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No need to go to Eton – Eton’s coming here

I do hope nobody is over-awed by the fact that Eton College is the driving force behind the JCBs in this proposed development.

I’m not sure how this fits in to the Local Plan, but Cllr John Gilbey has said that “the Bends should always be protected as a valuable green gap and open space”. This is the other side of the Old Thanet Way from the Bends, but it’s still part of the green gap that keeps the Bay and the Bubble apart. As one of the online commentators has said:

Residents are invited along to be completely ignored as the decision will already have been made that Eton can buy this land and bank it undeveloped for years and years to come with a never-never promise of health centres and care homes, which will all fall by the wayside to become thousands of rabbit hutch houses.

Eton College has today revealed it wants to build a 300-home estate next to the Old Thanet Way between Whitstable and Herne Bay.

The private school – which educated Princes Harry and William – has alerted residents to the plans, which also include 300 homes, a care home, hotel, restaurant, health centre and gym on on land next to Bodkin Farm near Chestfield.

Letters have been posted through the doors of people living nearby, inviting them to exhibitions which will showcase the proposal later this month. Chestfield parish chairman Steve Bailey says he and his colleagues had been aware of the plans for two months before they became public. He 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. I’m going to go to both exhibitions and we will be keeping a very close watching brief on this. With a thing of this scale, we’d probably look at calling an extraordinary meeting at a later date.”

Mr Bailey also questioned whether the proposed health centre would take the place of the existing one in Chestfield. He said:

“We just don’t know. The existing centre has an application to extend as well. And the care home? Well, that’s usually just a bolt-on to any proposal now.”

The first exhibition will take place at Whitstable Rugby Club in Reeves Way on Friday 16th May from 4pm to 8pm, with a second at Chestfield Hall on Saturday 17th May from 11am to 3pm. Eton says it will give residents the chance to have their say on the proposals before a planning application is submitted to Canterbury City Council.

kentonline 11th May 2014

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