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Chaucer Fields in Canterbury and the West Beach at Whitstable do not merit protected status, says inspector

By KentOnline reporter

Land between Canterbury and the University of Kent and Whitstable's West Beach are no longer to be protected open spaces.

The planning inspector poring over Canterbury City Council's local plan insists neither site meets the criteria for protection - opening the door for potential development at Chaucer Fields and the West Beach.

Inspector Mike Moore's amendments to the council's planning blueprint up to 2031 also removes Brickfield Farm in Bridge as a site for housing.

The planning inspector has amended Canterbury's Local Plan including for land at Canterbury West. Picture: Martin Apps
The planning inspector has amended Canterbury's Local Plan including for land at Canterbury West. Picture: Martin Apps

He also concluded land next to Canterbury West railway station does not be allocated for employment use.

But Mr Moore is not demanding that the council alter its plan to allow the development of almost 16,000 homes across the district.

Council leader Simon Cook (Con) said: "We will be following the inspector’s instructions as laid out in his letter and look forward to the next round of consultation starting in the new year.

"It’s reassuring that the approach we have taken to how the district should develop in the years to come is being supported.

Whitstable has proved attractive to second home buyers
Whitstable has proved attractive to second home buyers

"There is no reference in the inspector’s letter to any change in the overall housing numbers, apart from the removal of one small site in Bridge.

"Amendments of this nature are perfectly normal during the course of the local plan process."

The removal of the Green Gap designation for the Chaucer Fields between the University of Kent and the St Michael's will be especially contentious.

Residents have fighting the university's plans to expand to the south.

The council will now amend the local plan and send a version to the inspector before it embarks on the next phase of consultation.

To read the inspector's letter, click here.

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