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Conningbrook Lakes, Ashford.

Conningbrook Lakes, Ashford.

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Enhancing Ashford’s open spaces as Kent town enjoys rapid growth

Conningbrook Lakes, Ashford.

Conningbrook Lakes, Ashford.

A draft Open Space Strategy has been produced that focuses on protecting, developing and enhancing Ashford’s quality public open spaces for the Kent borough’s residents and visitors to enjoy and benefit from.

In June, Ashford Borough Council’s cabinet members agreed to the draft Open Space Strategy; it sets out the council’s objectives to protect and provide an open space network to create a thriving landscape of well-located and connected green spaces to support our existing and future community.

Ashford is experiencing a significant period of growth and substantial new residential developments are proposed, therefore it is important the council provides enough quality public open spaces for people to enjoy.

Ashford’s open spaces add to the character and history of the borough, as well as providing a green infrastructure for wildlife, tranquillity, recreation, food production and safe off-road pedestrian and cycling routes. Open spaces also enrich the quality of our lives and contribute towards a healthy lifestyle.

The strategy, produced in partnership with Allen Scott Landscape Architecture, details the aspirations of the council and its stakeholders, to help strengthen Ashford’s variety of diverse open spaces.

A six-week formal public consultation will close on 20 September. It is hoped that the final strategy can then be considered by the cabinet at its October meeting for adoption.

The importance and diversity of the borough’s open spaces is reflected in the extensive range of open spaces across its urban and rural environment. Ashford has wildlife sites, protected landscapes and a network of accessible countryside, and many organisations and groups of people in the community take great interest in their current and future local environment. The strategy will help safeguard and conserve these outstanding landscapes to ensure the very best attractive environment.

The strategy supports the emerging Local Plan 2030 and the Council’s Corporate Plan, specifically Priority 3 Active and Creative Ashford: healthy choices through physical, cultural and leisure engagement, and Priority 4 Attractive Ashford: Countryside and Townscape, Tourism and Heritage.  

Cllr Mike Bennett, Portfolio Holder for Culture, said: “It’s important as the borough of Ashford expands, we work with partners to meet future demands for quality open space and this draft strategy provides the framework to drive our aspirations forward. I encourage the public to give their views via the upcoming public consultation so it can be updated where necessary before coming back to Cabinet for final adoption in the autumn.”

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