OHSCA members join K&C Hospital March

OHSCA members join march in protest over the Kent & Canterbury Hospital – and your chance to question chief executive of East Kent Hospitals Trust.

As reported in the KM Gazette on 8th June, there was a good turn out for the hour-long march around the centre of Canterbury on Saturday 3rd June. The demonstration was organised by Concern for Health in East Kent (CHEK) over growing fears about the downgrading and even future closure of our hospital.

Ken Rogers and his team have also organised a meeting at which Matthew Kershaw, chief executive of East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust, will answer questions from the public (7 pm, Friday 16th June, at the Canterbury Academy in Knight Avenue, CT2 8QA.

CHEK protest march passes in front of the Marlowe, 3rd June

OHSCA committee member Denis Linfoot gathers his thoughts before setting of on the march round Canterbury centre. We believe that most OHSCA members, unlike KM Gazette commentator Harry Bell, passionately believe that the K&C should be ‘saved’; see Denis’s letter to the Gazette, 8th June, page 19.

Rosie Duffield, days before her election as new MP for Canterbury, speaking at the Hustings on the future of the NHS, held at the University of Kent Gulbenkian theatre on 31st May. Denis Linfoot and other OHSCA members attended.

More student accommodation proposed

Posted 12th June 2017

A planning application for new student accommodation in Cossington Road has now been submitted to CCC. Some months ago OHSCA members viewed draft plans for a new block of 45 purpose-built student mini-flats to be built on the old ATC site in Cossington Road. The prospective developers, Pegasus Group, have now submitted their plans to CCC (CCC planning application reference no. CA//17/01037). We are now clear, as a result of discussions with councillors and others over the past two months, that permission for converting houses to student accommodation will not now be granted if it means that more than 10% of homes within a 100 m radius will then be ‘HMOs’ (houses of multiple occupancy). With more than 30% of houses already converted within 100 metres of the old cadet buildings on Cossington Rd, this application is likely to prove contentious (see KM Gazette 8th June, page 37). Comments to CCC must be received by 30th June.

cadet huts
The old ATC huts on Cossington Rd, now unoccupied – a small site, but obviously ripe for re-development. But as what – yet another student block when many hundreds of new student flats are still being built nearby at Rhodaus Town?

Cossington Road
Impression of proposed student block in Cossington Rd from

Historic building damaged

Posted 12th June 2017

A large piece of cast iron guttering fell off the front of The Hoystings onto Old Dover Rd during a recent storm. Miraculously, nobody was injured. As can be seen from the picture below, taken on 8th June, scaffolding has now been erected to deal with this emergency – but there is no sign that other dilapidations are to be rectified. OHSCA (as OHDS) first raised the issue of the disrepair to this listed building two years ago, and have continued at regular intervals to remind CCC of what happens if such buildings are neglected. In May 2015 we were told that a report was being prepared for consideration in the autumn of that year. A year later we were told exactly the same. Three months ago we were informed the report was imminent. Where is this “report”? We can only try again. But what is really needed is action. Meanwhile, our heritage (and even public safety) remains at risk.

Hoystings emergency repairs
The Hoystings

Becket House on hold (again)

Posted 12th June 2017

An appeal hearing against recent planning application refusals regarding Becket House has been postponed. The most recent application to demolish the old BT building Becket House in New Dover Rd, in order to construct 120 new dwellings, was turned down last year by CCC. In the past, subject to various conditions, OHSCA (OHDS) was not strongly opposed to the proposals. However, new concerns are now apparent regarding traffic volumes in Lower Chantry Lane, potentially due to increase dramatically if the contentious traffic flow plan associated with the Mountfield Park development is implemented. The developers launched an appeal against refusal, and the hearing was due to take place 6–9 June. However, almost at the last moment it was cancelled. We will need to be vigilant.

Becket House 9th June
Plans by Capita Real Estate to demolish Becket House and build 120 new flats are still on hold, awaiting an appeal against refusal – but when will the appeal now be heard?

Air Quality – Talk and Discussion, 24th May, 6.30 PM

Posted 8th May 2017

Poor air quality has emerged over recent years as a major issue affecting health and planning. The lack of an appropriate air quality plan for Canterbury is the basis of the current judicial challenge to the Mountfield Park development (see below). But what are the issues, and just how bad is Canterbury air? We are very pleased to announce that Professor Stephen Peckham (University of Kent) will be giving a talk at Canterbury Christ Church University, Sessions House, Longport, at 6.30pm on Wednesday 24th May, entitled Air Quality in Canterbury: what we know and what we need to know. All OHSCA members and their personal guests are specially invited to attend.

After Professor Peckham’s talk there will be good time for discussion before the meeting ends at 7.50 pm. Light refreshments will be available from 6.00pm. We do hope that as many OHSCA members as possible will attend this free event, as it is intended as the forerunner for a joint OHSCA/CCCU discussion meeting programme that we hope will start this autumn. If you do wish to hear Professor Peckham speak about the issues, if possible RSVP to OHSCA’s Chair – simply to help assess numbers for catering.

For more details about the location, the talk, and the speaker, please go to:

Air Quality Poster:

Initial results of the pilot community air quality monitoring project, recently completed at St Dunstan’s by Professor Peckham and Dr Ashley Mills, which was supported by help from OHSCA volunteers, will hopefully be included in our next Newsletter and/or posted on this Website.

The harmful effects on short and long term health of different pollutants were described in detail and recorded levels for ozone and nitrogen dioxide in various parts of Canterbury were shown and breaches of national standards highlighted. major housing developments in the pipeline were going to make matter much worse. Much discussion followed on traffic problems, causes and solutions and at the end of the meeting many attendees signed up as volunteers for the air quality monitoring programme or expressed an interest in follow-up meetings.

Mountfield Park Latest

Posted 8th May 2017

As stated on this website previously, continuing opposition by many residents across the city to the Council’s decision last December to give approval for Phase 1a of the Mountfield Park project involving construction of 140 new homes on land close to the Barton estate, together with outline planning permission for the remaining 4000 houses and apartments, business units and community facilities, has become focussed on the issues of air quality, World Heritage Site status, inadequate transport strategy, and the flawed planning process itself.

As widely announced during the first week of May (e.g. Kentish Gazette, May 4th, page 3 ), two Canterbury residents have now been successful in requesting a Judicial Review, following a High Court ruling with respect to their concerns over air pollution. A major bone of contention has been that planning permission has been granted in the absence of a local air quality plan – which CCC has failed to deliver, let alone implement.

Up to £25,000 will be needed for this action, by far the greatest part being ‘insurance’ against the penalties that will be incurred should the judicial challenge fail – a very considerable personal risk for the two campaigners involved. As stated in our recent Spring Newsletter, because we cannot know the views of our Members (and the issues are complex), OHSCA is not backing this initiative directly – although some members of the Committee are actively involved in the campaign on a personal basis. If Members wish to support the legal challenge and would like to make individual donations, then please contact Emily Shirley. A leaflet about the campaign is likely to drop through your letter box sometime soon.

Consultation on Old Dover Road Puffin Crossing

Posted 8th May 2017

Members may be aware that in recent days CCC has announced it is undertaking a preliminary study of the feasibility of removing the crossing and replacing it with a subway. At this very early stage of the project CCC wishes to find out how much use would be made of the subway were it to be built. OHSCA is very keen to ensure that full account is taken of all views e.g. of the elderly, disabled, cyclists and children – and that the debate does not become polarised as one purely between motorists and student pedestrians.
The context of this initiative is:

  1. long-standing concerns of former OHDS and SCRA members about road safety and congestion in the area. It is understood that ‘S106’ monies held by CCC for various small improvement schemes remain unspent;
  2. a current KCC study of traffic congestion on the ring road;
  3. the substantial increase in residential student accommodation nearby, soon to be occupied;
  4. highly controversial plans for realignment of traffic routes in the area (e.g. no right turns at Cross Keys) as part of the Mountfield Park project (see page 7 of the Spring Newsletter).

To comment on the crossing and its possible replacement, email Canterbury City Council, or visit Canterbury City Facebook Page

Canterbury Air Quality Public Meeting

January 25th 2017

A public meeting to discuss air quality in Canterbury and in particular lack of monitoring of particulates took place in the Friend Meeting House. About 80 members of the public, including a number from the OHSCA committee and membership, attended and listened to Professor Stephen Peckham speak on this subject,focussing on how we as the concerned public might get directly involved in the monitoring process for which the University of Kent had already purchased equipment which we could use for measurements around Canterbury.

The harmful effects on short and long term health of different pollutants were described in detail and recorded levels for ozone and nitrogen dioxide in various parts of Canterbury were shown and breaches of national standards highlighted. major housing developments in the pipeline were going to make matter much worse. Much discussion followed on traffic problems, causes and solutions and at the end of the meeting many attendees signed up as volunteers for the air quality monitoring programme or expressed an interest in follow-up meetings.

Kent and Medway draft Health and Social Care Sustainability and Transformation Plan

January 25th 2017

OHSCA Chair Dick Vane-Wright wrote to Glenn Douglas, Chief Executive, Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust regarding future plans for K and C Hospital and residents' concerns with respect to two particular issues:

  • firstly the fear that the geographical concentration of acute hospital services divested of non-acute work, as projected in the Kent & Medway Sustainability and Transformation Plan, will proceed even if sufficient money (and other resources, notably staff) do not become available to the NHS to make adequate alternative provision for the dispersal of all non-acute services, and even though it may be impossible for Local Government to provide the enhanced level of social services which will be needed to support these Health Service changes.
  • secondly a concern that, although the STP avoids stating any territorial consequences flowing from the principles it sets out, it is not difficult to read into the Plan an implication that the Kent & Canterbury Hospital is the most vulnerable of the Kent and Medway hospitals to radical change, and may well be closed altogether.

The detailed letter concluded with a request for answers to three questions:

  • when specific proposals arising from the STP will be made public;
  • whether these will include substantial changes in the services provided at the Kent & Canterbury Hospital;
  • whether, when and how public consultation will be arranged before decisions are taken on these matters.

Second Railton report

The second Railton report into the proposed development at Mountfield Park: "Response to RGP Technical Note 39 on behalf of the South Canterbury Canterbury Alliance" is linked below:

Second Railton Report

Railton Review report

The original report into the proposed development at Mountfield Park: Transport and Highways Review on behalf of the South Canterbury Alliance is available via link below:

Original Railton Report
hub demo