Your location is set to Dartford
Published: 14:50, 13 July 2017 |
Updated: 08:11, 14 July 2017
The city council’s Local Plan contains proposals for major housing developments in Canterbury, Herne Bay and Whitstable in the next 14 years – including the 4,000-home Mountfield Park development to the south of the city.
The council meets tonight (Thursday) to vote on formally adopting the plan, which has gone through numerous consultation and amendment stages.
It says its process has been rigorous and involved the public in what amounts to “the most debated and analysed document we’ve ever produced”.
Wincheap Lib Dem councillor Nick Eden-Green, who has been critical of the plan from the outset, complains that the final document is being put to the council too hastily.
He said: “I’m just amazed that such an important, lengthy and much-modified document is being rushed through full council.
“The Local Plan runs to 388 pages and has 186 main modifications running to 158 pages, plus another 46 pages of additional modifications which have largely bypassed the Local Plan steering group. Thus, they have not been really scrutinised at all.”
Solicitor Jeremy Baker, an expert on transport and planning issues, is also concerned that members of the public will not be allowed to address the council at tonight’s meeting.
Although Mr Baker will be speaking as he hands a petition to the council, he said: “The public cannot speak at the full council meeting unless they first submit a written petition with at least 15 signatures.
“Therefore the unusual procedure that is being adopted will effectively exclude many members of the public from having their points heard and thus being involved before this critically important document is adopted as council policy.”
As well as the Mountfield Park development, the Local Plan envisages large housing estates built at Hersden and Herne Bay.
Another 750 homes are planned for a site off the A28 to be known as Thanington Park and last week developer Quinn Estates raised the prospect of building 2,000 homes close to the Kent & Canterbury Hospital.
The city council is rejecting the claim the Local Plan is being “rushed through”.
“In fact the opposite is the case, as the plan is the culmination of many years of hard work involving numerous public consultations, committee meetings and public meetings, as well as a very rigorous public inquiry,” spokesman Rob Davies said.
“It is the most debated and analysed document we’ve ever produced and even the most ardent council critic could not accuse us of not involving the public over the last 11 years.
“Thursday night’s decision is a binary one. The inspector’s report sets out what needs to be changed and that is not open for further discussion. Simply put, councillors are voting to either adopt the plan or not adopt it.
“Given all the participation and consultation that has gone before, and the nature of the decision to be taken, we have taken the view that this is a matter for full council.
“Our four group leaders were consulted on this approach and none of them disagreed.”
The Local Plan is set to be adopted at a time when communities secretary Sajid Javid insists that the high demand in areas of south-east England must bear the brunt of more homes being built.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
This is a brand new online resource covering every aspect of owning and improving a home in Kent and Medway.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Neil Miller, Hever Castle head gardener is new gardening blogger.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.