Powergen Site gets Planning

Last night saw Ashford Borough Council vote 12 to 1 in favour for approving the proposed new residential development situated adjacent to Victoria Road, comprising 660 new dwellings and a new public realm. The proposed development will regenerate a site that has been vacant for many years with the first phase of development utilising the local authorities’ £20 million investment into Victoria Road, a main arterial road into the town centre, and therefore this site has real potential to stimulate and promote local business growth in the local area. GHA have worked closely with our clients, U+I, Quinn Estates and PRS- provider Neighbour, to develop a contemporary and well thought out scheme that enhances its setting.

The proposed scheme is divided up into five individual plots; Plot 1 runs parallel to the existing high-speed railway lines, Plot 2 overlooks Victoria Park and is adjacent to the existing sub-station whilst Plots 3, 4 and 5 are located along the banks of the River Stour and are bound by Leacon Road to the North. By breaking the site down into these plots allows for the scheme to be delivered in phases. This scheme will make a significant contribution to the housing market of Ashford; Plots 1 and 2 will see 400 new PRS-led homes be delivered as part of the detailed planning submission, whereas the designs for 235 new flats and 25 new family townhouses on Plots 3, 4 and 5 are part of an outline planning submission. This will all add to the vibrancy of the town centre and further strengthen Ashford’s position as a growing and dynamic town. In line with ABC’s aspirations, this scheme is at its highest 8 storeys which compares favourably against the 20 storeys proposed in the previously approved scheme. A large landscaped public realm provides green spaces for residents to enjoy, whilst a new pedestrian footbridge at the western edge of the site introduces a new link into Victoria Park.

GHA have made sure to recognise and incorporate the local history into the scheme through the proposed public art. As part of the public realm there are a number of metal stags proposed in various poses by well-known artist Jonathan Wright; these make reference to the metal stag statues which historically were smelted and lost to the war effort. These are being reintroduced as if making their way back to the George Hubert Fountain in Victoria Park.

The scheme has aspirations to bring a more metropolitan feel to this area, engaging local residents and bringing life to this currently underused area of Ashford. Each plot has its own identity, providing a sense of place for residents and creating a feeling of community- the use of a simple but contemporary material palette of buff-coloured brick, fenestration and metal cladding will weather over time to create a feeling of longevity and robustness.

On approach to the site, either from Victoria Road or from the adjacent Green Corridor learning link, there is a new café proposed providing some much-needed local infrastructure to the area.

The planning process has included two pre-application meetings and constructive dialogue with Ashford planning officers, and a presentation to the Ashford Design Panel. This has helped to formulate the development brief and provided good guidance on policy. Following consultation with the local authority, GHA have made every effort to ensure that our proposal works in conjunction with the new cinema and commercial quarter that is proposed for the neighbouring Elwick Road site, as well as the proposed new Curious brewery and hotel further along Victoria Way. A key element of the design has been to acknowledge the the ongoing developments on surrounding sites and how they work together to enhance the growth of Ashford town center.

Published on 16 June 2016