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Highly controversial Conningbrook Park development approved for Ashford site

Despite a high amount of opposition, a 725-home plan was approved at a virtual council meeting last night.

As well as the houses, Quinn Estates' Conningbrook Park scheme will also see a primary school, bowls club and community centre built on land in Kennington, Ashford.

The Conningbrook Park - or Large Burton - development will see 725 houses built on this Kennington field
The Conningbrook Park - or Large Burton - development will see 725 houses built on this Kennington field

The proposal - also known as Large Burton - has been revised five times since being submitted in January 2019, following negative consultation responses.

In that time it had received more than 1,100 objections compared to only 75 support comments and inspired a petition by nearby residents.

Chief among the concerns is its location on 'Grade 1' arable land - the highest quality of crop-growing soil - and the possible impact on a protected Area of Natural Beauty adjacent to the site off Willesborough Road.

Another worry is the increased traffic the site will bring, which was highlighted by the parish's community council and borough councillor during last night's meeting.

Despite these fears, Conservative councillors were appeased by an officers' assertions that through all of the amendments the scheme had been drastically approved.

Where the homes will go off Willesborough Road
Where the homes will go off Willesborough Road

The development and site had been largely discussed ahead of its being included on the Local Plan - another reason for its eventual approval.

Furthermore Ben Geering, development director at Quinn Estates, noted the Large Burton development would bring in more than 200 jobs and more than £14 million investment in on- and off-site facilities.

In the end, the need for more housing won out and the almost three-hour-long discussion came to a close.

Only one motion was tabled, and that was to approve full planning permission for 288 homes and outline permission for a further 437 houses.

Despite the loss of a field, green spaces are being offered throughout the Quinn Estates scheme
Despite the loss of a field, green spaces are being offered throughout the Quinn Estates scheme

Very much split down party lines, the vote was passed eight against seven with one abstention.

Mr Geering said construction will start this year, with the first occupants expected to move in next year.

Read more: All the latest news from Ashford


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