Formed in November 2017, we are a Community Group run by volunteers that aims to change the way that planning authorities consider the impact of rural development upon ecosystems and communities.
The campaign originated in the villages of Aldington, Bonnington, Bilsington, Brabourne, Brook, Hastingleigh, Ruckinge and Smeeth (which form Saxon Shore Ward), as well as Shadoxhurst, all of which are part of Ashford Borough in Kent. The campaign has grown to embrace any rural area, parish or village within the Borough that shares it’s aim to protect the countryside and rural lifestyle that we all love via the adoption of the Landscape Protection Policy.
Rural communities feel disenfranchised by the current planning process.
We want to give residents a collective voice and raise the bar for development in rural areas.
We are lobbying local and national government for change.
The campaign was launched to give residents a voice to express their feelings about the pace and scale of continuous development within rural areas, and the intention, through Policy HOU3a in the emerging Ashford Local Plan 2030, to permit potentially uncapped (minor) residential development in even the remotest of Borough villages.
The group is concerned about the cumulative effects of the many small pockets of development in their Ward, and other locations all across the UK, as well as the propensity of building on greenfield sites to meet national housing requirements. The Group supports appropriate development in rural locations but believes that the current scale and pace is eroding rural life – threatening its quality, wildlife and ecological systems, the community and character of the landscape.
We want residents to be able to identify and preserve the special characteristics of their areas so that development, when it comes, meets local needs and supports the environment, biodiversity and community values that drew people to live there.
We are challenging the planning authorities with a new idea and are approaching both local and national government with the aim of inspiring a whole new way of thinking about sustainable development.
What do we want?
- To encourage communities to define the special characteristics of where they live to validate the cumulative effects of continuous inappropriate development in the countryside.
- To give a voice to many rural communities across the UK who feel ignored.
- To call a halt to speculative land management companies and their cynical manipulation of landowners and the planning system.
- We are asking for respite from planned, allocated development in Aldington, a village which has grown 68% since 2001, so that this area can absorb and integrate recent additions.
- We want to ensure that “green Corridors” are maintained around villages to retain the distinct identities of villages such as Shadoxhurst, which is in danger of being swallowed up by large developments on its parish borders.
- We seek to have the Landscape Protection Policy included in the Ashford Local Plan to provide a means to adopt an holistic approach to Planning which does not at present exist in the Planning Process.
- We would also like to see The Landscape Protection Policy adapted so that it could be adopted for inclusion in the National Planning Policy Framework ( NPPF) for the benefit all areas of Britain, rural and urban.
The campaign relies on volunteers and donations to raise awareness and take this issue to national level.
We have volunteers from many villages around Ashford, including Aldington, Bonnington, Ruckinge, Shadoxhurst. Without their help and support none of this would be possible.
- Graham Christmann Brown – Chairman
- Christine Greener – Secretary
- Linn Miles – Treasurer
- Linda Harman – Communication
- Glyn Bryant – retired Chartered Town Planner and advisor
- Sally Cunningham – Website Advisor
If you would like to volunteer and get more involved we’d be delighted to hear from you. Please send us an email or click here for more information about how to get involved .