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Plans for 220 new homes in Whitstable revealed along with bid to solve traffic woes in Church Lane, Seasalter

Plans for 220 new homes could solve “nightmare” issues along a notorious rat-run on Whitstable’s outskirts.

A proposal has been submitted for a housing estate covering 40 acres next to the slip-road taking motorists off the Thanet Way and into the town.

Driving down Church Lane is rarely a fun experience
Driving down Church Lane is rarely a fun experience

A through road would be built as part of the development, replacing the narrow and troublesome Church Lane as the new link between the Old Thanet Way and Seasalter.

The new route, which would join Church Lane and Seasalter Lane, would have two lanes and be wide enough for buses.

Church Lane, which also has a junction with Faversham Road in Seasalter, would be blocked to through traffic at its central point.

The proposed site for the homes – around Pink House Farm – is not earmarked for housing in the current Local Plan but is understood to have been submitted for inclusion in the next draft.

Seasalter councillor Ashley Clark believes the substantial plot’s proposed transformation could be positive.

The masterplan for the new estate and Church Lane bypass
The masterplan for the new estate and Church Lane bypass

“I think as a general principle a lot of people are against development because there is an unfair concentration in the south east,” the Conservative said.

“But as developments go, this one is low density – the homes will be spread out with open space and they won’t be packed in like sardines.

“I want harmony for Seasalter, and with this plan there seems to be quite a lot of benefits – not only for the people who will live there but also existing residents.

“There will be a road running along the edge of the estate which will effectively create a bypass that will solve the nightmare problems at Church Lane. It has long been a narrow canyon prone to road rage and accidents.

“Drivers speed up as they try to dash through before they encounter something. But all of that will be ended with this.

Ashley Clark, ward councillor for Seasalter
Ashley Clark, ward councillor for Seasalter

“People will be able to walk or cycle along there in total safety, which they can’t do now. People are intimidated to use it at the moment and I’m pleased the issues can be addressed at long last.”

The land earmarked for the development sits next to the nationally important marshland of the Seasalter Levels.

The Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which is a haven for birds, recently underwent a major upgrade and is set to be opened up to the public in the future.

To mitigate any impact on the Levels, developers propose building a 10-acre “dedicated wildlife area”, acting as a buffer zone between the houses and the marshes.

Natural England says further assessment is required as there are “potential likely significant effects” on the surrounding area.

The impact household cats would have on the neighbouring bird reserve is set to be considered.

Where the homes are planned to go
Where the homes are planned to go

Documents submitted so far state that bird species in the area are “generally considered to be less vulnerable to cat predation” and their habitats will be more than 400 metres away from the estate – outside of a cat’s typical hunting range.

An official planning application has been submitted to Canterbury City Council and is awaiting validation, after which it will be published online for public view.

“At the moment, it seems a solid plan with benefits for Seasalter,” Cllr Clark said.

“It will be for the planning committee to decide at a later date.”

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