Saturday 23 June 2018

The new Thanet Local Plan

On the 2nd July 2018 the Tory Cabinet meet to discuss what to do with the delayed Local Plan, The agenda for this meeting has been published here however it is 459 pages so I have attempted to condense this into something a bit more practical.

Why is this important to the people of Thanet? It is important because it sets the agenda for the development and growth of Thanet until 2031 and has been delayed since 2011 which has led to the loss of farmland to housing simply because without a 5 year supply of building land any developer being refused planning permission will invariably win on appeal.

On page 7 the 2 options are set out
 Option 1 (which is the option the officers recommend)
It would also vindicate the UKIP administration under Chris Wells which was voted down by 35 members comprising 21 Tories and 14 ex-UKIP defectors.

Option 2

There are several issues and risks associated with option 2 and to highlight these risks annex 3 has been added and will be mentioned in a minute
Firstly the legal protection EC04, which was included in the last Local plan and selected as a saved policy will be removed. It is removed because Thanet holds NO evidence that Manston could be viable as an airport. This will be replaced with "text that recognises the existing (past) (* author's addition) use of the Airport.
Clearly the planners aren't happy with Policy EC04 as they continue "The statement regarding existing use is NOT a policy statement, it is simply a recognition of the current planning status of the site This also means Policy EC04 (and other airport-related policies) would NOT be continued with equivalent policies in the new Local Plan."

In plain English you cannot have a policy without evidence that the policy is sound and this is reflected in Annex 3 Risks
In plain English there is a high chance that if option 2 is adopted and the DCO fails then the plans that Stone Hill Park have already published will happen along with the other allocations. In other words the 3700 houses in the plans submitted will happen ON TOP of the Local Plan

Further this acceptance of option 2 would also mean the removal of the 2500 houses from the Manston site and redistribution to alternate sites as referred to is the document on page 8.
Bearing in mind the difficulty the Planning Department had and the constraints they were working under what does this mean for the residents of Thanet and especially the villages?

Let me make this clear this means Birchington will have 1600 homes, Westgate 2000 and land to the south of Westwood along the Haine Road an additional 1200 (currently over 3000 have already been given Planning Permission some on allocated sites and some granted on appeal because there is no Local Plan). So what does this mean for these sites?



Westwood/Haine Road

So what does this mean for Thanet?

To stroke the egos of 35 Councillors who are supporting an airport which has never turned a profit in 20 years, has had over 100 £million invested in it and to support a failed airport owner who heads a group based in the tax haven of Belize with their DCO, which incidentally failed at the 1st hurdle of even being accepted as a DCO, the people of Thanet are having their village life disrupted for ever to chase a dream.

What does this mean for Stone Hill Park who actually own the land?
In plain English whether the DCO succeeds (doubtful) or not their plans will be shelved until 2031. My opinion is they will not take that lightly and their representation to the Ministry for Housing, Community, and Local Democracy will be "interesting".