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Opinion split over Brett's plan to open new base at Canterbury's Highland Court Farm

Neighbours fear the relocation of a major concrete-making firm after almost 40 years will destroy the "peace and tranquillity" of a Kent beauty spot.

Brett - which has had a base in Ashford Road, Chartham since 1981 - wants to open a new batching plant in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the outskirts of Canterbury.

How the new Bretts site at Bridge could look
How the new Bretts site at Bridge could look

The proposals have gained the backing of developers who believe the relocation project will support the acceleration of housebuilding in the district.

Yet some neighbours fear any increase in lorry movements around the Highland Court Farm area in the village of Bridge will have a negative impact on their quality of life.

The plans for the five-mile move from Brett's current site near Milton Manor Roundabout are now in the hands of officers at the city council.

National housebuilding firm Persimmon Homes says the proposed relocation spot is ideally placed geographically to "serve the demands of the local concrete market".

Simon Breen, a strategic land director at Persimmon, said: "To meet the aim of the emerging Local Plan to develop the 1,252 new dwellings per year it is essential that Canterbury has sufficient local capacity to supply the concrete required for the proposed developments.

Dozens of lorries will come and go from the site each day
Dozens of lorries will come and go from the site each day

"A plant at this location will service the demands of the local concrete market and especially the housing developments on the southern and eastern sides of Canterbury.

"In our opinion the application site is in an ideal location, with easy access to the A2, and will help reduce heavy traffic through the centre of Canterbury, which must be welcomed."

The relocation scheme has, however, failed to win over some neighbours.

With Bridge-based fruit-packing firm A Gomez already having multiple lorries coming and going each day, Heather Greenstreet says the area cannot take any more.

Traffic assessors say about 30 HGVs will visit the new batching plant each day.

The current Brett operations at Chartham
The current Brett operations at Chartham

"This will add considerably to the huge traffic movements caused there by Gomez staff coming and going, and the HGVs arriving and departing," Ms Greenstreet said.

"The traffic there is already too much. We cannot have it increased."

In another objection letter, Neil Roberts states: "I always take a walk around the farm, enjoying the peace and tranquillity that this area provides me with and this major increase in vehicle movement will have a considerable effect.

"My office looks straight out over this land and the view will be completely destroyed. With the height of this building obscuring my views and reducing the natural light, this will have a major effect on my mental health."

Brett has had a base at Chartham since 1981, yet the site is deemed outdated and bosses want to relocate and upgrade.

In 2017, the city council advised the company that any extension to its stay in Chartham would be rejected.

“The concrete batching plant is ageing and is reaching the end of its operational lifespan," planning papers state.

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