Work starts on garden suburb of 5,750 homes in Ashford

Chilmington Green will be home to 14,000 people as award-winning masterplan earns national plaudits for urban planning.

Work is about to start on one of the biggest new communities in the South East after council leaders and developers behind the award-winning Chilmington Green development signed the section 106 agreement.

Following several years of consultation and masterplanning, in October 2014, Ashford Borough Council approved a hybrid outline application for a mixed use development, applying nationally recognised Garden City principles for the 21st century.

And with the S106 deal now signed, the focus turns to delivering a great place of high quality. Contractors are already on site and work on access roads will start within weeks. The first tranche of homes are expected to be built by Spring 2018.

Chilmington Green will be a standalone development of up to 5,750 quality homes, a district centre and community infrastructure which will create around 1,000 jobs in the next 20 years, coming forward in four phases, with around 300 homes delivered per year.

The development will provide around £125m towards local amenities including five new schools, shops, healthcare, sports and leisure facilities and community facilities, which will be created as the phases of development come forward.

Around £40m will be invested in improving the A28 Chart Road to tackle congestion and create access to the development, which lies in a rural setting to the south west of Ashford.

Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, says:

“From the inception of this project the ambition has been to create a place of special character with a strong community feel.

“The delivery of Chilmington Green is key to meeting the borough’s growth needs, with masterplanning pointing firmly towards a high quality, carefully planned development with open spaces and quality public realm – a place where families and people of all ages will want to live, enjoy and call home.

“This is just one of a number of exciting developments coming forward which are changing the face and fortunes of the borough. With a new £26m college, commercial quarter, town centre cinema, brewery and extension to the Designer Outlet all coming forward over the next few years, these are exciting times for Ashford.”

Kent County Council Leader Paul Carter says:

“The collaboration between ourselves and Ashford Borough Council on this vitally important development shows how two tiers of local government can work together to deliver growth. KCC has supported this from the start and has worked hard with ABC to guarantee the funding and early delivery of improvements to the A28.

“We are absolutely committed to helping to provide impressive facilities for this new community which we believe will provide the benchmark for other large-scale developments in future.”

The principle of development at Chilmington Green was established working with representatives of the local community and other stakeholders several years ago and became established within the council’s adopted Core Strategy in 2008. A subsequent Area Action Plan, which took this strategic allocation forward, was fully tested and supported by a government-appointed independent planning inspector in 2013.

The project won an award for Strategic Planning at the 2014 Placemaking Awards, demonstrating ‘how a development plan, spatial plan or master plan has, or will have, a positive impact on the physical or environmental quality of a place or the economic or social well-being of its community’.

Quality Charter sets benchmark; Ashford Borough Council leads the way by introducing strict space standards There is a real commitment to delivering the best at Chilmington Green with a Quality Charter, outlining 32 commitments to making a quality place and vibrant community, together with a Design Code adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document.

This has been agreed to by the lead developer, Hodson Developments, along with the other developers at the site, who include Pentland Homes, Jarvis Homes and BDW (Barratt/Ward Homes).

Ashford Borough Council believes in integrated and well-planned developments that have quality at their heart which is why in October 2011 the council introduced strict space standards for new homes and gardens. The Government followed by bringing in nationally described space standards for dwellings in March 2015.

While Chilmington Green will not be a Garden City in terms of its size, it reflects many of the design principles of the successful garden cities – tree-lined streets, a spacious layout with high quality public spaces and a strong local community managing local facilities.

It will include large areas of open space – around 60% of the development will be green open space – plus schools, community facilities and places to work so that it is a well-balanced and supportive community. A dedicated bus service will link the development to the town centre and international railway station.

Alan Hodson, Managing Director of Hodson Developments, says: “This is a significant milestone in the project to deliver a 21st century development based on Garden City principles. We look forward to delivering the much-needed housing at Chilmington Green.”

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