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Hundreds of new homes after planners vote to develop Dover's Western Heights and Great Farthingloe Farm

Outline planning consent was granted last night for a huge mixed development in Dover consisting of 552 new homes, a 90 apartment retirement village, a 130 room hotel, and other amenities.

Included in the plan is a health facility, a conference centre and recreational area at land encompassing Western Heights and Great Farthingloe Farm.

The district’s planners also gave the thumbs up to further proposals – for full consent for various conversions of existing buildings creating a pub/restaurant, B&B, shop, nine more homes and a museum/heritage centre at the Drop Redoubt.

The Western Heights
The Western Heights

The scheme - which will bring the area more than £8 million in developers’ contributions – was deemed an opportunity that “far outweighs the negatives” according to Cllr Roger Walkden.

The lack of affordable housing prompted three councillors to vote against granting permission. Planning officer Peter Wallis said such homes may be built in future if there is money left over from the developer’s contributions. And the cash allocations are generous enough that Cllr Walkden earlier questioned whether the sums were excessive.

“It far outweighs the negatives...” -Cllr Roger Walkden, DDC district councillor

The scheme was agreed in principal in July 2013 subject to agreeing how the developers’ contributions (Section 106 agreement) will be used. Last night’s decision followed a report on the officers’ progress.

Among the (phased) allocations is £5million for heritage; £1,110,034 for education for 130 new primary school places, which will be paid to White Cliffs Primary Collage for the Arts; £825,000 to Countryside Access Area.

Others include: £37,518 library contribution, £400,000 and £100,000 for the bus routes at Farthingloe and Western Heights; £106,580 to the NHS Primary Care Trust; £289,20 outdoor sport contribution among others.

Western Heights, where large-scale development could take place
Western Heights, where large-scale development could take place

Earlier this week countryside campaigners called for planning officers not to grant permission. 

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said it will cause “untold damage to an area of outstanding natural beauty.”

Derek Wanstall, Dover district chairman for CPRE, said: “This plan would cause significant, irreversible harm to this beautiful and historic landscape.

“We do not believe that there are exceptional circumstances which justify this destruction.

“The planning committee now has an opportunity to reassess and protect this important area.”

Full permission will need to be gained before development starts. 

The time scale has not yet been released. 

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