A top planning barrister has judged the Canterbury Local Plan legally unsound because it has failed to properly assess sustainability and environmental impact after dramatically increasing the number of houses needed by more than 50%.
Richard Harwood QC was commissioned by Herne and Broomfield Parish Council, backed by CPRE Kent and a number of other local organisations (1), to judge whether the Local Plan was legally compliant.
He concluded that when Canterbury City Council greatly raised its housing target, it should have re-assessed the impact on habitats and the environment, and whether or not the proposed distribution of housing remained appropriate and sustainable. This it failed to do.
In January 2010, the council consulted on a Local Plan with a target of 10,200 new homes by 2026 (510 per year). In 2012, this target was revised to 15,600 new homes by 2031 (780 per year). However, despite the significant increase, the council relied on its earlier environmental assessments of where new development should be located.