On Wednesday 3rd July, the Planning Inspector considering Ashford's Core Strategy, which is the document that sets out the size, type and location of new development for Ashford, announced that he was concerned about the overall soundness of the strategy. In particular, Mr Grainger was concerned that the Council had failed to provide adequate assessment and justification for the geographic distribution of growth. The location of the Council's growth areas are based on 'SMARTLINK' a bus rapid transport system. Currently the Council is resisting development in the Kingsnorth area mainly based on the assumption that an extension of the rapid bus transport system to this area is not viable, however in the opinion of Mr Grainger inadequate information and analysis has been presented by the council to necessarily justify the exclusion of this area.
David Jarman, a director of the Hobbs Parker Property Consultancy, commented: The inclusion of only two major development areas has been a key concept in the development of the Core Strategy. If the idea of a third mayor growth area is accepted, other greenfield development sites identified in the strategy may no longer be required to meet growth targets. Mr Grainger has indicated that there is a strong possibility that he will find the entire strategy 'unsound'.
It is anticipated that a special hearing will be held in the near future, giving the Council the opportunity to defend their position, and the opportunity for other interested parties to have their say.
If the Inspector subsequently finds the Core Strategy unsound, the Council would have to review their proposals, delaying the adoption of the Core Strategy by two to three years. David Jarman added: If the Core Strategy is delayed, the onus will be on the Council, in partnership with landowners and development interests, to find an acceptable way to bring forward development sites in the meantime, if the growth plans for Ashford are to be met.
For further information contact:
David Jarman, Director, Hobbs Parker Property Consultants LLP
For further information, help or advice, please call David Jarman on 01233 506201
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