A proposed residential development of agricultural land in Canterbury Road, Birchington, has been submitted by the Church of England Diocese of Canterbury.
The site between 310 And 318 Canterbury Road has historically been rented out to form part of the very large arable farm. However, the application may hit a problem as the site also contains a Public Right of Way.
The Diocese wants to build nine houses on the 0.87 acre block of chalk farmland which abuts agricultural land earmarked for housing as part of a 1,600 home development.
The Diocese says: “The site is flat, featureless, and treeless. It has been farmed on a monoculture basis for as long as records exist.
“The site lends itself to the development of 9 detached houses of modest size. This configuration would the meet the full range of planning requirements including delivery of satisfactory outdoor spaces and the safeguarding of visual privacy for both existing neighbouring residents and future occupiers. Vehicular and pedestrian access would be directly from the A28 Canterbury Road.”
The application document states: “Economic – the construction work would provide a temporary boost to the local economy. The new dwellings would bring new family household incomes to the locality.
“Social – the nine dwellings would be a very worthwhile contribution towards meeting the pressing need for more family houses. The occupiers of the new family homes would become part of the local community and help to sustain community services and facilities.
“Environmental – the site will no longer be a viable agricultural unit once the surrounding land has been developed as planned by the Local Planning Authority. The transformation from monoculture arable to garden land will provide an opportunity to significantly improve biodiversity, through planting, landscaping, and measures such as nest and bat boxes.”
However, Kent County Council’s Public Rights of Way & Access Service says the Diocese has made no mention of the Public Right of Way and should provide a new application “reflecting the existence of the right of way and indicating how it will be dealt with.”
The officer adds that there are econcerns over vehicles traversing the public right of way to gain access to parking for the units 5,7 and 8 and askes what future plans are for the footpath which KCC has applied to install an upgrade from footpath to bridleway for shared pedestrian cycle use.
The rights of way officer adds: “Make sure the applicant is made aware that the granting of planning permission confers on the developer no other permission or consent or right to close or divert any Public Right of Way at any time without the express permission of the Highway Authority.”
The Diocese suggests the 9 home proposal will slot alongside the plan to build 1,600 homes, a primary school, shops and a community park on farmland at Birchington.
The development is earmarked to take place on land off the Canterbury Road and is proposed by Ptarmigan Land and Millwood Designer Homes. The application was submitted in December 2020 but a decision has not yet been made.
Thanet council is also yet to make a decision on the nine home application. It can be viewed on the council planning page, reference OL/TH/22/1586.