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Herne: Decision on controversial Strode Farm plan expected before Christmas

By Dan Wright

The fate of a controversial proposal for 800 homes in Herne is expected to be decided before Christmas, it has emerged.

Bosses at Hollamby Estates appealed to the Planning Inspectorate after the city council failed to rule on the application in time.

A public inquiry ended in July, with the Secretary of State set to decide on the scheme within months.

800 homes could be built at Strode Farm
800 homes could be built at Strode Farm

Hollamby’s development manager, Chris Crook, said: “The inquiry closed 10 days ago and we have just got to wait now.

“The Planning Inspectorate will file her report to the Secretary of State before the end of September and I would have thought we will have a decision before Christmas.

“Unless the recommendation from the Planning Inspectorate is black and white, saying it can or can’t happen, I think it is highly unlikely we will have a decision any sooner.”

Chris Crook, development manager for Hollamby Estates
Chris Crook, development manager for Hollamby Estates

Hollamby first submitted an application to the city council in 2015 for the Strode Farm site, dubbed Lower Herne Village.

They had plans for two new roundabouts in Bullockstone Road approved by council bosses earlier this year, meaning a roundabout at the junction with Canterbury Road and another joining the new link road through the Strode Farm site can now be built if the scheme gets the green light.

Mr Crook added: “I am pretty confident we will get it approved for three reasons.

"I am pretty confident we will get it approved..." - Chris Crook

“First, Canterbury City Council approved the detailed application for the Bullockstone Road improvements and, second, it has approved the Local Plan with the allocation for Strode Farm.

“Why would the council stand in the way of wanting to see that delivered?

“Third, and I know this from our own market research, the council is behind with its provision of new homes.

“It is a matter of fact that the council is not providing enough new homes at the moment and I think that will be a factor when the Secretary of State weighs up the application.”

Herne and Broomfield parish council vice chairman Carol Davis is against the plans.

Parish councillor Carol Davis
Parish councillor Carol Davis

“It will change the village forever – not only the traffic, but the infrastructure as well,” she said.

“It is filling in the green space between Greenhill and Herne, which is not good.

“We do know that people have to live somewhere, but the majority of the village is against it.”

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