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Local Plan: criticised for being developer-led

Residents’ groups
have united in opposition to the garden city vision for Canterbury, which they
claim is “seriously flawed”.

They formed a
non-political alliance at a joint meeting last week, where every individual
group raised concerns about the process, scale and speed of proposed house-building,
which includes 4,000 new homes in south Canterbury.

Speakers questioned
the motivation for the plan, its excessive targets, its lack of infrastructure
provision and the timing of both its publication and the consultation period.
Chairman Clive Church said:

“We share a
common belief that this plan is seriously flawed. It is so obviously
developer-led and it ignores the genuine long-term economic and social needs of
the district as a whole. We also have serious concerns about the democratic
process here in Canterbury since it allows a small number of councillors, 90%
of who live well outside the city, to foist a series of completely unacceptable
proposals on the city without allowing sufficient time for proper consultation.

We have no doubt
that every part of the city will be badly-affected by these plans. The full
scale of the extra housing proposed for Canterbury has yet to be revealed. We
also have very grave concerns about the extent of the major infrastructure
construction that will be needed notably the provision of water and sewerage
services. We are concerned as well about the extra traffic congestion and air
pollution which would ensue.

Equally we doubt the
availability of the jobs needed to support the increase in population. Hopes
that these can be provided by a ‘silicon valley’ style complex are, in our
view, quite unrealistic for an area that does not have science-led
universities.

Over the next few
weeks individual residents groups will be examining the proposals in greater
detail and will convene meetings of their members, at which council officials
will be invited to speak. The new alliance will meet again in mid-June to
discuss the views from these sessions and plan the next steps in its campaign
of vigorous opposition.”

HB Gazette 23rd May 2013

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