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Mountfield Park
Image shows the area to be covered by the proposed development from the South, compared to the extent of streets in the Oaten Hill and District Area with about 2000 homes. The area of Canterbury City within the walls outlined.

The proposal to build 4000 homes on a prominent greenfield site in South Canterbury has energised local people and a campaign to persuade Canterbury City Council planners refuse the scheme has been underway for several months. Canterbury City Council have now written to the developers asking for a response to some of the key objections
The planning meeting at which a decision is to be made will probably take place in October 2016. The following article appeared in the OHDS Summer Newsletter and is reproduced here:

The South Canterbury Urban Extension, or garden suburb, to be built on fields belonging to the Mount family, has recently taken up a great deal of attention. A hybrid application has been submitted by Corinthian Mountfield Ltd, in outline for 4,000 homes, industrial space, schools, etc, and in detail for the first 140 homes. It is part of the 16,000 new homes being planned for the Canterbury district, and it is expected that various builders will build them in stages over the next 15 years. Although new homes are needed, the problem of course is that our government wants to build new homes before building new roads or other infrastructure, and no-one can see how this will work when our roads are already heavily congested at busy times. Although the site itself lies outside the OHDS area, we shall obviously be seriously affected by traffic from it. The application also included some misguided proposals for road alterations within our area, which we have responded to in detail.

The transport plan forming part of the application is wildly delusional, depending on the new residents using so-called fast buses, cycling and walking, and claiming that traffic will be little altered from current levels. The inner ring road is over-used, and traffic backs up from there. Despite a planned new roundabout connecting it to the A2, there is no plan for the much-needed eastern by-pass, or even a route for it.

The OHDS has responded to this on two levels: firstly in our own response based on real experience of local traffic as residents, such as the effects that would result from using Dover Street as a bus route, and banning all right turns at the Cross Keys junction. Secondly, we have contributed to the cost of a professional analysis by transport consultants Railton TPC Ltd., submitted through the South Canterbury Alliance. This shows in detail the faulty assumptions made throughout the transport plan, for example that people will willingly walk to and from the city centre at 1½ - 1¾ miles distance. Among other conclusions, it shows that car trip generation has been significantly underestimated. Overall, the plan fails to present a credible and effective access strategy.

A further highly professional critique has been submitted by Prof. Stephen Peckham, a resident in our area and expert in air pollution and health issues, showing more faulty assumptions and inadequate air quality assessments. Maximum pollution levels are already exceeded within the city, yet the transport plan claims, for example, that NO2 levels will reduce on New Dover Road despite a significant increase in traffic volume.

I wonder how “sustainable” it is to rely on pumping the sewerage from such a large development uphill to the A257, when the natural drainage flows across to Stodmarsh. In terms of the World Heritage Site, Canterbury Heritage and Design Forum (on which we are represented) is very concerned about the setting of the historic approach to the city, and the effect of proposed large buildings around the Gate Inn on views across the city. From the comprehensive response that has been submitted, there ought to be no doubt that the transport plan in this application is inadequate for permission to be granted at this stage. The highways authority is currently reviewing our ring road problems, and I hope that by working together with the developers a realistic plan for the next 15 years will come forward for family homes as promised by the ‘garden city’ concept served by a capable traffic system.

Keith Rishworth, OHDS Committee member for Planning

Our Roots - The Shrubbery.

Oaten Hill, along with Longport, forms two of the City of Canterbury's five historic medieval suburbs. In April 1974 a planning application was submitted to convert the house known as The Shrubbery, (see picture below) located at the junction of Oaten Hill and Upper Chantry Lane, into offices.

If successful this would have led to the many fine trees in the garden being pulled down.

Local residents went into action and the trees were saved. The Oaten Hill and District Society (OHDS) was also born. Today, OHDS is a lively and active amenity society with a written constitution.

OHDS area map. Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
The Shrubbery

Currently with some 250 members, OHDS is concerned with preserving the distinctive character of what is one of the most interesting and diverse areas of Canterbury.

An energetic Local History Group forms a key element of the Society's work. A Committee administers the affairs of the Society with the opportunity to serve being open to all members.

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