Share

Clear

Fri

22°C | 12°C

Sunny spells

Sat

18°C | 11°C

Moderate showers

Sun

16°C | 10°C

Home   Canterbury   News   Article

Alliance of Canterbury Residents' Associations deliver stinging verdict on public consultation

07 August 2014
by Gerry Warren

The city council has been accused of “ignoring the public” over plans to build almost 16,000 new homes across the district.

An association representing 20 residents groups has delivered a stinging attack on the authority’s final draft Local Plan – a blueprint for development over the next 17 years.

The council wants to build 15,600 homes in Canterbury, Herne Bay and Whitstable, as well as roads through the city and on the coast.

A 4,000-home 'garden city' could be built on land in south Canterbury.

A 4,000-home 'garden city' could be built on land in south Canterbury.

The Alliance of Canterbury Residents Associations (Acra) has slammed the controversial housing and transport proposals in a detailed critique submitted to the authority.

It accuses the city council of largely ignoring public opinion, despite changes being made to the draft Local Plan following a consultation.

Members say that while it contains some positive proposals, it suffers from four significant problems. It claims the consultation was designed to manoeuvre people into approving what the council had already decided.

The group also said supporting papers and evidence, including the transport and open space strategies, had neither been agreed nor made public.

It questioned the case for building 15,600 new homes before 2031, claiming the number has not been reached through robust research and contains too many doubts about population predictions.

Questions were raised about transport provisions which the group said were both insufficient and not thought through and will cause bottlenecks.

Chairman of the Alliance of Canterbury Residents' Associations, Clive Church

Chairman of the Alliance of Canterbury Residents' Associations, Clive Church

Acra chairman Clive Church said: “The findings of a MORI poll were misinterpreted so as to suggest wider support for the council’s preferred option than was warranted by the evidence.

“Virtually no notice was taken of the 7,000 responses to the formal consultation, many of them constructive as well as critical. The views of many residents have been largely ignored.

“This does not constitute the kind of consultation required by the National Planning Policy Framework, so Acra is unable to endorse it.

“The absence of supporting documents also makes Acra uneasy and we are alarmed there is no formal statement about the council’s co-operation with other authorities and agencies, which is one of the requirements for the plan to be declared sound.

“While Acra fully accepts the need for more affordable and starter homes in Canterbury, we are unconvinced that sufficient of these will be delivered.

“The heavy infrastructure costs likely to be imposed on developers suggest to us that there will be more executive homes than affordable ones.”

Acra’s response to the consultation will now go forward with all other comments to a planning inspector, who is expected to hold a planning inquiry in spring next year.

Council spokesman Rob Davies said: “The council carried out extensive public consultation and the draft plan was amended in many places as a result. We believe we have a plan supported by a significant amount of evidence that sets the district up for a very strong social and economic future, providing the homes people need, the infrastructure to go with them and the employment opportunities.

“We look forward to presenting the plan and having it thoroughly, independently scrutinised at the forthcoming inquiry.”

Click here for more news from Canterbury.

Click here for more news from around the county.

Comments 

Forgotten Password?

Forgotten Username?

Don't have an account? Please Register first!

The KM Group does not moderate comments.
Please click here for our house rules.

Thank you. Your comment has been received and will appear on the site shortly.

 

Terms of Comments
We do not actively moderate, monitor or edit contributions to the reader comments but we may intervene and take such action as we think necessary, please click here for our house rules.. If you have any concerns over the contents on our site, please either register those concerns using the report abuse button, contact us here, email multimediadesk@thekmgroup.co.uk or call 01634 227989.