It has acquired it from George Wilson Developments following a historic planning agreement with the company which has only recently been legally concluded.
The land lies in two sections to the south of the B2205 Whitstable Road between St Augustine’s Business Park to the west and Hampton Close to the east. The whole site is actually 22 acres but nearly three acres of it have been set aside for a new Herne Bay Age Concern community centre, when funds become available.
Now the council says the land will be protected from development and used for amenity, such as a nature reserve, public open space or agriculture.
It was originally transferred under a planning agreement dating back to 1992 when the St Augustine’s Business Park was granted permission. However, the agreement was held up due to legal difficulties until the Age Concern Centre was approved in December 2008.
The city council’s deputy leader, Cllr Jean Law, said:
I am delighted that the land has now been transferred so the city council can protect this vital piece of open space between Herne Bay and Whitstable for the benefit of the community.
On top of this achievement, it’s great that Age Concern have secured an excellent site to develop a centre for delivery of their services for the community in the future.
Acquiring this site is a huge step forward for our plans to provide a purpose-built facility with comprehensive volunteer-led services which the whole community can benefit from.
It is here that our plans for a beautiful bespoke building can come to fruition, although it will inevitably take some time. We would like to thank George Wilson for his generous donation of the land.
It’s always been our policy to preserve the green gap because the danger ‘is the towns would be merged by creeping development.
The issue now is what the council does with the land and I suggest it touches base with other groups like the Friends of Duncan Downs to consider the options.
Kentish Gazette, 9th Dec 2010