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Relief road ‘could cost up to £1OOm’

Vow to fight 800 new houses needed to pay for plan

FDEVELOPMENT: Hollamby Estates is going to build 1800 houses plus shops at Strode Farm
DEVELOPMENT: Hollamby Estates is going to build 1800 houses plus shops at Strode Farm

A COUNCIL wish list of new roads, including a Herne bypass, could cost more than £100 million, according to a highways expert. Transport planner John Payne was hired by Herne and Broomfield Parish Council to look at proposals for hundreds of homes in and around the village, including Strode Farm and the former golf course. They are included in Canterbury City Council’s local plan and councillors have said the houses are vital to pay for improvements to roads.

Bypass

DIRECTOR: Parish councillor Andrew Brealy
DIRECTOR: Parish councillor Andrew Brealy

Among their plans are dosing the Sturry level crossing and building a bridge over it, connecting to a new city bypass linking to the A2 at Bridge. But Mr Payne’s report said the proposals would cost £93.8 million, with junction improvements and bus routes taking the cost to more than £100 million. Mr Payne warned:

“Once the outer areas are developed, which are likely to be less costly in terms of construction costs and land prices, the development at Sturry with its road improvements, may fail to materialise. The Sturry crossing is the key element of new infrastructure. It is essential that this road be built and opened before any further development takes place which will add traffic.”

“NOT ACCEPTABLE”: Parish council clerk Monica Blyth
“NOT ACCEPTABLE”: Parish council clerk Monica Blyth

He also said there was concern the Herne “relief road” planned to avoid the village centre, was “not deliverable”. The Strode Farm site is owned by Hollamby Estates, and parish councillor Andrew Brealy is one of the directors. Other plans include 800 houses and business units. A statement from agent Vie Hester said:

“With the value of housing in Herne Bay lower than in other towns in the district, the viability of building housing, the construction of the road, making a payment towards the Sturry crossing scheme, and the other contributions expected to be sought by the city council, are at the moment in question. The last approach to the viability of the relief road is for the council to propose more retail floor space on the Strode Farm site and to resist retail development on Altira and the golf club sites. Hollamby Estates anticipates that not only is retail floor space viable, but building the retail space at the Canterbury Road junction of the site would ensure that the road is constructed either in full or substantially through the site.”

Parish councillors have vowed to fight the plans, and clerk Monica Blyth said residents would not accept large-scale development just to build a relief road. She said:

“The parish council accepts that some development in the parish will be necessary but the proposals for so much development is just not acceptable. This proposal will see the loss of identity of Herne village. The inclusion of these sites is likely to increase the population of Herne and Broomfield by at least half as much again.”

City councillors are now considering the comments on the local plan and are expected to discuss them at meetings in March. The final draft is due to be published in April or May. It will then go to a government planning inspector.

Herne Bay Times, January 30th 2014

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