Bridgefield Recreation Area Update

Posted by on Oct 14th, 2016 in Featured, Latest News | Comments Off on Bridgefield Recreation Area Update

Ashford Borough Council has appointed the landscape architects BDP to undertake the master planning, design and delivery of the recreation area at Bridgefield. They will be arranging a series of consultation events which we will promote on our website and Face book page. See Latest News for full information.

Dear Residents,

Ashford Borough Council has appointed the landscape architects BDP to undertake the master planning, design and delivery of the recreation area at Bridgefield. They will be arranging a series of consultation events which we will promote on our website and Face book page.

A copy of their draft proposal (produced last year by Ashford Borough Council which BDP are using as a starting point to gain the communities views) is attached in the PDF document.

In preparation for this phase of the project the parish council invited residents to join a focus group and produced a list of frequently asked questions with answers to help set the scene.

Attached are the question and answers and the summary of responses from the focus group

For background information a copy of an earlier briefing to residents is also attached.

To meet the deadline of the recreation area be open for use by the end of next summer a lot has to be done now so please check in for updates on dates and events.



Update: 30/11/2016

It was stated in the Kentish Express on the 24th November 2016 that the proposed Park at Bridgefield would be building a community building in the park and would be having a naming competition and further consultations. Ashford Borough Council have written to the newspaper, to be included in the 1st December 2016 edition, the actual up to date facts and that is that the park will not include a community building. The Kentish Express newspaper in fact referred to a report released in 2013.

BDP the Consultants and Project Management Company have now submitted, on behalf of Ashford Borough Council, a planning application which will now be considered at the February 2017 Committee to ensure that the works can be completed on time. The application is including the infrastructure (a bridge, paths…) and play areas for all ages and abilities.

The consultation, carried out by BDP, showed the majority of residents were in favour of the proposed features and it is hoped that the park will be open at some point in the summer 2017. The application can now be viewed on ABC’s planning portal and any comments regarding this application should be forwarded to BDP & ABC.

The Parish Council are working closely with the council on this work and will update this page in due course.

Bridgefield Q&A

Q) Why have the original plans for the recreation area changed?
A) The ground conditions were not suitable for football and the funding insufficient to cover the costs of a fit for purpose community building.

Q) What has the funding allocated to the recreation area been used for?
A) The multi-use games area (MUGA) has been constructed on the playing fields in the centre of Kingsnorth village adjacent to Kingsnorth School as the ground conditions were suitable and the facilities used by the school during term time which will provide an income stream to help cover the costs of the ongoing management and maintenance of the facility.

Access to this facility, including from Bridgefield, will be enhanced by improved footpaths connecting existing footpaths and bridle paths which are funded from another budget.
The remaining funding will be spent on the recreation area.

A community building will be constructed at Finberry which is close to Bridgefield and will have better infrastructure but no Bridgefield funding will be spent on this as this is part of the Finberry development.

Q) Why has it taken so long to develop the recreation area?
A) Funding for the area is provided by the developer by way of section 106 funding. This is paid when the development reaches a defined occupation level; due to the recession development was put on hold which delayed this process.

The original proposals date back to when the planning application for the whole estate was approved which is prior to the soil conditions being surveyed and costs of construction known in more detail.

Each development is progressed in isolation as there can be a long delay in a scheme being approved and then developed out. Taking time out to reflect on connectivity between new and existing facilities is important to ensure we get an even and balanced spread of community infrastructure that is sustainable.

The original 106 agreement was renegotiated and following a consultation exercise with residents and local school children a proposal to develop more informal recreation facilities developed.

Q) Why are the original plans for the Recreation Area still shown on the plans in the sales office?
A) Until planning approval has been granted for a revised scheme the original proposal is all they can show even though the 106 agreement has been changed.

Q) Why is Kingsnorth Parish Council involved in the consultation process?
A) Parish councils are the first tier of local government and are the representative forum for local residents in the area and will automatically be consulted on planning and the provision of community facilities.

Also the presumption is that KPC will take over the ongoing management and maintenance of the recreation area, funded by the parish precept, which is paid for by all residents of Kingsnorth parish. It is important therefore that the facilities proposed represent value for money and meet the needs of a new and evolving community and complement and enhance existing facilities across the Parish.

Q) When did the consultation process start and what was the outcome.
A) ABC held a consultation event back in 2012.

Q) What happens next?
A) ABC have pulled together all the ideas from the consultation exercise, the wish list from the Parish Council , undertaken environmental surveys, tested soil condition and consulted with key agencies like Highways and the Environment Agency and put together some ideas based on what is practical and sustainable.

The precise location of these elements could vary but their initial position represents the best use of the site in terms of access and soil condition.

To ensure the management and maintenance of the site is sustainable ABC have identified potential community groups, e.g. Scouts and Brownies, that could have a base on the site and share in its upkeep.

As there are few trees on the site a community orchard has been proposed which would include traditional heritage trees, similar to the orchard planted behind the Church. ABC have also included a community garden so that young people in particular can learn more about where food comes from and provide an opportunity for residents to socialise and learn from one another.

Another suggestion is a “trim trail” around the site which may allow year-round access to the site.

The Parish council has requested the inclusion of some allotments, linked to the community garden as there is a waiting list in the parish for allotments. Unfortunately the s106 monies cannot be used for allotments but alternative funding sources may be available.

All these facilities have been grouped together so they can share the required infrastructure and the appropriate security and access arrangements put in place.
The site is 9.3 hectares, 24.75 acres and can comfortably accommodate a range of activities.

Feedback from the Bridgefield Residents Focus Group re Recreation Area 2016

  • Why have the original plans for the Recreation area changed?
  • Why are the original plans still being shown in the sales office?
  • Why has funding allocated to the recreation area been spent elsewhere e.g. The Multi Use Games Area on the Kingsnorth Playing Field?
  • How much did this cost and how much is left in the budget?
  • Bridgefield need its own community building from which activities can take place, what are the options based on the funding available?
  • Where does the funding come from and are there limitations on what it can be spent on?
  • What was the outcome of the consultation process undertaken by Ashford Borough Council in 2012?
  • What is the size of the whole site?
  • What limitations on usage are there based on soil conditions and site orientation/access?
  • Is the site suitable for an informal kick about area?
  • The site is in a semi-rural location which needs to be maintained yet accessible how is that best achieved?
  • What age group will the facilities be targeted at?
  • Will the area be zoned for different usage?
  • Why does the Parish Council want to provide allotments and a community garden on part of the site?
  • Who will maintain the area once developed ?
  • Should the existing play area compliment the proposed new recreation area as soil conditions are different?
  • When will works commence and be finished?
  • When and what format will the consultation process take?
  • Was funding for the recreation area linked to all the phases of the Bridgefield development and if so how can residents from each phase participate in the consultation process?
  • Connectivity between existing and proposed facilities in the parish need to be improved as Bridgefield is out on a limb at present.
  • Can improvements be made to existing play area as part of this process?