New Ash Green Today
New Ash Green has already developed as an integrated community largely in the way its originators hoped it would. And, if you consider the number of new developments which have remained as no more than bricks and tarmac, the fact that this has happened in so short a space of time is even more remarkable.
The secret, perhaps, lies in the carefully thought out structure of New Ash Green and not just in the individual house designs themselves. New Ash Green is divided into neighbourhoods, parklands and the Centre. This principle was decided on at the start of the development and, generally, it was not departed from during the building. This means that development has not sprawled and spread between the neighbourhoods.
So the spinnies and hedgerows that bound the neighbourhoods are there for keeps; a thread of the Kent countryside running through the village that will never be threatened by road widenings or more houses. But more than this, about half the land in New Ash Green will never be used for residential purposes. Areas have been left to separate the neighbourhoods and complete the feeling of “the country in the town”. The roads that link the neighbourhoods with the Centre go round the village rather than through it. Well separated from the roads are the pedestrian ways, or wents as we call them. In fact, the shortest route to the shopping centre is by these wents. When you reach the centre you’ll find it’s a pedestrian precinct with car parks nearby.
The sense of community is best shown in the fact that each resident is represented in the running of the village. It is a reflection of the fact that New Ash Green is a place where people live, rather than just exist.
How will New Ash Green develop?
First of all there is a rigid control in the area within the village allocated to residential development. It will always be a sensibly sized village in the countryside of Kent. This principle has been embodied in the latest Core Strategy Statement from Sevenoaks District Council setting out its development programme up to 2026, which says that there is no significant scope for development in New Ash Green outside any necessary redevelopment of the shopping centre. And the fact that it is set within the Green Belt means that you don’t have the worry about an overspill town springing up on your doorstep.
New Ash Green does not suffer the fate of having its young people or older citizens drifting away as their housing needs change.
New Ash Green is a balanced community with accommodation and facilities for residents at every stage of their life. So no one has to leave the village to find their new home. There aren’t many places as close to London yet so close to the heart of the countryside that can offer you all this.
People could easily end up spending the rest of their days in New Ash Green. A future that will yet seem more attractive as the rest of our little island becomes more overcrowded.