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Canterbury City Council ratifies controversial Local Plan

By Alex Claridge

Canterbury City Council has formally adopted its controversial planning blueprint which envisages 16,000 homes built across the district in the next 14 years.

It includes massive housing developments on the edge of urban areas - most notably the 4,000-house Mountfield Park scheme on farmland south of Canterbury.

Described by an opposition councillor as a "disaster", council leader Simon Cook warned against refusing to adopt the Plan.

A 4,000-home 'garden city' is earmarked for land in south Canterbury

"We don't really have a choice," the Conservative said. "If we don't do this there would be no limit on housing numbers.

"It would be a reckless betrayal of our community."

The Plan has drawn criticism for the extent of the proposed developments. Residents have raised concerns over the strain placed upon local services and increases in pollution and congestion brought by additional vehicle movements.

Barton ward Conservative Steve Williams said that despite local opposition, the Plan ought still to be adopted.

Cllr Steve Williams warned against failing to adopt the plan.

He said: "What we have before us is a Plan that the people of Barton have not endorsed because they understand its shortcomings in areas such as infrastructure and air quality.

"The alternative, however, to have no plan at all would be worse."

But Lib Dem group leader Mike Dixey said: "This Local Plan has been a disaster from the beginning. The developers must be rubbing their hands with glee. We deserve better."

After a debate, the Conservative-controlled council voted 29 in favour of the plan with four against and two abstentions.

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