The deadline for comments on Canterbury City Council’s public consultation on its preferred option for its new Local Plan closes at 9am on Monday, August 9. The deadline has been extended by a week in response to glitches with the council’s online consultation portal.
CPRE Kent has submitted comments on behalf of its members objecting to the council’s preferred option of building 14,000-17,000 homes – which is 8,000 more than required under the government’s standard methodology for calculating housing numbers, for the period to 2040.
We have advised the council that a careful balance needs to be struck between taking economic advantage of Canterbury’s heritage and undermining it with too much and with inappropriately sited development.
Unfortunately, like many of the residents in the Canterbury area, we have had difficulty interpreting the full implications of the council’s development proposals.
The written summary details for the preferred option makes no reference to the provision of the proposed two new roads/bypasses – to the north-west and south-east of the city – referring obliquely to “upgrade of the A28 to allow traffic to bypass the city centre” instead.
CPRE Kent has questioned whether addressing congestion and pollution on the ring road by building a pair of bypasses will be effective – bearing in mind that it would appear that a high proportion of this traffic is generated by local people travelling into Canterbury for work, leisure, shopping and education.
Building up to 8,000 more dwellings than required to fund a roadbuilding programme to bypass the city centre will, CPRE Kent believes, place undue burden on local communities, the countryside setting of Canterbury, the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and surrounding Areas of High Landscape Value.
We have pointed out to the council that development to this degree would have an adverse impact on dark skies, tranquillity and best and most versatile agricultural land – which has a vital role to play in absorbing carbon and preserving biodiversity, including the biodiversity in soils. Once it is built over, soil biodiversity is lost.
Sadly, the council seems to have cornered itself into a position whereby 20th-century solutions are being applied to 21st-century issues.
- To learn more and contribute to Canterbury City Council’s consultation on the Local Plan, click here
- To read more about development pressure and planning in Canterbury, click here
Tuesday, August 3, 2021