Report on Workshop on views and vistas

Attendance at the workshop was disappointing, with only 12 residents coming to look at the maps of the neighbourhood and to suggest views that they feel should be protected.

There is still an opportunity to record views and vistas in the village that you would like to protect by sending photographs to our Instagram group or by email to one of the Steering Group. Please add a brief caption giving details of where you were when you took the photograph.

Report on Workshop on possible sites for future development

Workshop on possible sites for future developmentThis workshop was the first stage of a process which will include the completion of a housing needs survey, the final development of site assessment criteria based on residents' wishes and conforming to local and national guidelines, and a formal assessment of sites against these criteria and the evidence of future housing need.

Over 150 residents attended the workshop in which initial proposals from landowners were presented. The large numbers of attendees was challenging at the beginning, but thanks are due to everyone who participated and helped to ensure that the proposals could all be presented and discussed at 'round the table' sessions moderated by members of the Steering Group. Ian Grundy of Ashford Borough Council also attended for part of the evening, and was able to observe the process and offer advice on some points. Special thanks are due to those who stayed for the entire evening, and to the landowners for coming forward with their ideas.

In spite of the initial confusion, feedback suggests that residents were pleased to be involved and to be able to comment at this early stage in the process. Comments and concerns were recorded by the steering group members at each table. Contributions were constructive, whether negative or positive about individual sites, and will form part of the assessment process in October/November.

10 sites were presented, most of which were for small developments of between 2 - 4 dwellings. Three of the proposals were for 8, 10, and 18 houses respectively, ranging in size from 2-4 bedrooms. One proposal was for commercial development. One of the larger sites was primarily offered for local needs housing, and another included some local needs/affordable housing. Concerns were raised about the size of the largest site behind Harmers Way and it's impact on the character of the centre of the village and the increased traffic flow; and Forstal residents were concerned about the impact of multiple sites on the character of the settlement.

Comments were also made on the infrastructure to support new housing, as well as on the suitability of the sites themselves, for example on sewerage, drainage, renewable energy, increased use of roads, lack of public transport and parking.