UNIVERSITY MASTER PLAN
Initial Response from Blean Parish Council September 2016
This first response has been written after consultation with the Parish Councillors and attendance at two presentations held by the University of Kent.
Blean Parish Council welcomes the publication of the Concept Master Plan, it has given an opportunity to enter into dialogue with the University and has ended speculation and rumours. At first sight the plan would appear to have severe implications to the village and the Tyler Hill Road, however at this point in the consultation we should be mindful that this is a conceptual plan – not a concrete indication of potential developments in our parish.
The Northern Holdings [as named by the University] are, to a greater extent, agricultural in nature and reflect the rural aspect surrounding the village of Blean. Blean Parish Council have, and will continue, to strongly oppose, the building on and the loss of agricultural land in and around the village. The land provides a positive rural border between Tyler Hill village and Blean village.
The area is served by a rural road, in places very narrow, named Tyler Hill Road. This road is not able to sustain any further traffic without causing danger to pedestrians, cyclists, farm vehicles and cars. This was illustrated recently with the Stagecoach bus diversion along the road, numerous skid marks, near misses and a considerable disruption to the quality of life for the residents of both villages took place. Blean Parish Council would strongly oppose any development that impacted on the traffic using the road.
Due to the conceptual nature of the Master Plan there has been much speculation regarding wordings such as ‘Park and Ride’, ‘shuttle bus services’ and ‘utilising existing public roads’. All of these aspects if taken forward would have to be the subject of discussion with Blean Parish Council, Hackington Parish Council and Canterbury City Council. It should also be acknowledged that any move forward regarding development in this area would have to be accurately tested through Traffic and Transport Assessments, Ecological Impact Assessments, Sustainability Assessments etc. and further public consultations.
To summarise, Blean Parish Council do strongly oppose any change in the usage of Tyler Hill Road from its present link between the villages and as a means of access to the agricultural land bordering its sides. We would strongly oppose any development in and around the historic building of St Cosmus and St Damian in the Blean Church. We would also be strongly opposed to any ‘carpet’ development along the boundaries of Tyler Hill Road. We would be strongly opposed to any development, be it building or transport links, that disrupted the ecological balance that exists at present.
In conclusion, although the above outlines our potential opposition, Blean Parish Council would welcome the opportunity to continue in an open dialogue with the University of Kent regarding all proposals for the Northern Land Holdings. It is our hope that a balanced expansion of the University which would benefit the community of Blean and open up new opportunities for recreational, cultural, sport, economic and educational activities for all, can be achieved.