New homes are to be built (stock image)

Council butts heads with government over developer cash for new bypass

The city council is mounting a legal challenge against the government over a decision which means the developer of an 800-unit estate need not fund a new bypass for Herne.

James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, granted permission for the houses on land around Bullockstone Road and Lower Herne Road at Strode Farm.

But the while minister recognised that improvements would be necessary to Bullockstone Road off the A291 between Canterbury and Herne Bay, his decision does not require developer Hollamby Estates to pay for it.

Instead, it relies upon funding coming from another development in the town at Hillborough, but with no mechanism in place for how that could be agreed or a timescale for it.

Canterbury City Council argues that this leaves it with a development to be built, but with no means to pay for the  improvement to the road serving it.

Housing minister James Brokenshire

The authority is calling for a judicial review of Mr Brokenshire’s decision “on the grounds it allows a major housing development to go ahead without essential infrastructure being secured”.

Simon Thomas, the city council’s head of planning, said: “There is a key point of principle at stake here – the need for the right infrastructure to be provided when new homes are built.

“At Strode Farm, Bullockstone Road is woefully inadequate to serve 800 houses, and for the necessary improvements to that road not to be secured as part of the planning permission is simply unacceptable.

“To be clear, we are completely supportive of houses at this location. It is one of the main development sites in our Local Plan and the homes are desperately needed.

“But we have been left with no choice other than to take this action to secure the infrastructure to go with them. We are standing up for Herne village and fighting for the road improvements the area requires.”

The council has lodged papers with the High Court to seek the review.

2 responses to “Council butts heads with government over developer cash for new bypass”

  1. Graham Cox says:

    Isn’t it appalling. The land owner made an absolute fortune (for no work) and others are left to pick up the infrastructure bill.

  2. peter vickery-jones says:

    Hollamby Estates must have thought Christmas came early when hearing of this completely cretinous decision by the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, that they do not have to fund the necessary improvements to Bullockstone Road. The planning application for Strode Farm was always sold to Herne & Broomfield residents as a way to reduce heavy traffic through Herne Village by the development funding an improved Bullockstone Road link. I have been to several meetings where this point was heavily promoted. It is no wonder Developers are viewed with so much distain by residents. Of course they will seize every opportunity presented to them which enables them to disregard their obligations to Communities it never fails to astound that they are supported in this approach by those whe really should know better. Shame on you Mr Brokenshire for failing to take the trouble to properly understand the situation before making this decision. Well done to Canterbury City Council for taking this action which I sincerely hope succeeds.
    Peter Vickery-Jones

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