Plans for a housing estate scheme on an abandoned farm have returned, with a new secondary school now included in the proposals.
Developers are spearheading efforts to get the project at Bodkin Farm in Chestfield off the ground again – nine years after hopes were first dashed by Canterbury City Council.
Just off the Old Thanet Way, Parker Strategic Land wants to build 300 homes, an 80-bedroom care home, a new secondary school and a local retail centre on the 65-acre site.
Exact details and designs for the development have not yet been revealed and there are no tenants confirmed for the retail site.
A public consultation period is set to take place this autumn when further information is expected to be provided.
The company says an outline planning application could be submitted early next year and, should permission be granted, works could start as early as 2025 with the estate finished by 2031.
Eton College had previously been the driving force behind the development.
First announcing the scheme in May 2014, the well-known private school had hoped to erect 300 homes alongside a care home, primary school, hotel, restaurant, health centre and gym.
Canterbury City Council (CCC) went on to reject the proposals later that year, with the planning inspectorate killing the project completely on appeal in 2015.
Parker Strategic Land took over the site from the college in June 2017 and has been in talks with both the city council and Kent County Council (KCC) about the scheme.
The area was included in the district’s draft Local Plan in October last year – though that only factored in 250 homes – and was earmarked to host the first of two new coastal secondary schools.
CCC hopes the new schools will significantly help reduce traffic heading to the city.
The authority stated in the draft plan: "There is currently an imbalance in the location of secondary school provision across the district, with many pupils from the coastal area travelling to schools in Canterbury."
Since the collapse of the previous scheme, buildings on the site have been left to rack and ruin – with the government taking the unusual step of removing its listed status in 2018
Bodkin Farmhouse, on Thanet Way, had been Grade II-listed since 1977 but has since become an eyesore after suffering from vandalism and falling into a state of disrepair.
A KCC spokesperson said: “We have been working with the developer to explore the possibility of a site for a new secondary school to serve the Canterbury coastal area, linked to the revision of Canterbury City Council’s local plan and to meet future demand from new housing.
“Should a new school be brought forward, it would be delivered by KCC and funded through developer contributions linked to any strategic sites that would be included within any revised local plan.”