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Local Plan: Council must listen to the people

The city council is
preparing to kickstart the public consultation on its blueprint for the future
of Canterbury – at a time when concerns about the building of thousands of new
homes remains high.

Members of the
ruling executive meet tonight (Thursday 30th May), when they will be asked to
formally begin canvassing people’s thoughts on its plan for the district over
the next 18 years.

It has already
sparked huge controversy with its projection of 15,600 new homes across the
district and a garden city on farmland on the outskirts of Canterbury. The
public consultation is the first stage of the council’s effort to realise its
vision for the years up to 2031.

Among those
questioning the draft Local Plan is the Oaten Hill and District Society, which
is holding a public meeting next month to discuss housing development. Former
Lord Mayor and society member Fred Whitemore said:

“We do not
oppose some increase in building, especially if this is to build more
affordable housing which will enable our young people to get on to the housing
ladder. But a modest number would achieve that. And if the council pressed the
universities to build more student housing on campus, that could and should
allow the release of some of the general purpose housing currently occupied by
students.

What matters most of all is that the voice of the people in
Canterbury should be heeded by the city council. I hope that a great many
people will come to our meeting.”

Elsewhere in the
Local Plan are proposals for the closure of the Sturry level crossing and the
creation of a relief road linking the A28 Sturry Road with the A257
Littlebourne Road near Howe Barracks. Around 8,000 of the new homes are planned
for Canterbury, with the rest in Hersden, Sturry, Herne Bay and Whitstable.

The Oaten Hill and
District Society’s meeting takes place at Kendall Hall behind St Mary Bredin
Church, Nunnery Fields, at 7.15pm on Monday, June 10. Tory councillor Jeremy
Bellamy
and Lib Dem Paula Vickers, who both represent the Barton ward, are
among those who have agreed to attend.

Consultation on the
Local Plan is scheduled to start on June 20 and will last ten weeks.

HB Gazette 30th May
2013

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