Published: 06:01, 01 June 2019
| Updated: 10:04, 01 June 2019
Following the news last week that the 800-development at Strode Farm has been given the green light, reporter Jack Dyson looks at how this could trigger an explosion of house building in Herne Bay...
Two years ago Canterbury City Council’s Local Plan was voted through.
The document earmarked sites across the district for a total of 16,000 new homes.
Four plots were identified for about 3,000 properties in Herne Bay – at Strode Farm, Greenhill, Hillborough and the former golf course.
In addition, more than 100 homes will be built in smaller projects at the bus depot in the high street, the former Scruffy Ducks pub in William Street and in Puffin Road.
But how close are they to completion?
The four-year saga surrounding the 800-home site appears to have finally drawn to a close after the High Court upheld a decision to approve the proposals.
Canterbury City Council sought a judicial review after the Secretary of State for Housing, James Brokenshire, granted Hollamby Estates’ application last August.
In its appeal to the High Court, the authority labelled the decision “irrational” as it meant the developer would contribute £2.3m towards the Bullockstone Road Improvement Scheme, instead of the desired £4.58m still outstanding for the project.
But Justice Ian Dove concluded he was “entirely satisfied” with Mr Brokenshire’s judgement.
The city council has confirmed it will not appeal the decision.
Chris Crook from Hollamby Estates says this paves the way for work to begin on the site in 18 months’ time.
He said: “There are so many pre-commencement conditions which were upheld by the Secretary of State, so it’ll probably take about a year and a half before we get the detailed applications through.
“I think the first few homes will be built by 2021.”
The delays to Strode Farm have also stalled plans for hundreds of homes dubbed Thornden Wood Village.
Hollamby submitted a bid for the 53-acre site at the beginning of last year, but after the council outlined its issues with the proposals in June progress halted.
In the document, the authority noted the application, which is for 450 homes, exceeds the allocation in the Local Plan by 150 and that this would “prohibit the delivery of an acceptable scheme”.
Mr Crook says Hollamby is drawing up a number of minor changes to the plans in the hope councillors will vote on them in the summer.
“We wanted to know the outcome of Strode Farm before we pressed the button on Greenhill,” he said.
“We’re anxious for the planning committee to consider the application in the summer.”
Situated to the south of Beltinge, the plot has been earmarked for 1,300 homes.
It has been divvied up between three developers – Taylor Wimpey, Kitewood and little-known company A E Estates.
The former launched a bid to build 955 homes west of Sweechbridge Road in 2017. It has since reduced the number to 900, but the council is yet to reach a decision.
A spokesman for Taylor Wimpey said: “We are in continued discussions with the city council about our proposal and remain optimistic of a positive decision later this year.
“Should our application be approved this year we hope to start work on site in 2020 with the first new residents moving in during 2021.”
Meanwhile, Kitewood submitted its application to erect 180 homes south of Osborne Gardens last month.
The Local Plan states that A E Estates will build a further 300 properties. However, the company has not submitted its plans for the site, despite the authority’s prediction that 40 would be built by the end of the last financial year.
Herne Bay Golf Club
This is the only one of the town’s major developments to have started.
Plans to build 583 homes on the 100-acre plot were approved in 2015. Since then, almost 170 families have moved into the new-builds.
Construction firm Redrow expects work on the rest of the properties to be completed by 2024.
The first phase of pitches at the long-awaited sports hub was unveiled in November.
Developer Mark Quinn has previously told KentOnline that the rest of the scheme – which includes a sports pavilion, tennis pavilion and courts, as well as football, hockey and cricket pitches – will be completed by the end of the year.
Mr Quinn had a separate bid to build 97 homes on the former golf club approved last month. Speaking after the decision, he said work will begin in July.
Former bus depot
Proposals to convert the High Street site into 60 homes and up to nine shops were given the green light last year.
The eyesore former bus depot has since been flattened, but work on the new homes is yet to begin.
Developer Anthony Leggatt says construction will start after the council approves the last of his detailed applications for the site.
The plans for the 40-home site were given the go-ahead by councillors four years ago.
Detailed applications for the plot have been accepted by the local authority, with the most recent proposal last month.
Developer Kitewood was unavailable for comment.
Almost 15 years of speculation surrounding the long term-future of the prominent plot in William Street was brought to a close earlier this year.
Council officers approved a bid launched by Bhajan Singh to build 20 flats – spread across two four-storey blocks – parking and retail units in March.
Mr Singh expects building work to begin at the end of July once detailed drawings of the site are rubber-stamped.
He believes the building will take 18 months to complete.
He previously told KentOnline that he will approach Sainsbury’s to launch a convenience store in the retail space, but he now says the space will be occupied by a local independent.