An online public consultation is being launched by Ashford Borough Council into plans to redevelop garages into wheelchair-friendly bungalows in Hothfield
Continuing Ashford Borough Council’s award-winning development programme, it is seeking to build four new one bedroom wheelchair-compatible bungalows on the Plantation Close garage site in Hothfield, and is inviting local residents to have their say.
Usually the council would hold an event in a community hall but due to Coronavirus restrictions on public gatherings this is not possible. So in line with a raft of recent redevelopment plans, the Plantation Close consultation has moved online. Residents will find a video explaining the proposals, plans and documents and a questionnaire for people to complete and ask questions of officers and the architects involved with the proposals.
In recent months the council has run several online consultations into plans to develop sites. Those consultations prompted some interesting community engagement and plans are now being revised in light of the constructive comments made.
The housing service holds a pre-planning event, aimed at identifying the thoughts of the community. We then take these comments into consideration and adapt our proposals before they are submitted to the council’s planning committee. We then go through the planning process and residents will have a second, more formal opportunity to comment on the application at this stage.
Cllr Bill Barrett, portfolio holder for housing, said: “There are around 1,350 people on our waiting list for affordable housing, with 144 of these requiring a flush floor shower. Many of these are older people who depend on affordable housing and need somewhere to live that is more suitable for their needs.
“Throughout the pandemic the government has prioritised construction as an essential industry, ensuring that there remains a national focus on delivering good quality council housing. Like every other authority in the UK, we must do our bit to try and alleviate the housing issues that we face.”
Plantation Close – the background
The site in Plantation Close consists of 22 garages, of which 11 are let. To the south of the site there are semi-detached bungalows, and to the north two-storey terraced houses. Nearby is a children’s centre, post office and village hall, and Hothfield heathland.
Plantation Close – the proposals
The proposal is to demolish the garages and replace them with four one-bedroom bungalows suitable for people in wheelchairs. The intention is that they will be allocated to people on our housing waiting list needing social and affordable rental homes. We will aim to set affordable rent levels on these homes that are around 60-80% of market rent levels in the area. This is to ensure the homes are genuinely affordable. These rent levels will be within the Local Housing Allowance.
The proposals have been designed by BPTW Architects who are highly experienced at providing desirable homes and places that fully consider the surrounding area and properties. Quality design and materials are important to us, we want our developments to complement and enhance the local area. The bungalows are designed to be fully wheelchair accessible.
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Subject to obtaining the relevant planning permissions, work is expected to begin on site within a year and the build time will be around eight months.
Information about the plans will be posted to local residents. You can also find out more by visiting www.ashford.gov.uk/plantation-close-consultation or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4zCLy6lzXY to see a short video produced by the architects.