A retrospective planning application has been submitted for gates by Martin Wilkins, owner of Morghew Park House, which is being opposed by estate owner Tom Lewis – who has even had a van signwritten asking for support.
Mr Lewis also runs the Potato Shop there, selling potatoes and firewood.
Morghew Park Estate owner Tom Lewis with his signwritten van
He fears for the future of the business if customers are delayed by the gates operating electronically.
Two previous applications to Ashford council for new gates have been turned down.
Mr Wilkins, across whose land the single-track estate access road runs, said the electronic operation was not a planning issue.
“I have just replaced like with like,” he said. “I have replaced gates that were there in the first place and had been damaged.
“We have had to apply for planning permission because we have replaced them rather than repaired them, as repairs were not possible.
“Any objections have to be on planning grounds, not on the electronic operation.”
The new gates at Morghew Park
Mr Lewis said the gates were open from 7am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday but closed at other times and operated by vehicles approaching.
“I fear we could lose up to 50% of our sales from the Potato Shop if customers stop coming because they get held up at weekends. If that is the case, it will no longer be viable. The lane has always worked well as there are passing bays and you could see if anything was coming,” he said.
A petition opposing the gates is at the Potato Shop and also available at www.morghew.com
Mr Lewis has also had a van sign-written asking for support.
He added: “The gates will cause chaos at weekends in the winter.
“All the people who live on the estate, all the staff and our customers are being inconvenienced.”
Mr Wilkins said he had contacted all those who lived on the estate about his plans inviting them to contact him with any concerns.
Since the gates had been installed, he said, some of the residents had approached him and said they were in favour.
He added: “The gates are see- through six bar gates. They will still have the same vision as before.”
Residents, staff and customers of the estate have a right of access over the drive.
n To see the application, go to www.ashford.gov.uk and search for planning application number 00900.