These are, at the Faversham Road end:
666 Ashford - Faversham (also serves William Harvey Hospital)
and, at Potters Corner:
10X Maidstone - Ashford - William Harvey Hospital
123 Ashford - Biddenden
[The 124 Ashford - Egerton service is not mentioned, but there is only one service on each school day]
Full details of the proposals, which are to be debated by the KCC Environment and Transport Committee
links to the relevant papers and list of routes affected and a link to view the meeting tomorrow.
The statement includes
“The proposal has identified bus contracts, supported by KCC, which, subject to consultation, could be
withdrawn - it does not necessarily mean the whole service will go as a number of them are run by
commercial companies and KCC has no bearing on how these operate.”
However, it is difficult to see how bus companies would continue to run some services without the KCC
subsidies, which are as follows (average £/passenger):
The SLRA has not yet taken a position on this issue, but members may wish to be aware that an online
petition has been set up by a resident of Hothfield and is available here.
27 November 2017
Organisation of hospital services in East Kent
in a news item on 7 February 2017, we drew attention to ‘listening events’ being held in East Kent, to
support the development of health and care plans, following the publication of the Kent and Medway
Sustainability and Transformation Plan in 2016.
Now, the four NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in East Kent (Ashford, Canterbury & Coastal,
South Kent Coast and Thanet) have established a joint committee to consider the future of urgent and
emergency care, and elective orthopaedic care, in east Kent.
This East Kent Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups is holding its first meeting, which
will be in public, on Thursday 30 November 2017, from 9am to 11am at The Grand Hotel, The Leas,
Folkestone, CT20 2XL.
They have drawn up a ‘medium-list’ of potential options that they will analyse in more detail, to help
move towards a shortlist for public consultation next year. A briefing note giving more detail may be
All the clinical chairs and accountable officers of the four CCGs are on the committee, which will be
independently chaired, and which has delegated authority from all the CCGs to take decisions on this
For more details, of the meeting and how to register to attend if you wish to, please visit
24 November 2017
Comments on planning applications
The closing date (23 November) has now passed for making comments on the two planning applications
for major developments in Sandyhurst Lane. A large number of comments are available to view here for
the application for land at Lenacre Hall Farm (17/01613/AS) and here for the application for the former
Sandpit, Sandyhurst Lane (17/01636/AS) (see the 'Plans & Documents' tab in both cases). Both these
planning applications will be considered by Ashford Borough Council’s Planning Committee in due course.
22 November 2017
SLRA responds to planning applications for major developments
in Sandyhurst Lane
The SLRA has submitted objection comments for two planning applications; in both cases the comments
are based upon the views of residents which were obtained in online surveys. We are grateful for the
large number of responses received, which helped to ensure that the submitted comments were
representative of the majority opinion.
Our response on the application for land at Lenacre Hall Farm may be viewed here.
Our response on the application for the former Sandpit, Sandyhurst Lane may be viewed here.
22 November 2017
Planning permission granted for new dwelling at Braehead, 198 Sandyhurst Lane
Outline planning permission was granted on 21 November for the erection of one single 4 bed detached
chalet bungalow with access and a double garage/carport at Braehead, 198 Sandyhurst Lane. Full details
may be viewed here (search for case number 17/01478/AS).
14 November 2017
Boughton Aluph & Eastwell Neighbourhood Plan update
In their latest newsletter, Boughton Aluph & Eastwell’s Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group say that
writing of the Plan is underway and it will be ready for public consultation by the end of the year. They
also refer to the two current planning applications for major developments in Sandyhurst Lane:
Land at Lenacre Hall Farm:
“The Parish Council considers this development is problematic in a number of important respects”
“With our Ward Councillor the Parish Council is preparing a full statement of its objections for submission
to Ashford Borough Council.”
“After canvassing their members, both the Sandyhurst Lane Residents' Committee and the Boughton Aluph
and Eastwell Residents' Association will be lodging objections to the planning application with Ashford
Borough Council. Residents have formed the Lenacre Action Group to campaign against the development.”
The Lenacre Action Group has set up a Facebook page under that name.
Former Sandpit, Sandyhurst Lane:
“While the Parish Council has strong reservations about access to the site from Sandyhurst Lane, after
discussion it was agreed that it would not lodge an objection to the planning application.”
SLRA members are strongly encouraged to lodge their own comments on the Ashford Borough Council
website on both these applications. The SLRA will be lodging objections to both applications. Note that
Boughton Aluph & Eastwell Parish Council will be lodging an objection to Lenacre Hall Farm only,
not the Former Sandpit.
If you wish to receive newsletters from Boughton Aluph & Eastwell’s Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group,
7 November 2017
Superfast fibre broadband
We have good news on the availability of superfast broadband for residents in the eastern half of
Sandyhurst Lane and its adjacent roads, who have hitherto been unable to access the service.
The cabinet supplying these residents is Cabinet 14, located at Eastwell Towers. BT Openreach have
recently completed initial work to free up extra capacity and Cabinet 14 is currently showing as available
to take new orders. So residents can now place orders for superfast broadband and there will be
capacity in total for 288 lines to achieve an upgrade.
A further 66 lines will become available when BT Openreach complete work they are currently
undertaking to commission a new cabinet near the Flying Horse in Boughton Aluph. This work, which we
referred to over a year ago, has been severely delayed because of blocked and broken ducts between the
Flying Horse and Eastwell Towers. The repair of these ducts would have been far too expensive and
involved digging up the A251, so an alternative solution has been found and the fibre cables are being
installed overhead on new telegraph poles.
The total capacity of the cabinet at Eastwell Towers is 530 lines and eventually this capacity will be
insufficient, but at the moment there is capacity available. The KCC Broadband Project Manager will be
monitoring the situation and promises to seek upgrades from BT Openreach in the future as they are
1 November 2017
Survey re the former Sandpit Planning Application
As members are aware, there are currently two active planning applications for substantial housing
developments in Sandyhurst Lane. We are already surveying members views on the Lenacre Hall Farm
application and would encourage those who have not yet done so to complete the survey so that our
response can be as fully representative as possible. (see news item 20 October 2017).
The second application is for “up to 18” dwellings at the Former Sandpit to the south of 200 and
east of 198 Sandyhurst Lane. Unlike the Lenacre Hall Farm application (which is part ‘outline’ and part
‘full’), this is an ‘outline’ application, so lacks some of the detail, eg. on house design, detailed layout,
lighting, etc. Nevertheless, it is very important to comment on this application before the closing date of
23 November if we wish to try to influence the outcome.
The former Sandpit site was submitted to Ashford Borough Council for consideration in the Ashford Local
Plan. Ashford Borough Council, in turn, referred it to Boughton Aluph & Eastwell Parish Council (BA&EPC)
for consideration in their Neighbourhood Plan. This Plan is still under development and BA&E PC has not
yet made a decision on this site. It was included in the Neighbourhood Plan survey which BA&E PC held
last year and the key findings are available here.
The application and its supporting documents may be viewed here (if necessary, search for application
number 17/01636/AS). Please note that the proposed site access is via an entrance to be made part way
up the hill in Sandyhurst Lane, which borders the site.
At the risk of creating survey fatigue, the SLRA, together with Kennington Community Forum, now needs
to canvass residents’ views on the application to develop the former Sandpit site, so that we can
accurately reflect collective views in our response. We have therefore set up another short survey. The
survey is available HERE and it would be appreciated if you could complete this as soon as possible, and
by Wednesday 8th November at the latest.
In addition, it is very important that members should comment directly as individuals. This can be done
online by going to the planning application here (if necessary, search for application number
17/01636/AS) and submit your comments under the ‘Make a Comment’ tab.
Thank you for helping to make the community voice heard.
31 October 2017
Planning permission sought for 18 dwellings at the former Sandpit,
An application has been made for outline planning permission for up to 18 dwellings at the Former
Sandpit to the south of 200 and east of 198 Sandyhurst Lane. The outline application, by Bowbridge Land
Ltd of Corby, Northamptonshire, is “with details of access and layout provided for developer-led custom-
build residential development of up to 18 dwellings, open space and landscaping, wildlife habitat
reserve, new access to Sandyhurst Lane, parking, engineering (including ground modelling) works and
infrastructure, with appearance, landscaping and scale reserved for future determination.” The closing
date for comments is 23 November 2017. Full details may be viewed here (search for case number
29 October 2017
Survey re Lenacre Hall Farm Planning Application
The recent planning application by Millwood Designer Homes Ltd for 89 dwellings to be built on land at
Lenacre Hall Farm, Sandyhurst Lane, represents possibly the largest single application ever made for
housing development in the Lane. (The previous largest application was for 66 dwellings in Hoads Wood
Gardens in 1991, eventually reduced to 30 dwellings in 1995).
It therefore merits very serious consideration. It should be noted that this site was submitted for
consideration in the Ashford Local Plan. Ashford Borough Council, in turn, referred it to Boughton Aluph &
Eastwell Parish Council (BA&EPC) for consideration in their Neighbourhood Plan. In January 2017, BA&EPC
issued a decision letter stating that they are not minded to include the site in the Neighbourhood Plan
and do not consider they have a mandate to do so, following rejection of development on the site by 75%
of respondents to their household survey.
Despite this, Millwood Designer Homes Ltd have now submitted an application for full planning
permission for 21 new dwellings and outline planning permission for up to a further 68 dwellings.
Comprehensive documentation for the application is available here (if necessary, search for application
Jointly with the Kennington Community Forum, the SLRA has issued a statement, criticising the
submission of this planning application, which may be viewed here.
Nevertheless, in order that the SLRA can give a fair response which represents the majority view of
its members, we need to survey members’ opinions on the proposed development.
The survey is available HERE and it would be appreciated if you could complete this as soon as possible,
and by Sunday 5th November at the latest.
In addition, it is very important that members should comment directly as individuals. This can be done
online by going to the planning application here (if necessary, search for application number
17/01613/AS) and submit your comments under the ‘Make a Comment’ tab.
PLEASE ENSURE YOUR VIEW IS HEARD, BOTH INDIVIDUALLY AND AS PART OF THE COLLECTIVE
NUMBERS ARE IMPORTANT!
24 October 2017
Planning permission sought for 89 dwellings at Lenacre Hall Farm
A hybrid application has been made in respect of Land at Lenacre Hall Farm for up to 89 new residential
dwellings consisting of:
- a full planning application for the development of 21 new residential dwellings, access, drainage and
landscaping to the south of the site and
- an outline planning application with all matters reserved except for access for the development of up
to 68 new dwellings with associated access, landscaping, open space and community orchard at the land
to the north and west of the site.
The application has been made by Millwood Designer Homes Ltd and includes 69 documents. These are
available here (search for application number 17/01613/AS).
20 October 2017
Damian Green MP lobbies Highways England on our behalf
The Rt Hon Damian Green MP has kept his promise to support our M20 noise campaign (see news item 21
September 2017). He has written to the Highways Agency in parallel with our own approach and has now
sent us the reply he has received from the Highways Agency. Whilst this is in a similar vein to that which
we received ourselves, Damian's intervention gives it significantly greater weight and we have at least
extracted a date for the works (2021/22) which, in Damian's words "we can try to hold them to".
Damian Green's letter to us, together with the reply he obtained from the Highways Agency, may be
20 October 2017
Planning permission sought for new property at Braehead, 198 Sandyhurst Lane
An application has been made for outline planning permission for the erection of a single 4 bed detached
chalet bungalow with access and a double garage/carport at Braehead, 198 Sandyhurst Lane. The closing
date for comments is 12 November 2017. Full details may be viewed here (search for case number