Published: 14:42, 25 February 2021
| Updated: 14:47, 25 February 2021
A full application which could see nine homes built on hockey club land has been submitted.
Proposed by Ashford Hockey Club at its Ball Lane base in Kennington, the nine houses faced heavy opposition during the outline stage.
With the development site replacing a football pitch, two replacement pitches would be installed in a field over the road.
However residents loudly expressed safety concerns for children accessing the would-be Kennington Juniors Football Club pitches across Ball Lane.
The proposed pitches would also partially be sited in flood zones 2 and 3.
Councillors, including ward representative Cllr Nathan Iliffe (Con), also questioned whether the hockey club could have done more to secure funding.
These concerns led to the Ashford Borough Council planning committee deferring the proposal in January 2019, before rejecting it outright in August that year.
But the club successfully appealed the decision to the Planning Inspectorate in June last year, and after more than four years of work the full reserved matters plan has now been submitted.
Entered on February 8, the new document shows a revised layout of the homes and new pitches, as well as what work would be undertaken "for the pitches to achieve equivalent or better provision to those they replace".
Sports pitch consultant firm Natural Turf Solutions has also written a feasibility report, addressing the safety concerns which saw it rejected.
The report states: "The number of vehicle movements at the Ball Lane crossing point proposed for use by Kennington Juniors Football Club is low with an average of less than one vehicle per hour during the hours of 9am and 10pm, which is when the pitches would most likely be in use.
"The speed of vehicles, on average, is 10mph lower than the 30mph limit in Ball Lane.
"It is not considered that a dedicated crossing point is required but should this be progressed, a formal application for planning permission would be required to be submitted."
It also summarise that: "The Environment Agency recognised the replacement sports pitches are within floodzones 2 and 3, however their use is considered, under the planning practice guidance to be classified as ‘a less vulnerable use’ which is compatible with areas at risk from flooding."
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