Guide to Filling in the Consultation Form

The public consultation is open until Monday 3rd June (5pm) and we urge everyone to give their feedback. You don’t have to live in Canterbury to respond re the University of Kent site – if you visit the area and know its value you can have your say. Everyone in your household can respond.

It’s important to base any objections on evidence and policy, not just because you don’t like it. Go to the Consultation Questionnaire online.

IF YOU ONLY HAVE 10 MINUTES SPARE just respond to THREE QUESTIONS in the online form… It may look complicated but we promise it isn’t!

When you’re in the questionnaire, at question 2 – tick chapter 1, chapter 2 and chapter 6.

If you are concerned about overall housing numbers for the district, and things like public services, GPs and schools, you should respond to Chapter 1: Spatial Strategy – Q1.  Have a look at what this section says about how “new homes will meet the needs of the district, ensuring the right type of homes are delivered in the right places to improve affordability and support our communities.”  This development is called a “rural settlement” but in reality it’s a new town of 2,000 houses being attached to the northern edge of Canterbury, in what is at present the rural gap between the city and the villages of Blean and Tyler Hill.

Say what you agree with as well as what you object to. What do you think the Strategy for Canterbury should be and why?

Next go to Chapter 2: Canterbury and find Qu 12 – policy C12

1) Site C12 is described in the Sustainability Assessment of the SLAA as a “car-dependent development”, which seems likely even with the council’s new proposed Bus policies. The two main access points for traffic are both on Whitstable Road, near the Rough Common roundabout. Rough Common Road would require “highways improvements” and two new slip roads on the A2 at Harbledown to be built – meaning Rough Common would be a major route into Canterbury. There would also be more traffic coming into Canterbury down Whitstable Road to St Dunstan’s roundabout and down St Stephen’s Hill, creating more congestion and affecting air quality.

Say what you think about the effects on traffic and roads in Rough Common and Canterbury. Mention any evidence you have from your own experience, plus the way the Land Assessment describes it. How suitable are the two access points?

2) All of the other surrounding roads are narrow, winding/hilly roads with records of speeding and accidents. The proposed development will be on both sides of Tyler Hill Road, but it says it will “minimise traffic flow onto Tyler Hill Road”.

How workable do you think it is for traffic on Tyler Hill Road to be “minimised”? How safe or suitable are the roads for more traffic? Mention any evidence you have about road safety. 

3) The Council’s 2021 Landscape Character Assessment describes the “strong rural character” of this area with its mix of woodlands, orchards and farmland, and talks about the need to conserve this landscape. The southern part of the site is located in Canterbury’s Area of High Landscape Value, and it is between two Sites of Special Scientific Interest – RSPB Blean and West Blean Reserve. The C12 proposals are incompatible with the 2021 Land Character Assessment, to which the Local Plan is required to conform.

Write about what you think the development would do to this area of countryside between Canterbury and Whitstable, and the three distinct villages of Tyler Hill, Blean and Rough Common. Would this fit with the Council’s own Land Character policies?

4) The proposal would have impacts on many “heritage assets” including the Church of St Cosmus and St Damian as well as its setting, the remains of a Roman Villa and some Mediaeval Tile Kilns (both scheduled monuments), multiple Listed Buildings and multiple Conservation Areas. The council’s Environmental Strategy set out in the Local Plan says “the district’s heritage assets are highly sensitive to change and the council is committed to protecting and, where possible, enhancing the historic environment for future”.

Do you think C12 demonstrates that the conservation areas can be preserved, or that the impacts on heritage sites and their surroundings can be minimised? How do you think this proposal affects the Church of St Cosmus and St Damian, which has traditionally been part of Blean village?

5) The development site is right in the middle of the Blean Woods area, surrounded by various parts of the National Nature Reserve. There are numerous rare and endangered species living in the fields, ponds, hedgerows and Sarre Penn valley. The Council’s other policies (eg SS1.10) say that it will continue to work with partners to extend and improve connectivity of the Blean Woodland Complex, but this development would making connectivity impossible.

Say why the extensive wildlife and biodiversity in the area is important to you, and what concerns you have about impacts on them. Say whether you think this development conforms to policy SS1.10.

6) The proposed development would mean the loss of large areas of “best and most versatile” Grade 2 and Grade 3 agricultural land (scored out of 5). The Local Plan includes a policy to protect the best quality agricultural land outside of urban and settlement boundaries.

Say what you think about the proposal to destroy quality farmland, and whether it fits with this policy.

7) The two access points for the 2,000 houses are both on Whitstable Road about 400m apart. One of them can only be created by Blean Primary School being demolished and rebuilt elsewhere on the site.

Say what you think about the impact of this proposed development on the school, its staff and its pupils. This is the only Outstanding primary school in this part of Kent.

Next go to Chapter 6 and answer Qus 14 – policy DS14

Much of the Local Plan is predicated on the Bus-First strategy being workable and successful. The Council would like to understand the likely take-up of new bus services by residents in different areas – such as new hopper buses to Canterbury West and looping around the city, and more frequent bus services going into the city centre.

How much do you use the bus now and why? Are you and potential new residents of this development likely to use local bus services? Do you think the Bus-First Transport Strategy will be deliverable in this area?


IF YOU REALLY WANT TO GET STUCK IN…. This will take you about 45 minutes but allows you to respond to all of the strategic and policy issues in detail.

  • When you’re in the questionnaire at Q2 – tick everything except chapters 3, 4 and 5.
  • Go to Chapter 1: Spatial Strategy

Q1 – Vision for the District – say what you do agree with

Q2 – Strategic objectives – say what you do agree with

Q3 – Environmental Strategy SS1 – say what you do like, and you might want to agree that protecting the Sarre Penn stream and its valley is very important. You may also want to point out that Site C12 contradicts policy SS1 (10): “The council will continue to work with partners to… support the extension and improved connectivity of the Blean Woodland Complex.” This development would cut across the Blean Woodland Complex making connectivity impossible.

Q6 – Transport Strategy SS4 – say what you do like about the transport strategy. 

It would be useful to mention how likely you are to use the proposed bus services, on which so much of the Local Plan is predicated. That way the Council can start to understand the likely take-up from residents in different areas.

You might also want to point out that policy C12 does not comply with SS4 (1.49), which says: “focusing growth at the urban areas, and at Canterbury in particular, presents the greatest opportunities to plan for a switch to sustainable transport.” Site C12 is called a “rural settlement”, is outside the urban envelope of the city, and is described as a “large-scale car-dependent development” in the SLAA.

You might also like to mention that the adopted Local Plan 2017, policy EMP7, requires that significant development proposals at the University be subject to updating of the University’s Transport Impact Assessment and a review of the University Travel Plan. Neither of these has been produced in relation to site C12.

Q7 – Infrastructure Strategy SS5 – say what you do like and raise concerns about anything you don’t. Regarding SS5 (2.h) it might be worth noting that new and improved facilities for Canterbury Rugby Club could go alongside a proportionate amount of additional housing on the Stuppington Lane site (see Call For Sites), which is close to the city centre and therefore ideal for supporting SS4 (1.49) and the new Transport Strategy.

  • Go to Chapter 2: Canterbury
  • Find Qu 12 – policy C12 – and fill it in using the advice above.
  • Go to Chapter 6:

Q.12 – Rural Economy – say what you support about the plan to protect farmland.

You might want to mention that Site C12 is on “best and most versatile” farmland: Grade 2 in the northern part of the site and Grade 3 in the southern part of the site. This contravenes Policy DS12 6.35 in the Draft Local Plan to protect the best quality agricultural land outside of urban and settlement boundaries.

Q.13 – Movement Hierarchies – you might want to say what you think about the proposal to prioritise walking and cycling. 

Q.14 – Sustainable Transport – Site C12 has many issues due to the number of cars it would add to the unsuitable local road network. The council says this can all be solved by the Bus-First Strategy and everyone switching from cars to buses. Say what you think about the new Transport Strategy and how workable it is for everyone in outlying areas such as Blean and Tyler Hill to take the bus, and how likely it is that this shift in travel habits will be achieved.

Q.19 – DS19 Habitats, Landscapes and Sites of Local Importance – you may want to say something about the proposal of site C12 being incompatible with the Land Character Assessment, to which the Local Plan is required to conform. 

You could also mention that C12 does not satisfy policy DS19 of the Local Plan, as C12 would create one continuous urban sprawl between Rough Common, Blean and Tyler Hill with no real separation of three distinct villages. The open space and landscape buffers shown are not sufficient to mitigate the impact on the villages, landscape or adjacent listed buildings, particularly Blean Church and Church Cottage.

Q.21 – Biodiversity Recovery – This policy says “Improving biodiversity across the district is a clear priority of this plan” but in the same breath says “Although the district benefits from the biodiversity hotspots including The Blean, the Kent Downs, The River Great Stour and the coast, biodiversity across these sites and neighbouring countryside and urban areas continues to decline.” The Blean is identified in the Local Plan DS21 as a biodiversity hotspot; is an identified ‘Biodiversity Opportunity Area’ BoA in the Kent Wildlife Strategy; and is a priority Area of Particular Importance for Biodiversity in the Local Nature Recovery Strategy.  Site C12 contradicts all of these policies.