Published: 06:00, 15 May 2021
Work will soon begin on new pitches at a hockey club – a key part of a controversial housing plan that bosses say is essential to the site's financial survival.
Approved without a planning committee discussion, the pitches will be used by Kennington Juniors Football Club and will be accessed via a public footpath.
Work on the land will begin as soon as possible, as they need to be completed ahead of the houses' construction.
Kennington residents came out en masse to oppose the scheme, with safety concerns and queries over the need to do it.
The homes themselves have been before the Ashford Borough Council planning committee twice, once being deferred and the other being outright rejected.
Councillors aired concerns about the safety of children crossing the road to access the pitches, that the now-approved pitches were in flood zones 2 and 3 and that not enough had been done to secure the funding.
Questioning the decision, the hockey club appealed to the Planning Inspectorate in February and the decision was overturned.
The report stated it was a quiet road with slow-moving cars and that the Environment Agency had stated the pitches have "a less vulnerable use" so would be appropriate for a flood zone site.
In February of this year a full planning application was submitted for the pitches and the scheme was approved last month.
The club's Roger Lightfoot said: "It is a very important step. The new football pitches need to be built before work can start on the houses.
"The reserved matters approval means the construction of the football pitches can go ahead.
"We are preparing the tender documentation for the football pitches now and anticipate that construction will start later in the year."
Although the hockey club has outline approval for the nine homes, it is not yet known when a detailed application will be submitted.