Ashford Borough Council has launched an interactive community consultation over plans to build four new affordable one-bedroom apartments on a soft landscape area of Heathside in Appledore.

The online consultation enables residents to view 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 these exciting proposals.

This is the first of two opportunities people will have to comment. The housing service holds a pre-planning event, aimed at identifying the thoughts and concerns of the community. The council will then take these comments into consideration and adapt proposals before they are submitted to the planning committee.

After going through the planning process, residents will have a second, more formal opportunity to comment on the application at this stage.

The proposed site in Heathside is currently a soft landscape area with housing to the north and south. There is a green area on the western part of the site adjacent to houses. In the vicinity there are large open green spaces, a children’s play park and the village high street with shops and a pub.

Ashford council is keen to develop the site for affordable housing following a Local Needs Survey carried out in 2017 which identified a need in Appledore for one bedroom flats. The plans that were previously presented at consultation to the community in 2014 have been amended to meet these needs, and while the new proposals is for apartments as opposed to houses, the location and footprint of the building remain very similar.

The intention is that they will be allocated to people on the housing waiting list needing social and affordable rental homes with a local connection to Appledore. 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 to those are housed in them.

The proposals have been designed by BPTW Architects who are experienced at providing desirable homes and places that fully consider the surrounding area and properties.

The building proposed consists of four one-bedroom apartments, designed to the Nationally Described Space Standard for new dwellings. The buildings take their cue from the surrounding street scene and with consideration given to neighbouring properties and other practical aspects such as parking and refuse.

It’s anticipated that, subject to obtaining the relevant planning permissions, work could begin on site within a year and that the build time will be around eight months.

Cllr Andrew Buchanan, Ashford Borough Council’s portfolio holder for housing, said: “There are around 1,350 people on the council’s waiting list for affordable housing, with 25 listing a local connection to Appledore, and of those, 12 with a one bedroom need.

“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 country, Ashford must do our bit to try and alleviate the housing issues that we face. I would urge local people to engage fully with this consultation so their voice is heard.”

Have your say

Here is the link to the online consultation: https://haveyoursay.ashford.gov.uk/heathside/consultationHome

By Ed

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