The Shorncliffe Garrison site covers an area of about 77 hectares and is largely located to the south of Church Road, Folkestone, with a small section of land (St Martin’s Plain) to the west of Church Road and Horn Street.
Phases of development at Shorncliffe Garrison
The principle of redeveloping the site for for residential, recreation, education and community use as part of the Ministry of Defence’s Shorncliffe Rationalisation Project was originally established in the Shepway Local Plan 2013 (Policy SS7). This principle was further enhanced by the granting of outline planning permission for a residential development of up to 1,200 homes, improved recreation facilities and a new primary school in December 2015.
Our development on this site is known as Shorncliffe Heights.
The Shorncliffe Rationalisation Project
Through the Shorncliffe Rationalisation Project the Ministry of Defence (MoD) aims to reduce its Shorncliffe footprint to provide a more secure and sustainable site, recycling the proceeds from the sale of surplus land to deliver improved modern defence facilities on the retained site.
We were chosen by the MoD to take the project forward, with the condition that land would be released for development in four phases over 20 years.
To date, detailed (reserved matters) planning consent has been granted for 461 homes, the pavilion, sports pitches, play areas and a doctor’s surgery and retail/café/office space.
The plan to the right (click to enlarge) shows our progress on the various phases of the Shorncliffe development. The phasing reflects how the land is being released by the MoD.
Phases A to D have detailed planning consent and are under construction. Phases E to J and phase M still require detailed consent.
The remaining phases K, L and N relate to open space and land for the primary school, the latter of which will be delivered by Kent County Council.
We began consultation on our Shorncliffe development in 2013 and have held several public events since then. The issues raised are summed up below, along with details on how we have changed our proposals to reflect public feedback.
Highways and access
The impact of the proposed development on the local highway network was a local concern. The issues raised at previous exhibitions are picked up below.
Traffic impact on Church Road and other local roads
Vehicle access to the main part of the development is from a number of locations, including existing locations in Pond Hill Road, from Church Road (near the Army Cadet Force hut) in the north, from the existing access on Royal Military Avenue in the east (opposite St Mark’s Close), and from existing locations along North Road and West Road in the south.
There are additional points of access from Horn Street into St Martin’s Plain and also from Cheriton Court Road. Creating the main site access from Church Road involved some road widening in order to accommodate a right-turn lane.
In order to mitigate any traffic impact, works to improve roads and junctions near the development have been carried out as follows:
Horn Street Bridge
In order to reduce queuing at Horn Street Bridge, we changed the traffic flow so Church Road receives priority over Horn Street. This is controlled by a yellow box to deter vehicles from blocking the junction.
These improvements (pictured below) were approved by Kent County Council as the highways authority and the former Shepway District Council as part of the outline planning consent for Shorncliffe and the work is now complete.
Shepway District Council tested the impact of widening the bridge in preparation of its core strategy, and it was found that a widening scheme was not necessary to delivery the required level of improvement to traffic flows. These findings were supported by traffic assessments undertaken by Taylor Wimpey.
Our proposed improvements at Horn Street bridge
As part of the junction improvements a relocated pedestrian crossing was also installed in Church Road along with a new crossing to the north of the entrance to the St Martin’s Plain development.
A widened footpath along the north-eastern side of Horn Street was installed to provide a safe and direct link to St Martin’s Plain and the dedicated pedestrian bridge crossing the railway line (pictured below).
Our proposed improvements at the St Martin's Plain access junction.
All roads throughout the development will be pedestrian-friendly. The primary north-south link will have a dedicated shared footpath and cycleway down one side (east) and a standard footpath on the other side (west), which will link to a pedestrian/cycle-only section through Le Quesne and the school.
South of North Road the primary north-south link will once again have a dedicated footpath and cycleway and will link in to the existing bridleway which runs through the Backdoor Training Area.
Secondary routes running east-west with pedestrian footpaths will link Royal Military Avenue (and adjacent roads) to The Stadium, Pond Hill Road and through to the existing footpath routes within the Backdoor Training Area.
Highways improvements secured to date
Delivered before works began:
- Improvements to Horn Street Bridge (see above)
- Change in priority of Church Road / Horn Street (see above)
- Site access from Church Road (illustrated below)
Our proposed Church Road access junction.
Other highways works to be delivered by Taylor Wimpey:
- Site access to St Martin’s Plain including a new pedestrian/cycle crossing and links along Horn Street (see above)
- Improved site access from Royal Military Avenue at the junction with St Mark’s Close (illustrated below)
- Improved junction arrangement of North Road/Pond Hill Road/West Road
- Additional parking for public use at The Pavilion (at The Stadium) which can be used by parents dropping off and collecting children at Cheriton Primary School
- New and improved site accesses for the development along North Road, West Road, Pond Hill Road and Cheriton Court Close
- New pedestrian and cycle links to and from the site at a number of locations
- Improvement to bus stops and bus routes in the vicinity of the development
Our proposed access arrangements for Royal Military Avenue.
Other highways works to be delivered by Kent County Council with contributions from Taylor Wimpey:
- Junction improvements to Horn Street/Cheriton High Street
- Junction improvements to Cheriton High Street/Cheriton Interchange (Tesco junction)
- Junction improvements to A20 Cheriton High Street/Risborough Lane
Improved bus services
Bus operator Stagecoach is reviewing its routes through the site as development progresses. The primary routes through the site were designed to accommodate two-way bus flow in anticipation of potential new services.
The following link shows the latest bus map for the Folkestone area: Folkestone Network Map
Backdoor Training Area
In consultation with Folkestone and Hythe District Council (previously Shepway District Council), Kent County Council and English Heritage, we are developing a strategy to improve access to the Backdoor Training Area (pictured right), to enhance the recreational and ecological value of the space and to ensure the retention of heritage assets. It is important that these interests are balanced to ensure future enjoyment of this large area by all.
The backdoor training area
The Martello Tower is the oldest military structure in this area and is shown in plans from 1808. The tower is on Taylor Wimpey land.
To the east lies the Old Redoubt, a Scheduled Ancient Monument which was a defensive earthen fort designed in 1794.
During the First World War a series of trenches were excavated in the west of the Backdoor Training Area for the training of new troops and defence against German invasion. Four pillboxes constructed during the Second World War are located here along with further trenches and machine gun, mortar and observation areas from the same period.
The management of the Backdoor Training Area will protect these heritage assets, improving their setting and providing improved access and interpretation to promote public appreciation and understanding.
The Backdoor Training Area is predominantly rough grassland and scrub in the northern sections (area B on the plan), more densely vegetated and wetter areas to the centre (area D) and areas of woodland dominating the southern end (areas E, F, G).
Common reptiles are found in the rough grassland, breeding and migratory birds make good use of the extensive scrub habitats and the mix of habitats supports a range of invertebrates. The woodland is not recorded as being of ancient origin, but mature trees provide an established habitat and some interesting ground flora occurs in places.
Future management of these areas will aim to restore woodland quality and ground flora and to maintain a suitable balance between encroaching scrub and more open tall herb and grassland areas. Low density grazing is proposed within the central and northern areas using old breeds of cattle and pony.
Overall a relatively low-key management approach is envisaged but active conservation management will create a number of benefits for wildlife whilst preserving the character of the area and improving access and enjoyment by local residents.
A key component in establishing this new area of publicly accessible open space is improving the existing footpaths and rights of way.
The main bridleway known as Sandy Lane (HB2 & HF46), which heads southwest from the corner of the Site towards the seafront and the Royal Military Canal, was upgraded at the start of 2018 in order to create a strong connection for pedestrians and cyclists.
At the same time additional improvements were made to other footpaths (HB3 & HF43) to improve usability. New footpaths are proposed to create more circular walks within the valley and to formalise an existing desire line through the northern area, between Pond Hill Road and Cheriton Court Road.
In order to allow this work to take place, we levelled a series of informal bike jumps as well as a track known as the ‘Dagger Trails’ in winter 2017.
Heritage and listed buildings
Key issues raised during the November 2013 public consultation in relation to heritage and listed buildings included the following:
- Concerns about the future of listed buildings
- Careful consideration should be given to the preservation of the Old Redoubt
- Development should respect the military heritage of the site
- Proposals should seek to include the retention of the existing water tower
- Full heritage assessment of the site should be carried out
Under our proposals all the listed buildings on site will be retained, including the former Sir John Moore Library, the entrance gates to Risborough Barracks, one of the concrete buildings in Burgoyne Barracks, and the racquet courts (original buildings only). We are also proposing to retain the water tower which sits at the top of Hospital Hill and the officers’ mess at Risborough Barracks
To secure the long-term future of the buildings, planning consent was sought for a range of uses including offices, children's nursery and/or other community uses such as a hall.
A full heritage assessment has been carried out and submitted as part of the planning application. All buildings which aren't listed will also be recorded before any demolition takes place.
Open space and play equipment
During the November 2013 public consultation, people said they wanted to see existing green spaces preserved. They asked for more trees, plants and open spaces to be provided within our scheme. People also said they'd like to see play areas incorporated within the proposed development.
The existing areas of public open space will be retained within the development site. The Stadium has been retained (but reconfigured) with improvements to sports facilities including the retention of and improvements to four existing full-size football pitches and a new changing room pavilion/cadet hut, which is well under construction (pictured right).
Le Quesne will be retained for recreational use and a new cricket pitch and mini football pitches will be provided in the western area, along with toilet facilities.
In addition to the formal sports areas, there will be other areas of open space for play and relaxation. Up to 10.5 hectares of open space will be provided across the site in addition to the Backdoor Training Area.
Of the 10.5 hectares of open space, up to 1.4 hectares will be for equipped play areas. Initial discussions with the former Shepway District Council shaped our plan to provide one focal area of play equipment near the primary school and a smaller area at The Stadium. There will also be other areas of natural play.
Ecology and trees
Our Shorncliffe Heights site will be built largely on areas of the Barracks which have previously been developed, with many of the existing green spaces preserved as recreation areas or public open space and the woodland at the south-western corner maintained as a nature conservation area.
A tree survey was carried out prior to the submission of outline planning permission. Trees which are of good value and worthy of retention will be kept where possible and sensitively integrated into the development. The retention of existing mature trees will contribute to the character and quality of the development and provide instant green coverage.
An ecological appraisal was carried out along with a number of detailed surveys of flora and fauna. A detailed assessment of the implications of development on local wildlife was submitted as part of the outline planning application. As the site is being transferred to Taylor Wimpey and developed on a phased basis, subsequent ecological survey work and mitigation measures have been undertaken and identified as detailed (reserved matters) applications are submitted. Appropriate measures have been set out to protect existing wildlife, such as nesting birds, bats and reptiles, both during construction and into the future. We have outlined opportunities to enhance biodiversity, both within the development areas and within the wider areas of informal open space.
Surface water drainage from the proposed development will be dealt with via a sustainable drainage system, where ground conditions allow. This will incorporate a range of techniques and features such as swales (natural landscaped features capable of storing excess water in the event of exceptionally heavy rainfall) to manage and control surface water and reduce flood risk. The system has been designed to ensure it does not increase the risk of flooding off site.
A strong spine road running north to south through the development will frame views through to the Downs and the Shepway Horse. The development will also respond to the long views over the Seabrook Valley.