Before starting out to create a Neighbourhood Plan for our parish, we held a series of four informal community consultation events to invite the views of residents. This is what you told us.
Q.  We asked you about Housing and Future Development
A.  You told us
  • The rural character and identity of our parish must be preserved. Our community should form a part of a green boundary or envelope around Ashford.
  • Sandyhurst Lane should be the boundary between urban and rural in our parish.
  • The size and location of new housing developments must maintain the balance and proportion of what we already have.
  • There is support for small-scale developments of mixed housing which provide small and medium size homes in addition to larger family homes which are already well provided for in our parish. Gardens are important.
  • Meeting local needs must be a key consideration in any future development.
  • Quality of building design is important and we are open to innovative and eco-friendly development.

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Q.  We asked you about Traffic and Transport
A.  You told us
  • Our road infrastructure is already overstretched. Any further largescale development will increase traffic congestion and impact on quality of life.
  • The volume and speed of traffic on our roads is a serious safety concern for residents. There is support for lower speed limits and traffic calming measures.
  • In addition to concerns about extra vehicles on our roads, there are safety concerns about ingress and egress to the potential development sites off Sandyhurst Lane and the A251.
  • There are too many HGVs on our local roads. They are damaging our rural lanes.
  • The bus service is limited and inadequate for commuting to work. Additional services are needed at peak times plus improved connectivity with the wider public transport network in order to offer a viable alternative to travelling by car.
  • Improved cycle routes connecting to Ashford would facilitate local commutes and promote healthier lifestyles while reducing the number of cars on roads.
  • Flooding is an issue on rural roads. Regular ditch maintenance is essential.
  • There is support and opposition to the building of new roads in the parish or adjacent to it. Where there is opposition, there are strong feelings.

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Q.  We asked you about the Environment
A.  You told us
  • Urban sprawl must not be allowed to ruin our rural setting.
  • We must conserve and enhance the rural nature of the parish and protect our green spaces and cherished landscapes and vistas.
  • We have a rich array of local wildlife which must be protected by maintaining linked green spaces and habitat corridors.
  • Access to the countryside is important for residents and visitors. Our footpaths must be adequately maintained.
  • There is interest in finding ways to promote the greater understanding of the local landscape and, in particular, the AONB.
  • Agricultural land must be preserved to support the rural economy and local jobs and maintain important local landscapes.

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Q.  We asked you about Business and Employment
A.  You told us
  • Future development of the Eureka Business Park must include adequate parking provision to prevent overflow onto our residential roads.
  • The expansion of Eureka Business Park must aim to minimise the amount of additional traffic on our roads and, in particular, must not bring additional goods traffic.
  • Improved public transport links, cycle paths and alternate transport options will reduce pollution and the need to commute to work by car.
  • New commercial buildings in the Eureka Business Park should have high design standards, include greenery and screening and be of an appropriate scale and finish for the locality.
  • There is support for attracting small businesses to the parish including start-ups. Broadband services must be improved to support these.

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Q.  We asked you about our local Heritage
A.  You told us
  • Our heritage is important and vital to the identity of the parish.
  • We must conserve and enhance the historic environment and ensure access to residents and visitors by maintaining local footpaths.
  • Ancient woodlands and protected trees must be safeguarded as they are a key part of the rural character of our parish and provide havens for wildlife.
  • It is not just a matter of conserving our heritage but ongoing active management and improvement.

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Q.  We asked you about Connectivity
A.  You told us
  • Residents are extremely frustrated by slow broadband speeds which hinder daily life and impede home working and small businesses.
  • Superfast broadband connectivity across the parish is a priority.
  • Some parts of the parish experience poor mobile phone reception.

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Q.  We asked you about local Infrastructure
A.  You told us
  • The parts of the parish that are currently without would welcome connection to mains drainage.
  • A robust infrastructure (power, water, mains drainage, communications etc) must be put in place before further development takes place.
  • With the exception of remote locations, new development must be connected to mains drainage.

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Q.  We asked you about Community Services, Culture and Leisure
A.  You told us
  • Existing community services and amenities, including school places, are limited and will quickly become inadequate if there is significant development and growth. New development must bring new community facilities to adequately serve our parish.
  • There is strong support for a GP surgery in our parish.
  • There must be no loss of recreational facilities as these are considered essential to healthy living and social interaction. There is a need for additional recreational facilities for young people.
  • Our natural environment provides an important resource. We want to be able to walk out of our front doors into open green spaces, not to have to travel by car to reach them. This is essential to the wellbeing of our community.

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Want to know more?
Future opportunities to have your say

This was just the first phase of what our consultation with the community.  Based on what you told us, we came up with a set of draft objectives as possible main headings for the Neighbourhood Plan. A household survey was held in April 2016 to ask for your opinions on those draft objectives.

We will write a draft Neighbourhood Plan based on the results of the survey. You will be asked to give your views on the draft document. There will be a parish referendum on the final Plan. You can also submit your views at any time on this website.

 

Thank you for your comments

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