The new ‘villages’ of Ashmere and Alkerden in north Kent have moved a step closer with the approval of their masterplans and design codes. Some 4,600 homes are planned for the area of Ebbsfleet known historically as Eastern Quarry but that has since been renamed Whitecliffe. The approval by Ebbsfleet Development Corporation’s planning committee backs an urban park running through the middle of it. The 667-acre site is owned by Henley Camland. Michael Cassidy, chairman of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation board, said: “The process of giving planning permission for the ‘look and feel’ of the main next phase of housing at Ebbsfleet Garden City marks a historic turning point in the ambitions for this flagship enterprise. “It shows how intelligent use of planning powers and cooperation from landowners and developers can bring matters to a speedy conclusion and a quality outcome that befits a garden city.” Alkerden is intended to host a new ‘market centre’, with commercial, retail and community facilities and new homes. There will be a primary and secondary education campus, library, sports facilities and mixed-use centre with shops and cafes, business space, a doctors’ surgery and gym. Ashmere will reportedly contrast Alkerden with its “Kentish-influenced” design and commitment to garden city principles. Social-housing provider Clarion and developer Countryside have agreed to build up to 2,600 homes there. At nearby Castle Hill, work has already on a planned community of 1,600 properties.
CPRE Kent has welcomed the creation of the new Urban Development Corporation for Ebbsfleet Garden City – but stresses the importance of sustainability and environmental protection in the decision-making process.
We agree with the UDC having powers to decide on planning applications, but local communities and elected parish, district and county councils must be represented.
CPRE Kent Director Dr Hilary Newport said: “The UDC must stick to existing agreements regarding infrastructure including schools, surgeries, hospital capacity and public transport. Also essential are excellent building design standards including visual appearance and energy efficiency, together with exemplary green space and community facilities. Getting all the key elements of delivery, design and community involvement right at Ebbsfleet will be a very important model for other garden cities across the UK.”
The comments were made as part of the consultation into the UDC which ended on Monday (October 6th).
We agree in principle with the boundaries of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC). However, the EDC includes a small area of the Metropolitan Green Belt, as well as land within the administrative boundaries of both Dartford and Gravesham Borough Councils and the proposed site of the London Paramount project. This will make it essential to work with all councils and communities in the area impacted by the development. The boundaries must also safeguard from housing development Robins Creek and Red Lions Wharf, as these minerals wharves are vital to provide for the bulk transport of minerals, thus avoiding additional congestion and air pollution if this transportation was switched to road.