Plans submitted for homes and hotel at Dover's Western Heights
DEVELOPMENT plans for homes, a retirement village, hotel and conference centre as well as conversion of the Drop Redoubt into a museum and visitor centre, have been lodged with Dover District Council.
China Gateway International Ltd has submitted 120 documents for the scheme at Great Farthingloe Farm and the Western Heights.
The multi-million pound project aims to create 521 homes, 90 retirement apartments and a health centre at Farthingloe as well as converting the Thatched Barn property into a pub and restaurant, a stable block into a shop and the site farmhouse to a bed and breakfast.
At the Western Heights the plans are for 85 homes, a 130-bed hotel and 150-person conference centre, nine homes at Victoria Halls and the conversion of the Drop Redoubt.
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Pedestrian and vehicle access, landscaping and a network of ramblers' paths are schemed.
The number of houses has been reduced from 450 to 85 at the Heights and from 1,000-plus to 521 at Farthingloe from the original proposals.
Other amendments include the removal of development plans for Citadel Road and changes to the design of apartments to lessen the impact on views.
But the scheme has drawn opposition, with 30 residents attending a meeting last Thursday, organised by protester Lara Pimblett.
Ms Pimblett said: "It became apparent that a majority of the residents had not fully appreciated the impact of the development due to a lack of public consultation.
"Although acknowledged that the company had significantly reduced the original proposal after consultation with various stakeholders, it still showed a large area of green space either side of a private street, named Heights Terrace, would be enclosed with new housing.
"A new road running past gardens, the varying heights of these new residences, some of which are three storeys high, will have a significant effect on draining the daylight that Heights Terrace has at present.
"Comments included that the developers have been planning to develop the sites since at least 2007. However, the development of the sites are not identified in Dover District Council's Local Development Framework Approved Core Strategy which therefore prevented people from raising concerns far earlier, at the important planning stage."
Her view is backed by environmental charity Protect Kent.
Protect Kent's senior planner, Brian Lloyd, said: "We find it somewhat odd that China Gateway International has stated it looks forward to working with the council to 'progress the objectives of the Core Strategy' when this development is not included in the Core Strategy. "
CGI operations director, Rob Prince, said: "I have previously met with several of the residents individually at Western Heights, so was pleased that Lara's event provided a great opportunity to discuss our proposals in a larger group.
"CGI are committed to engaging and consulting with the public and interested parties throughout the planning application process.
"We have significantly reduced the proposed development at Western Heights in our recently submitted planning application. This was as a direct result of public and key stakeholder consultation.
"The plan will create quality housing and much-needed employment within the hotel and conference centre whilst positioning Western Heights a serious offering for tourism with the proposed works at Drop Redoubt/ Grand Shaft.
"CGI had planned to develop through joint venture with Priory Land but this did not proceed. Therefore CGI continued with the proposal with the backing from its primary funder IDB (Israel Discount Bank)."
Plans are available to view on the DDC website. Objections must be lodged by July 9.