Plans approved for 5,750-home Ashford urban extension

Outline plans for a 5,750-home urban extension to Ashford in Kent have been approved after planners concluded the scheme would be in line with local planning policy and has the potential to create a 'vibrant place of lasting quality'.

Chilmington Green: 5,750 homes are planned
Chilmington Green: 5,750 homes are planned

The Chilmington Green scheme would provide a major extension to Ashford including the new homes, a district centre, two local centres, five new schools, employment space and community infrastructure.

The plans, by a consortium including Hodson Developments, Jarvis Homes, Pentland Homes and Ward Homes, would be delivered in four phases over twenty years.

The development was identified in Ashford Borough Council’s 2008 core strategy planning document as the site for an urban extension. An area action plan (AAP) document was also put together to guide the plans.

According to a planning report, the proposals attracted a petition of over 8,000 signatures against the development which was submitted to 10 Downing Street and to the council.

"Six parish councillors at Great Chart and Singleton Parish Council have all been elected on an anti-development platform and this shows the strength of feeling against the development", the report said.

But the plans were approved at a council meeting last week. The report said that a large scale urban extension at Chilmington Green "has been a feature of the council’s development plans for many years, and has been adopted policy since it was included in the core strategy, which was adopted in 2008".

It added: "The Chilmington Green AAP was prepared pursuant to the 2008 [core strategy], and was adopted in 2013 following a lengthy and detailed [examination in public] where many of the points put by objectors to this application were examined.

"None of its policies have been superseded by any policy, guidance or other statement by government or by any proposed policy to be considered or adopted by this council. It remains, in its entirety, the legal starting point for the determination of this application".

Recommending the plans for approval, the report concluded: "Much thought has ... been given to the proposals to manage and monitor the development as it takes place to make sure that the quality promised is delivered.

"As a result of this and the huge efforts of the local community and its representatives, a wide range of service providers, officers and other stakeholders working with the developer team over several years, I believe we can be confident that this development has every prospect of being a well balanced, attractive and sustainable community and place to live and work".

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