The decision to ‘defer and delegate’ approval to officers for 250 homes at Nash Road in Margate has provoked anger amongst objectors.
The application for houses by St Gregory’s school and Salmestone Grange has been submitted by Piper Developments Ltd. The proposal is for 45 x 1 and 2 bed apartments, 65 x 2 bed 110 x 3 bed and 30 x 4 bed homes. 75 of the properties will be “affordable” homes.
The application also outlines road changes with the:
* Provision of new link road between Nash Road and Manston Road, with new roundabout on Manston Road for access into the site (and new service road for properties on Manston Road) and alteration to Nash Road to bring road directly through the site.
* Closure of Nash Road arm of Coffin House Corner, meaning Nash Road only links to Empire Terrace and not junction with Shottendane and Hartsdown Road, with changes to signalling.
* Change in road layout at Manston Road/Shottendane Road junction.
In the design document, it states: “The link between Nash Road and Manston Road will result in the western section of Nash Road being “closed off” as a through route. The benefits this will achieve for the operation of the Coffin House Corner traffic lights is significant and this will also allow safer connectivity to the school from the school catchment area to the north of Nash Road which could help to encourage more walking and cycling by parents and children. The “closed off” section of the highway could also be used as an alternative dropping off area which would not cause disruption to the highway network given that this highway in the future would not be a through route.”
The development would be adjacent to the Grade II* listed Salmestone Grange, which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
The proposals have provoked 27 letters of objection to Thanet council. Among those against the plans are Manston Parish Council and Margate Civic Society.
But planning committee members at a meeting last night (August 16) agreed to delegate the decision to officers. The planning officer attached to the case has recommended approval, saying: ““The provision of 250 dwellings would make a significant contribution to the District’s housing supply, supporting economic and social dimensions of sustainable development, with employment provided through construction. All requests for social contributions towards education and social care have been agreed by the applicant, and 30% on-site affordable housing. This attaches significant weight in favour of the application due to these social and economic benefits.”
Craig Solly, from the Birchington Local Plan Group, said: “The bad feeling was very apparent on the planning application, the Chairman was close to clearing the public gallery.
“The planning application is to build a new roundabout by St Gregory’s school and change the layout of the junction of Manston Road and Shottendane Road, and to close Nash Road at Salmstone Grange.
“People who drive down Shottendane Road will now have to wait because a give way will give priority to the traffic from Westwood and Manston Road. Of course this is the road which Birchington and Westgate residents use to go to Margate.
“The Thanet Transport Strategy was mentioned and this has not been open to public consultation, because it is not ready yet.
“Our independent ward councillor Cllr Brimm spoke in favour of the residents objection, and the public speakers were excellent.
“Keith Coleman-Cooke, Sam Bambridge and Carol Partington rejected the application. They also asked questions to further understand the planning proposal.
“I am flabberghasted by the other members who did not ask questions and just by default took the officers recommendation. My question is, why did they bother becoming a councillor?
“The Local Plan process is a farce, no public consultation on transport and an application goes through which is pivotal to the start of the inner link road. You can safely assume, no matter what a developer submits it will be approved without question. This does not bode well for the future of North Thanet and in Birchington.
“I do recall a council Leader stating in front of his planning officer that he would not approve housing if the funding for roads was not viable. I get a feeling that after (last night’s) circus performance that was just someone uttering words.
“It certainly seems in just after 2 years, we have a council which is as pointless as the previous administration, and the administration before that, and infinitum.”