The Battle for Western Heights and Farthingloe

A housing estate on the White Cliffs of Dover? Surely not! Well, after Dover District Council on 13th June approved the application for development to build 521 new houses, together with a hotel and other assorted buildings in the Dover District, the iconic cliffs are looking threatened.

Farthingloe from Western Heights

The plan for this large development is especially damaging as part of the site, at Farthingloe, sits within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  The other half of this coupled application is at the Western Heights, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and near to a number of other historic buildings. Despite local protest, as well as our own Senior Planner Brian Lloyd, speaking against the development, Dover’s Planning Committee decided to approve the proposals on the grounds that it may help regenerate the economy.

So, what now? The campaign to save this beautiful landscape must really begin! CPRE Protect Kent have written to the National Planning Casework Unit requesting the application be ‘called in’–that is, decided by Government. This will be a test case in many senses, as the AONB designation should afford this area the greatest protection against development. Under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), AONBs should only be developed in ‘exceptional circumstances’ which will be in ‘benefit of the public interest’. We do not believe that the applicant, China Gateway International Ltd, has proven that this is the case. The site is not even in the Council’s own Core Strategy, approved in 2010, which determines where development should be allowed to occur within the District. In fact, the Council themselves ruled the site inappropriate in their Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA). If it was an inappropriate site in 2010, what exactly has changed now? Why should the Council allow development on an area of nationally important land which has both heritage and landscape designations protected under national policy? CPRE Protect Kent intends to challenge this decision and we hope that we will be able to protect this iconic and historic landscape.

If you would like to help our charity fight this development, as well as others throughout Kent, then click here to join the campaign!

Comments are closed.