4,000-home Canterbury urban extension approved

A 4,000-home urban extension on greenfield land to the south of Canterbury has been given the green light.

An artist's visualisation of the finished scheme
An artist's visualisation of the finished scheme

A hybrid planning application for the scheme, known as Mountfield Park, was approved by Canterbury City Council's planning committee yesterday.

The plans, submitted by developer Corinthian (Mountfield), include 70,000 square metres of B1 office floor space, two primary schools, more than 80 hectares of public green space and woodland planting, new health and community services and local shops. 

Also proposed is a new junction on the A2, a 1,000 space park and ride scheme, and investment in sustainable transport.

The hybrid application, submitted by consultancy David Lock Associates in March, involves detailed plans for 140 homes and an outline application for up to 3,860 homes plus the office space and infrastructure.

According to the officers’ report, the site is allocated in the council’s draft local plan. It would cover 230 hectares of farming land within the Canterbury Area of High Landscape Value, close to the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Government body Historic England raised initial concerns about the impact on views of Canterbury Cathedral and World Heritage Site.

However, it said the harm has been "minimised" by the provision of open space in "the most visible locations" and promised landscaping.

The development would provide 30 per cent affordable homes, the report said, reflecting local policies. However, the applicant requested that, due to viability, "delivery of the first affordable homes will need to be delayed until at least 523 private sale homes have been completed".

The application prompted 242 letters of objection, raising concerns about the loss of agricultural land and greenfield land and the impact upon the World Heritage Site.

The report said that the government’s Advisory Team for Large Scale Applications (ATLAS) reviewed the development against the Town and Country Planning Association’s garden city principles. Though it did not meet two of the nine principles, ATLAS concluded that "overall, the application performs well …particularly the spatial and sustainability elements". 

Concluding, the report said the development was considered acceptable because it would help the council meet its five year housing land supply, as required by the NPPF.


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