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Local Plan: the vision for 2031

Multimillion-pound plans to build 15,600 homes and transform
roads “will support 6,500 new jobs across the district by 2031”.

Canterbury City Council’s draft Local Plan seeks to change
roads in areas including Sturry and south Canterbury and create a new
park-and-ride site close to a new A2 junction near Bridge.

The document, which is due to go out for public consultation
from June 14 [actually June 20th], earmarks eight major sites of development in Canterbury, Herne
Bay, Whitstable, Sturry and Hersden, with house-building and employment land
suggestions for additional areas including Howe Barracks, and the current
council office site.

The scheme will mean 9,916 new properties in addition to
some 4,500 already in the pipeline or expected to be applied for, being built
at a rate of some 780 per year, and 96,775 square metres of employment land
being created in the next 17 years.

Proposals

Proposals include 4,000 homes, two primary schools, business
space, allotments, shops and a medical centre in south Canterbury, which will
also benefit from a £20 million junction on the A2 opposite Renville Farm and
the relocated and extended park and ride on agricultural land close to the new
junction.

Sturry and Broadoak will have a build of 1,000 homes,
business units, community facilities and a £12 million bridge over the level
crossing, which will be closed, bringing cars out at the park and ride.

CCC chief executive Colin Carmichael said:

“We have had lots of conversations with KCC and
highways and in principle they are happy with this. The crossing will be closed
and with traffic from Thanet and Herne Bay being diverted this will entirely
change the character of Sturry.”

Four hundred homes and an extension of the Duncan Downs
village green, which will be doubled in size, and allotments are planned along
the Thanet Way at Whitstable, another 1,000 homes, doctors surgery and 33,000
square metres of business space at the Altira site at Hillborough, and another
600 homes in Greenhill, near Briary school.

Strode Farm is earmarked for 800 homes, retail, employment
and leisure space and a new relief road. The Herne Bay golf club site will get
400 homes, a doctors surgery, care home and leisure facilities. Hersden could
get 800 homes, employment space, a community building and games area.

A new retail park is planned for Wincheap, and Howe Barracks
could offer some limited development opportunities of up to 400 homes. The
Ministry of Defence is understood to be selling the land next year.

CCC is also suggesting an Eastern bypass to run from the new
Sturry bridge to the new A2 junction at Bridge. Government funding would be
applied for to help with the costs.

Council leader John Gilbey said:

“This is a unique opportunity to get the relief road
established even though we can’t afford to build it right now.”

The aim of the housing plan is to provide at least 30 per
cent of the properties as affordable homes for families in the district and to
try and keep graduating students who could add to the economy.

It is hoped the homes will also be used by the growing
“knowledge” sector in Canterbury, made up of software and IT firms
and professionals such as architects and accountants.

The district has seen jobs growth in this area despite the
recession of around 36 per cent. Cllr Gilbey said:

“The knowledge sector, such as scientific, research and
professional services, is a strong area. Our innovation centre is 95 per cent
full and we could do with another one. There are incubation firms for hi-tech
industries at the universities and we want to keep these people here.”

The draft plan, which will be discussed by an overview
committee at CCC on Monday 13th May, will go out for consultation for eight
weeks [now 10 weeks]. People will be able to see copies at libraries and online. There may
also be roadshows in the district.

It is expected the plan will be submitted to the Planning
Inspectorate in Summer/Autumn 2014. The independent inspector will make the
final decision on whether the plan is viable. For more information, see the plan at http://tinyurl.com/CantLocPlan

HB Times 9th May 2013

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