A master plan that could see farmland transformed into a village of up to 800 homes has been revealed. Developers Hollamby Estates, who own Strode Farm, hope to submit a planning application next month for the scheme, dubbed Lower Herne Village.
Officials say they plan to build a community, not just a housing estate, with local shops, a pub and possibly a day nursery also included in the plans. Details were unveiled at exhibitions in Herne community centre and at the Kings Hall last week, and about 250 people attended.
Rob Edwards, from the development team, said a new road to act as an alternative to the Canterbury Road through Herne, was a key part of the proposals. He said:
The main themes we have heard have been about traffic, and the question of school provision and local facilities. The road would serve all purposes, as a residential road through the new community, and as a relief road for Herne. It could reduce traffic flows through Herne by 40 to 50% in the peak hours.
The development, if granted planning permission, would take part in stages, with money from the sale of houses on each stage used to fund the infrastructure and construction of the other stages. The road – thought to cost up to £10 million – would also be built in stages as each phase is completed. Community facilities would be built as part of the first phase. Project manager Chris Crook said feedback from the first exhibition on the plans had been taken into account. He said:
These are more detailed proposals and there have been changes in terms of the mix of what is planned. There was originally more employment space but because of other sites that have since come forward that would no longer be appropriate here. Now we are looking at community services that would support the development. It is not just a housing estate, it is a balance of facilities for the whole community.
An outline planning application is expected to be finished by the end of November, and details of each phase will then be submitted as separate applications. The scheme would include houses with between two and five bedrooms “in leafy settings”. Lower Herne Road would be closed at the junction of Bullockstone Road to stop it being used as a ratrun. For more information on the proposals, see www.lowerhernevillage.co.uk