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Too many homes in Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay, says CPRE

By Alex Claridge

A planning expert hired by the Kent Campaign to Protect Rural England claims Canterbury City Council’s Local Plan is unsound.

Barrister Richard Harwood QC argues that the authority has overstated the number of houses it intends to build by 50% and failed to properly assess their impact.

The council wants to build more than 15,000 homes across the district in the years up to 2031 with much of it proposed for agricultural or undeveloped land.

Strategic development site at Sturry
Strategic development site at Sturry

Herne and Broomfield Parish Council, backed by the Kent CPRE, commissioned Mr Harwood to do the work.

CPRE senior planner Brian Lloyd said: “Mr Harwood’s opinion backs up our own conclusions, which we have already submitted to the council.

“The council has seemingly, from the outset, cast in stone the sites it wants to see developed, and, despite high levels of public opposition, it has not been prepared to consider alternatives.

“We suggested a better approach, but the council dismissed it without undertaking any assessment.”

Mr Lloyd gives the example of the south Canterbury site, accusing the council of failing to consider any alternative to 4,000 homes proposed.

He also says the impact of moving the Kent and Canterbury Hospital to south Canterbury was not explored.

The council is due to put its plan before a planning inspector before the end of the year. CPRE Kent is urging the council to rethink its plan in light of the legal opinion it has obtained.

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