What does OHSCA do?
Amongst its regular activities are the following:
- Publishing an informative quarterly Members' Newsletter
- The thorough scrutiny of local planning applications
- Commenting on a wide range of development, amenity and transport proposals affecting the whole district
- Making representation to the City Council on behalf of members with legitimate environmental grievances
- Social events including garden plant swaps, talks on matters of local interest, picnics, parties often in members' gardens, historical and nature walks
- Running a Local History Group which publishes booklets on the history of local families and streets
- Improving our local environment by means of tree-planting, shrub-planting, and regular litter-picks
On many issues the Society does not act alone but in partnership with other like-minded organisations actively participating in the Canterbury Heritage Design Forum and other similar bodies.
History of The Association
Two well-known Canterbury residents’ associations, Oaten Hill & District Society and South Canterbury Residents Association, merged in November 2016 to form a new community group, Oaten Hill & South Canterbury Association (OHSCA).
The Oaten Hill and District Society originally came into existence in April 1974 when a planning application was submitted to convert the house known as The Shrubbery, located at the junction of Oaten Hill and Upper Chantry Lane, into offices. If successful this would have led to the many fine trees in the garden being destroyed. Local residents went into action, the trees were saved, and Oaten Hill and District Society was born.
Over many years OHDS raised money for and carried out effective tree, shrub and flower-planting in public spaces in our area and was vigilant regarding local planning applications. An energetic history association was also formed. The OHDS Local History Group continues to make a key contribution to recording and understanding the area’s social history, and helps to increase public awareness through publications.
South Canterbury Residents Association represented local residents for over five years, ensuring the City Council was aware of the opposition to various Ridlands Farm schemes, oversized and inappropriate residential developments, reduction in councillor numbers, and concerns about the Draft Local Plan. SCRA organised many community events like walks and plant exchanges.
In 2016 the strengths of the two memberships were brought together in OHSCA. This has enabled us to arrange more community activities for our members and, by representing an area which includes more than 2000 households, we have increased our influence on many local planning and environmental decisions that affect us all.
What have we achieved?
The two organisations that recently combined to form OHSCA were engaged over the years in a wide range of activities and initiatives. The following are but a few examples:
- Commissioning the creation of the murals depicting local scenes and prominent local or visiting personalities that are to be found on the walls of the south-western side of the St.George's Underpass.
- Spearheading the campaign that successfully saw the removal of the City Coach Park from Longport to Kingsmead.
- Vigilance over planning matters has prevented the worst excesses of development detrimental to the area taking place.
- Continued opposition to the over-development of leafy areas such as back gardens of large properties.
- Tree planting at St. George's Place, New Dover Road, Upper Chantry Lane and Lesley Avenue has been supported with donations from the Association and its members.
- At the Public Enquiry, helped successfully oppose the relocation of Canterbury College by raising concern about additional traffic and wanting to keep the College close to the local community.
- Successful opposition to plans to convert publicly owned land at Ridlands Farm into a private sports centre, or a football stadium for club spectators only.
- Being amongst the leading campaigners in the fight to stop the downgrading of the Kent and Canterbury Hospital and helped to set up the Concern for Health in East Kent (CHEK).
OHSCA's main local area of interest is defined by this map, which includes about 2000 households, but we also act on Canterbury-wide matters that affect our area of South Canterbury and co-operate with neighbouring residents’ associations. We are an active member of the Southern Canterbury Alliance of RAs (SCA) and also of the Alliance of Canterbury Residents’ Associations (ACRA).