15 December 2019
SLRA writes to Damian Green MP
The SLRA has written to Damian Green MP on the occasion of his re-election to represent the Ashford constituency in the House of Commons. The Chair of the SLRA takes the opportunity to remind Damian that one of the issues of concern to members remains the traffic noise of the M20 motorway and seeks his assistance in ensuring that Highways England deliver on their earlier statement that the M20 is due for resurfacing in 2021/22. The letter may be viewed here.
13 December 2019
Lenacre Hall Farm planning appeal dismissed
The decision on the appeal against the refusal of planning permission for the development of 21 dwellings on land on Lenacre Hall Farm has been announced. The appeal has been dismissed. Full details are contained in the decision notice which may be viewed here.
13 December 2019
General election: Damian Green holds Ashford seat
In yesterday's general election, Damian Green (Con) held the Ashford seat for his seventh consecutive term since 1997. He secured a majority of 24,029, with 62.1% of the votes. The turnout was 67.1%.
In 2017 his majority was 17,478 with 59% of the votes and the turnout was 68.69%.
12 December 2019
A20 now open
The South East Water road works have now (6.30 pm) been completed and the road is open.
10 December 2019
A20 closure - update
A site inspection was carried out at 10.15 pm this evening.
The South East Water road works are now in progress. They are taking place not “outside” the Hare & Hounds, as stated in the earlier KCC notice, but diagonally opposite the Hare and Hounds. This means that the Maidstone bound carriageway of the A20 is closed between Orchard Heights and Potters Corner.
In practice this means that it is possible to:
Leave Sandyhurst Lane in any direction (left, right or straight across)
Enter Sandyhurst Lane from the Ashford-bound carriageway of the A20 (ie coming from Maidstone) or from Godinton Lane
It is NOT possible to:
Enter Sandyhurst Lane from the Maidstone-bound carriageway of the A20 (ie coming from Ashford)
It will therefore be necessary, when travelling from Ashford, to access Sandyhurst Lane from the Faversham Road end.
Regrettably, we have no information on any arrangements for bus services, but clearly they will be unable to run along the A20 from Orchard Heights to Potters Corner, so significant disruption is expected.
10 December 2019
A20 Emergency road closure
The A20 is to be CLOSED westbound at Potters Corner from 7 pm this evening for up to four days.
Emergency Road Closure - Maidstone Road , Ashford - 10 December 2019 (Ashford)
The notice below has been issued by Kent County Council.
It is not entirely clear how this will affect access to and from Sandyhurst Lane – presumably at the very least it will prevent a right turn from Sandyhurst Lane on to the A20 towards Maidstone. However, we will assess the situation visually later this evening and post a further bulletin at that time. The official closure notice may be viewed here.
It will be necessary to close Maidstone Road, Ashford from 10 December 2019 for up to 4 days.
The road will be closed outside Hare and Hounds Public House.
The alternative route is via Orchard Heights roundabout, A20 Maidstone Road, Simone Weil roundabout, A20 Fougeres Way, A20 Trinity Road, A251 Faversham Road, A251 Bucks Street, A252 Canterbury Road, A252 Charing Hill, A20 Maidstone Road.
It is planned that the road will be closed for the duration in a westbound direction only.
This closure will start at 19:00 hours.
This is to enable repairs to burst water main to be carried out by South East Water.
10 December 2019
Counter terrorism training
It has recently been decided by Counter Terrorism Policing to make available to the general public a free online training course in counter terrorism. Previously this was only available to staff working in crowded places like shopping centres and entertainment venues, but it is now being made generally available to anyone who wishes to become a “CT Citizen”. It is especially useful for those working in or visiting crowded places.
Full details of the training course are here.
29 November 2019
BT telephone kiosk - gone
Further to our news item of 16 July 2019 (here), we can now report that the telephone kiosk at the junction of Sandyhurst Lane and Lenacre Street has finally been removed.
29 November 2019
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 26th December will take place on Saturday 28th December
Refuse (grey): Collection due on Thursday 2nd January will take place on Saturday 4th January
Recycling (green): Collection due on Thursday 9th January will take place on Friday 10th January
Normal Recycling, Refuse and Food collections will resume on Thursday 16th January.
Garden Recycling (brown): No collection on Thursday 2nd January. (The next collection after this will be 16th January)
The full schedule is shown here.
11 November 2019
Meet your Borough Councillor (Downs West ward)
Almost every member of the SLRA lives in the Downs West ward of Ashford Borough Council (all except a few members in Faversham Road). One of the parish councils in our area, Boughton Aluph & Eastwell, is providing an opportunity to meet the Downs West borough councillor, Larry Krause, at an event at the Flying Horse public house in Boughton Aluph on Wednesday 20th November 2019, 2pm to 3pm. Tea and coffee will be provided. A poster advertising the event is here.
This is a good opportunity to meet Larry in an informal atmosphere and to raise with him any issues you may wish to discuss. For those who may not be able to take advantage of this opportunity on a weekday, the parish council plans to hold another event next year at the weekend.
3 November 2019
For those with children who may now have the problem of disposing of a post-Halloween pumpkin, please note the following tweet today from Ashford Borough Council:
Don't forget you can leave your Halloween pumpkin on top of your food caddy. There will also be pumpkin drop off points at the below locations between the 31st October and 5th November:
Waitrose in Tenterden
Civic Centre by the rear door
Vicarage Lane Car Park
26 October 20119
Road closures tomorrow
Tomorrow, Sunday 27 October, will see the 5 and 10 mile races organised by the Ashford & District Road Running Club. The races will be based at the Towers School and the routes will involve closure from 10.00 am of the whole of Lenacre Street and the part of Sandyhurst Lane between the A251 Faversham Road and Sandyacres.
KCC has issued a road closure notice which may be viewed here. Full details of the event are on the Sporting Events UK website here.
22 October 2019
Possible Brexit impact on bin collections
Ashford Borough Council have announced that times for bin collections will be extended from the beginning of November, due to possible disruption as a consequence of Brexit.
Bins should be put out by 6 am, rather than 7 am as at present, and there is a possibility that food caddies will be collected separately.
The statement reads as follows:
“Due to potential disruptions over the next few months, we are extending our bin collection times from the beginning of November.
Bins will need to be presented no later than 6 am on the morning of collection, if it safe to do so you can leave your bin out the evening before.
Collections are also being extended to take place later in the day so if your bin is not collected at the usual time please leave it out and our crews will get to you as soon as they are able.
There is a possibility that food waste may be collected separately from your recycling and refuse bins so please leave your caddy out if it hasn’t been collected.
We thank you all in advance for your co-operation and apologise for any inconvenience caused."
18 October 2019
Planning appeal hearing date confirmed
The date and time of the appeal hearing for the development of 21 dwellings on land on Lenacre Hall Farm have been confirmed. The hearing will take place at 10.00 am on Tuesday 19 November 2019 at the Civic Centre.
The full text of the letter from Ashford Borough Council is as follows:
TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990 - PLANNING APPEAL
Proposal: The development of 21 new residential dwellings, access, drainage, car and cycle parking and landscaping.
Location: Land at Lenacre Hall Farm, Sandyhurst Lane, Boughton Aluph, Kent
Appellant: Millwood Designer Homes Limited
Duration: 1 days
With reference to the above appeal, the Planning Inspectorate has now confirmed that the appeal is being dealt with by way of an informal hearing which will start at 10.00am on 19 November 2019 at the Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PL (location details enclosed and/or can be viewed on the application records on our website).
An Inspector has been appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions under paragraph 1(i) of Schedule 6 to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to determine this appeal.
As I indicated in my earlier letter, I have forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate and to the Appellants all comments that I have received from you or other people relating to the application for planning permission which has led to this appeal.
If you wish to see the Council's reasons for refusal of the application and the appellant's grounds of appeal, proofs of evidence, summaries and statement of common ground. These may be inspected online at:http://planning.ashford.gov.uk using the planning application search links inputting the following reference: 18/00413/AS or by enquiring at the Central Reception at the Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford.
Should you wish for any further information, please contact Alex Stafford on (01233) 330248.
You may attend the hearing if you wish and, at the discretion of the Inspector, take part in the discussion. The Planning Inspectorate have asked me to point out that a copy of the letter which sets out the final decision on the appeal and includes the Inspector' s reasons for reaching that decision, will only be sent to those who have previously asked for a copy of it.
Please note parking is available at Ashford Borough Council but it is now pay and display. There are designated disabled parking spaces in the Visitors Car Park at the rear of the Civic Centre and level access into the building. All parts of the building can be accessed by the disabled via lifts and non-fixed seating is available.
4 October 2019
SLRA submits response to planning appeal for land at Lenacre Hall Farm
The SLRA has submitted further objection comments to the appeal against the refusal of planning permission for 21 dwellings on land at Lenacre Hall Farm. The comments draw on a new survey of members and refer to changes which have occurred since the original application was submitted, including the adoption of the Ashford Local Plan 2030. The SLRA submission may be viewed here.
Please note that the date of the appeal hearing has been changed from 12 to 19 November 2019.
20 September 2019
Operation Brock to be reintroduced on M20
Operation Brock is set to return in full to the M20 ahead of Brexit day, scheduled for 31 October. Operation Brock is likely to be reintroduced around 21 October. At present, the M20 London bound carriageway between junctions 8 and 9 remains split in two by a steel barrier, but only the London bound section is in use, with a 50 mph speed limit. The M20 coast bound carriageway is operating normally, with a 70 mph speed limit. When Operation Brock is reintroduced, coast bound traffic will use the second section of the London bound carriageway, allowing the normal coast bound carriageway to be used for parking and managing lorries en route to Dover and the Channel Tunnel.
The full implications of Operation Brock may be seen from the table below, which gives four phases of how goods vehicles will be required to operate. If phase 4 is reached, the coast bound M26 will be closed.
5 September 2019
Appeal lodged for development at Lenacre Hall Farm
One of the applications for planning permission for the development of land at Lenacre Hall Farm was refused by Ashford Borough Council on 18 July 2018. See our news item of that date here.
An appeal against that decision has now been lodged by Millwood Designer Homes Ltd. It relates to the application for full planning permission for 21 dwellings. (Note that another hybrid application, for up to 79 dwellings, is still undecided).
Full details of the appeal documents may be viewed on the Council’s website here (search for application number 18/00413/AS).
The appeal hearing is to take place on 12 November 2019.
3 September 2019
Overnight lorry parking ban confirmed
Further to our news items of 4 and 17 June (below), it is now confirmed that the permanent overnight lorry parking ban on the A20 between Charing and Drovers Roundabout, and certain other industrial estates, will be enforced from 16 September 2019 onwards.
The Department for Transport has now given permission for offenders to be fined on the first offence and to increase the wheel clamp release fee to £150. A contract has been placed with London Parking Solutions to carry out the clamping.
Ashford Truck Stop have reported that, since their facility was expanded by 200 places in April, there has been spaces available every night.
The Joint Transportation Board will receive a report giving full details at their meeting on 10 September 2019. That report may be viewed here.
24 July 2019
Herbicide drift leaflets
Following recent complaints about herbicide spray from local farms drifting on to domestic properties, Westwell Parish Council has been in touch with the National Farmers' Union (NFU). They have supplied two leaflets on the subject of Good Neighbour Initiative and Spraying Responsibly. The leaflets may be viewed here and here.
23 July 2019
Pedestrian/cycle path cleared
On Saturday 20 July, the SLRA reported to Ashford Borough Council that the pedestrian and cycle path which runs from opposite Sandyacres to Dunnock Road in Goat Lees was seriously overgrown with vegetation.
We are pleased to report that the Council has taken prompt action and cleared the pathway.
Pictures taken before and after are below:
20 July 2019
Annual Policing Survey for 2019
Matthew Scott was elected Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) in May 2016. His role is to set policing priorities for the county, by consulting with the public and putting together a Police and Crime Plan. He then holds the Chief Constable of Kent Police to account for the delivery of that plan.
One way in which the PCC consults with the public is through the annual Policing Survey. Matthew Scott recently launched the 2019 survey, saying:
“PCCs are here to be a voice for the people they serve. I meet with local people and community groups all year round but my Annual Policing Survey, which I am formally launching today, provides me with a broader understanding of what matters most to the people of Kent. There are questions in there asking people how safe they feel where they live, and about their experiences as victims of crime.
‘I’m particularly interested to hear about the areas of work people would like to see police officers and staff to be focused on in future, and whether they would be willing to a little pay more for these extra resources through council tax.
The feedback I receive from the survey each year helps me to hold the Chief Constable to account and informs my decision-making around the council tax precept. I encourage everyone living in Kent to get involved by completing the survey. This is your chance to have your say about policing in your community.”
The survey is anonymous and takes only a few minutes to complete online here. Hard copies are also available by calling the PCC’s office on 01622 677055.
16 July 2019
BT telephone kiosk proposed for removal
In 2017, the SLRA tried to persuade BT to remove the telephone kiosk situated at the junction of Sandyhurst Lane and Lenacre Street. BT refused on the grounds that it was “relatively well used”, despite the fact that it was overgrown with vegetation and local residents had not witnessed any use at all. They refused to disclose to the SLRA the number of calls that were being made from the kiosk.
At that time, BT was earning revenue from advertising which was carried on the sides of the kiosk.The SLRA then made a formal complaint to Ashford Borough Council’s (ABC) planning department, that the kiosk contravened planning regulations which prohibit telephone kiosks from displaying advertising if they are located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). After some debate, ABC finally accepted that the kiosk was indeed located (just) within the Kent Downs AONB and in February 2018 issued a notice instructing BT to remove the advertising from the kiosk.
On 28 June 2019, BT submitted to ABC for consultation a list of 11 telephone kiosks in the Ashford area which they want to remove. The list includes the kiosk located in Sandyhurst Lane/Lenacre Street. Interestingly, they now quote the number of calls made from the kiosk in the year to 25 June 2019 – it is zero. This contrasts with their previous claim that it was “relatively well used”.
Unless objections are made by ABC, the kiosk will be removed after the consultation period, which ends on 26 September 2019.
Full details may be viewed on the ABC planning website here (search for application number 19/00971/AS).
2 July 2019
Planning permission granted for new garage at 400 Sandyhurst Lane
Planning permission was granted on 1 July 2019 for a new single storey garage at Old Orchard House, 400 Sandyhurst Lane. Full details may be viewed here (search for case number 19/00672/AS).
Protecting the rural character of Sandyhurst Lane and the adjoining area
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