This website is opposed to the University of Kent's development proposals for Chaucer Fields

Map of the entire site and the affected areas

Black area: proposed Innovation Park, including the Canterbury Innovation Centre, completed in 2009.

Orange area: Proposed development at the Chaucer Field's site

Red shaded area: existing residential areas already affected by students that will be further affected by the proposed development.

White lines: existing pedestrian paths between the University of kent Campus and Canterbury city centre that will receive more pedestrian traffic.

Reasons for opposing the UKC plan

  1. Loss of more than 6 hectares (equivalent to 8 football pitches ) of open parkland with grass & trees, habitat for birdlife with woodpeckers, jays and owls as well as the protected species of bats, newts and dormice.
  2. Loss of an 'Area of High Landscape Quality' (recognised in the Canterbury District Local Plan) with its views of the cathedral and city landmarks.
  3. Loss of public open space enjoyed by locals, students and the university's own staff. This was land that originally the city council and the university agreed would be protected from development. The adjoining residential area of St. Stephens has one of the lowest amounts of open green space in Canterbury. This space is especially valued here as many residents have little or no private green space.
  4. This green belt area has been an attractive feature of the university, separating the main campus core from the city's built up area. The City Council has been approached by UKC to allow the whole of the southern slopes area to be assessed for its housing potential. If the UKC request is granted the whole of this local green belt will disappear.
  5. While there is an agreed need for more on-campus student accommodation this can be done with smaller developments nearer to existing student accommodation. The claimed reduction in students renting privately off campus nearby will not happen, as rents in the new on campus blocks will be higher at £118 to £150 per week.
  6. The plan puts 12-19 metre high, 3 to 5 storey concrete blocks less than 70m. from the houses of a quiet residential area. Noise, disturbance & student car parking will become issues of friction between students & local families.
  7. The large scale of these buildings with seven overwhelmingly large student blocks, a hotel and conference centre rising to 5 storeys is completely out of keeping with two storey family housing of the surrounding area.
  8. Planning policy states that brownfield sites should be considered first for large schemes such as this. There is such land elsewhere on campus, as well as the Wincheap in Canterbury (further afield there is the Pfizer site at Sandwich).
  9. There is no convincing systematic evidence to support the UKC claim that infrastructure linkages and economies of scale will reap benefits by locating the hotel, conference centre & student accommodation close to the Innovation centre. This has the status of a vague, under specified aspiration, rather than a well evidenced argument.
  10. In the current weak economic climate, there is a whole range of uncertainties related to the demand and supply of education. This makes future trends difficult to predict with wide margins of error. The whole project must be regarded as having enormous risk and even be seen as a foolhardy gamble.
  11. Many students would like to see some of the £60m capital outlay being spent on improved study facilities. This is set against the university stating that it is prepared to sell off land from its 575 acre land bank, including all the university slopes. There is plenty of room north of University road for the separated new developments.
  12. The university & the further education institutions in Canterbury have grown rapidly in the past few years with more students per head of residential population than any other EU town or city. With rising tuition fees, student debt & government measures restricting international student entry, the student numbers peak has been reached.
  13. Putting 800 students 70m from a low density family residential area and creating busy student thoroughfares creates an imbalance with strong pressures to convert family homes into rented student accommodation.
  14. Extra traffic will be generated with higher levels of toxic gases. Congestion at St Thomas Hill-University Rd. T junction on a steep hill will increase accident risk. There will be increased traffic through Rough Common disturbing villagers.
  15. How waste water from 1000 toilets & wash basins will be disposed of is a real concern and threat to people living at the bottom of the site. Pumping all that effluent up a steep hill does not allay their fears of pollution.