Change is afoot in the Ashford committee

Christine Drury, Ashford committee chairman, reports on events, changes and concerns in her area

The site of the proposed Otterpool new town… not good news for many in the Ashford area

CPRE Kent’s Ashford committee, which incorporates the Ashford Rural Trust, held its AGM at the Picturehouse cinema on Wednesday, March 6.
The new cinema marks a milestone in the regeneration of the town centre. There is still much to do before the town can be said to be thriving, but Ashford Borough Council’s commitment to brownfield and delivering on it was well worth celebrating.
We are very sorry that Graham Galpin, who did so much to champion the town-centre big projects, became a high-profile casualty of the elections in May, losing his ward seat by just one vote.
We have also had to make changes in the CPRE Ashford committee as a result of those elections.
The members of the committee are as elected at the AGM, but the honorary officers will now just be chairman Christine Drury and honorary secretary Sandra Dunn. Linda Harman stepped down from her vice-chairman role to commit fully to her new roles as borough and parish councillor. Congratulations, Linda!
We are also pleased to continue working alongside Rural means Rural and the Village Alliance, now both being run by Sharon Swandale, who has joined the committee, along with Samantha Reed of the Limes Land Protection Group in Tenterden.
The speculative proposal by Wates for 250 homes on a highly valued local landscape that defines the green spaces and shape of Tenterden is a disgrace. And to call it windfall development is an outrage.
Tenterden is a jewel in the High Weald AONB. Wates should stop pushing this idea now before its reputation is damaged by it.
The committee is hard at work in and around Ashford, trying to ensure the best possible outcomes and sensible phasing where possible for sites that are in the Local Plan approved in February.
The other huge preoccupation is with the impacts on Ashford, Ashford borough villages and the natural environment that will occur if the Otterpool development goes ahead in Folkestone and Hythe district.
The promoters seem to be focusing entirely on the immediate ‘red line’ area and ignoring the potentially devastating wider impacts on the AONB to the north and Aldington and Ashford villages to the west, as well as the highly sensitive drainage and flood defences of the whole area.
Wednesday, June 5, 2019