Site description

The site is located on Pilgrims Way, Boughton Aluph to the south of Aluph House. It is an open area of grassed land occasionally used for grazing bordered by mature trees. There is a stable block on the northern edge. The site sits between a single track lane and the ancient Pilgrims Way footpath to Boughton Aluph Church within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

At the time of our site assessment, plans were at an early stage. The landowner had in mind a small development of c.3 large homes built in a style which is sympathetic to the local environment. Development to cover roughly two thirds of the field with the rear boundary of the development to be kept in line with the garden of the existing house. The final third of the field which backs onto the Pilgrims Way footpath was not proposed for development and there was to be screening to ensure that the new houses are not visible from the footpath. It is proposed that the entrance to the site will be shared or adjacent to the entrance to Aluph House.

The site is c. 0.6 – 1.4 ha.

Site assessment & decision

The Parish Council was not minded to consider this site for land allocation in the Boughton Aluph and Eastwell Neighbourhood Plan. The landowner has been informed of the Parish Council’s decision.

The Parish Council is not a planning authority. Our decision does preclude a planning application being made to Ashford Borough Council.

Read our site assessment report.

Read our decision letter.

Recent developments

The property was sold in 2017.


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5 thoughts on “Pilgrims Way, Boughton Aluph

  • October 5, 2016 at 10:51 am

    Pilgrims way is a small country lane, the road is narrow and is used by many walkers and local residents to walk and have leisure time. The thought of large construction lorries and the increase in the future of traffic doesn’t seem reasonable. The road is a single track and is poorly maintained with pot holes etc,there is no pavement and I think it is possible that it would become a alternative cut through like the Wye road. The council needs to deal with ongoing current traffic issues within the village before trying to cash in in further development.
    I understand that the buildings being planned may be very attractive and sympathetic but by building large houses that are not affordable to most does not enhance the community fabric.

  • October 10, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Pilgrims Way is not suitable for any further development as the lane is a single track with few passing places. The field in question is considerably higher than the lane and run off onto Pilgrims Way from that area is already very noticeable in winter or after heavy rain.

    There is neither mains drainage in that part of the lane nor mains gas supply, and additional septic tanks from new large houses could increase the potential for flooding. Even carefully managed sewerage systems linked to mains drainage can cause difficulties, as has the pumping station about 100 metres lower down the lane. Last winter water company employees were stationed there for many days when sewage seriously threatened to flood the lane.

    ‘The Aluph House field’ as is much of the area bordering Pilgrims Way is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty and has strong archaeological interest due to its association with the Pilgrims route. The field has not been dug or ploughed for a very long time and has only been used as grazing, notwithstanding the fairly recent construction of a stable block on the site by the present owners, which does not appear to have been used for intended purposes. Thought should be given to the fact that Roman and medieval artefacts have been found in and around the broader area.

    The lane is used by ordinary walkers, hikers, horse riders and cyclists as do modern pilgrims who use this route from time to time on their way to Canterbury, it pilgrimage heritage is The lane cannot take more motor traffic, it was never designed to take traffic of the kind which would follow such a development. There are deep concealed ditches in some areas along the lane which prevent further passing places being created and if altered could further increase the flooding risk.

    Access to and from the field would appear extremely problematic due to the very narrow nature of the lane. Any new opening would damage the tree lined lane and could only provide a hazardous exit if linked to the existing Aluph House one. This is a heritage route and as such should be protected and is attested by the official road sign incorporating the pilgrims scallop shell emblem. The natural tree canopy over much of the lane is a significant part of its attraction and is very well established. Pilgrims Way has few passing places and several concealed ditches mentioned earlier. Any extra traffic generated by at least two if not more cars per ‘executive’ household would be excessive and a danger to people and animals, this is a country lane. Extra visits from heavy oil tankers, septic tankers and delivery drivers are likely to cause additional hazards, not to mention heavy contractors equipment during any construction phase.

    There is already one house in Pilgrims Way – Quinnies – which may well have been purchased ten or more years ago as an investment and is only very occasionally visited. If it is lived in for more than a couple of week a year it would be a conservative estimate. It is always well maintained but any other ‘executive’ style houses might well follow the Quinnies pattern.

    Light pollution is certainly be a major issue. There are no street lights and most current longer term residents seem not want any. The lights at the entrance to Aluph House are quite enough, if this were increased by others with possible illumination of a drive way, would be a danger to our dark skies which are to be jealously protected.

    Patches of deep flooding regularly occur along Pilgrims Way. There was considerable difficulty last year in particular, when the water was almost knee deep for a considerable distance, with large 4x 4’s being the only means of access and then with great care.

    It is appreciated that this is an expression of interest only at this stage but we wish to emphasise that any such possible development would be counter to the historic nature of Pilgrims Way and counter to the concept that developments should only be within the existing village envelope. The need for additional housing is not for executive style housing, but affordable housing for children of those born and brought up in the area. Pilgrims Way does not have the road capacity to provide for this site.

    This seems a hurried and late expression of interest, considering the extensive work already undertaken by the Parish Council sub-committee in connection with the preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan. The site is inappropriate and should not be supported as it will distort the existing rural/urban nature of the area, and be out of keeping with the scale, character and quality of the local landscape, however sympathetically designed any development may be.

  • October 14, 2016 at 11:23 am

    There should not be development on this piece of land in Boughton Aluph. The lane is single lane only with no passing places. There is poor road drainage and it is constantly flooded during the winter months. The land borders the Pilgrims Way which is an ancient historic footpath used by local and tourists for leisure and for pilgrimages to Canterbury and forms part of the North Downs Way. The birds in the area use the trees for nesting and the wild plants are of interest and natural habitats would be destroyed. There are constantly people walking in the lane that walk past this field to get to where the North Downs Way splits to go to Dover and with extra traffic on a single track lane could be hazardous to walkers. There are no concrete pathways on the lane just muddy banks for walkers to move into when incoming traffic passes them. There have been a number of car accidents on the lane owing to the lane having blind spots and being very winding. The field mentioned has trees along the lane edge which forms part of the tranquility for walking. The noise that would come from : more homes would detract from the peaceful surroundings that walkers and families enjoy and need for health and to elevate stress. The field has always historically been grazing or agricultural land and other fields opposite this field also are used for this. The land proposed also lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty. There is no drainage in that part of the lane for sewage. The village does not need a further 3 large houses built, and this was exhibited in the neighbourhood survey. Along with the houses come 2 or more cars for each house that the residents would have causing more traffic on the lane. Light pollution would also be a problem. There are no street lights in the Pilgrims Way and we do not want that destroyed. This is not an in fill site and would take part of the beautiful countryside along the Pilgrims Way away forever.

  • October 17, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    I think that Elsbeth and George Watt have covered most aspects which need to be drawn to the attention of all local Residents, Parish Council and Ashford Borough Council. I feel there is very little I can add to this well written statement of facts, all of which I wholeheartedly agree with and support.

    Needless-to-say I too have never seen horses grazing this meadow, which I believe was the reason for the rather unsightly stables being built , as per registration date 31/01/2014. I have seen that these stables appear to be used for additional parking of either a campervan or 4×4 .

    I understand that Aluph House is currently for sale and appears to have been so for a couple of years without success, this includes a period prior to this application. I would deduce from this that ‘executive housing’ in this area is not a requirement and ‘affordable housing ‘ could not be catered for either, as there are no local amenities within walking distance, or mains services. Alternatively, there are new housing developments closer to Ashford, perfectly suited for this purpose. Furthermore, any proposed development would have to be serviced by an extremely narrow lane the Pilgrims Way.

    Pilgrims way is a single track lane with very few passing places. I was informed some twenty years ago it was a private lane, constructed by a local farmer to service his farm workers cottages sometime during the last century. I hasten to add, that I walk past this meadow between two and four times a day, from experience I must inform you that pedestrians have to give way to vehicles by stepping up into gaps in the hedge. Fortunately, at the present time this is not very often , although each new dwelling will have a minimum of two cars, they may also have offspring who will at one time or other require a car and every single visitor will also have a vehicle of one discription or other, not to mention van deliveries, fuel deliveries and waste removal etc., ! The lane will become more and more congested, this could lead to it becoming too dangerous to walk along, or even worse someone applying to widen the lane and destroying the whole character of this area.

    My family used to crop organic hay in this meadow a number of years back, we found it to have a large number of different plants and grasses, which is an indicator of age, the more varieties the older the meadow, these areas where pesticides are not in use are extremely important, especially since the whole area is within a Nitrate sensitive zone, as well as an area of outstanding natural beauty (a name that sums up the area in question quite adequately).

    The area is still used by Pilgrims and one of the most recent ones I spoke to was a young American medical student, called Charlie , who was walking to Canterbury, he stated that the scenery was second to none, and that we really had a duty to look after this area, something I strongly agree with and will endeavour to do.

    Prior to this, the late sheriff of Canterbury Mrs. Hazel McCabe , my daughter Victoria and I, joined with our horses on the Detling section of the Pilgrims Way. A couple of Pilgrims: the late Lady Mary Towneley and her friend Joan , who had travelled from Winchester Cathedral on their way Canterbury Cathedral on horseback.

    Unfortunately, they found their way blocked several times earlier on during their journey and sadly, we also found housing estates forcing us to use busy roads and found a couple of farmers refusing us access to this ancient track. However, with hazel’s expert local knowledge we all reached our destination entering via the rear of Canterbury Catherdral. “Lesson learned” – it is vital for all parts of The Pilgrims Way , (or what’s left of it) be preserved for future generations, with absolutely no room for erosion in any shape or form.

    Finally, The meadow, is at present used for grazing sheep so it is still being used for farming purposes, which is important as local sheep farmers appear to struggle finding good pasture large enough to sustain small flocks. It is vital to continue to use farm land in this area and this aspect should not be undervalued as we all endeavour to shop locally in an attempt to each shrink our footprint.

  • November 10, 2016 at 12:57 am

    For 44 years we have walked this part of the Pilgrims Way with children , dogs and friends
    What a sad day it was to learn about the Aluph House application to built 3 houses right next
    to the Pilgrims Way on a greenfield site . Please, please preserve our green spaces for the
    enjoyment of locals,tourists,pilgrims and future generations

    In support of our case may we draw attention to new research published last week
    by the Campaign to Protect Rural England ,they wrote :”Based on government data, our findings show that there are enough suitable brownfield sites to provide between 1.1 and 1.4 million new homes – a big increase on the number we previously estimated. This powerful new evidence further bolsters our calls for national planning policies that ensure brownfield development is prioritised over greenfield development.


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