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Green light for 5,750-home Kent 'garden suburb'

Ashford Borough Council has resolved to grant outline planning permission for an urban extension of up to 5,750 new homes near Ashford in Kent.

House builders Hodson Developments, Malcolm Jarvis Homes, Pentland Homes and Ward Homes applied to the Council in August 2012 for permission to build a new 'garden suburb' on 415 hectares of farm land immediately to the south west of Ashford, surrounding the hamlet of Chilmington Green.

The final amended plans, submitted in May this year, include up to 5,750 new homes; 10,000 square metres of business space; 9,000 sq m of shops, cafés, restaurants, takeaways, pubs and financial and professional services premises; a secondary school; up to four primary schools; 7,000 sq m of space for community uses; and 6,000 sq m for leisure use.

Three neighbourhoods would exist under the scheme, with a larger district centre and two local centres. Small scale business floorspace, community and sports halls, health and community centres would be concentrated around the district and local centres under the proposals. A large supermarket is proposed within the district centre and a cluster of two-storey buildings for office, studio and light industrial use is planned for an area north of the district centre.

The final housing mix has not been provided under the application, but indicative figures supplied by the developers suggest a mix of one and two bedroom flats and three to five bedroom houses will be built, with the majority of homes being houses with three or four bedrooms. While local planning policy seeks the provision of 30% affordable housing, a planning officer’s report (222-page / 1.6 MB PDF) said that only 10% affordable housing is expected to be delivered in the 1,000-home first phase of development and provision in later phases will depend on viability.

The scheme proposes 63 hectares of open space, including outdoor sports pitches, parks and recreation grounds, informal green space and allotments. Several new roundabout accesses and a priority junction onto the A28 are also proposed.

Ian Bull, spokesperson for the Chilmington Green Developer’s Consortium said in a statement: “The developer’s consortium is very pleased to have received the resolution to grant planning permission from Ashford Borough Council for the development at Chilmington Green. The application process has been very long and extremely detailed with no stone left unturned and this was reflected in the planning officer’s recommendation for planning to be approved."

“This is a significant milestone in the Chilmington Green project, but there are several more still to go through, not least finalising the Section 106 agreement between the developers and the planning authorities. While those negotiations are ongoing we will be working on the detailed design for phase 1 of the development. At this stage we would expect to start work on site during next summer on access roads, with the first homes completed in 2016, Bull said”.

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