Frequently Asked Questions

About the development

Who is developing Orchard Farm?

The developer of Orchard Farm is Orchard Farm Kent Ltd (OFKL). OFKL is a partnership between the specialist Dutch self-build experts, Steenvlinder BV and local architect-led Kent developer, Urbanise Ltd. 

What is the development plan for Orchard Farm?

Orchard Farm's aim is to create a green and active community where people will build their own home, with an architect and builder, or by themselves. The site will be developed in phases, starting with phase 1 in early 2024. Phase one comprises 25 plots, of which around 18 will be sold as private serviced plots.

In 2024 we will be preparing Phase 2, comprising 30 plots, for full planning permission. 

How many plots will be available?

Around 122 plots are planned for Orchard Farm in total. The marketing for the first plots in phase one will start in the autumn of 2023 and we will engage with potential buyers. The plots can be sold when the full planning application, including neutrient neutrality application, is granted. We expect this to be in early 2024.

What are the stages of the development?

Orchard Farm has prepared a masterplan, including the details for all the public places. This is included in the detailed planning permission submitted to Ashford Council in February 2023.

Orchard Farm will build the road infrastructure, supply main services up to each plot and organise the public area landscaping and all other communal areas and facilities. 

After a Reservation Period of 9 weeks to give time to investigate the possibilities and guided by our Customer Guide, customers can purchase the serviced plot. The package will include a Plot Passport, which will define conditions on the volume and height of the building and where you can build on the plot as well as the architecture, referring to the design regulations.

The Plot Passport will have been approved by Ashford Borough Council. This will enable customers, who submit compliant proposals to be quickly granted their Building Permission.

After purchasing the serviced plot, the customer will take responsibility for ensuring their house is built, usually by employing an architect and a builder. In the Plot Passport it will be included that the build of the house should be completed in two years after becoming the legal owner of the plot. Self builders at Orchard Farm will be required to live in their built house for a minimum of one year.

How will you incorporate sustainability?

The plans under consideration include a community orchard, community meadows and drainage systems that improve water quality. In addition, to reduce the community’s carbon footprint there will be no gas and the use of heat pumps, onsite electricity generation and possibly community heating will be actively encouraged. Orchard Farm will welcome other sustainable initiatives  suggested by the self-builders.  

Orchard Farm will also encourage cycling and walking by giving priority to those means of transport and by ensuring we connect to the existing cycling infrastructure around the site. The cycling distance to the centre of Ashford is currently only fifteen minutes from Orchard Farm.

How are you dealing with the nutrient neutrality issue?

Our full planning application has had good feedback from the planners at Ashford Borough Council but needs an additional approval of being nutrient neutral. This issue is affecting most planning applications in Kent and throughout the UK and creating a shortage of new homes.

We have produced a plan to demonstrate that there will be no increase in nitrate and phosphate pollution from self-builds on our land by installing a private foul drainage solution and are waiting for confirmation that this is acceptable.

What will be the impact of the Orchard Farm development on the community infrastructure?

We will be creating new community facilities on the site as well as new public spaces and public footpaths and bridleways linking across our development to the adjacent development and beyond to Conningbrook Lakes Country Park. We will be paying for works to Canterbury Road to make it more pedestrian friendly, including reducing the speed limit to 30mph, installing a new pavement on the east side of the road and constructing a signalised pedestrian crossing.

We will also be contributing a total of around £1.4million towards;

  • Adult Social Care
  • Allotments
  • Children’s play space
  • Community Learning
  • Health Care
  • Natural Green Space
  • Libraries
  • Outdoor sports spaces
  • Primary Schools (contribution to land and building of a brand new, two form entry school on the adjacent development)
  • Secondary Schools
  • Strategic parks
  • Youth services
What will be the increase in the traffic in Canterbury Road?

Kent Highways have estimated that there will be 37 extra cars in the peak hour for the new development. Currently there are 1300 cars passing the entrance to Orchard Farm in the peak hour.

How will the nearby Redrow Development affect Orchard Farm?

The Redrow development, Crown Hill View, is being built to the southeast of the Orchard Farm site. The Orchard Farm development will have pedestrian and cycle lanes which will connect to the Conningbrook Country Park passing through the Redrow development. There will also be a new school within walking distance of Orchard Farm. 

Will there be affordable housing in this development?

Currently, we are legally obliged to provide Plots 1.02 to 1.08 inclusive for affordable flats.  However, Ashford Borough Council housing and planning teams have confirmed that they will release us from this obligation, in return for our financial contribution towards affordable housing on another location in Ashford.  Plots 1.02 to 1.08 will be redesigned as house plots and offered for sale once the legal paperwork is completed.


About the plots

What is a serviced plot?

A serviced plot has the services you need, including mains water, drainage, mains electricity, and fibre broadband, all ready for you to connect to.  Paths and roads will be constructed so that you and your builder have access to the plot.

Before completion of the plot purchase this  “Ready to Build” infrastructure will be in place. 

Once our self-builders’ construction work has reached a point where there will be no likelihood of damage to finishes, we will install the “Ready to Live” infrastructure; the road and footpath finishes, the landscaping and other finishes.

What is a Plot Passport?

Every plot that is sold at Orchard Farm will have its own Plot Passport, detailing the planning and legal regulations. It stipulates specific design parameters including the plot area, the maximum building footprint, height and gross external and internal areas, the building line, roof orientation and parking spaces.  The Plot Passport will give you clarity about what you can and can't build on the plot.  This means that when you start designing, you know the regulations and can start focusing on what's possible. 

If you meet the regulations in the Plot Passport you should receive planning permission within eight weeks. 


What are the plot sizes?

Our masterplan includes a range of different size plots to allow for different size houses.  It is envisaged that the smallest house will be a terraced two-bedroom house and that the house sizes will range from 80 to 350 square metres. 

The confirmed details of the plot sizes and prices will be provided in the autumn of 2023.  

What types of homes will be on the site?

10% will be affordable rental properties;

20% will be affordable shared ownership housing;

70% will be private housing.

What will be the height of the houses?

The maximum height of the house is stated on each Plot Passport. It will also indicate if the house is to be built with a pitched roof, or if a flat roof is allowed. Most of the houses will be one or two storeys with possibly three storey houses in key locations e.g., on a corner site.

What kind of external finishes will be allowed?

We want the development to reflect its location, so the Design Code will include a palette of external materials that are indigenous to this part of East Kent, such as red bricks, black or white painted timber weatherboard, profiled metal sheet, plain clay tiles and half-timbering. 

What will be the size of the gardens?

There will be a variety of garden types and sizes.  

Plots in the Lanes in the centre of the site will have small private front gardens (1 to 2m) with good sized private rear gardens (min 10m).  

Plots in the Courtyards in the centre of the site will have no private front garden but will share the Courtyard with green spaces with their neighbours. They will have good sized private rear gardens (min 10m).  

Plots next to the Lanes on the south and east edge of the site will have small private front gardens (1 to 2m) and small private rear gardens (4m) with a communal Meadow beyond a 1.2-meter-high hedge. 

Plots in the Courtyards backing onto the Meadow (Phase 2) will have communal front gardens and a short private rear garden (4m) with communal Meadow beyond a 1.2-meter-high hedge. 

Plots fronting the Orchard (Phase 2) will have a small private front garden (1-2 m) opening directly to the Orchard and standard private rear garden (min 10 m). 

The Patio/Tiny house type in north east corner of site (Phase 3) will have no front garden and small patio rear garden.     

NB. All gardens fronting communal areas would have a low hedge on the boundary growing on the communal land.

What parking will be available, and where?

We aim to make the development pedestrian and cyclist friendly and they will take priority. There will be parking from 1 to 3 spaces per house, to be parked on their plot. In addition, car spaces are added and will be available in the public space, meeting the standard required in the Ashford Borough Council Local Plan.

Self-build at Orchard Farm

What is self-build?
Self-build enables you to be a housebuilder.  You buy a plot of land and work with your own architect and builder to build your house, or you can build the house yourself. The result is a house designed and built for you; around the way you want to live your life.  
Why should I consider self-build?

If you want to live in a home designed around the way you live, in a neighbourhood where you can participate to make it a safe, lively and vibrant community, then self-build might be for you.

We are making self-build a simple route to designing, building and owning a home that fits the way people want to lead their life.

OFKL’s development partner, Steenvlinder UK Ltd, has been delivering plots for self-builders in the Netherlands for over eight years and their process is simple, effective and easy to understand.  At Orchard Farm self-builders can build their own ‘Grand Design’ home, or something more straight-forward. They’ll have our Customer Guide to help you organise your process, your network and successfully direct the build their house. They will be responsible for all your decisions made in this process. But we are sure it will result in a home that you will love.

Why should I self-build rather than buy from a large developer?

Large developers build houses to a limited set of standard patterns, with very little scope for customers to alter the design of their house or its environment to more closely fit their needs.

When you choose self-build, you define your budget with your architect and then design and build your house, so that it will meet your needs and will closely fit the way you want to live your life.

Can I design my own house?

Yes you can. Most likely you'll involve an architect or builder to design or draw up the house to your wishes. It's important to have professionals help you make sensible decisions. Architects are not all about making it grand and spectacular, but also about making your design cost effective and energy sufficient. 

Also, your design needs to meet the design regulations stipulated in the Plot Passport. With these regulations in mind, the possibilities for your ultimate design will open up. An architect can definitely help you navigate these possibilities and will probably have clever and fun solutions to complete a unique design.

Do I need to build my own house myself?

Well yes, but most probably you'll have your house design built by a constructor or a team of professionals that you pehaps project manage. You'll have time to think about this when you start, in the Reservation Period. 

How long does it take to build a house?

About 12 months depending how complicated and large your house is but also depends on how the organisation and supply chain is aligned to your building schedule. We allow a maximum of two years from signing the purchase agreement to the finish of the build.

Buying a plot

When can I buy a plot?

All the information about the first 18 plots is now online. We expect to have planning permission in early 2024 and will then be able to start selling the plots. In the meantime, our Early Bird scheme enables you to pre-reserve, to secure your preferred plot, for a non-refundable fee of £500.

How can I reserve a plot?

Register your interest now and receive updates through our newsletters and invitations to any planned events or webinars. Reach out to our Customer Guide to get the Reservation Agreement filled in, signed and paid. You then start your Reservation Period

What is a Reservation Period?

You can start a 9-week Reservation Period to further investigate you options. What can I build? Who do I work with? How much will it cost? And, can I afford it ?

At the start of the sales period, the Customer Guide can inform you how you can start. If your preferred plot is available, you will sign a Reservation Agreement and pay a non-refundable deposit of £500 and have nine weeks to talk to professionals and prepare your self-build journey before signing the Purchase Agreement. During this Reservation Period we won’t sell your plot to anyone else. 

What is a Customer Guide?

When you pre-reserve a plot you'll be welcomed by our Customer Guide who will provide you with all the necessary information, to enable you to make informed decisions for your self-build journey. The Customer Guide will also introduce you to an independent Network of Experts, with architects and financial advisers and other professionals, ready to advise you. 

During your Reservation period the Customer Guide is available for questions and will organise meetings online with you and in a few information webinars with your new neighbours. A meeting will also be organised near the site. Between all these events, you'll be preparing your journey to self-build at Orchard Farm. Your calendar and necessary information and documentation is organised for you in an App, the MySelfbuild-App for Orchard Farm.

The Customer Guide will also have your Purchase Agreement available at the beginning of your Reservation Period. You'll sign this Purchase Agreement after nine weeks, or earlier if you're ready to continue towards completion.

How much will it cost to build a house at Orchard Farm?

Prices per square metre will vary according to the building method, building materials and which third parties are being contracted. Including buying the land, the likely cost will be similar to buying a new built house in the area, depending on your specification but you can design a home for the way you want to live.

In addition, you can explore what it will cost to apply more sustainable ways of building, use better materials or systems that will lower your carbon footprint and save you money on your energy bill in the future.

Once you have reserved and have your drawings from your architect you will be able to use a customised  estimating tool. 

In the mean time you might find this estimating tool  from Build It useful.

How can I finance a self-build home? 

We are setting up a Network of Experts to help our self-builders on their self-build journey at Orchard Farm. We will have a number of mortgage advisors and lendors within this netwerk. They will be providing more information on how our self-builders can finance a self-build home. In the meantime, this is a useful article, or read more on self-build mortgages here.    

What is Golden Brick?

When you buy a new built house, you don’t have to pay 20% VAT on it but when you buy a plot you do, because according to the tax authorities it’s not a house. However, if we deliver a plot to you with a foundation, and with one brick already laid, the tax authorities will consider it a house and no VAT is paid on the plot. Hence the term 'The golden brick'! If you opt for this 'Golden brick construction’, before the sale is completed, the foundations for your house, based on your design, must be built by your contractor.  

You will have three extra months’ time to do this. You will need a mortgage offer (or proof of funds) before your foundations can be laid, which shows that you can purchase and pay for the plot and the foundation.  

You are 100% responsible for the construction, the quality and the payment. 

Once the foundation is laid, we can sell the plot to you, without the 20% VAT. It's a bit of extra hassle, but it saves you the 20% VAT on the plot price, and there are more VAT benefits during the build of your house too. This could be spent on a high spec kitchen, an extra bedroom, or the landscaping of a beautiful garden. Whatever you want! 

How will the public areas in the development be managed?

A new company, Orchard Farm Management Limited OFML will manage the public areas in the development.  Once all phases of the development are completed, each homeowner will receive one share and OFLK will transfer ownership of the public areas to OFML. So, if you buy a plot and build a home at Orchard Farm,  you will also have part ownership and control of all the public areas. OFML will have responsibility for maintaining the Lanes, Orchard, Meadow and Courtyards and each homeowner will pay an annual service charge to cover those costs. As you will part own OFML, you and your neighbours will have full control over how the public areas are maintained and at what cost.

What Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) do I have to pay?

You must pay Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) if you buy a property or land above a certain price in England. You pay according to different thresholds for residential property and non-residential property, and you must pay higher rates for more expensive properties in each case. OFKL have been told that if you buy a plot using the ‘Golden Brick’ method, you will have to pay SDLT according to the residential property thresholds and if you buy without ‘Golden Brick, it’s according to the non-residential property thresholds. Your specific circumstances can affect the rates you will pay, e.g., if you are a first time buyer or if you already own a residential property etc. 

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have an online calculator, which will help you to work out how much SDLT you will have to pay if you buy a plot at Orchard Farm, which you can access here.  

You should ask your solicitor for independent advice on this issue because HMRC will hold you responsible for assessing and paying the correct tax.

The location

Where is Orchard Farm situated?

Orchard Farm is located in the heart of Kent in Kennington (TN25 4DU), a village approximately 3 miles to the north of Ashford in south east England. The site is just over 2 miles from Ashford International station where high speed trains offer a journey time of 38 minutes to London (with an easy connection to Kings Cross station and important destinations in the rest of UK).

There are also excellent road links from Ashford to London and Europe . It’s just seventeen minutes' drive to Eurotunnel in Folkestone on the M20 motorway and thirty minutes to the Port of Dover on the M20 and A20.

London’s two main airports are within easy reach. By car, Gatwick is an hour away with Heathrow only a further 30 minutes around the M25. 

Bus stops next to Orchard Farm offer services to the centre of Ashford and Canterbury and there are many cycle routes, providing the opportunity to choose a healthier way to travel to work or school or to get out and about to enjoy the surrounding countryside.

What makes Orchard Farm a great place to live?

Orchard Farm is surrounded by countryside to the north and is only one mile from the North Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, one of the most attractive parts of Kent.  Meanwhile just a short cycle ride to the south is the bustling town of Ashford with the bonus of fast links to London from Ashford International station.

This part of Kent has also become renowned for its foodie offer, with several highly regarded restaurants and a host of independent food producers and retailers.

Where can I shop near to Orchard Farm?

For grocery shopping, it’s a short, fifteen minute walk to the Co-op or a larger Sainsbury’s supermarket is 2 miles away.

County Square Shopping Centre in Ashford town centre has over fifty stores including well known brands whilst across the road you'll find  Elwick Place.

The Ashford Designer outlet 3.5 miles from Orchard Farm offers over seventy stores including many well known fashion brands and a variety of restaurants.

Where can I eat out near to Orchard Farm?

Stubbs restaurant is just a few minutes’ walk away from Orchard Farm. Another five minutes along Canterbury Road towards Ashford, the Conningbrook Hotel is open to non-residents for food and drink.

In the other direction along Canterbury Road, The Old Mill pub is six minutes’ walk from Orchard Farm and, on Faversham road, you’ll find Williams and Thomas Tearoom just 15 minutes walk away.

Marino’s Fish Baris also a 15 minute walk from Orchard Farm and Bybrook Barn Harvester is a three minute drive.

Three miles away, Champneys Eastwell Manor Hotel and Spa not only offers afternoon tea, healthy lunches and fine dining but also the Champneys Health Spa.

Near Ashford International station, The Coachworks sells a range of street food and drinks sourced from local suppliers outside in The Yard and The Hothouse is a venue for live music and DJs plus food markets and exhibitions. 

What are the schools like?

Orchard Farm is close to excellent primary and secondary schools including;

Downs View Infant School
Ball Lane
Kennington TN25 4PJ

Kennington Academy
Upper Vicarage Road
Kennington TN24 9AG

Towers School and Sixth Form Centre
Faversham Road TN24 9AL

Ashford Senior School 
East Hill, Ashford, TN24 8PB

A new primary school will be built on the housing site adjoining Orchard Farm in the next two to three years.

Find our more about all the schools and colleges in Ashford

What are the opportunities for sports and fitness?

Kennington Cricket Club


Jasmin Vardimon
In summer 2022, the company will move into its new creative home in Javelin Way.

Kennington Football Club


Ashford Rugby Club 


The Gym Group Ashford

Snap Fitness

Ashford Hockey Club

Leisure Centres, Swimmimg Pools, Health Clubs and Spas

Bannatyne Health Club and Spa

The Park Club

The Stour Centre


Ashford Museum

Conningbrook Lakes Nature Reserve
0.9 mile/20 minute walk

The Hawking Centre Falconry
2.8 miles/8 minute drive

Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve
21 minute drive

Rare Breeds Centre
12 miles/ 20 min drive

Canterbury Cathedral
12 miles/20 minutes drive

Revelation Ashford

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