News and commentary on issues affecting Bridge village

At its meeting of 8 February Bridge Parish Council voted to adopt the Bridge Neighbourhood Plan and ask the Neighbourhood Plan Committee to take the necessary steps to put the plan forward for a referendum for village residents. The vote appears to signal the winding down of a process that has dominated village politics for several years.

During this period deliberations have often been controversial, particularly when some councillors seemed set on building on Brickfield Farm and in the Green Gap between Bridge and Canterbury.

Thankfully these proposals were dropped, but a new one has emerged. On 25 November 2017 villagers voted to include in the Neighbourhood Plan a proposal to build houses between the recreation ground and the A2 (with 215 villagers voting in favour, and 113 against).

However, this is not the end of the matter. The vote requires only that the housing proposals be included in the Bridge Neighbourhood Plan. However, the village will be given the opportunity to vote on the full plan. Before then, villagers are entitled to answers to some important questions, including on access roads, traffic modelling and whether it is even necessary, given that Canterbury City Council is not even looking to the village to build new houses. Bridge Primary School has voiced opposition on health and safety grounds to the access roads to the site, which would run along the private road past the nursing home and the school. And there needs to be an assurance that should this proposal go ahead it will be a ‘one off’, with no further plans to build elsewhere in the village.

Meanwhile Bridge is a risk of development from another direction, with plans for a significant development at Highland Court, including a business park, office space, a 150-unit retirement home and 300 holiday homes. The land on which the proposed development will take place lies within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). ConserveBridge understands that contrary to rumours earlier this year Quinn Estates, who have drawn up the proposals, are not considering withdrawing their proposal which remains a threat to the green open space around Bridge and other villages. Following Canterbury City Council’s adoption of the Mountfield development Bridge is at risk of ambitious developments from both north and south.

For further information see the ConserveBridge website: http://conservebridge.org.uk/

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