Monday, 2 May 2011

Residents fight against Chaucer Fields development

RESIDENTS close to Chaucer Fields have gathered at the offices of Canterbury Council today to 'say no' to the proposed developments by the University of Kent.

The site situated in University Road would mark the arrival of a hotel with 150 rooms, a conference centre and student flats to accommodate more than 700. Residents living close by are concerned that the development could deteriorate their neighbourhood.

Nearly 400 residents from roads close to the fields have wrote to the council against the proposals and many homes are displaying banners and posters to 'say no' to the university's plans.

Many have expressed that they already suffer from noise and antisocial behaviour caused by students passing in the early hours. There are also fears that the number of cars parked on the streets could increase dramatically due to students living so close, making congestion problems worse.

Mr and Mrs Booth, residents living a stones throw from the proposed site told Kent Press that it 'would be a great loss' to the community if the plans were to go ahead.

"It's an emotional subject for myself and many people," Mr Booth, of Durnford Close said.

"We've taken visitors from many countries across the Chaucer Fields and they have loved it as we do. On a more practical side, it's day to day living. With the talk of some 800 more students living in the area it would affect our way of life - not something we would be happy about and of course we would lose the beauty of the fields for everyday use."

Mrs Booth added concern for Canterbury's green areas as the city continues to expand: "Canterbury is expanding just about north, south, east and west. We are having no clear spaces for children to run around and enjoy themselves. We haven't got many parks as such either. At this end we have already got a housing estate plus a huge residential area around here so we think it's just unfair to take that space."

Two solutions are being backed by campaigners to stop the University of Kent from going ahead with the plans. Documents dating back to the 1950s were recently uncovered, claiming that Chaucer Fields should be left as a green buffer between the university and the city. The second solution could be to get village status for the area which would prevent the development.

The University of Kent argues that the development will create new job opportunities for the area.

The yellow area below shows how close residents will be to the proposed site, shaded red.

We'll have more reaction to this story later today direct from outside Canterbury Council.


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