I hope you are having a good august. As you’ll have seen first hand, or may have picked up from the SCF Facebook site, the grass has now been cut, and the hay has been made! So the fields are very much in late summer mode – for example, see image of Dover Down field below. This Blog will pick up some of the threads of the last one, and is interspersed with some recent snaps from the fields:
Draft District Plan consultation deadline looms
A reminder: The deadline for sending in your responses to Canterbury City Council (CCC) in relation to the proposed local plan, which has enormous implications for the character of our landscape and environment for years to come, is the end this month (5pm Friday 30 August). In an earlier Blog I included a link to the relevant website. However, it is clear that some people have found understanding and navigating the specific route for responding presented via this portal to be opaque and excessively complicated.
I was pleased to learn earlier this week that local community groups are sensibly suggesting that people can respond in a much simpler and less time consuming way: CCC should still take your feedback into account to the same extent as if you had followed the tortuous portal approach.
What is this simpler approach? In what follows I have drawn upon and supplemented the guidance of one of the leading community groups the material relating most obviously to the situation regarding chaucer fields, the unspoilt southern slopes and the University. They rightly emphasise you shouldn’t feel the need to make a detailed or complicated response: a simple snail mail letter or e-mail will do. But it’s a good idea to say which particular enumerated and named policies you’re referring to, where this is possible:
- · Write to or email CCC if you agree with the proposal that the University of Kent should be required to produce a Masterplan for its campus, which maintains its campus character, respects the setting of the site in the wider countryside, and includes a landscape strategy, write to say that you support policy EMP7.
- · Write to or email CCC If you agree with the proposals to protect the environment, including views across the city from the University slopes, and protecting open spaces, write to say that you support policies HE2, LB2 and OS8
- Write to or email CCC if you welcome the provisional decision not to consider the Southern Slopes as a potential site for housing development (200-300 houses) because this would dramatically violate Sustainability Objectives (Evidence base: the SHLAA-sites-Analysis conducted by AMEC for CCC in 2012)
You can send your comments by post to Planning Policy Team, Planning and Regeneration, Canterbury City Council, Military Road, Canterbury, CT11YW; or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
CAT Open Day, archaeological excavations
I attended this fascinating event in the morning. Expert CAT staff were on hand to share their wealth of knowledge about how what is being found on the Keynes III/Turing college site adds to our understanding of how our ancestors were living 2-3 millenia ago. A highly informative guided tour of the site was provided. Amongst the highlights for me on the day were:
- learning that the place was a local centre for our ancestors throughout the entire iron age, although there was also modest evidence of settlement as early as the bronze age. It would have been a hive of activity at the same time that Bigbury camp, just a few miles away near Harbledown (well known internationally as the place for a key military struggle between local people and the invading forces of emperor Claudius in 54 AD) was also famously flourishing
- finding out that the site hosted differentiated areas for habitation (evidenced, for example, by pottery and charcoal from fire pits) and working life (including textiles: in particular numerous loom weights have been found). There is also ample evidence of burial and material relating to funeral pyres, suggesting that sacramental ceremonies would also have been performed here
- confirming that the people who inhabited the site were involved in trade and transactions with others from outside the area, and even beyond England. Kent has long been proud of its role as a vanguard of civilisation in the British Isles from before the common era, a status documented by contemporary Roman writers. A beautiful horse-design coin originating from the North West of continental Europe, then part of the Roman empire (perhaps from what is now Belgium or France), probably about two thousand years old,has been unearthed on the Keynes III/Turing site (see image). Our iron age ancestors in this place were apparently systematically engaging in monetized commerce with our continental neighbours when other parts of the country were still relatively insular and isolated!
Please see the CAT project site for more on this project in general. At the time of writing information on the success of the open day has not yet been posted, but hopefully an update will appear soon.
Next CFPS Picnic: Date confirmed
I am delighted to announce that discussions on the timing of the collaborative picnic involving CFPS with local civil society groups has progressed, and we have now agreed a date: PM SATURDAY 21st September. Please put the date in your diaries now. I’ll report more detail on the plans in a future blog in terms of timing and content, but it’ll include all the usual CFPS activities (socialising, formal games, informal play, musical entertainment etc) and more besides.
Enjoy the rest of your week!
Chaucer Fields Picnic Society