A housebuilding giant is preparing plans to construct 800 new properties just outside Canterbury – sparking fears of a huge increase in traffic.
Persimmon Homes, one of the UK’s biggest developers, is eyeing up a 150-acre stretch of land immediately north of Hersden.
Should the project become reality, the village would more than double in size – and that is without taking into account approved plans for a further 620 homes the other side of the A28.
The land Persimmon is proposing to build on is currently made up of eight agricultural fields sprawling from near Spires Academy to the Lakesview Business Park.
It has been earmarked for 800 homes by the council for the past four years as the site is included in the authority’s Local Plan. But up until this week, no developer had pitched plans for the plot.
Persimmon also wants to create a 2.5-acre business centre, a new primary school and a community building.
Financial contributions to surrounding schools will also be made, along with funds for the recently approved £30 million Sturry relief road.
Over the other side of the A28, construction work on the 250-home Hoplands Farm estate is ongoing – while a 370-home project on the former Chislet Colliery site has planning permission.
Parish councillor Ann Davies, from the neighbouring ward of Sturry, says her village will again bear the brunt of increased traffic levels should the Hersden development go ahead.
Sturry and its surrounding area has been at the forefront of numerous large-scale schemes in recent times, with 1,086 homes being green-lit to the east, linking the village with Broad Oak.
The relief road project was finally given planning permission last month – a 0.9-mile stretch which avoids Sturry level crossing and links the A28 with the A291.
Residents living on the proposed 800-home Hersden development will need to travel down the already-congested A28 in order to get into Canterbury.
‘It’s not just the volume of extra traffic, it’s also the speed…’
Cllr Davies said: “This will have a huge impact on traffic through Sturry. And then you’ve also got the other two developments at Hoplands and the colliery.
“It will all come along Island Road and straight through the village. The link road has been approved but that isn’t going to take any traffic away as they are still having to come along Island Road.
“Though Hersden is not in our parish, more housing will have a massive impact on Sturry.
“We’ve been expecting the plans for a long time as the site is in the Local Plan.
“It’s not just the volume of extra traffic, it’s also the speed.
“Drivers coming down Staines Hill are clearly in excess of 50 and 60mph as they come into the village, and there is no speed control in operation.”
Persimmon is drawing up blueprints for the housing scheme, and has asked the council if it needs to submit a report on how the project will affect the local environment.
It is expected developers will then lodge an official application detailing the full proposals sometime later this year or next.
Council spokesman Rob Davies said: “Land north of Hersden is a strategic development site in our current Local Plan, for 800 homes, land for business use, a community building, allotments and a play area among several things.
“The principle of developing this site was agreed following extensive public consultation and a thorough examination by a government planning inspector several years ago.”
He said once a planning application is submitted, the council will ensure the public and parish council are informed, so everyone will have the opportunity to make representations.
“Once a planning application has been submitted and full details of the development are put forward, we will ensure that the public and the parish council are informed. This will allow everyone to have the opportunity to view the application and to make any representations.”