Happy New Year!
There are many positive things afoot in 2017 that I wanted to update you on.
There will be a Saxon Shore planning open dayOn Saturday 21ST January 2017 in Aldington Village Hall
All residents of Saxon Shore and neighbouring areas are welcome to join us to get up to date on the local plan, the challenges that may face Saxon Shore with new development, and to understand what you as residents can do to support your area
On the same day 9am – 11 am I will be holding a surgery also at Aldington Village Hall so any residents with issues they wish to discuss with me are welcome to join me in the Fraser room to the rear of the hall.
Ward Member Community Grant funding put to good use
I have been delighted to support a number of local projects in the past year:
The Brook Players, Smeeth & Brabourne Community Led Plan, Aldington WI, Aldington & Bonnington village news, Bilsington Church for the Village Bench, Aldington and Brabourne Father Christmas, Aldington, Bonnington & Bilsington villages Landscape Protection Policy, and Brook village hall, have all received or are in the process of receiving, much needed funds to help their contribution to our communities.
Bromley Green Road Ruckinge Drainage system
The drainage system was upgraded by Southern Water in Bromley Green Road after many negotiations by myself and the working group, and with major support from our MP, Damian Collins. All the Pods have been replaced and telemetry installed costing ca £1million. Laterals were not part of the programme but Southern Water is now making improvements to those that are still posing a challenge. The system will now be assessed up to March with any further improvements following the assessment, to be considered in March /April 2017. This is I hope a positive end to a 20+ year challenge for the residents of Bromley Green Road.
Bromley Green Road Vilage Hall
The Residents association have been working extremely hard, and have carried out a major overhaul of this community space. I am delighted that they have been ably supported by Mrs Francoise Montford from Aldington, in preparations for disabled access – so thank you Francoise and to the Committee for their considerable activity on the fundraising front. My thanks goes to the Hall Committee and the Parish Council, for their patience throughout the Southern Water works, which saw the Hall parking space reduced and thus bookings seriously affected. The Hall is looking good and open for business once more!
The Village and Landscape Protection Policy
The Village/ Landscape Protection Policy came into being because I had pledged at the last election, to look at solving some major issues involving road usage. The aim has been to create a policy for inclusion in the Ashford Borough Council planning policy documents that addresses the negative impact that inappropriate development can have on the rural way of life, and on the rural setting. This document will then be a vehicle for championing improvement in many other areas.
Aldington and Bonnington have led the way on this project, and the initial evidence gathering for a policy covering those 2 villages, was collated by many residents of Aldington and Bonnington and included a team from Aldington Primary School- with Children carrying out speed surveys. I would like to thank all those who got involved and to those from Bilsington who also carried out traffic surveys in their area.
The evidence was collated by Peter Brett Infrastructure specialists and presented to ABC. Although it has taken some time and still needs cabinet approval, the policy has been accepted by the planners and will be incorporated in the updated core plan.
On the back of this, and following further encroachment of inappropriate and aggressive planning challenges- that have seen a proposal for 125 additional homes on one site in Brabourne, – Smeeth and Brabourne Villages also joined together to collate evidence for a policy relevant to their area. In recent weeks Ruckinge, Ham Street and Shadoxhurst have also expressed an interest in collecting the evidence to support a policy for their areas- so you can see that the importance of such a policy is now becoming clear as a way of protecting the rural areas.
The Policy framework will, once accepted, remain the same for each area, – but the importance of the policy is for it to be specific to the particular area it covers- this is its key strength – as no one policy will be the same and each policy will be tailored to the area it serves. This means the evidence gathering is something best done by locals who know the area and feel passionately about preserving the character of where they live.
This is not a tool to stop development, rather a tool to encourage planners and developers to consider, respect and adhere to the intrinsic characteristics of any rural area, to account for cumulative effects of development, and to adequately compensate for any infringements on this quality of rural life.
This policy is the first of its kind in the UK but is in my view long overdue and I am proud that it is Saxon Shore that is leading the way with standing up for protecting the uniqueness of the rural setting.
Developments in our area
There are a number of developments being that have been submitted or re-submitted for inclusion in the Local plan- These are not decided applications- rather at this stage, applications to the Council to develop that the Council are considering.
SS5 – Goldwell Lane – resubmitted ALP/1825 ca 4 ha – delivering between 75-100 homes
SS1 Coopers Field – resubmitted – delivering 11 homes – a separate planning application has also been submitted and will be heard at the February planning committee.
Brabourne and Smeeth
Old Builders Yard on Plain Road – resubmitted ALP1862 – delivering ca 8-20 homes
Caldecott Foundation- new application ALP1842- potential for 95-125 homes
Smeeth Playing Field- new application ALP 2497- potential for 25 homes +community facilities
Brabourne Lees – Gladman- ALP 2704 delivering ca 125 homes
Bromley green Road, Hornash Lane, Ashford Road – 3 sites submitted as one omission – new application – Potential for 400 homes
These developments have the potential to add 750-800 additional dwellings to the Saxon Shore rural area!
Whilst it is highly unlikely that all these developments will be permitted and whilst, appropriate measured development is to be welcomed as a way to keep rural areas flourishing, it is vital that we all appreciate how our area will change with development and what part we need to play in this. The Landscape Protection policy has been devised to support protection of our area, whilst not acting as a barrier to the right kind of development.
Additionally when the new plan comes out for consultation in spring, it would be helpful to have as many comments by residents of Saxon Shore as possible – to support preservation of our area –given that planned policies such as HOU 4 specifically permit development in Bilsington, Ruckinge and Hastingleigh, which until now have been considered unsustainable.
In addition, there is currently an enforcement issue ongoing to remove a gypsy mobile home in Bromley Green road, another mobile in Bilsington and I have asked for the planning application for 7 dwellings in Brisley Lane Bilsington, and development of 2 dwellings in Bromley Green Road, to be referred to the planning Committee based on sustainability concerns.
Saxon Shore DIG – Saxon Shore Development & Infrastructure Group
I am aiming to establish a group of residents to help me prepare together with Parish Councils for the local plan and future development in our area – this group will do the homework and preparation for a Ward wide representation on the future of planning in Saxon Shore – representing the views of the whole ward – please get in touch on 07583 642202 or email@example.com if you want to get involved or come to the open day on 21 January and add your name to the volunteer team or return the slip here enclosed- there is much to do to keep everyone up to speed and to prepare Saxon Shore.
Keeping in touch
I will continue to circulate news in paper format as much as possible, and to post regularly in our Parish Magazines. However, because of the pace and volume of events happening, I also use social media as a fast and easy way to keep you up to date.
“Saxon Shore Matters” is the forum I have established to encompass all villages and you can join it by clicking the link here:
This is where I post updates on key issues affecting the ward, and where you can add your views and comments on anything that is important to you in the ward.
Thank your for taking the tie to read this
I would like to get involved in the Saxon Shore DIG (PLEASE PRINT SO IT’S LEGIBLE)
Send to : Cllr Jane Martin, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford TN231PL