News  Archive for Oct-Dec 2017                  
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 news item 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 Sandyhurst Lane.

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 great concern.

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.

Kind Regards

Charlie Simkins
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 December

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 each household.

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 2019.

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 services.

* (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 April 2018.

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 at 10 am tomorrow, may be found at, including 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):
666: £1.66
10X: £2.28
123: £4.66

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 viewed here.

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 issue.

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, sign up at

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 required.

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,
Sandyhurst Lane

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 17/01636/AS).

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 number 17/01613/AS).

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.


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 viewed here.

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 17/01478/AS).

12 October 2017

Kent Express publicises SLRA M20 noise campaign

The Ashford edition of the Kentish Express today carries, on page 14, an article highlighting the SLRA campaign to persuade Highways England to address the noise generated by traffic on the M20 in the vicinity of Sandyhurst Lane. Interviewed by a Kentish Express reporter, SLRA Chair Tony Bartlett pointed out that there is a map showing that we are in one of the worst areas in the UK for high noise levels. (The map is produced by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and may be viewed here). He went on to say that the volume of traffic had risen dramatically and the number of lorries had increased by 135% since 2000. He also said that there were 600 residents living within 500 metres of the M20 in and around Sandyhurst Lane and a further 200 could be added if the Local Plan includes new developments nearby.

The report also includes details of our recent correspondence with Highways England (see news item
26 September 2017)
Sandyhurst Lane
Residents Association

Protecting the rural character of Sandyhurst Lane and the adjoining area


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