Cockering Farm housing approval: CPRE Kent slams ‘lamentable’ consultation

The planned development borders Larkey Valley Wood SSSI (pic explorekent.org)

CPRE Kent is concerned by the decision of Canterbury City Council’s planning committee to grant outline consent for the proposals for 400 homes at Cockering Farm, Thanington.
A spokesman said: “We fully respect the council’s right to approve the application, but we are deeply concerned by the proposals, which do not respect the comments of local people
“The scrutiny has been inadequate and the consultation lamentable for such an important site. The lack of detail is regrettable, making the whole situation doubly disappointing.
“People are only just beginning to understand the implications of this planned development and their concerns must be fully acknowledged if it goes ahead.
“CPRE, with other concerned parties in Canterbury, will scrutinise the details further, as and when the developer finally provides them.
“We will challenge the developer to shape the scheme into one that provides good-quality housing, respecting both the context and the need in the local area and the vitally important heritage of Canterbury.”
The proposed 42-hectare development by Quinn Estates Ltd lies immediately to the north of Larkey Valley Wood, a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and in a designated Area of High Landscape Value.
The decision to grant outline permission for the 400 homes, up to 3,716 square metres of business space, a community/leisure facility of up to 200 square metres and 18 hectares of open space, was made on Tuesday, September 18.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Blean greenfield site saved (for now) in High Court win over government

The land at Blean Common saved from development
(pic Canterbury City Council)

CPRE Kent welcomes the news that a greenfield site in east Kent has been saved, at least for the time being, after a High Court victory for the local authority over the government.
Canterbury City Council took the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to court after a planning inspector granted planning permission for 85 homes at Blean Common next to the Royal Oak pub.
The council’s planning committee had previously refused the application, but the applicant, Gladman Developments Ltd, appealed the decision.
During April’s subsequent court hearing, the council argued the inspector had misinterpreted policies in both its Local Plan at the time and the then-emerging Local Plan concerning development in the district and on greenfield land specifically.
And yesterday (Tuesday, June 26) in the High Court, Mr Justice Dove backed the council’s case, quashing the decision of the planning inspector, meaning the appeal must be redetermined by a different inspector.
Further, the Secretary of State was ordered to pay the council’s legal costs of £19,218. There is the right of appeal against the court’s decision.
The council had refused the planning application on grounds including the fact it was a sporadic form of development outside of the village area of Blean, would represent a harmful form of development in a rural location and was detrimental to the character and appearance of the surrounding rural environment in general.
Simon Thomas, the council’s head of planning, said: “It’s highly unusual for us to take the government to court in this way, but there were important issues at stake here.
“Our Local Plan has very clear policies on where we will allow development and on the protection of our precious countryside.
“The inspector misinterpreted these and reached a decision that we felt we had no option but to challenge on behalf of local residents.
“It is not the end for this specific planning application, though, as the Planning Inspectorate is now required to reconsider the appeal.”
Land agent Gladman has been involved in planning conflicts across the country, much of its approach entailing working at the minutiae of local authorities’ five-year land supply, arguing they are not providing the new housing required of them by central government.
Gladman does not build the homes itself. Rather, it seeks to win planning permission allowing developers to put up developments not planned for by local councils.
Unsurprisingly, this has led to disputes up and down the land, with many cases going to public inquiry.
The company’s website says: “Gladman is the UK’s most successful land promoter with an unrivalled success rate of over 90%…
“We have achieved planning permission for over 10,000 new homes and have secured planning permission on over 60 sites in the last year.”
The behaviour of speculative land agents is one of the most taxing issues facing local authorities and countryside campaigners today.
Tom Fyans, CPRE’s director of campaigns and policy, said: “We are deeply concerned at the stress and impact this sort of speculative behaviour is having on our countryside, wildlife and on rural communities – land promoters actively work against local wishes for the sake of their own profit.
“Changes must be made to close these loopholes in national planning policy to ensure the planning system drives developments that are needed and welcomed by local authorities.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Architecture student Jake makes good impression to pick up Gravett Award

Jake Obichere with his sketch of St George’s Tower, Canterbury

Renowned architect Ptolemy Dean was chairman of the judges

Jake’s sketch of St George’s Tower impressed the judges

Gifted architecture student Jake Obichere has won this year’s Gravett Award, a prestigious competition sponsored by CPRE Kent.
His portfolio secured Jake £300 prize money, awarded by CPRE Kent’s historic buildings committee.
It is given for the best observational drawings of buildings or structures produced over the past year by an undergraduate at Kent School of Architecture, part of the University of Kent at Canterbury.
As well as rewarding excellence among students, the award, named after Kent historic buildings enthusiast Kenneth Gravett, who died in 1999, aims to encourage the recording of existing buildings through hand-drawing.
Drawings of existing buildings and structures are, says Historic England, “used to aid understanding by observation and close contact with building fabric. They are particularly useful for vernacular buildings and architectural details crucial to the history of a building or site.”
One of the country’s leading architects, former Kent College pupil Ptolemy Dean, chaired the judging panel, which was completed by Stuart Page and Clive Bowley.
Graham Horner, secretary of the historic buildings committee, said: “Jake’s drawings were executed with great flair and artistic ability yet still conveyed the essence of the buildings he’d drawn.
“His portfolio was impressive throughout, but the judges were particularly impressed by his images of Canterbury Cathedral and St George’s Tower in the city.
“It was nice that Ptolemy Dean went through all the entrants’ drawings in turn and offered suggestions as to how they could develop their work through their careers.”
Jess Ryder, David Edward and Dana Matei were also shortlisted in the competition.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Civic Voice Convention

CPRE Kent took part in the Civic Voice Convention in Canterbury last weekend (24-25 October 2014).

Canterbury District Chairman Barrie Gore meets Gryff Rhys-Jones

Canterbury District Chairman Barrie Gore meets Gryff Rhys-Jones

The event was opened by Gryff Rhys-Jones, who visited the CPRE Kent stand and met members.

CPRE Kent Chairman Christine Drury said: “We were delighted to meet like-minded delegates from all over the country who share our passion for place and communities and would like to thank the Canterbury Society and Civic Voice for organising this brilliant occasion. It was also an opportunity to talk about the challenges to the context and setting of Canterbury that would arise if the emerging local plan is not improved.”