We are preparing to present this petition to Ashford Borough Council at their meeting this week. We will be voicing your concerns about the pace and scale of change in many of our villages and hoping to colour their thinking whilst revising the policies in the new Ashford Local Plan that will govern planning applications both within, and adjacent to, rural "settlements" ( that's Planning-Speak for villages )
To: Rt Hon James Brokenshire, Rt Hon. Michael Gove MP, Ashford Borough Council
Rural Means Rural
The campaign for Rural Means Rural is the voice of residents in the villages surrounding Ashford, Kent, who are concerned about the inappropriate housing development in the countryside and damage to the rural environment.
The petition calls specifically for the incorporation of our Landscape Protection Policy into the National Planning Policy Framework and for Ashford Borough Council to adopt this into their Core Plan 2030.
We are calling for:
Aldington to be given a rest from further development
Safeguard Shadoxhurst with a green belt to maintain it's distinct identity
Keep Ruckinge and Bromley Green small and rural
Keep Brook green
(and others soon to follow...)
Why is this important?
Ashford is surrounded by farming communities and beautiful Kentish countryside, many of these areas are Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Ancient Woodland or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The rural communities living here are served by a network of narrow country lanes with high hedgerows and minimal village services and amenities. The natural environment and its distinctive rural landscape characteristics surrounding each of these communities is unique, special and fragile.
The cumulative effect of continuous development puts a strain on these lanes, village services and the surrounding natural environment that needs to be considered holistically.
Residents feel that their concerns are being ignored in favour of meeting government housing targets and the commercial interests of developers.
A number of villages that are experiencing increased pressure for housing development are very concerned about this lack of consideration for the rural environment and special characteristics that contribute to quality of life in a rural village.
This campaign is a joint movement of a number of villages with similar experiences, for residents to make their voices heard, and ultimately to safeguard the unique characteristics of their communities and landscapes for generations to come.
The campaign aims to start dialogue with the relevant decision makers and bring about the opportunity to present our Landscape Protection Policy as a framework to slow the pace and ensure development meets local needs and is appropriate for the area.
How it will be delivered
Saxon Shore Ward Councillor Jane Martin and residents would present the petition to the above ministers.