Developer Newmaquinn applied to Canterbury City Council in April for outline permission for the redevelopment of 42 hectares of land at the site of the former Herne Bay Golf Course into a new development with 572 homes and full permission for the demolition of buildings on the site and the construction of a new sports centre.
The proposals included a doctor's surgery; a 60-bed care home; up to 3,300 square metres of office space; up to 1,700 sq m of retail space; a tennis pavilion; football, hockey and cricket pitches; and six artificially surfaced tennis courts.
The plans were on the agenda for consideration at a meeting of the Council's planning committee on 21 October. An officer's report prepared for the meeting recommended that the application be refused, concluding that the proposed development was unsustainable.
"The economic benefits of the application would be outweighed by the harm caused by the location of the site outside the urban area, which would represent an unsustainable form of development that would result in the physical and visual intrusion of development into the open countryside," said the report.
The report found that the proposals were "highly likely" to have "a severe adverse impact on the local highway network", with particular problems anticipated on the A291 and A2990. The applicant's failure to enter into planning obligations to mitigate the likely impacts of the scheme on local infrastructure was criticised and officers considered that the likely scale and massing of the development "would be such as to be highly urban in character and appearance", conflicting with the character of the area.
The 30% affordable housing provision proposed by the applicant represented a 5% reduction from the 35% sought in the Council's adopted 'Development Contributions' supplementary planning document. The report said that the applicant had "failed to provide justification for the reduced housing provision being sought" and that the proposed provision was therefore in conflict with local planning policy.
The report also said that the applicant had provided "insufficient information" with regard to the likely impact of development on local air quality; "insufficient justification" in relation to the impact on habitats for protected great crested newts and bats; and proposed insufficient measures to mitigate the development's impacts on the nearby Thanet Coast and Sandwich Bay special protection area and Ramsar site.