Economic boost for Ashford
Video: See the
countryside that could be affected by the development
Plans to build new homes in Ashford will bring in thousands
of jobs, according to developers.
A draft for the controversial Chilmington Green
development is set to go out for public consultation on Monday.
The project to build 5,750 homes at the hamlet is expected
to be a 'significant economic generator.'
Planning agent Bob Sellwood, speaking on behalf of the developer
consortium, said: "It is important to recognise that
Chilmington Green is not just an issue of new homes."
He said it would generate 1,195 on site jobs and 1,350 jobs
in the town as a whole, as well as resulting in £330 million of
retail expenditure to support the town centre. A further £41.3
million will be injected to spend on infrastructure.
Other aspects of the proposal include a park, a secondary
school, up to four primary schools, a high street and shops.
Mr Sellwood added that the government expected housing land
to be "boosted significantly" nationally. He said the National
Planning Policy Framework, published last week, indicated that
local authorities were expected to take responsibility for meeting
the housing needs of their areas. He also confirmed
that South East Water have said it can meet the water
demands of the development.
But concerns have been raised by Ashford Independent
leader Cllr Peter Davison, who does not feel the plans for the huge
development are justified.
"I personally don't feel the case for this development has been
proven," he said. "I feel this document really won't address a long
list of reasons why the development shouldn't go ahead. We have
already built 15,000 houses. There's no immediate local need."
He has called for the plan to be deferred, but other councillors
have argued it would enhance the area and it's time for the public
to view the plans.
Deputy council leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson (Con) said: "People of
Chilmington Green in the long term can feel confident that the area
and community is being enhanced. They can gain and their property
values will be heightened by the prospect of having a park and
other things there."