Development plans to turn south Canterbury into ‘Garden City’

Development plans to turn south Canterbury into ‘Garden City’

John Fielding | Flickr

John Fielding | Flickr

Development company Corinthian Land Ltd have put forward plans to develop Mountfield Park in South Canterbury, Uzochi Ejimofor reports.

These ambitious plans include the building of 4,000 new homes and 70,000 square metres of floor space for businesses. Alongside these, local shops, health facilities, bus and cycle routes and a new A2 junction will be constructed.

Corinthian Land Ltd describes Canterbury as a “regional hub”, due to the universities, the vibrant city centre and the efficient high speed rail connection to London. They say Canterbury is “poised to play an ever increasing lead role within East Kent’s future. Mountfield Park is an important part of this future, as it will support economic growth providing homes and employment land”.

The 4,000 new homes are aimed at young families with the hope that they can “grow in an attractive and healthy environment”, according to the Mountfield park website. Young and elderly people are also borne in mind as the target buyers of these new homes. It is said that there is a shortage of affordable homes in Canterbury especially since the past recession. It is feared that this shortage will lead to an ageing population and therefore a shortage in labour. The aim is to make these houses affordable for young families and young people- two primary schools will be built near these homes to attract young families. In turn, job investors and businesses will be drawn to the area by the peace of mind they will get from knowing that their employees will have houses nearby to live in. Corinthian Land Ltd says that homes will be modern in appearance and won’t replicate historic building styles. The houses will also be built with energy saving measures. Lastly, most homes will be for sale but some will have different tenures, such as joint ownership or social rent.

However, leader of opposition at Canterbury Council and Lib Dem, Alex Perkins, is not so optimistic about these proposals. He argues that four thousand houses is too much: “Canterbury just grows and grows and grows. We desperately need houses in the South East but the question is how many and where? Why does there have to be four thousand in a greenfield site in South Canterbury? There are lots of brownfield sites available and we should be using those first”.

The ‘Campaign to Protect Rural England’ also opposes these proposals and brands it ‘urban sprawl’.

Mountfield will have a ‘garden city centre ’ look. 120 acres of land will be left as green space. New cycle routes will be created. A bike hire scheme will be implemented. A park and ride facility will be made for 1,000 cars. Land will be left to allow for the possibility of a new replacement hospital. The NHS Trust will decide in 2016 whether they want this land or not. Most importantly, a new A2 junction will be built to create direct access to and from the city centre.

On the 15 and 16 October 2023 meetings were held for the local community so that the plans could be explained and so they could raise any concerns. A public exhibition was also held on the 6 and 7 November 2023 showcasing the plans. Many in the local community were concerned about the impact the development will have on the city’s already busy road network. Corinthian Land Ltd has been accused by some of the locals of acting like a ‘used car salesmen’.

Richard Riley, 59, said:

“They’re saying it does this it does that, anything to make a sale. The problem is they don’t know the area. The roads are old, they can’t handle the cars we already have. Four thousand new homes could mean as much as eight thousand new cars on the city streets”.

Corinthian Land Ltd is to submit the planning permission early 2016 and plan to start construction in 2017. Construction could last up to 20 years. Architects Proctor & Matthews are to design the first phase of buildings. Local submission documents and illustrations of the plan can be viewed at www.mountfieldpark.co.uk and any questions can be emailed via the website.

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