Published: 00:01, 21 August 2018
The first image of the so-called Large Burton estate has been released as concerned residents sign a petition against the 750-home development.
The picture, released by developer Quinn Estates this week, shows a proposed green space – despite neighbours’ fears construction will ruin current views and ecology.
Prolific developer Mark Quinn is behind the Conningbrook Park scheme, which he hopes to build on fields off Willesborough Road in Kennington overlooking the Wye Downs.
A planning application is yet to be submitted but it is hoped the homes will go next to the existing Little Burton estate, which was first occupied in the early 2000s.
Tim Atkins, 57, of Canon Woods Way, has signed the petition which has been sent to Quinn Estates.
He said: “The petition sets out the views of people neighbouring the site. We’re concerned about the infrastructure for people in general.
“They say the land is of no ecological interest but that is just not true; you see the barn owl flying across, green woodpeckers, sparrowhawks, kestrels, partridges and plenty of hedgehogs.”
Residents have also raised concerns over the potential loss of Grade 1 agricultural land.
But a Quinn Estates spokesman said: “60% of the site is designated as Grade 1 agricultural land and the rest is Grade 3 and in the flood zone.
“In allocating this site in the Local Plan, Ashford Borough Council has balanced the need for the loss of Grade 1 agricultural land against the need for meeting the housing need for the borough.
“Extensive ecological surveys have been undertaken by experienced ecologists.
“As the site is dominated by arable land, it is of little ecological value.
“The scheme, however, proposes to retain existing trees and hedgerows where practical and compensatory native species planting will be proposed in areas retained as open space.
“The existing ditch towards the east of the site – which has elevated ecological significance – will be retained and enhanced. The scheme will create ecological betterment through the creation of ecological corridors.”
As well as the homes, the plan also involves provision for new sport pitches and a number of small shops, as well as the two or three-form entry primary school.
When asked whether Ashford Town Bowls Club was looking at moving in, Quinn Estates boss Mark Quinn said: “We have had early stage discussions with the bowling club and we’d be extremely interested in creating a new facility for them.”
Angela Lines, who previously lived next to the site, has raised fears over the development.
She said: "I have walked around the field so many times in the past.
"It is Grade 1 agricultural land and I do not understand how it can be used for development when there are so many brownfield sites.
"All the wildlife that lives in the area will lose its habitat and it is a site of of outstanding natural beauty that should not be taken away."
Questions have also been raised over the ability of roads to cope with the influx of new residents.
Mrs Lines added: "750 houses being built will have a major impact - it is very bad already first thing in morning and late afternoon.
"The route from Canterbury Road to the hospital and the M20 will be very bad as well.
"Ambulances on emergencies from Canterbury and surrounding villages have to use that road, too.
"Can our services really cope with all these extra people?"
Quinn Estates dismissed the roads fears, saying it is "making significant contributions to surrounding highways".
It said: "We have extensively modelled the A28 corridor and the results of our assessment have demonstrated there is appropriate capacity with signal timing adjustments proposed to key junctions.
"In addition, there is also expected to be the need for mitigation works at the William Harvey Hospital access junction, and a significant contribution by the development towards the delivery of the M20 junction 10a scheme consistent with local policy requirements."