There was a recent meeting at Ashford Borough Council where the Aldington working group presented their initial feedback to the developer Taylor Wimpey, with ABC planning officers in attendance.
A brief summary of what was achieved :
1. ABC will concur with the Housing department on the make up of the affordable homes and local needs housing- Carol Ridings will get back to us on this.
2. Taylor Wimpey are not in favour of a through road and ABC who insist that it is part of the plan have agreed to revisit this if the Parish Council clearly state their objections when the planning application is made. TW are suggesting that they tarmac the xisiting footpath. Apparently they do have restricted rights of way over the land owned by residents. The KCC reprentative for Highways, Matt Hogben, is also in support of a single point of access.
3. Building traffic will only be permitted to use the route A20, Calleywell lane and all contractors will be instructed to adhere.
4. 106 funding- a sum has not yet been set as the Council would like to see the original wish list from Bellways development from the Parish Council and wish to know what monies from this list have been spent and on what developments.
5. Drainage – a good point is that Southern Water have already informed TW that the drainage and sewage system is to capacity. This means that TW are required to invest in the sewage system. I have asked to have details of d this so that we can make up our own minds on whether the provisions are adequate.
6. Parking – there will be some homes with garages – this is however not planned for all homes based on space but would further encourage residents to use these for parking. I did raise the issue of residents later placing planning applications to convert into house annexe area and CR responded that conditions can be placed on the properties to restrict this practice. This is an issue on some estates in Ashford- whereby residents wishing to convert garages into additional living space, has increased dramatically. There will be around 11- 15 additional visitor parking spaces planned notwithstanding the required parking spaces for the development.
7. Materials used was a long and interesting discussion. Caroline presented her findings and pictures, and we had a good discussion on weatherboarding and colour useage. It is felt that Weather boarding should be firbreglass as this weathers best and is easily and cost effectively maintained. TW are in possession of desired design ideas from the photos that we passed on and will try to keep a traditional feel to the properties.
8. Heating- wood burning fireplaces were discussed and TW indicated that although not planned as part of the development, they would be prepared to consider these in some of the homes as an additional feature. The Council surveyor did comment that this is increasingly being considered as a preferred heating method because of the footprint but also that it would be in keeping here with the traditional style of the homes.
9. Garden sizes are stipulated at 10m by ABC – TW stated that a large portion of the gardens will exceed this and be much larger
10. ABC has a standard size requirement for homes- I did raise the issue of home size as this has recently been in the press. A standard 3 bed home in ABC needs to be 936 suare feet
11. Street lighting – we did raise the issue of street lighting and heard to surprise that KCC has no plans to provide street lighting on the estate and that there is no requirement to light the footpath area – an issue that the PC needs to respond to
12. Solar Panels will be applied to all buildings where the siting is applicable to receive the benefits of solar – this will include provision for the affordable homes.
13. Gas supply- as previously discussed, the Calor gas solution is the cheapest form of energy available as the site is not on mains gas and oil and electric are considerably more expensive. We did raise the issue of management and contract flexibility if residents wish to switch to an alternative provider to Calor. There will be a management company handling this and we have asked for dialogue with them during the development of this estate.
14. Management Company. TW will be appointing a management company to maintain the estate – once residents are in situ, they will be responsible for co-ordination with the management company and will pay for its services with an annual management fee. I have asked for contact details to be provided so that we can begin right from the start to communicate effectively with them.
There will be a further meeting with TW and ABC prior to the planning application being made in March
Both myself, and the working Group representatives present statet clearly the unhappiness, the challenges and problems that have arisen from the substandard works at the Bellways site in Aldington Meadows.TW have assured us that they are committed to providing the best possible development as it is also in their interest with a number of other developments on the go in the Borough.
TW now have a clear indication of what Aldington wants and so can begin to build these requests into their plans. It is therefore envisaged that the planning application will go in around March. At this time the PC need to be very attentive in responding in a timely manner and in detail on all the key points.