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Aerial images reveal progress of Saxon Fields housing development in Canterbury


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Aerial images show the progress being made on a 750-home development on the outskirts of Canterbury.

Construction work on the £40 million Saxon Fields scheme at Thanington, which can be seen by drivers heading London-bound on the A2, has been in full swing for more than two years.

The first phases of the development are ongoing. Picture: dronesdeep, Instagram
The first phases of the development are ongoing. Picture: dronesdeep, Instagram

A number of homes are occupied and others are on the market, with prices starting at £340,000 and reaching up to £585,000.

The project has caused discontent among Thanington residents, with many fed-up with noise and dust from the construction process.

It has also raised serious questions as to how one of the city’s most congested areas can cope with a huge population increase.

One of the conditions imposed on the developers, Pentland Homes, was to extend the neighbouring A2 off-slip in a bid to improve safety and prevent queues.

The long-awaited London-bound work, which also includes the installation of a new access road for the 750 homes, has begun this summer.

The Saxon Fields development in Thanington taking shape. Picture: dronesdeep, Instagram
The Saxon Fields development in Thanington taking shape. Picture: dronesdeep, Instagram

Sections of the A28 are to also be resurfaced and the bridge crossing the A2 is to be strengthened.

All of the road improvement work is expected to be complete by next spring.

While progress is made on boosting the existing infrastructure, Pentland is pushing ahead with building its ‘Art Deco-style’ homes.

In its entirety, the new housing development will be spread across 111 acres of undulating farmland set back from Cockering Road.

The road previously acted as the perimeter of Thanington, but with the 750-home scheme, the settlement will expand all the way across fields to the back of New House Lane and Stuppington.

Sketches of the approved Pilgrims Hospice building which will be built on site
Sketches of the approved Pilgrims Hospice building which will be built on site

The vision to build at the site first emerged in 2005, and the city council granted permission for the scheme in 2016.

The land was snapped up by Pentland in the 1970s and plans were originally drawn up for a golf course - before focus shifted to opening a club in Boughton.

A primary school, restaurants, doctor’s surgery and sports pitches will be delivered as part of the Saxon Fields project, while a new base for the city’s Pilgrims Hospice - which will relocate from London Road - will also be built.

The 16-bed complex, which is to include a garden, orangery and extra accommodation for family members to stay in, will become Canterbury’s new centre for the end-of-life care charity. It is hoped to be open in 2024.

Pentland has outline planning permission for the whole Thanington project, but it needs to secure the final go-ahead for each phase of delivery.

Permission for the scheme was granted back in 2016. Picture: dronesdeep, Instagram
Permission for the scheme was granted back in 2016. Picture: dronesdeep, Instagram

Proposals for phase three, which comprises the next 184 homes, have been submitted to the council’s planning department.

Blueprints show a mixture of detached, semi-detached, small terraces and blocks of flats, with 30% of the properties planned to be affordable homes.

Plans state: “The proposed houses are sited to front the street, creating ‘active streets’ within a highly permeable layout. The layout provides maximum surveillance of public and private spaces and well-spaced homes with front and rear gardens.

“A key feature of the layout is the continuation of the belt of green space running through the centre of the whole development in a northwest to southeast direction, providing an important visual break between the three individual phases of housing development.

A CGI of the homes on the estate
A CGI of the homes on the estate

“The development will deliver much-needed new homes in the best traditions of the Garden City movement.

“It will create a healthy and attractive new neighbourhood in a very accessible location, based on sustainable urban design principles with high-quality materials, well-proportioned and spacious new homes.”

How far the development can progress hinges on the much-delayed plans for a new coastbound A2 off-slip at Wincheap.

Pentland is due to be footing the £8.8 million bill to deliver the slip-road. Until it is built, the 450th home at Saxon Fields cannot legally be occupied.

A design for the road was previously agreed upon, yet Highways England could not accept the project due to safety fears.

Various alternative off-slip arrangements are now being considered by Highways England, Pentland and Kent County Council - but it seems a long time away until a solution becomes a reality.

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