Published: 06:00, 07 August 2019
| Updated: 07:22, 07 August 2019
A new scheme for Highland Court Farm is being drawn up which ditches the controversial holiday homes - but could bring a renowned wine and spirits producer to the site.
It follows widespread opposition to the original proposals by Quinn Estates which were rejected by Canterbury City Council.
But now the developer says its new plans for the site at Bridge will be just a third of the original scale, while still accommodating much-needed new grounds for Canterbury FC and Canterbury Rugby Club.
Quinn Estates managing director Huw Evans says the company is in talks with a wine producer which could result in an exciting, new production facility and visitor centre experience coming to Highland Court.
He said: “We listened to the objections and are working on a scheme which is essentially 70% smaller than the original and does away with the residential element.
"It’s effectively an extension of the business park but would bring the kind of operation that would sit very well in the setting.”
Mr Evans said re-locating the football and rugby clubs would still be possible because of additional gap funding and support from Sport England.
But Barham Downs Action Group remains opposed to any sports hub development.
Spokesman David Howe said: “We won’t have a problem with a winery but will always fight against the sports hub because of the traffic implications.
"It’s just not the right place for it.”
Quinn Estates say it hopes to bring its revised proposals to the city council’s planning committee next year.
In the meantime, the company has just been announced as the major sponsor of Canterbury FC for the forthcoming season, which was welcomed by chairman Tim Clark.
“It covers our ground costs at Faversham which is a huge help,” he said.
“Since the plans were refused in February, no alternative sites for us have been identified and we only hope any new scheme by Quinn Estates gets the go-ahead.”