Forget 16,000 new homes – real figure could be thousands higher

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The city council's Local Plan consists of 16,600 new homes

The Canterbury district is poised be forced to accommodate thousands more new homes than originally expected.

A revision being undertaken to a key planning document means that the 16,000 units contained in the city council’s Local Plan, the planning blueprint for the district, could be overtaken by a new figure.

City hall insiders are speculating that the actual figure could be region of 20,000 new homes in Canterbury, Whitstable, Herne Bay and the villages.

Canterbury City Council admits more homes will be added to the Local Plan, but has described any speculation “meaningless” until an actual figure is formally published.

It is waiting on the results of the revised National Planning Policy Framework, due to be published imminently.

Spokesman Rob Davies said: “In the current Local Plan, the number of new homes is 800 a year up to 2031 and we do expect this to rise, potentially significantly, under the new process.

“Crucially, however, we will need to wait until new housing projection figures come out in September before knowing what the house building numbers will be for the Canterbury district.

“Although we now have a clearer picture of what the future process will look like, any speculation on actual numbers is meaningless until those key population figures come out in the autumn.”

The Mountfield Park development, on land to the south of Canterbury, has already been granted planning permission for 4,000 homes and is a central element of the council’s efforts to meet demand for housing set down by central government.

Critics of the Local Plan and its main elements complain that too many units are contained in it, that the infrastructure isn’t in place to support it and that new homes means more vehicle movements and worsening congestion and pollution.

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