St Mary Bredin School site: CA//17/02456.
Comment by Professor Jan Pahl
The proposals to develop this site have aroused great concern both among local residents and among national bodies concerned with our heritage. There is only space here to summarise these concerns.
There are at least three problems with this proposal.
First, there is the loss of what is surely a historic site, of great relevance to the history of Canterbury. In his letter of 20th March 2017 Paul Roberts, Inspector of Ancient Buildings for Historic England, said: ‘We think that the archaeological remains are of national importance and should be considered of equivalent importance to a scheduled monument’. He went on say that if the site had to be developed there should be archaeological excavation, but concluded that, ‘If such archaeological work does not appear likely to be adequately provisioned we would recommend scheduling of the site in order to secure it’.
Secondly, there is the damaging impact of the proposed new building on the ring road and on the Dane John Gardens. Creating yet another building five stories high will create a wall of buildings from Augustine House round to Club Chemistry. The ring road will become a kind of canyon in which a permanent traffic jam is squashed between the historic city walls and the towering new developments. At the same time the proposed buildings will also loom over the view of the city walls from the Dane John Gardens. The height of any new build should be limited so that, viewed from inside the city, the wall stands up against the sky as it has done for many centuries.
Thirdly, there is the need for open space in a part of the city which is currently desperately short of such space. There are already around 1000 students living in tiny units along the ring road and they have very little outdoor green space to enjoy. Creating a small park on this site, focused on its history, would add more to the quality of life for both local residents and visitors rather than building yet another over-high block of cheap housing for students.
Professor Jan Pahl
1 December 2017