The Bethersden Parish Plan was published in September 2003, following more than two years detailed surveys and analysis. Key aspects of the Parish Appraisal were reviewed in 2008 and it was considered that the basis of the Plan has not changed. A significant number of the projects shown in The Action Plan have been completed, while some will continue into the future.
Bethersden lies within Ashford Borough and our Plan recognises that Ashford is undergoing major development; their current plan was to run to 2021, but a new Local Plan will replace it, running from 2015 to 2030. The Bethersden Neighbourhood Plan (look in “About the village”) is currently being developed to line up with the Ashford Local Plan. It will also provide greater influence over future planning and developments.
The Bethersden plans emphasise the importance of our rural parish within AshfordBorough, and the value to the borough of maintaining such a thriving rural community.
The Parish Plan comprises four sections:
1. Village Design Statement (VDS)
The Village Design Statement (VDS) provides a detailed record of the design characteristic of the village and its surroundings, with detailed pictures of the wide range of buildings and features which define the character, heritage, setting and views of the community. The Village Design Statement has been accepted by Ashford Borough Council as a “supplementary planning document”, which will be used in the evaluation of planning applications. To view the design statement please click here. And to download it click here.
2. Village Appraisal
The Village Appraisal was based on detailed research into the current state of the village, in terms of facilities, services and good and less satisfactory features. It also asked for views on what needed to be done to improve the village and its surroundings. Subjects covered included Traffic & Transport, Crime Prevention, Local Economy, Health Care, Recycling, Recreation and Playground facilities, Mobility, and Youth (facilities for young people). In order to update the original surveys, a further survey throughout the parish was carried out in 2008. This confirmed that the 2003 Action Plan continued to reflect current needs.
The Recreation and Playground facilities were the subject of a further detailed survey in August 2011, and the results formed the basis for detailed improvements, based on the suggested priorities. In 2013 a major refurbishment of the children’s play area was completed, plus new exercise equipment for adults.
3. Housing Needs
This section identifies and reflects the specific requirements of the community based on a detailed parish wide survey carried out in 2001/2002 and updated in a further survey in October 2008. The survey confirmed the need for “local needs housing”, and building work has recently started on a mixed site, providing both “local needs” and also “general demand” houses and flats. A second site, also approved within the Ashford area development plan, is located in the George Field. Five “general demand” houses have been built, with the remaining land being given to the Parish as a public open space with landscaped grassed areas, trees and seating.
4. The Action Plan
The Action Plan summarises the results of the first three sections into a list of projects, and identifies those responsible and the timing for project completion. While many of the projects will continue into the future, more than half have been substantially completed (2014). A recent major success has been the reduction of the speed limit on the A28 through the village, from 40 mph to 30 mph.
The Bethersden Parish Plan was a review of Bethersden in 2003, and identified the key elements of an attractive rural community. The objective of the Parish Plan was to use this information to set out a series of actions to ensure that the village could evolve to meet the current and future needs of the community, while retaining its essential character