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Canterbury rejects Taylor Wimpey homes plan

Words: Laura Edgar
Application refused / Shutterstock_212587093

Canterbury City Council’s planning committee has gone against the recommendation of a planning officer in refusing a planning application for up to 900 homes.

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey was seeking permission for a detailed application for 193 homes and associated development as well as outline permission for up to 707 homes to be built at Hillborough, Sweechbridge Road, Herne Bay.

The outline application also comprised up to 33,000 square metres of employment/commercial floor space; local shopping facilities including a convenience store; a new community centre; and designates land for a two-form entry primary school.

Of the homes, 198 dwellings were designated as affordable housing, with 70 per cent for affordable rent and 30 per cent for shared ownership.

The planning officer recommended that the application should be approved ahead of a committee meeting which was due to take place on 2 July. The committee chose to defer a decision and undertake a site visit, which was subsequently carried out. 

The officer report states: “The application site forms the major part of a strategic allocated site for a mixed-use development in the Canterbury District Local Plan. The application site will provide a significant amount of the homes that are required to meet the district’s need, as well as providing employment opportunities for local people. This application is therefore acceptable in principle.”

The report notes that Taylor Wimpey proposes the delivery of 27,000 square metres of employment units, which falls below the 33,000-square-metre requirement of policy SP3. 

“The employment floor space provision would be largely in accordance with the local plan requirement and would contribute to providing a sustainable mixed-use development. The proposed reduced provision would need to be weighed against the benefits of the development overall,” the officer advises.

Overall, the officer considered the change to the landscape and the underprovision of employment floor space to “be outweighed by the significant public benefits of the proposed development on this strategic site allocated within the 2017 local plan”.

However, members of the planning committee were concerned that the development would create a “concrete slum” on the outskirts of the town, reports Kent Online. Seven councillors voted to reject the scheme, four supported the proposals and one abstained.

Full details for the application and the officer’s report can be found here on the Canterbury City Council website.

Image credit | Shutterstock