Published: 06:00, 15 January 2021
Developers are eyeing up sites for two new housing estates in Whitstable.
Two separate adjacent potential plots have been identified on greenfield land between the old and new Thanet Ways.
They are opposite the existing Hyde Group housing scheme on land near Duncan Down village, where work has already started on 400 homes.
One of the two proposals is being promoted by Southern Grove, which has revealed plans for an £18 million development of 54 homes called The Willows.
It is on a triangular plot of land, and has been submitted to the city council as part of its Local Plan ‘call for sites’ for future housing allocation, with a planning application likely to be put forward around May.
If approved, construction - which is expected to take 18 months - could start next January.
The scheme includes 42 houses - a mix of semi-detached and detached - and 12 flats.
Bosses at Southern Grove say there is demand for more homes in the area, as the town is a “prime example of a location that will see significant extra pressure on housing post-pandemic”.
“With wonderful surroundings and less than an hour-and-a-half from London Victoria, this is exactly the kind of location that will benefit from a rise in demand for larger homes outside of London,” said the company’s chief executive Tom Slingsby.
“Covid-19 has already been credited with fundamentally altering buyers’ working lifestyles and their property priorities.
“These shifts will have the power to improve local economies across the Home Counties.”
Mr Slingsby added that areas such as Whitstable will need to “keep up with demand” in order to moderate house price hikes - but he said local authorities will also be focusing on quality as well as numbers.
'Lots of developers are trying to pack houses on sites like sardines...'
The larger 35-acre site, which is to the east of land earmarked for The Willows, is being promoted by Catesby Estates.
Planning and operations director David Morris said it had also been submitted to the council as a potential site for development.
“We are not putting a figure on the number of homes yet because we still have a lot of technical work to do and there will be open space within the development,” he said.
“We believe it is a sustainable location with good transport links and facilities close by but will have to see what the council thinks.
“If included in the Local Plan, we will be looking to sell the site to a developer and work up a more detailed planning application.”
Seasalter councillor Ashley Clark says there is increasing pressure on the city council to allocate more land for housing.
“Lots of developers are trying to pack houses on sites like sardines which is not acceptable in my book,” he said.
“We are concerned with quality, not quantity.
“On the face of it these look like sustainable sites with good access and services nearby but we will be looking at issues like density and the provision of open space in all significant applications.”