As part of the approved planning agreement, we will make a total contribution of over £2.8 million to the local community, including:
- £733,247 towards the expansion of Pilgrims Way Primary School
- £1,479,619 towards a new-build secondary school
- £18,175 towards community learning
- £28,815 towards local libraries
- £6,336 towards youth provision
- £27,885 towards social care
- £500,000 towards the Chaucer Roundabout (Tourtel Junction) improvements works
- An estimated £30,000 for bus stop improvements in Littlebourne Road
- £10,000 towards Brymore Estate (traffic regulation order)
- £20,295 towards public right of way improvements.
We give military veteran Blue a flagpole memento
We have given an armed forces veteran, who served more than 20 years at the former Howe Barracks site in Canterbury, the head of the flagpole that was based outside his regimental headquarters during his time there.
We made the gesture to Blue Cooper as we prepare our plans to redevelop the site.
Blue served in the 3rd Battalion Queen’s Regiment from 1966 to 1988, joining as a Private and leaving as a Pioneer Sergeant. Howe Barracks served as the depot for the unit and Blue remembers his time with the battalion fondly.
“When I first walked through the gate with my Teddy Boy’s haircut in ’66, I saw the flagpole for the first time and it remained there throughout my time with the unit, which also became known as the Vipers club,” says Blue. “It’s lovely to have it as a little memento for the Vipers club – it’ll be on the top table at our next reunion.”
Blue was initially part of the Royal Sussex Regiment from the Home Counties Brigade, and after passing the 15 weeks basic training at Howe Barracks was posted to the Queen’s Regiment. His 3rd Battalion specialised in combat engineering.
“We were stationed abroad several times,” Blue adds. “We did seven tours of Northern Ireland, two tours of Belize in Central America, where we helped the local population by building bridges and constructing a watchtower. I remember doing a lot of field engineering and demolition work in Kenya, Libya and Canada, while we also went to Cyprus as part of a UN peacekeeping tour, guarding the peace lines between the Greeks and the Turks.
“They were exciting times but I always liked coming back to Howe Barracks. My favourite part of the place was the cook house. I’d be in there for hours – sometimes the food was good and sometimes not so good! I really loved having mashed potato and chicken in a white sauce. It was a running joke with everyone in the battalion, they’d often say, ‘Have you found the cook house yet, Blue?’”
We have submitted a detailed planning application for 171 new homes, including affordable housing and associated public open space, on Phase 1 of the former Howe Barracks site. As part of the planning agreement, we will retain three of the original buildings – the gymnasium, chapel and small arms trainer – to be transferred to a community trust for community use.
“It will be nice, especially for us veterans, to see the chapel retained,” adds Blue. “We used to march around it with the regimental band and I have great memories of it.”
Joanna Webb, Senior Land & Planning Manager for Taylor Wimpey, says: “We were delighted to donate the flagpole head to Blue, who, like so many servicemen and women that were based at Howe Barracks, carried out a fantastic job in service of their country for so many years.
“We recognise and appreciate the important history of this site and look forward to helping set up a Community Development Trust (CDT) over the next few months, which will be engaged in decision-making about many aspects of the development, including the use of the retained buildings.
“We’re also delighted to help the site live on in the form of providing much-needed housing and community facilities for current and future generations of the area.”
Pictured above is military veteran Blue Cooper (second from right) receiving the head of the flagpole from our Land and Planning Manager Joanna Webb, with our Project Manager Phil Laycock (far right) and Viper club member Len Coombs (far left).