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Barratt Homes to start building controversial Broad Oak housing estate next month

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Workmen will move onto a huge site next month to start laying the foundations for the first of 456 new homes.

“Coming soon” signs have been erected around the outskirts of a 47-acre plot in Broad Oak, near Canterbury, almost a year after the controversial scheme was given the go-ahead.

An aerial view showing the site in Broad Oak, on the outskirts of Canterbury. Picture: Martin Apps
An aerial view showing the site in Broad Oak, on the outskirts of Canterbury. Picture: Martin Apps

This comes as Barratt Homes readies itself to hand over the keys to its first batch of houses to buyers in the summer.

Construction is expected to span six years, with the site located a stone’s throw away from another Sturry plot earmarked to accommodate several hundred families.

A company spokeswoman confirmed: “Our diggers will be on-site in Canterbury and ready to work in mid-February, where we aim to deliver 456 new homes to the community by 2028.

“We’ve already seen a great amount of interest during the planning stages, and expect our first residents to move in by August.”

The scheme at Broad Oak Farm, which also includes the creation of shop and business space, was voted through by councillors last February, just three months after it had originally been snubbed.

None of the politicians were impressed by the three- and four-storey blocks of flats forming part of the estate's affordable housing allocation, which many thought would create a "ghetto".

A map showing the sites of the developments and the relief road
A map showing the sites of the developments and the relief road

Southern Water also expressed concerns about the scheme, as studies revealed its treatment plant in Canterbury would not be able to process sewage from the new homes.

However, Barratt will build a new wastewater centre – which it says will be the first of its kind in England – on the development to resolve the issue.

“The site will provide much-needed affordable homes and family housing, as well as a new play area, allotments and open space,” the housebuilder’s spokeswoman added.

“There will also be 39 private electric vehicle charging points, and we will invest more than £15 million into the community as part of our developer contributions.

“This is earmarked for a range of infrastructure requirements, including education, youth services, libraries, social care, NHS services and sustainable travel initiatives, including a cycle route to the University of Kent.”

The plans were given the green light alongside proposals to erect 630 homes – none of which will be affordable – on a huge area of land to its south, off Sturry Hill.

Barratt Homes has erected "coming soon" signs around the site
Barratt Homes has erected "coming soon" signs around the site

Consisting of plots owned by the King’s School and Greenfields Shooting Grounds, the site is anticipated to be snapped up by developers within months.

“There is a national housebuilder who has made an offer, and we’re considering that at the moment,” shooting range owner Tim Greenfield told the Gazette last month.

“Until that’s signed, we won’t have any idea of timescale really. But I’m expecting it to happen in the first six months of 2022.”

The low level of affordable housing across the two sites was permitted because the firms behind both schemes have vowed to contribute £8.8 million each to the creation of the Sturry Relief Road.

The village bypass project, which was also waved through last year, was drawn up to reduce congestion through the Sturry level crossing – the busiest in Kent – prior to the completion of the developments.

Drawings show the planned bypass is set to run from Sturry Hill, through the new Sturry estate and to a new roundabout.

Drivers would then be able to turn left over a viaduct and towards the A28 near the Park and Ride, or straight on to Broad Oak Road.

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