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Online Business Questionnaire

Ash-cum-Ridley Parish Neighbourhood Development Plan for Ash, New Ash Green, Hodsoll Street and Ridley

The Neighbourhood Plan explained

The Ash-cum-Ridley Neighbourhood Plan will help to determine where residents live, work and play.  It is being produced by the Parish Council and New Ash Green Village Association with help from Sevenoaks District Council.  The Plan will cover the whole of the parish - see the map below.  Our Plan:

So it really will make a difference.

Do you run a business in Ash, Hodsoll Street, New Ash Green or Ridley?

We want to hear from you because your views are important in developing the Neighbourhood Plan.  We have designed a short survey for you.  We want to know the opinions of all business people, in any kind of business, but we especially want to hear from people who run a business from home – including, for example, childminding or catalogue sales. Tell us about possible developments in the parish and what you might want to do in the future.

To respond to the survey follow THIS LINK or download a PDF copy HERE to print and return to our FREEPOST address:

FREEPOST RTEH-CCAU-BGSR, Ash-cum-Ridley Parish Council, Centre Road, New Ash Green, Longfield DA3 8HH

or take it direct to the Parish Office in Ash Green Sports Centre (at Milestone School) or the New Ash Green Village Association Office in Centre Road.  Your response will be confidential.

What have we done so far?

A Community Questionnaire last year produced a great total of 639 responses.  From this we have been able to identify the issues that our Neighbourhood Plan needs to address.  These draft policies will be revised as necessary before the Neighbourhood Plan is finalised.  We have summarised them as follows:

  1. The Neighbourhood Plan encourages the regeneration of New Ash Green Centre. The regeneration should ensure that it remains a Local Service Centre of a scale appropriate to serve the needs of a community of around 5,000 – 6,000 people. This will include a supermarket, which could with advantage be larger than the existing supermarket to offer a wider range of produce and reduce the need to travel out of the village for regular shopping needs. The Centre will also need to provide at least banking, post office, newsagent and pharmacy services. Community services including doctors’ surgery, dental practice, and public library, and existing community buildings must be retained or reprovided within the Centre. Remaining space, including space on upper floors above retail premises should provide employment or residential uses. The Local Development Framework has determined that the Centre could provide up to 50 dwellings in the form of apartments. A Transport Assessment will be needed to determine the level of parking provision that will be required, but it is unlikely to be less than currently provided, and additional parking will be needed to serve the proposed dwellings. Design and landscaping will need to be to a high standard so that the Centre is incorporated into the overall design of the village of New Ash Green, to encourage use of the Centre and to deter crime and antisocial behaviour.
  2. The Neighbourhood Plan encourages the retention of employment sites within the parish. Where employment sites have been developed in the Green Belt, including by conversion of redundant agricultural buildings, the Plan will support the replacement or small-scale extension of existing buildings, provided that the openness of the Green Belt is maintained. Accordingly extended or replacement buildings will be no higher than the originals.
  3. A need for a Care Home for the Elderly in or adjacent to New Ash Green has been identified, so that residents who need this provision may remain integrated in the community that they are part of, and so family members and friends who are part of the community may visit them easily.
  4. School sports fields should be retained, and the Plan will encourage use of these facilities by the community.
  5. A need for a new burial ground has been identified, and the Plan will support this provided that environmental concerns can be satisfied and adequate access arrangements are made.
  6. Part of Hodsoll Street has been designated as a Conservation Area, whose boundaries have recently been extended, and the Plan does not recommend any change. New Conservation Areas could be established in Ash and in New Ash Green but further consultation is needed to establish the boundaries of these Areas. Designation of Conservation Areas is a matter for Sevenoaks District Council and cannot be achieved directly through the Plan.
  7. Within New Ash Green, amenity land which provides open space will be retained, including small areas which have not been separately identified in the Local Development Framework Open Spaces Study. Where a need is established for additional parking provision, to reduce the need form on-street parking, this should be located and landscaped in such a way as to integrate it into the planned form of the village, and to deter crime and antisocial behaviour.
  8. Where extensions and alterations to buildings in New Ash Green require planning consent the design must be to a high standard and respect the surroundings. Principles established in the New Ash Green Village Association design guide ‘Extensions and Alterations’ must be adhered to.

These proposals were put to three public consultation meetings this summer and further comments on the specific policies were collected:

New Ash Green Shopping Centre

There is immense frustration at the lack of maintenance and improvements in the shopping centre.  The Neighbourhood Plan can guide regeneration and redevelopment when it happens but it cannot force the owners of the centre to take action.  The District and Parish Councils, with the Village Association and the ‘Town Team’, share the frustration and are trying to make sure the messages about what local people want are fully understood.  In the Neighbourhood Plan we will set out the requirements for any redevelopment and we have heard that people want smaller houses or apartments, which need to be tied into the New Ash Green management structure.  Key shops must be retained, including the pharmacy, bank, post office newsagent and supermarket (maybe a bigger one) and adequate car parking for all uses is essential.

Employment Sites

People want to work at or near their homes.  There is support for retaining employment sites and adding more, for example in New Ash Green centre, but care must be taken with the type of development, especially in the rural area because narrow lanes cannot cope with more heavy traffic.

Care Home

If a suitable site becomes available this will be supported; the Neighbourhood Plan can only define the principle of land use so the type of facilities will be the decision of the operator and financiers but the Councils can still exert pressure to provide good quality care.

Sports fields

There is strong support for protecting school sports fields, and other sports facilities, from development for any other use.

Burial Ground

A new burial ground will be supported, on a suitable site, although some people want to encourage cremation as a better alternative.

Conservation Areas

Only Hodsoll Street is currently a conservation area and whilst some would support a conservation area for the Eric Lyons designed parts of New Ash Green, the consensus is that the Village Association’s role in controlling inappropriate development is sufficient.

New Ash Green Amenity Land

The protection of open space is important but some see a need to extend residential car parking spaces whilst preserving the integrity of the landscaping.

New Ash Green Design Principles

The Village Association’s enforcement of design guidelines should be supported although some felt that standards have fallen and there needs to be more interaction with residents for the good of New Ash Green.

Other Issues Raised

These will not be a part of the statutory Neighbourhood Plan but will be used to lobby for improvements where possible:

These comments went into the first draft of the Neighbourhood Plan that was published in September 2016 for a six-week public consultation.  This version of the Plan can be downloaded here with the Parish Map (Map 1 of the Plan)  From the comments and suggestions received, which came from local people as well as local authorities and public bodies such as Historic England and the Environment Agency (they were almost entirely positive and all were helpful), the Plan will now be revised and prepared for formal submission to Sevenoaks District Council.  That will lead to a further consultations after which the Plan, and ay more comments received, will be examined by an independent inspector.