Planning issues are a major concern of residents
Planning issues are a major concern of residents and the OHSCA committee is very active in responding to them. At present we have great investment pressure for property development in our area, a city council much in need of developers’ financial contributions, and government policy in favour of development. Investment and economic growth are good things in themselves, but there is a constant danger of losing the distinctive character of Canterbury, and of our own area, and it is important that residents play their part in seeking the right balance
As a result of comment from residents and from residents' associations, applications may be refused outright or, more frequently, they may have restrictive conditions attached to them. In some cases the plans themselves are revised as a result of comments submitted, before a decision is made.
Every week we check the council listings for new applications in our area, which are circulated to OHSCA committee members and discussed at the next committee meeting. We aim to respond to every significant application, either objecting, supporting, or making a neutral comment. The council now makes very limited notifications to nearby residents, and the OHSCA has begun circulating the latest applications to members who have supplied an e-mail address.
In the case of major proposals, the OHSCA may be consulted in advance of an application being made, which is a useful opportunity to raise initial concerns, without prejudice to any comments we might wish to make later on.
Conservation Area status applies to much of our area, and the OHSCA has a member on the Canterbury Heritage Design Forum, giving us further representation and support in planning matters.
Individual residents should make every effort to express their concerns to the council in their own words, which is easily done by submitting a comment directly on the council’s planning website. Letters are still accepted, but take rather longer to be registered and appear in the "documents" section with official responses, rather than the on-line "comments" section. There is generally only a short period in which comments are accepted, so prompt action is needed or the comment will be rejected. It is most important that individual residents register their own comments in addition to the OHSCA collectively. Please make it clear in the text whether you are making an objection, a neutral comment, or supporting the application. The on-line buttons for these are not functional.
The council’s planning website can be seen HERE
A proposal for 60 retirement flats at the cricket ground was refused after the OHDS demonstrated how close it would be to the Old Dover Road. The proposal was later re-designed and approved with many of our points taken into account.