RESIDENTS TOLD OF SCHEME TO DEVELOP 69 ACRES
Britain’s most famous private school wants to build 300 homes, a restaurant, hotel, care home, gym and health centre on land near Greenhill. Eton College – which educated Princes William and Harry – has written letters to residents about plans to develop acres between Herne Bay and Whitstable by the Old Thanet Way. If the proposals are approved it will also see offices built and more than 18 hectares of green space, including parks, playing fields, play areas and allotments. College agents Porta Planning said the land belongs to Eton under its endowment portfolio. John Bowles, from the firm, says the college believes the homes are needed to fulfil an obligation by local authorities to build a minimum number of houses. He said:
“Based on the land identified in Canterbury City Council’s now outdated local plan, Eton College is firmly of the opinion the council’s five-year land-supply provision for new homes in the district is inadequate and that the delivery of new homes will fall far short of government requirements. The college has promoted its land at Chestfield as a suitable site for allocation to meet the district’s housing needs through various stages of the preparation of a new local plan.”
He added the college hopes a planning application will be decided upon by the autumn, with building work starting straight away. But the college could face stern opposition from concerned par. ish councillors who have been busy scrutinising the plans for two months. Council chairman Steve Bailey said:
“We’re concerned a development as big as this will change the demographic of the village. It would increase the population of Chestfield by about 2,500. When does a village become a town? We can’t really comment at the moment, but we will be looking to oppose this.”
“This site is within the Herne Bay and Whitstable green gap as identified in the current local plan and has not been put forward for development in the new draft local plan. If a planning application was submitted, it would be considered in the normal way.”
Two public exhibitions are set to take place to gauge feelings before a planning application is submitted to the city council. The first one is at Whitstable Rugby Club, tomorrow (Friday), between 4pm and 8pm, with the second viewing on Saturday, at Chestfield WI Hall, from 11am to 3pm.
Herne Bay Gazette, May 15th 2014