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Thanington: Plans for new homes at Cockering Farm approved by council

By Lydia Chantler-Hicks

Developers have been given the go-ahead to build up to 400 homes on the city’s outskirts.

At a planning committee meeting last night, councillors approved an outline application for the new homes, as well as 3,700sq m of business space, which developer Quinn Estates hopes to build on land off Cockering Road in Thanington.

The plans have proved controversial.

An artist's impression of the leafy development planned at Cockering Farm in Thanington. Picture: Mark Quinn
An artist's impression of the leafy development planned at Cockering Farm in Thanington. Picture: Mark Quinn

Lib Dem Cllr Nick Eden-Green was among those who spoke against the development, at The Guildhall in Canterbury last night.

He raised issues regarding access to the site and traffic implications the development could have for the area.

Developers have promised make significant highways investments, aiming to help relieve congestion in the Wincheap area and improve air quality.

But Cllr Eden-Green said the plans are still problematic.

"Most traffic will use the eastern Canterbury side," he said. "Access here is via St Nicholas Road and Strangers Lane. Both are minor roads on a housing estate where the kids play in the street.

"Strangers Lane has a bad junction onto the A28, and St Nicholas Road will get yet more traffic lights to add to lights at the A2/A28 junction."

"The site fails on access and sustainability.

Cllr Nick Eden-Green. Picture: Rik Godfrey
Cllr Nick Eden-Green. Picture: Rik Godfrey

"The development claims to be easily accessible to cyclists and pedestrians," he said.

"This is nonsense. The site is up a hill, 3.5 miles on the cycle route to the city and four miles to the West station.

"Pedestrians will have to cross three major new road junctions to get to Canterbury," he said.

He also expressed concerns over the provision of car parking spaces on the development.

"The developer's glossy brochure which we have all received does not show any cars, indeed it barely shows any houses," he said.

Cllr Ashley Clark also expressed his hopes that adequate parking provisions will be made. "I've seen many many developments put forward with too few parking spaces," he said.

But the Conservative councillor was among those in support of the development – praising the more than 45 acres of publicly-accessible open space it promises to provide.

"The developer's glossy brochure which we have all received does not show any cars, indeed it barely shows any houses..." - Cllr Nick Eden-Green

"Firstly, it's in the Local Plan and we have to develop that. Planning policy framework says our committee decisions should be plan-led. Also, it is in the urban area.

"What really stands out about this is that there is more open space than built-up space. The distribution in the residential area is 9.5 houses per acre. This committee in the past has put forward plans of up to 18 per acre. It is a very, very good standard.

"People need living space and gardens and that's there. You've also got allotments here. And thirty per cent of this housing will be affordable.

"This in my opinion is what planning should be.

"At the end of the day, the final judgment is how many of us would be happy to live there. Some of these things that I see are absolutely horrific – I wouldn't want to live there and would end up with depression and all sorts of things.

"But looking at this, it gives open space, and it caters for the physical and mental wellbeing of the future citizens of Canterbury."

Cllr Rosemary Doyle added her support for the plans.

"All in all, I think this is a good development on a site that has been allocated in the Local Plan," she said.

Managing director of Quinn Estates, Mark Quinn
Managing director of Quinn Estates, Mark Quinn

Developer Mark Quinn, managing director of Quinn Estates which has put forward the application, also spoke on the issue.

He said: "My company has a track record of building and delivering exactly what we say we will.

"This will be a bustling new community and an attractive place to live and work."

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