This website is opposed to the University of Kent's development proposals for Chaucer Fields

Latest News

We have some good news.  We were contacted today by the University of Kent to say that they have reconsidered the location for the proposed conference hotel.  Though they remain convinced that such a facility is needed, they now propose to locate it not on the fields of the southern slopes, but on the other side of University Road, closer to Turing College.  We do not know what further proposals may emerge in the future but, for now, the fields are saved!
The message from the university acknowledged the value of the meeting which they had last month with representatives of local residents'
associations.  In our turn we should acknowledge that the university has consulted thoroughly and extensively on its Masterplan, and it is very pleasing that they have responded to the feedback they received.  Thank you, everyone, for your support on this, which has been on-going over many years.  It shows that things can be achieved when a residents' association speaks clearly for the local community.



The Chaucer Fields

Update 2 November 2018

The Stage 2 Framework Masterplan proposes a hotel and conference centre at the top of Chaucer Fields. There is considerable opposition to this. Please read an excellent post detailing the propsal and the opposition:

Update 2 October 2018

A recent 'consultation' in Canterbury was held in Westgate hall on Saturday 6 October. Numerous visitors were dismayed to discover a confusing alarming set of plans. The mood was one of surprise and shock at the latest wave of proposals. These include an intrusive 'hotel/conference' centre, smaller in footprint than the earlier massive plan. The hotel would require the destruction of trees and the construction of a large building with car parks at the top of Chaucer Fields, right on the the green margin that separates and should continue to separate the University's estate planning from the city of Canterbury.

Read more at Chaucer Fields Picnic Society

Based on my own experience there, and discussions with others attending throughout the day, I reached the following conclusion: The University authorities intend to force through the Conferencing Hotel on Chaucer fields/the Southern Slopes if they possibly can by downplaying and belittling the opposition, and making unverified, vague claims about the extent of active endorsement. The grounds for this portrayal, and supporting documentation and downloads to allow you to form your own view, can be found on the Blog. We are now approaching a crunch point with this whole process, not only affecting the obvious campus and chaucer fields, but large swathes of the surrounding area (including vast tracts of traditional agricultural land acquired in recent years, well beyond what is usually assumed to be the northern campus boundary). I know many feel consultation fatigue, but this is too important to ignore. It will shape the future of our local environment in fundamental ways for decades to come . So if you didn't make yesterday's event, can I urge you to attend one of the 3 upcoming events (Tyler Hill, Blean, Darwin College, University of Kent), or submit your feedback by email, to express your views. Best wishes Chaucer Fielder
Chaucer Fields Picnic Society

The Local Plan - Public Consultation February 2017

Following extensive examination, the Inspector has produced a schedule of “Main Modifications” required to make the Local Plan “sound” and compliant with National Policy.  As one of these Main Modifications, he has instructed the Council to delete the proposal to designate the University’s Southern Slopes as a Green Gap.  He says: “Given the status of this area as part of an Area of High Landscape Value and the purposes of Green Gap policy, its designation as a Green Gap has not been justified and it should be deleted from the Local Plan.”

Whilst the designation as an AHLV is welcomed, and is a continuation of the 2006 Local Plan, (Policy R7), we see no reason why the Southern Slopes should not also be designated as a Green Gap, to provide the maximum protection against development. This is what the Planning Policy team recommended when drafting the Local Plan, a decision that was supported by all Members of the City Council in 2014 and a large number of Canterbury residents.

The Council are required to put these modifications out to public consultation.  You now have the opportunity to participate in the consultation, and submit your comments to the Council before Friday 24th March. The Inspector is required to take account of any objections made against his modifications, and we urge you to say that the removal of the Green Gap is a wrong decision, and that the fields should have the strongest possible protection as a green buffer between the University Campus and the City.

The consultation documents can be viewed in pdf form on the Council’s website at:

Paper copies are also available to view at the Council Offices in Military Road and in the library at The Beaney.  The Green Gap Policy modification is on page 109 and referenced as MM 166.

Please take this opportunity to express your support for the protection of Chaucer Fields and the wider Southern Slopes.

August 2016

The Save Chaucer Fields Group was set up in 2011 in response to proposals from the University of Kent to build a significant amount of student accommodation and a hotel and conference centre on the Southern Slopes below University Road.

We and local residents have carried out an active campaign to save the slopes for future generations to use. Our activities include:

• voicing objections to the original 2011 planning application, including an extensive portfolio of evidence to support the objections,
• raising the profile of this essential green space and gained support from local politicians,
• submission of a Village Green Application, that was taken to a Public Inquiry in 2015.

We feel we have been successful in highlighting to the University of Kent, the strength of feeling from local residents to preserve the fields for the benefit of all and to protecting a very important semi-natural environment.

University of Kent Campus Master Plan Consultation June 2016

We are pleased to say that the University of Kent is now engaging with local Residents’ Associations. They are developing a Master Plan of their ideas for the future of their estate for the next 50 years. The aim is create “the best Garden Campus in the UK”. They want to concentrate most development at the ‘campus heart’.
The Southern Slopes are incorporated into an area the planners call ‘The Parklands’ The University acknowledges what the slopes bring to Canterbury, residents, students and the University saying ‘ The Parklands - the green open space that surrounds the existing heart of the University - are a great asset in providing a green setting to the University and as a landscape demarcation from the City’. But they also say ‘However, the Parklands will also provide a location for the continued development of new buildings and other facilities as and when appropriate’.
The proposals still keep open the possibility of building a conference centre at some time in the future, with perhaps 150 bedrooms, on the fields, and one is shown on the map below. It's important to recognise that this is not at present a definite proposal, but residents would of course still wish to preserve and protect the fields. Some residents have suggested that a more suitable location for a conference centre would be north of the University Road, perhaps near the Innovation Centre or Beverly Farmhouse.

Initial UKC Proposals for the development of the slopes

The first phase of the Concept Master Plan Consultation is to gather feedback about the proposals from interested people by mid August. The University will carry out more technical design work, consider the comments received, and present a preferred option for further consultation in the Autumn. It is available on-line now at The University would like to get the Master Plan included as possible supplementary planning guidance to the emerging Local Plan, so it is important that you feed into this initial consultation if you have any views or suggestions about the proposals.

June 2015

Village Green Public Inquiry

The wait is over.  The long-delayed Public Inquiry for our Village Green Application to protect ‘Chaucer Fields’ starts on 23rd February. You can make a donation today at This will be used to present the case for those opposed to the proposed development. Also see the donations page.
We originally submitted the application in April 2011.  The preliminary hearing took place in September 2012, and the KCC Panel decided to hold a Public Inquiry, for an independent Inspector to consider the evidence.  The holding of the Inquiry was then held up by a legal wrangle over what evidence we could submit and how far back we could go.  Now, at last, the Inquiry is about to happen.
It will take place from Monday 23rd February to Friday 27th February, starting at 10 am each day, in the Westgate Hall, Canterbury.  It will then adjourn for two weeks, and resume on Monday 16th March for as much of that week as is needed to hear all the evidence.  We have to show that the fields have been used ‘as of right’ by local people, for recreational purposes, for a period of at least 20 years.  We have more than 20 oral witnesses who, we know, will provide strong evidence that the fields have been used in that way – and we all know that they have.  Their evidence will be backed up by about 20 written statements, along with all the questionnaire replies and letters written by so many of you since this whole process started.
We can’t be at all certain of the outcome, but we know that we have a strong case, and it would be good if you could show that you think so too.  The Inquiry is open to any members of the public.  If you can spare any time to attend, do come and listen to what is said, and show your support.  Only the scheduled witnesses and the two legal teams will be entitled to speak, but a good public attendance will all help to show how much local people value the fields, and how important it is to us to preserve them for future generations.

Current Planning Application to expand Kent Business School in Parkwood

We’ve always been concerned that it is only a matter of time before The University submits a new planning application for its proposed hotel and conference centre on Chaucer Fields as presented to the public in September 2012. The University’s determination to eventually build on Chaucer Fields was recently demonstrated in a planning application they made to extend the Kent Business School situated in Parkwood. Their architects have carried out an extensive site selection process which involved assessing 23 potential development sites within The University’s landholdings.

These include the whole of the Southern Slopes which have been split up into three separate sites: Southern Slopes - East, Southern Slopes - Central and Southern Slopes - West. There are some revealing but rather alarming statements in the assessments:- “The site is within easy walking distance of the centre of campus and reasonable walking distance to the City Centre” ----------- “This is a large area of land which in physical terms has the capacity to accommodate a significant amount of development” ---------- “As previously un-developed land, this area is relatively unconstrained in terms of the physical built environment and could be developed with little disruption to the University operations”.

The assessment acknowledges that because part of the area is the subject of a “Village Green Application”, they are currently not suitable to consider for development of the Kent Business School.

However, these assessments certainly demonstrate that despite the delay since the new hotel / conference proposals were presented to the public in September 2012, the University has not given up on their desire to use the fields for development at sometime in the future. This reinforces why we need a SAVE CHAUCER FIELDS campaign and why the support of local residents and other interested members of the public are so important!!

You can make a donation today at This will be used to present the case for those opposed to the proposed development.

  • Many thanks to all who have already given support to our campaign, and we hope that when the time comes the whole community will join with us to vigorously campaign to Save Chaucer Fields for the benefit of our all in our community and for future generations.

    What is The ‘Save Chaucer Fields’ Campaign?

    The Save Chaucer Fields Group is an alliance of local Residents’ Associations campaigning to save the green open space known as the Southern Slopes south of the University of Kent for the benefit of the whole community, and to preserve the much valued and historic landscape for future generations.

    In November 2010, the University of Kent (UKC) made it known that it wished to build a large complex comprising 7 blocks for student accommodation and a 150 bedroom hotel / conference centre – destroying this beautiful scenic green area, and the many trees and hedgerows that have been in existence for over 200 years.

    Residents including students have come together to save this land from development. The University of Kent’s Canterbury campus is a large beautiful campus of over 300 acres. We support the University in being a viable successful business and education facility, but believe there are many more suitable locations on central campus where student accommodation and conference facilities can be placed.

    The University of Kent submitted a Planning Application for the development in March 2011. However due to the high level of opposition to the scheme, they asked the City Council to defer The Application and after 18 months of delay, in September 2012 they withdrew the application.

    After Public Consultation for a revised scheme, they submitted a Planning Application for student accommodation on central campus in October 2012 which was approved in March 2013. But, they still want to build a 150 bedroom hotel / conference centre and 158 annex bedroom suites suitable for post graduate students or conference delegates, on Chaucer Fields.

    View larger Google Map of Chaucer Fields in a new window

    Your photos & enjoyment of the fields

    We often review and update this web-site. We want to add your old photos that you have taken of the fields (views, scenery and your enjoyment) on our web-site and Facebook to show how important and beautiful this land is to Canterbury and its residents including students. If you have any photos please email them to us. Or if you can’t scan in your photo you can drop it round to us.

    Our work

    Village Green Application
    We have worked together to save this land. Our current main focus is applying to make the southern slopes and fields (now referred to as Chaucer Fields) a village green. A Public Inquiry about this is due to be held on the week starting 18th March. For more information please click on this link. …
    If we are successful this land will be saved for future generations.

    Planning objections
    We notified many Canterbury residents when the initial planning application was submitted in 2011. We also sent a petition to Canterbury Council. We compiled a folder of very thorough evidence and objections why planning should not be agreed, and sent it to Canterbury Council and the local councillors.
    Our campaign succeeded in making The University rethink its plans and in September 2012 it withdrew the original application. When a new Planning Application is submitted we will thoroughly examine it and submit our case to Canterbury City Council.

    Communication & Campaign materials
    We have sent a variety of newsletters and letters to supporters, residents and local councillors and other bodies. We also send press releases to local newspapers when relevant, and keep our web-site and Facebook pages updated.

    Fund raising
    Everyone helping in the campaign is a volunteer, giving up their time to help save the fields. We do have costs to bear that we need help with. Thank-you to everyone for their donations to date, but we still have some major expenses to incur as we need legal representation at the Public Inquiry. Your past donations have been used for:

    • Legal advice in objecting to the original Planning Application.
    • Professional printing costs for presentation of our objection document to the City Council and to Councillors who sit on the Planning Committee.
    • Hall hire for public awareness presentations and fund raising events.
    • Printing and distribution of Newsletters.

    We are fighting our case against a very large business. The University of Kent published in its July 2011 Financial Statements that it has an income of £182 million and had a £15 million surplus.
    Fund raising is ongoing and we need to raise a substantial sum to fund the Village Green Public Inquiry as well as a revised Planning Application when it is submitted.
    To make a donation towards our barrister costs, or if you have any fundraising ideas please click on the donations link…

    Further information:
    View a map of the area.
    Read the timeline

    The campaign and this website have been developed in liaison with students from the University of Kent and the numerous opponents to the proposed plans that would remove a vital greenfield amenity space from Canterbury.