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Local Plan: Letters


Spend money from new homes on

I think the construction of
new properties in Herne Bay is a good thing (Housing Boom, Herne Bay Gazette,
May 9). They seem to be building a relief road, extra schools and a new GP
surgery to cater for the extra people.

This means local shops and businesses in
the area will benefit hugely. This is welcomed by people such as myself who do
have some big plans to promote the town in the future by use of event

What needs to be ensured is
that the tax revenue from the families in these homes needs to be spent back on
the town and not in other places like Canterbury and Whitstable. Herne Bay
needs regenerating, let’s hope Canterbury City Council are not just doing this
out of pure greed.

Ben Fisher, Mill Lane, Herne

Local Plan as good as could
be expected

Of all the functions which
local government is required to carry out, planning is inevitably one of the
most contentious and challenging (Urban Brawl, Kentish Gazette, May 9).

Whether seeking to identify
where different forms of development might go and to dratt the related policies
in a Local Plan or deciding if planning permission should be granted for
anything from a small porch to the largest housing estate, it is bound to upset

The grander the scale, the
more the council is likely to offend if it gives the green light.

People these days are far
more environmentally aware and have easier access to information. Society as a
whole places increasingly greater values on matters like wildlife and
countryside conservation, looking after our built heritage and avoiding
problems like flooding and pollution. Anything involving more traffic is bound
to be controversial.

It is inevitable, therefore,
that if it is to identify land for new housing of the scale envisaged, the
Local Plan will give rise to concern.

If this scale of housing is
needed, there are sound reasons for placing it on the edge of Canterbury to
meet sustainability principles relating to travel to services such as schools
and shops.

No doubt the council has
wrestled with other options and considered them objectively. It should come as no surprise
that land south east of the city has been chosen. It has been eyed for
development, albeit of a lesser scale, for many years and potentially gives
direct access to the A2.

That said, I regret that the
city council is forced to find land for this quantity of new homes.

I am also sorry that this
land is now under renewed threat of development, particularly as I grew up in
the area and fondly recall the mix of hop gardens complete with hop-pickers and
their huts, cherry, apple and pear orchards and lettuce fields, complete with
tall hawthorn windbreaks which once occupied the land off Nackington Road.

I anticipate and fully
understand the likely concerns and fears of local people at the scale of
development and its implications and the loss of valued countryside.

Your front page headline
screams “Urban Brawl”. No doubt, whoever produced that is
congratulating him or herself. I thought when I first saw it that you were back
to the subject of the city’s night-time economy. But the subject of
Canterbury’s future is far too serious for such cheapness.

The city council will already
have expended considerable money and time on what is a highly complex matter –
a glance at its website will give a clear idea of what is involved.

There will be disagreements,
arguments and serious discussion, of course, and the opposition expressed from
Alex Perkins and Fred Whitemore is to be expected. However, it is fairly put and
your report includes reference to nothing which constitutes a “brawl”
comparable to what might occur outside a pub.

John Gilbey is absolutely
right: the city council has no option other than to find land for the number of
homes dictated to it by others. If it does not, it faces the
very real prospect of people throughout the district facing uncertainty and ad
hoc planning permissions being given at appeal to unscrupulous developers,
probably at very great cost financially to local taxpayers.

Tim Fisher, Hatch Lane, Chartham

The main problem with the
proposed Canterbury development plan is not what is included, but what is left

A further 15,000 new homes
will generate a considerable amount of extra trafiic, yet no new roads are
planned to cope with this traffic apart from a possible bypasses at Herne and
the level crossings at Sturry and Broad Oak, plus a few new junctions on to
existing roads.

The ill-thought-out plan to
prevent traffic passing through the Westgate Towers caused major congestion
problems, showing just how critical the traffic situation is already around

When Ashford was made the
main growth town for east Kent, the roads were put in first before the houses
were built, resulting in improved traffic flow. The city council should notify
the government that it can only plan for the extra 15,000 new homes when it is
told where the new roads needed to support such a massive development shall be

After all, it is the government’s
responsibility not only to provide new homes but also the infrastructure needed
to support these new homes.

With the government talking
about stimulating the economy with more infrastructure projects, this would
seem to be the ideal time for the city council to ask for the bypasses around
Canterbury that are so long overdue.

Mike Armstrong, Broadview, Primrose Hill,
Chartham Hatch

I cannot help but agree with
the comment from Lib Dem leader Alex Perkins about the Local Plan: “I am
afraid there is so much wrong with this Local Plan draft it is hard to know
where to start.”

First, we were told that the
publication was delayed to allow a traffic report to be included, but the only
traffic report is dated December 2012 and simply confirms the obvious, that all
the options increase traffic in already-congested areas.

Secondly, a substantial
increase in housing is proposed with little improvement to the road
infrastructure, certainly no improvement to the known bottlenecks. For a start,
any expansion south of Canterbury must be conditional on a south Canterbury to
Sturry link road.

Thirdly, we are all being
encourage to use public transport. Two nearby villages have a rail link to
Canterbury, Selling and Bekesboume. How many houses are proposed in these
locations? None.

But the final laugh must be
for the proposed high-speed bus service from the Boys’ Langton to the city
centre. Why bother? It is quicker to walk.

Harry Macdonald, Churchill Road. Canterbury

One would have thought that
Canterbury City Council would have learned from its Westgate Towers traffic
scheme fiasco, but clearly not.

I would like to remind them
that they are not all-powerful and cannot do whatever they please.

They are not empowered to
alter major roads, cannot relocate secondary schools, and as for shutting down
level crossings – they should learn the meaning of the term ultra

Ray Sanders, Old Dover Road, Canterbury

 HB Gazette 16th May 2013

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