Chairman: Dr Hilary Moorby
Ashford is a large borough dominated by the former railway town of Ashford. The landscape in the north of the borough is part of the Kent Downs AONB, which is at its most stunning at the Devil’s Kneading Trough, near Wye. From here you can see across the upper Stour valley and all the way to Dungeness and Fairlight Cliffs, near Hastings.
South west of Ashford the landscape is characterised by low rolling hills and secluded valleys of the eastern Weald, around Tenterden, that descends down to the Reading Sewer, a branch of the River Rother that snakes around the Isle of Oxney on the edge of Romney Marsh.
- Ashford town, given ‘growth area’ status by central Government’s 2003 Sustainable Communities Plan, is expected to accommodate 31,000 additional homes by 2031. Clearly, this doubling of the town’s size will place immense pressure on infrastructure, resources and the natural environment.
- KCC have proposed a lorry park for 2,500 trucks between Aldington and Sellindge.
- Imperial College London (ICL) took over the historic Wye College in 2000. after which student numbers declined rapidly. ICL put together draft proposal to build a science park and thousands of houses on the Wye College estate, which is in the Kent Downs AONB. This was exposed and the plan abandoned, however, ICL have notably failed to restore education at the college and much of the campus now lies derelict, or is being sold off piece-by-piece.
- The River Stour is under threat from over-pumping (abstraction) and declining water quality due to the increasing proportion of the river flow being treated wastewater.