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Canterbury traffic fears over student flats plan for Rhodaus Town on ring-road

Plans to build more student flats in Canterbury will clog up the notoriously traffic-heavy ring-road even more, bus bosses fear.

Developers have put forward proposals for a six-storey 224-bed accommodation block behind the existing Palamon Court in Rhodaus Town.

The proposed new student block in Rhodaus Town
The proposed new student block in Rhodaus Town

But bus operator Stagecoach is concerned it will lead to more frequent use of the busy traffic light crossing outside the police station - and spark more frustration for motorists.

John Pugh, the firm’s roadside infrastructure manager, said: “We have concerns about the expected further increase in pedestrian movement on the light controlled crossing in Old Dover Road.

“This crossing was originally installed to support the development of Augustine House.

“Since then the development of Palamon Court has added 540 student rooms, the proposed development will add 224, and a proposed development on the St Mary Bredin School site will add a further 146. This will bring the total number of student accommodation units to 910.

“The frequent operation of the crossing already causes tailbacks onto the Riding Gate roundabout, with consequential congestion on Rhodaus Town and Upper Bridge Street.”

Stagecoach fear Riding Gate roundabout could get more snarled up
Stagecoach fear Riding Gate roundabout could get more snarled up

Original plans for student accommodation at the site were granted permission in 2016, for a 153-bed block with gym, cinema and other facilities.

But applicants Canbury Holdings want their revised proposals for 71 more beds to be rubber-stamped by the city council.

They say surrounding footpaths will not be inundated with students and estimate the new-build will equate to less than one extra pedestrian per minute at peak times.

But Stagecoach says the traffic light crossing at the police station will need to be reviewed in order to cater for the influx of button-pressing students.

Canbury Holdings state the “visually attractive” design of the block is now less visible from the city wall following the resubmission of the plans.

The new block will be off the ring-road among the existing student accommodation buildings
The new block will be off the ring-road among the existing student accommodation buildings

Yet the Oaten Hill and South Canterbury Association argue the proposals are “oppressive and ugly”.

The site is already earmarked for student accommodation in the city council’s Local Plan.

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