At the 15 April Annual Town Meeting the TTC Mayor, Robin Wade , gave an update on Tent1. He said that the next Joint Steering Group meeting on 15 May would also be attended by Tenterden Town and ABC councillors for a briefing on the Masterplan. This would be followed on 26 June by a public consultation session on the masterplan with presentations and discussions planned throughout the afternoon and evening. The presentations would be staggered so that as many residents as possible could attend. He said that the timetable was on track – the masterplanning process was due to be completed by the autumn with the planning application submitted by the end of this calendar year.
TTC are commissioning an independent review of recreational facilities across the whole town , This would take 3 months so would dovetail with the Tent1 consultation period. He also said that the Leisure Centre management were looking at the impact that 250 (this is the figure Mayor Wade quoted) new homes would have on the services they may need to provide.
STAG has many concerns about Tent1, its sustainability, its impact on the town and its infrastructure as well as the lack of any obvious benefits to the existing community.
We submitted a number of questions( in blue) in advance of the meeting and these were answered ( in red ) at the meeting as follows :
1) With regard to the Tent1 development, I would like updated clarification as to the current status of phase ‘ B ‘, and the percentage likelihood of it happening.If, as I suspect, it may not proceed, can the town council confirm that any amenity land they sell off as part of the phase ‘A ‘ build, ie the wildflower meadow, will be replaced within the phase ‘A ‘ build area by a similar size plot and not fob us off with promises that ‘ it will go into phase ‘B’.
Finally, can the council clarify for me if the wildflower meadow is the ONLY plot of land that they own or are guardians of, within the planned area of the whole of the Tent1 build ( A+B)
Answer: The Steering Group were looking into what would be the case if the Phase B land did not materialise as part of the development. The phase B landowner was being approached to see if they would top up Phase A with a slice of Phase B land for recreational use even if the rest of phase B did not go ahead. On the Wildflower Meadow the Mayor said that it would be replaced ‘within reason’ He was reminded from the floor that the Wildflower Meadow was an existing facility so it had to be replaced as well as, not instead of additional recreational facilities needed by the new residents. ABC’s Head of Planning , Richard Alderton , said that ABC had space standards for the provision recreational space in new developments so the scheme had to show how these standards would be met. A resident reminded the Mayor that purchasing amenity land to replace the Wildflower Meadow either in Phase B or elsewhere could be expensive so that the windfall which the Mayor referred to as a benefit to the town resulting from the sale of TTC land could well be used up just replacing the Wildflower Meadow. The Mayor confirmed that TTC did not own any other blocks of land in Tent1 except the Wildflower Meadow.
2) Dear Councillors,
I would like to ask the following question at the AGM on Monday;
Is it true that in the light of Tent 1 there will be no other large scale housing developments in Tenterden e.g. such as Hales Place?
Answer Any planning applications would be considered in the context of Tenterden as a whole. Richard Alderton said that if a large scale site was not included in the revised Local Plan ( previously known as the Core Strategy) then it could not go ahead.
3) How will the infrastructure needs (eg sewerage, water supply, GP facilities etc ) for the many hundreds of new residents arising from the proposed Tent1 development be met and funded? What measures have the Town Council taken in the last year to progress these issues and obtain the required assurances from those required to provide the necessary infrastructure?
When will Ashford Borough Council’s full report ( including, presumably, the facilitator’s report) of the first Tent1 design workshop which took place 4 months ago be available for the public to see? What is the cause of the delay?
: Mayor said that the planning application has to show how infrastructure needs were going to be met. Specifically referring toi the GPs surgery he said that there had been a meeting with the GPs in charge who had said that they would aspire to extend the surgery facilities on the existing site.
The report from the Design Workshop facilitator had been delayed. ABC had received it recently but had returned it to the author as it had been inadequate. TTC had produced its own summary of the proceedings and initial conclusions shortly after the workshop had taken [place and this was available on TTC’s website,
4) At last year’ Town Meeting it was stated that the development:Tent 1 would be of benefit to the Town. Now we understand that any money which accrues from the development is not “ring-fenced” for Tenterden but will go instead into the coffers of Ashford Borough Council . It this true? If not how much is coming to Tenterden?
Richard Alderton said that any contributionsfrom the developers arising from Tent1 would be spent in Tenterden.
Minutes of the whole of the Annual Town Meeting can now be found on the TTC website http://www.tenterden.gov.uk/ under the section ‘ Agenda and Minutes’