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Angry residents hit out at plan to build 1400 homes in Whitstable

Residents in Whitstable are unhappy with plans unveiled to build 1400 homes in the Canterbury City Council Local Plan for 2040.

Council bosses say the proposition intends to revitalise the Canterbury District with new homes, schools and community infrastructure.

The controversial development has been included in this plan in Brooklands Farm next to South Street and would see the 195-acre of greenery torn up for homes, which has divided the community.

A local group has been set up called ‘Save Brooklands Farmlands‘ and has accumulated over 300 members in just five days.

Like the also recently set up ‘Save the Blean‘ group, who we spoke to here, their aim is to come together as a community and prevent the development that “will impact on the volume of traffic in the area, essentially creating a new route into/out of Whitstable and will mean radically altering the road layout”.

Group member and resident Linda Bennett, said: “We must fight back, these plans are destroying fields, wildlife etc. There has been no thought of traffic, sewage, amenities or local residents.”

Moi Poulton and Ali Tappenden are leading the Facebook group against the development. Ms Pulton says residents are “losing all the countryside around Whitstable”.

It just feels like Whitstable is getting hammered – Moi Poulton

Ms Tappenden added: “The town is struggling already with water, sewage, roads, doctors, all sorts of things. The traffic is hopeless”.

She added that at a recent public meeting about the development, a local GP spoke out and claimed that another 31 GPs would be needed just to provide the same level of service that is being provided now if the 1400 houses are built.

Ms Poulton went on to reminisce about the ancient woodland that resides in Whitstable called Convict Wood and said: “I can’t imagine they’re going to survive this build.”

Another hot topic is the sewage – Moi Poulton

One of the main concerns brought up from residents is the existing issue of sewage being dispensed in Whitstable and that this new development would only exacerbate this issue.

Group member Ms Bennett, said: “We can’t allow more sewage going into the sea.”

In a statement from SOS Whitstable, who are a local group fighting against sewage pollution in Kent, they said: “This development could add up to 420 tonnes of water and sewage into the system every day and, even if measures are taken to reduce this number, it will still have a huge impact on our ability to treat sewage.”

We must conclude that this new development will only serve to increase sewage pollution in Whitstable. – SOS Whitstable

Regarding the existing sewage issues that Whitstable is facing Jon Yates, Southern Water’s Pathfinder Delivery Lead, said: “We have spent £25 million to upgrade and optimise our Swalecliffe Wastewater Treatment Works. We’re also continuing to roll out a range of sustainable drainage schemes including the installation of more than 1,000 free, slow drain water butts on homes, as well as the introduction of rain guards and tree pits to divert or slow the flow of water entering our sewers.”

Nature is not considered by any of the councils or developers – Tracey Neale

In a statement from the council, Robert Davies said: “The proposed development at Whitstable is in the draft Local Plan that is currently out to public consultation. We welcome views on that proposal and on everything else contained within the draft plan.”

He added that the public are being consulted with comments being able to be submitted by residents by Monday, June 3.

“We have already held three public information sessions for people to come and talk to us about the draft Local Plan, and a fourth has now been added to the calendar”. This public information session will be held at the Canterbury Westgate Hall on Tuesday 21 May 2024 between 18:30 and 8.30pm.

“The meeting is designed for residents to for people to ask questions, raise their concerns or offer their support less formally and more privately.”