Local councillors in Ashford have recommended approval for Chilmington Green after a five hour special meeting on 15th October.
Designed as a new garden suburb of 5,750 new homes, the masterplan is a sensitive response to ecology and landscape heritage with a range of mixed and community uses. It is one of the largest new urban extensions to gain consent in the UK.
Chilmington Green was identified in Ashford Borough Council's 2008 Core Strategy as the site for a sustainable urban extension able to accommodate up to 7,000 dwellings and 1,000 jobs along with a new park. A placemaking approach, designed to deliver the Garden City vision within a strong framework of multi-functional green open space led to a reduction in the number of homes from 7,000 to 5,750. The development will provide a major extension to the town of Ashford including new homes, a District Centre, two local centres, five new schools, employment space and community infrastructure. The masterplan, developed by JTP for a consortium of landowners in liaison with the local authority, provided the basis for the Chilmington Green Area Action Plan (AAP) which was adopted in 2003.
The ambition to make Chilmington Green an exemplar Garden Suburb emerged through a collaborative design process involving many stakeholders: local councillors and residents, who attended Community Planning design workshops early in the process. These intensive sessions highlighted the importance of creating a community and a high quality environment rather than just providing housing.
The Consortium's masterplan, submitted for outline planning approval in August 2012, is based on a 'warped grid' of interconnected streets that follow the site's topographical contours and respect landscape features. A high street, market square, boulevard and two neighbourhood squares are designed to provide a memorable sequence of spaces and a clear structure for the residential areas. Access to green space, a key aspect of Garden City planning, is provided by a network of green corridors that follow existing watercourses and provide a sympathetic setting for listed buildings in Chilmington Green hamlet at the core of the site.
A Community Development Trust (CDT), based on the Letchworth model, is now being promoted by the Consortium members who are working closely withAshford Borough Council to define the form and remit of the Trust. Chilmington Green CDT will take responsibility for safeguarding assets and managing facilities and open space for the benefit of the community using funding from resident contributions and income from CDT assets.