Below are our responses to Redrow’s public consultation questionnaire on development proposals for the site at Tilden Gill Road, Tenterden.
1. We are proposing a low density development of up to 100 homes, including affordable homes, with the design inspired by an arts and crafts style. Do you have any comments on the architecture or layout?
We do not find any relevance to using the ‘arts and crafts’ style for Tenterden. You need to undertake a meaningful and detailed study of the local vernacular architecture and interpret the materials and detailing in a high quality and convincing manner. This would be a good opportunity to produce an exemplar housing development providing innovative and creative designs of the highest quality that reference the local vernacular architecture but also provide homes that meet modern ways of living e.g. larger areas of glazing to allow more daylight in and open plan living areas.
2. We will be enhancing the existing pond as part of a sustainable urban drainage system for the site. Do you have any comments on these provisions?
It would be a good opportunity to offer an eco-friendly facility to the local residents of Tenterden. As well as offering a much needed resource for local wild life, with a purpose built ramp, it could also be used by dog walkers for the occasional swim for their dogs. The pond will need to be maintained to prevent over growth and silting. Some eco-friendly landscaping and seating would also I am sure be appreciated by residents.
3. We will be including new green open spaces, including a number of wildlife corridors, as well as enhancing and retaining woodland buffers along the western and south-western site boundaries. Do you have any comments on these elements of our proposals?
This is good to hear. Proposals should include measures to promote wildlife – such as bird boxes, bat boxes and hedgehog homes. As well as natural roosting and nesting sites such as hedges and bushes. Some green grass areas should be left to grow wild to develop into wild flower meadows. Boundary treatments along these areas should be animal friendly to allow safe crossing for roaming animals such as badgers and foxes. It would be also good to see some re-planting of the historic apple orchards.
4. Highway access will be via a new road leading from Tilden Gill Road, and we will be improving pedestrian links to and within the site, to encourage active modes of travel in the local area. Do you have any comments on these proposals?
The new paths should be constructed of eco-friendly materials to minimise the disturbance of the natural surroundings. The paths should also link to existing routes into town.
5. There will be 35 (35%) new affordable homes, in line with the section 106 agreement with Ashford Borough Council (i.e. homes that are set aside for the Council for affordable rent/ shared ownership for local families on its housing register) including 2-bedroom apartments, and 2 and 3-bedroom houses. Do you have any comments on these?
This provision will be hugely beneficial for those on lower incomes struggling to get on the housing ladder. This should not mean that these units are constructed of lower quality materials or cheaper designs. All of the proposed units need to be of the highest quality to respect the heritage that Tenterden offers.
6. Do you have any further comments you would like to make about the development generally?
We were unhappy about the lack of publicity and transparency of this consultation. Many local residents have not received your leaflets and hence are unaware of this survey. The lack of consultation with local community groups such as the Tenterden & District Residents Association is extremely disappointing and does not reflect the level engagement expected of such a large scale development. The time period for feedback offered was far too short and this method survey of communication tends to alienate the older generations that represent a large demographic of Tenterden. There should be far more public engagement and opportunities for the public to view your proposals such as exhibitions where feedback can be gathered. If this development is to be viewed more positively by local residents then our comments must be taken on board. I have submitted this survey on behalf of the Tenterden & District Residents Association – by Siggi Nepp – Planning Secretary.
Thank you for your time. Your responses will be considered as we finalise our proposals ahead of submitting a planning application. The results of our consultation will be published later this month (January).