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  • County council accused of letting developers off the hook after roads policy switch
    Kent Messenger logo Kentish Gazette, Wed 24 May 2023

    "KCC Highways, where possible, are not now looking to amend the network to accommodate more cars. … instead, they are looking to see how people could travel more sustainably from new sites and asking developers to provide the infrastructure" … “The hope is in future it will be more inviting and easier to walk and cycle short trips than to use the private car and public transport will be more accessible with reliable journey times". On council planning decisions: "The only realistic chance of an appeal being upheld on highway grounds is if highway safety is directly compromised and this has to be robustly evidenced.”

  • BBC Springwatch begins Mon 29 May
    BBC, Wed 24 May 2023

    The series lasts three weeks and will be based at RSPB Arne in Dorset.

  • MPs demand improved public access to nature
    Sat 20 May (updated Sun 21 May 2023)

    Caroline Lucas says the UK is "one of the most nature depleted countries in the world" as MPs ask the government to give the public greater legal rights to enjoy and experience nature.

  • Labour and Liberal Democrats form coalition on Canterbury City Council
    Kent Messenger logo Kentish Gazette, Thu 18 May 2023

    Includes quotes from the party leaders, including Clare Turnbull of the Greens.

  • Planning: ‘People go from council to council, chasing the money’
    Local Government Chronicle, Wed 17 May 2023

    A story on how only 1 in 10 council planning departments are fully staffed. Pay cannot match the private sector and councils often rely on agency workers. At time of writing, CCC are advertising for a planning officer with a salary of £30,188 and an offer to study for a planning degree at the University of Kent.

  • New council meets for first time
    Wed 17 May (updated Fri 19 May 2023)

    Labour / Lib Dem coalition. Leader: Alan Baldock (Lab), Deputy: Michael Dixey (LD). Mike Sole (LD) cabinet member for finance. New Adisham district councillor Lee Castle (LD) on multiple committees.

  • Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition announced
    Tue 16 May (updated Wed 17 May 2023)

    Twelve days after local elections that left Canterbury City Council in "No Overall Control", Labour and the Liberal Democrats have formed a coalition. Here are the main points we know, including agreement to scrap the eastern and western bypass proposals and city zoning scheme.

  • My consultation response to the Draft Canterbury District Local Plan
    Neil Baker, Conservative County Councillor, Fri 12 May 2023

    The concerns of Mr Baker - an outspoken councillor who describes local government as "swimming through treacle, while your hands and feet are tied together, at night, in Antarctic" - are well worth reading.

    "Everything [seems to be] included with the aim of enabling an Eastern Bypass, which may not even be deliverable". He laments a lack of independent reports/modelling of surface water and sewage. He worries about consequences in coastal areas of the district if the Cooting Farm scheme is dropped but housing targets remain.

    At heart, he's disillusioned by the process: "I have not felt I have had much ability to shape the Draft Local Plan as a councillor, on behalf of residents … I have felt a sense of disconnect between suggestions made within [workshops] and the outcomes from them."

  • Brett Concrete move to Highland Court Farm approved
    Kent Messenger logo Kentish Gazette, Thu 11 May 2023

    This is the "concrete batching plant" (think silos, a mixer and conveyor belts) currently at Milton Manor, Chartham. The new site was approved (we think) at the final planning meeting of the old council. CARE concerns - as with the Chapel Down "winery" - are traffic (about 30 HGVs/day, on top of existing vehicles for fruit-packing) and more development in the AONB. Max Chesson's article includes views of concerned Bridge residents. Milton Manor House to be demolished and 95 houses built in policy C8 of Draft Local Plan (p39). Two larger developments are already underway: Cockering Farm (opposite River Stour, fishing lake and railway line) and Saxon Fields (further south east), totalling 1,150 units.

  • Just who are we sacrificing Kent’s countryside for?
    CPRE Kent, Thu 11 May 2023

    CPRE Kent planner Richard Thompson: "It is an unavoidable fact that it is people moving to the county rather than natural growth … that has driven population growth over recent years." … "It is CPRE Kent’s view the Standard Method is fundamentally flawed." … "Under the current system, local authorities are effectively punished if the market does not build, or plan to build, enough houses in their areas." … "Unsurprisingly, what is increasing is the number of second homes in Kent."

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