17 September 2018
Request re fields on Eureka Business Park
We have received a message and request from Jim Betts, the Estate Manager of Bidwells, which owns and
farms the fields on Eureka Business Park, behind Sandyhurst Lane.
The message draws attention to the fact that, for the last few years, the fields that are planted up as
part of the management plan for Eureka Business Park have been sewn with grass that was then used as
silage. This has encouraged some people, with or without dogs, to walk around the periphery of the
fields, effectively creating an unofficial footpath. In some cases, dogs have been allowed to roam over
This year the fields are to be planted up with winter wheat, probably next week depending on the
weather, so the farmer, Peter Howard, his son Andrew, and Jim Betts have been asking people to kindly
stick to the official footpaths and farm tracks that run through the Business Park.
We have therefore been asked to pass on the message that the fields have been planted out to the
margins, and members of the public are requested not to walk around them, thus enabling the maximum
yield possible from this and subsequent years’ crops.
Should you wish to see exactly which tracks in our area are Public Rights of Way, a map is available here.
13 September 2018
Local Plan Main Modifications consultation
Ashford Borough Council is now consulting on Main Modifications to the Ashford Local Plan 2030, following
the hearing sessions of the examination and the post hearings advice note received from the Inspectors.
The consultation proposes changes to the Ashford Local Plan 2030 Submission Version.
The consultation runs for a period of six weeks from Thursday 13th September 2018 until 5pm on Friday
26th October 2018.
The Main Modifications can be read in full online here or can be downloaded here.
Changes that are proposed to the policies map are included within the consultation documents above and
can also be viewed on the Council's interactive map here.
Responses to the consultation may be made online, using the link provided on the Council’s website page
As previously reported, the Inspectors are proposing deletion of all the A20 corridor sites, including Policy
relating to ecological mitigation and enhancement measures.
The SLRA will review the Main Modifications at its forthcoming committee meeting and respond as
13 September 2018
Drovers roundabout overnight closure
Following the cancellation of last week’s closure of part of Drovers roundabout, the work is now planned
for tomorrow night:
A section of Drovers roundabout will be closed to traffic from 8 pm on Friday 14 September to 5 am on
Saturday 15 September, to enable KCC to carry out lining works. The official notice giving details of the
closure and diversion may be viewed here.
10 Septemberr 2018
Local Plan to 2030 - further consultation
Following the public examination of the draft Ashford Local Plan to 2030, which took place between April
and June this year, the Inspectors issued a post hearing advice note which directs that a number of
changes should be made to the Local Plan to make it 'sound'.
Ashford Borough Council is currently preparing a full schedule of the changes, which are known as
'Modifications'. Where the changes are significant (known as 'Main Modifications') the Council is required to
consult on them publicly for six weeks. This consultation will run from Thursday 13th September 2018
until 5pm on Friday 26th October 2018.
The Council’s website page for this consultation is still in draft, but includes the statement that “the
consultation will be focused only on the Main Modifications. The consultation will not not an opportunity
to repeat or raise further representations about other parts of the Local Plan or to seek wider changes.
All previous comments have already been considered by the Inspector.”
The SLRA Committee will review the Main Modifications, when published, and will respond i appropriate.
7 September 2018
Cancelled: Drovers Roundabout overnight closure
Please note that the overnight closure of Drovers roundabout (see item below) has now been cancelled
(source: tweet from Ashford Borough Council).
6 September 2018
Drovers Roundabout to be closed overnight
A section of Drovers roundabout will be closed to traffic from 7 pm on Friday 7 September to 5 am on
Saturday 8 September, to enable KCC to carry out lining works. The official notice giving details of the
closure and diversion may be viewed here.
3 September 2018
Update on Experimental Overnight HGV Enforcement and Clamping Trial 2017
The Joint Transportation Board (of Kent County Council and Ashford Borough Council) meets on 11
September. One of the papers for this meeting is an update on the Experimental Overnight HGV
Enforcement and Clamping Trial 2017, which includes the A20 between Charing and the Drovers
roundabout, together with a number of Ashford industrial estates. The report states that the total
number of contraventions in all areas has now dropped to 5-10 per night. The report may be viewed here.
31 August 2018
Amended plans submitted for Lenacre Hall Farm planning application
There were two recent planning applications for the development of land at Lenacre Hall Farm:
1. Application number 17/01613/AS, submitted on 23 October 2017:
Hybrid application for up to 89 new residential dwellings consisting of a full planning application for the
development of 21 new residential dwellings and and outline planning application for the development of
up to 68 new dwellings.
2. Application number 18/00413/AS, submitted on 12 March 2018:
Full planning application for the development of 21 new residential dwellings.
The second of these applications was considered by Ashford Borough Council’s Planning Committee on 18
July and refused. The applicant may appeal this decision within 6 months.
The first of these applications (the hybrid application) is still valid and registered; a decision from
Ashford Borough Council is awaited.
Today we have received notification that the applicant has submitted some amended plans and a revised
Transport Statement for this hybrid application and these may be viewed on the Council’s website here
(search for application number 17/01613/AS, click on the ‘Plans & Documents’ tab and scroll to the
11 August 2018
Planning permission granted for garage/workshop/gymnasium
at Forfar, 306 Sandyhurst Lane
Planning permission was granted on 10 August 2018 for a detached garage/workshop and gymnasium
following demolition of existing storage sheds, home office and workshop at Forfar, 306 Sandyhurst Lane.
Full details may be viewed here (search for application number 18/00718/AS).
4 August 2018
Planning application withdrawn for double garage at Ash Keys,
4 Eastwell Grange
The application for planning permission has for a detached double garage at Ash Keys, 4 Eastwell Grange
has been withdrawn by the applicant. Full details may be viewed here (search for application number
31 July 2018
Official notification of planning decision: land at Lenacre Hall Farm
We have received the official notification of the decision by the Ashford Borough Council's Planning
Committee to refuse the planning application for 21 dwellings on land at Lenacre Hall Farm (see news
item 18 July 2018). The letter may be viewed here. Following this decision, the likelihood of an appeal by
the applicant should be borne in mind.
30 July 2018
Reminder: Consultation on rural transport
We have previously drawn attention to the consultation on rural transport being undertaken by KCC under
the title “The Big Conversation”. This followed the announcement by KCC last November of a £4 million
cut in bus subsidies, which was subsequently withdrawn.
This is a reminder that the consultation closes on 8 August. The SLRA is preparing a response, but
individual members are encouraged to contribute to this consultation by answering a questionnaire online,
(or downloaded and returned by email or Freepost), or by emailing their views.
Full details of the consultation and how to respond are available on the KCC website here.
26 July 2018
Successful lobby for NPPF in respect of ancient woodland
In May we made a submission to the Government consultation on the draft revised National Planning
Policy Framework (NPPF), supporting the Woodland Trust’s campaign to secure better protection for
ancient or veteran trees, as well as ancient woodland (see our news item 10 May 2018).
We are pleased to say that the Government has accepted this point and amended the recently published
NPPF accordingly. The full document may be viewed here (para 175c refers) and the Woodland Trust’s
website may be accessed here.
18 July 2018
Waterbrook Park lorry park expansion application permitted
At their meeting this evening, Ashford Borough Council’s Planning Committee unanimously voted to permit
the planning application for expansion of the Waterbrook Park lorry park from 350 to 600 spaces. The
SLRA had strongly supported this application on the grounds that good lorry parks are required as an
alternative to 'fly parking' which has long been a problem in our area and elsewhere. We are mindful that
the current overnight lorry parking ban on the A20 is a temporary scheme and may not become permanent
if alternative parking facilities are not available.
18 July 2018
Lenacre Hall Farm planning application refused
At their meeting this evening, Ashford Borough Council’s Planning Committee unanimously voted to
REFUSE the planning application for 21 dwellings on land at Lenacre Hall Farm, Sandyhurst Lane. The
meeting was attended by over 70 members of the public in the chamber and more in an overflow
committee room. Members of the public made their opposition to the application very clear by
applauding objection speakers (even though such applause is frowned upon at such meetings).
The strength of residents’ views was a major factor in deciding this application.
Both members of the SLRA members (and non-members) and the wider community of Boughton Aluph &
Eastwell parish had made their opposition views very clear in surveys which underpinned written and
verbal evidence submitted by the SLRA and by the Parish Council.
Prior to consideration of the application by the Planning Committee, a number of speakers addressed the
meeting eloquently, objecting to the application. These included Bryan Biggs (SLRA), Cllr Nigel Bunker
(Vice Chair, Boughton Aluph & Eastwell Parish Council), and Cllr Winston Michael (ward Member for
Boughton Aluph and Eastwell). The developer’s agent spoke in favour.
Members of the Planning Committee then gave their views, starting with Cllr Larry Krause (Downs West)
who vigorously opposed the application on a wide range of issues (mainly those which appeared in the
SLRA’s written submission) and proposed that the application be refused. Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of
Ashford Borough Council, then said that “windfall sites” such as this, even though not in the Local Plan,
should not be refused without good reason. However, in this case he was persuaded by the strength of
the views of residents and by the views of Cllrs. Michael and Krause. He said that planning polices existed
for guidance, not blind obedience and that Ashford Borough Council needed to send a message that they
do listen. He then seconded the proposal to refuse the application. Cllr Galpin was the only member to
speak in favour of the application; Cllr Heyes supported refusal. The vote was then taken to refuse the
This result illustrates the importance of public opinion and the voice of the majority being heard through
forums such as our Association.
We await to see whether the developer will appeal the Council's decision.
17 July 2018
Speakers at Planning Committee
The SLRA has asked to speak at the Ashford Borough Council Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday
evening, 18 July 2018, at which the Lenacre Hall Farm application for 21 dwellings will be considered.
Our representative is SLRA Committee member Bryan Biggs.
Please come along to support our opposition to this planning application if you can (7.00 pm at the Civic
Ashford Borough Council ward member Cllr Winston Michael will also be opposing the application. In
addition, Boughton Aluph & Eastwell Parish Council will field a speaker objecting to the application.
Boughton Aluph & Eastwell Neighbourhood Plan has tweeted:
The Vice Chair of the Parish Council will represent the views of residents at the Planning Committee
meeting. 75% of respondents to the Neighbourhood Plan Survey, opposed development on Lenacre Hall
Farm, Sandyhurst Lane. The most unpopular of the 7 potential sites in our parish.
The Vice-Chair is Councillor Nigel Bunker.
11 July 2018
Lenacre Hall Farm: Planning application to be decided on 18 July
At their meeting on 18 July 2018, Ashford Borough Council's Planning Committee will consider the
application for full planning permission for 21 dwellings on land at Lenacre Hall Farm. Despite numerous
objection comments, the officer dealing with the case is recommending that the committee permits the
application. The full report by the officer may be viewed here.
10 July 2018
Gladman Developments withdraw three planning appeals
On 3 July we passed on the news that, following the recent public hearings on the draft Ashford Local
Plan, the Planning Inspectors issued advice to Ashford Borough Council that the “A20 Corridor Sites”
should be deleted from the Plan. Part of their reasoning for this was that these sites were not needed to
meet the revised housing requirement.
It appears that this reasoning may be influencing some other proposals outside the Local Plan, including
three major sites submitted for planning approval by Gladman Developments. These were for 125 homes
in Brabourne Lees, 110 in Biddenden and, most significantly, 245 in Charing (application number
17/00303/AS). All three applications were refused by Ashford Borough Council and all three went to
appeal. However, Gladman Developments has now withdrawn all three appeals.
Charing Parish Council is relieved that the threat has been lifted and Ashford Borough Councillor Paul
Clokie, portfolio holder for Planning said:
“The council cannot prevent applications being made on sites that are not allocated for development in
its Local Plan, and any applications that may [be made] are considered on merit at that time. However
the council will continue to take a Local Plan led approach, including consultation with local residents, to
meet the development needs of the borough and we will strongly resist any inappropriate or unjustified
Ashford Borough Council’s full announcement may be found on their website here.
6 July 2018
Disruption to M20 and A20
Highways England is proposing to install a scheme to enable the M20 London bound carriageway to be
used in both directions in the event of Operation Stack being implemented, when the coast bound
carriageway would be used to hold lorries. This is a “temporary” solution until the permanent solution of
a lorry park or parks is realised.
In order to prepare for this, over the next 8 months work is to be carried out on the M20 which will
involve lane closures, and some overnight complete closures, of the London bound carriageway, starting
this Sunday, 8th July. This will increase traffic on the A20, which is a diversion route.
Highways England has made the following statement:
Highways England is developing a temporary traffic management solution on the M20 that will allow two-
way travel on the London-bound carriageway between junctions 8 at Maidstone and 9 at Ashford, should
disruption at the ports mean the coast-bound carriageway is required to manage port-bound HGVs.
To make the road safe for this temporary solution some minor works will be required to the safety barrier
and hard shoulder. In addition to these works, routine repairs to the road surface are also planned. These
works will commence in early July 2018 and continue through to March 2019. During this time sections of
the road between Junction 8 and 9 will be reduced to two lanes on the London-bound carriageway.
In addition a full closure between junctions 9 and 7 of the London-bound carriageway is planned on the
nights of 8 - 13 July 2018 between 10 pm and 6 am.
The diversion route for vehicles less than 4.7m is via A20 - A249 - M20 and for vehicles greater than 4.7m
via M20 (south) - A20 - A2 - M2 - A249 A28 -M20.
Note: All closures will be subject to change and are weather dependent.
The diversion plan may be viewed here.
There will be further closures in August (date to be confirmed).
Please also be aware that there will be other works carried out on the M20 at Jn 3-5 and Jn10 during this
period as part of our commitment to improve the Kent Corridor.
The M20 Temporary Solution Team
3 July 2018
Success! Inspector calls for DELETION of A20 corridor sites from Local Plan
The SLRA is delighted to announce a major lobbying success.
Members will recall that the Local Plan, submitted by Ashford Borough Council in December 2017, was
the subject of public examination by two Inspectors from the Government’s Planning Inspectorate for
England & Wales during May and June 2018.
We reported on the session held on 17 May 2018, when the “A20 corridor sites” were considered. These
S47 - Land East of Hothfield Mill
S48 - Land to the rear of Holiday Inn, Hothfield
S49 - Land at Tutt Hill, Westwell
Of particular interest and concern to the SLRA and its members was site S47, a proposed residential
development of around 75 dwellings located adjacent to Potters Corner / Westwell Lane, opposite the
existing dwellings in Westwell Lane. The SLRA lobbied hard against this proposed development with a
detailed, 10 page submission following a survey of members, who strongly supported opposition to the
development and some of whom helped to strengthen the submission with expert advice. Our submission,
made in August 2017, may be viewed here. We supplemented this with verbal evidence at the hearing on
The development, which would have endangered the urban/rural boundary which the SLRA has fought
hard to establish, was also strongly opposed, both by Westwell Parish Council and individually by a
number of our members and residents. We gratefully acknowledge their support.
We are now pleased to report that the Inspectors, in their Post Hearings Advice to Ashford Borough
Council, are calling for the DELETION of all three A20 corridor sites. They do not consider that they are
needed to meet the housing requirement. The relevant three paragraphs from their advice read as
36. Sites S47, S48, S49 and S58* are poorly related to existing settlements of any size and have relatively
poor access to services and facilities capable of meeting everyday needs. These sites would therefore be
inconsistent with criterion a) of Policy SP1 in terms of focussing development in accessible and
sustainable locations and with the provisions about development in the rural area in the fourth paragraph
of Policy SP2. Tutt Hill and the communities of Westwell Lane and Sandyhurst Lane are also not listed in
Policy HOU3a. Site S58 is located between High Halden and Bethersden and is not close to either. These
locations would not normally be considered suitable for residential development when judged against
Policy HOU5. In principle, these sites are not consistent with the Council’s underlying strategy or
approach toward the sustainable distribution of housing.
*[S58 is a site in High Halden]
37. The sites are well related to the main road network and thus can ensure easy access to Ashford and
other larger villages, particularly by car. While this might provide some economic benefits to these
settlements, there is nothing to suggest their vitality is under threat to the extent that relatively large
scale development in the open countryside is justified or necessary.
38. The limited benefits associated with these sites for a local employer and due to the use of a small
area of previously developed land do not outweigh the negatives and none are exceptional or unusual in
nature. It was clear from the hearings that the main benefit of these sites is their ability to be delivered
in a reasonable timescale. Delivery is clearly an important factor, but we are satisfied that these sites
will not be needed to meet the revised housing requirement. As such, development in these locations
would be unsustainable and unsuitable and the allocations should be deleted.
The full Post Hearings advice document (ID/10 ALP Inspectors’ Post-Hearing Advice) and other
Examination Documents may be accessed on the Council’s website here.
We are encouraged by this success and hope that this decision may encourage ABC to look even more
critically at future large scale developments in the area which would endanger our rural character.
20 June 2018
Confirmation of withdrawal of Sandpit planning application
Further to our news item of 18 June, we have now received formal confirmation that the outline planning
application to build 18 dwellings on the Sand pit to the south of 200 and east of 198 Sandyhurst Lane has
been withdrawn by the applicant. The formal notice may be viewed here. We have no information as to
whether a revised application will follow.
19 June 2018
Kingsland Lane to be closed for up to 3 days
Kent County Council has announced that Kingsland Lane will be closed from 0730 to 1630 on 21 June
2018, for up to 3 days, for urgent carriageway repairs. The public notice may be seen here.
18 June 2018
News about planning application for Former Sandpit, Sandyhurst Lane
Boughton Aluph & Eastwell Neighbourhood Plan has today tweeted the following:
Breaking news about planning application 17/01636/AS to build houses on the Former Sandpit site,
Sandyhurst Lane. The applicant has withdrawn the planning application while they reconsider the
18 June 2018
Planning permission sought for double garage at Ash Keys, 4 Eastwell Grange
An application for planning permission has been made for a detached double garage at Ash Keys, 4
Eastwell Grange. The closing date for comments is 9 July 2018. Full details may be viewed here (search
for application number 18/00888/AS)
6 June 2018
Sandyhurst Lane re-opened
We are pleased to report that the contractors have this evening reinstated the road following repairs to
underground electricity cables. The work has just finished and Sandyhurst Lane will be open tomorrow
morning (when the new tarmac has set).
6 June 2018
Update on road closure
The closure of Sandyhurst Lane is still in place and no work has ben undertaken on site today. It therefore
seems very unlikely that the information given to a local resident by a workman yesterday - that the
closure would be for 24 hours - was correct.
In fact, there is a notice at the site which says that the work is due to be completed by 13 June - one
week away! Hopefully this is to cover a ‘worst case scenario’.
We have therefore contacted UK Power Networks asking for more information and we have also asked
them to provide notices at each end of Sandyhurst Lane to advise ‘rat runners’ and others, so that the
peak time traffic chaos may be reduced. At present the signs are only at the diversions and the site of the
Numerous cars are driving past the signs, right up to the site before turning round. In at least one case, a
car has been illegally driven over the well maintained grass verge to get round the works.
As soon as we have more information, we shall publish it here; meanwhile the road remains closed.
5 June 2018
Sandyhurst Lane closed
Sandyhurst Lane is currently closed whilst repairs are made to an electricity cable. The closure is
estimated to last for 24 hours. A diversion is in place via Westwell Lane (opposite Golf Club), Kingsland
Lane and Lenacre Street.
5 June 2018
Report on experimental lorry parking enforcement and clamping trial
The Joint Transportation Board, which meets on 12 June, will be receiving a new report summarising the
results so far of the experimental lorry parking enforcement and clamping trial which is currently in force
on the A20 between Charing and the Drovers roundabout.
The report states that "The numbers of HGV’s parking on the A20 and all other areas have reduced
significantly and we are now finding an average of between 5 and 10 HGV’s in contravention each night.
We must note that Tuesday nights there are generally a higher volume than any other night of the week.
Overall the numbers have reduced by at least 50%".
"Despite the numbers of HGV’s reducing, we are still regularly clamping HGV’s in all locations. The total
clamped to date (31st May 2018) is 1345. Of which 578 have been on the A20".
The full report may be viewed here.
1 June 2018
Planning permission sought for extensions at Longfield, 390 Sandyhurst Lane
An application for planning permission has been made for a rear extension, extension to, and conversion
of the existing garage at Longfield, 390 Sandyhurst Lane. The closing date for comments is 16 July 2018.
Full details may be viewed here (search for application number 18/00755/AS).
23 May 2018
Planning permission granted for extensions at 120 Sandyhurst Lane
Planning permission was granted on 22 May 2018 for erection of a new single-storey side/rear extension;
rear infill extension; erection of first floor side extension with pitched roof; erection of single-storey front
extension incorporating front porch at 120 Sandyhurst Lane. No objections were received. Full details may
be viewed here (search for application number 18/00487/AS).
21 May 2018
Public examination of the Ashford Local Plan
The Ashford Local Plan to 2030 was submitted by Ashford Borough Council on 21 December 2017 to the
Secretary of State, for examination by the Planning Inspectorate. That public examination is now in
progress at Ashford Civic Centre and is running from 11 April till mid-June.
Last week, on 16 and 17 May, SLRA representatives attended sessions dealing with sites of particular
interest to us. These were site S20 - Eureka Park and site S47 - Land east of Hothfield Mill (one of three
A20 corridor sites).
In both cases we secured confirmation (and strengthening of the wording in S47) that vehicular access
would be ONLY from Trinity Road (S20) and the A20 (S47) and NOT from Sandyhurst Lane or Westwell
Lane. Numerous other points were made to the Inspector by a wide range of witnesses, including the
SLRA, local parish councils, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, local residents and developers. No
discussion was allowed of so-called “omission sites” such as Lenacre Hall Farm and the former Sandpit,
Sandyhurst Lane, so developers with interests in omission sites raised objections to sites which have been
included, such as the A20 corridor sites.
SLRA notes of the sessions are available here for the S20 - Eureka Park session and here for the A20
Corridor sites session, including S47 - Land east of Hothfield Mill.
17 May 2018
Planning permission sought for garage/workshop/gymnasium
at Forfar, 306 Sandyhurst Lane
An application for planning permission has been made for a detached garage/workshop and gymnasium
following demolition of existing storage sheds, home office and workshop at Forfar, 306 Sandyhurst Lane.
The closing date for comments is 9 June 2018. Full details may be viewed here (search for application
10 May 2018
SLRA responds to National Planning Policy Framework consultation in respect of
The SLRA has responded to the part of the current Government consultation on the draft revised National
Planning Policy Framework which deals with ancient woodland. The proposed wording greatly enhances
the protection for ancient woodland, but provides lesser protection for ancient or veteran trees which lie
outside ancient woodland. The SLRA response supports the proposals in respect of ancient woodland and
calls for the same level of protection to be afforded to ancient or veteran trees outside ancient
woodland. This is in line with the current campaign by the Woodland Trust.
The consultation documents may be viewed here, the SLRA response here and the Woodland Trust