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Local Plan: What’s wrong? Where to start?

CCC Liberal Democrat leader Alex Perkins has panned the draft plan. He said:

I am afraid there is so much wrong with this draft local plan it is hard to know where to start. We clearly do need more housing, but the premise and process here are completely wrong.

For a start, the plan is entirely developer-led. A plan like this should be resident-led. The council should have worked with local residents to come up with a vision for the district – and used that as the basis for the plan. Instead they have just asked developers where they want to develop – and produced a plan based on where the developers see the most profit.

I don’t for one second accept that building 800 new homes every year for 20 years is sustainable! The current plan pays no regard to the huge number of homes already being built in other districts across east Kent. Five hundred a year across the district maximum, with no more than a third of those being built on sites in Canterbury is more realistic.

Canterbury already struggles with traffic, air quality and infrastructure problems. This plan offers no remedies for these issues and is based purely on so-called economic drivers. What’s more we already have hundreds of additional student apartments being built in the city which apparently don’t count toward the total of homes we have to accommodate. So the pressures on Canterbury are effectively doubled.

The answer is fewer houses per year, and more of them on brownfield sites – like the former Chislet colliery, the barracks and the old prison. Surely that is better than the 4,000 houses that John Gilbey wants to build on high quality farmland to the Southeast of the city.

Canterbury’s sewers, roads and hospitals are already at capacity. This planning document can only make a bad situation a lot worse.

HB Times 9th May 2013

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