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Local Plan: Letters

Infrastructure is
under threat

South Canterbury
infrastructure is already overloaded with the current rapid rise in house
building, with many of these houses unsold. Gridlock on pot-holed roads, sewage
overflows and power cuts.

Once again the city
council is being charmed by builders to give them precious greenfield sites to
cram in maximum high-priced houses for their own high profits.

The farmland
opposite Langton Boys’ Grammar was sold to a builder some time ago and because
the land can only be used for educational use, the builder has offered to build
a new school – in return for consent to build on the existing Girls’ Grammar
School site, which has recently had a lot of ratepayers’ money spent on it.

Add to this all the
other proposed houses to be built in South Canterbury, stretching to the Bridge
bypass, and this will result in a complete infrastructure breakdown. What a
surprise that this proposal was not published until after the local elections!

Listen to your
ratepayers who fund your salaries for once and stop this crazy plan to move the
school.

J.C. Rogerson,
Nackinqton Road, Canterbury


A sad dismissal of
community

I was very
interested to read Bob Britnell’s response to my call for  the Local Plan to be community-led and for a
pause to allow for proper community input. I have always much respected Mr
Britnell’s straightforwardness and I genuinely believe he means well, but his
rather dismissive assessment of community involvement is very sad indeed.

The Canterbury
Society’s recent and excellent document The Future of our City clearly
illustrates that a very positive contribution can be made by community groups.

Also, the National
Planning Policy framework actually requires substantial public engagement in
the plan-making exercise. It clearly stresses that ‘early and meaningful
engagement and collaboration with neighbourhoods, local organisations and
business is essential. A wide section of the community should be proactively
engaged, so that the Local Plan, as far as possible, reflects a collective
vision…’

Moreover, I wonder
if Mr Britnell has actually read the final report of the Mori poll of residents
which he cites, as it is fully in tune with the intelligent community and
amenity societies that he seems to admire and yet decry.

As the summary
findings unequivocally state regarding more house-building and the comparison
with present rates of construction: “the majority support building in
principle but most prefer same/slower pace”.

This is directly at
odds with the Preferred Option Local Plan which is premised throughout on the
basis of a much higher level of house building.

Finally, it is my
strong conviction that the most robust Local Plan will be a truly
community-forged one.

Rev Paul Wilson,
Clare Road, Whitstable


An additional 4,000
houses planned alongside New Dover Road is a major issue for Canterbury and not
one to be regarded as just too big a ship to be turned or for members of the
public to be intimidated by rhetoric. It is apparent that central government sees
house building as a way to stimulate the economy and is putting pressure on
local councils to comply.

House building
provides employment for the building industry during the course of construction
and some maintenance work thereafter.

However, one would
have thought a much better strategy would be to concentrate on the creation of
industries that will produce income, provide long-term employment and
manufacture goods and services that  can
either be exported or that will  reduce
the amount of goods being imported into the country.

Employees need
housing but there is limited benefit to having housing without the creation of
businesses for the employees to work.

What I would like to
see is an independent detailed and factual environmental study of the impact of
this proposed housing development. We saw recently with the Westgate Towers
trial that what appeared to be a small change in traffic flows gridlocked
Canterbury for almost a year, and since the trial ceased it is like someone has
waved a magic wand.

Building 4,000
houses on the edge of Canterbury is not a trial that can be reversed and I feel
it will take a bit more than bypassing the Sturry Road level crossing and a
fast bus service into Canterbury to prevent permanent gridlock of traffic in
and around the city. What is interesting is that in his report to the planning
committee on the proposed crematorium near the University of Kent, council
officer Cullum Parker drew attention to the potential impact of the site on
traffic. I would suggest that if traffic from this site will pose a problem it
will be nothing compared with the impact on traffic of 4,000 additional houses.

John Morgan, Church
Lane, Kingston

HB Gazette 30th May 2013

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