Political group leaders at Thanet council will meet on January 30 to be briefed on what options they have to move forward with the isle’s draft local plan.
The proposal to take the plan to publication stage was voted down by 35 councillors against, with 20 in favour, at a meeting last week.
The failure to have the plan published could mean central government stepping in to take over the blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure in Thanet.
A threat of government intervention was issued in November by Secretary of State Sajid Javid. He said the failure of Thanet and 14 other authorities to meet deadlines to put a local plan in place meant the government serving notice of its intention to intervene.
In his letter Sajid Javid said Thanet, and the other authorities, had until January 31 to justify to Government the failure to produce a Local Plan.
Following that deadline it should be clear what levels of intervention may be relevant to Thanet.
Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Chris Wells, said: “There has been a lot of commentary during the days since last week’s local plan vote. The facts remain pretty simple. It is my view that the decision by councillors to vote down the proposed local plan will have consequences and these consequences will only become clear over the coming days and weeks.
“The reasons councillors give for voting the plan down are varied. There has been a suggestion that the plan was not sound. I can clarify, only a planning inspector can decide that and voting not to submit, means the planning inspector does not get to make that judgement.
“Some hold the view that the housing total was too high, yet the vote now means risk of additional housing numbers.
“Other views are in relation to retaining the airport, but there is no formal evidence to demonstrate a viable airport is achievable within the Local Plan period in order to include it for consideration.
“The Leader of any council has a responsibility above party politics. Part of that is to ensure any proposals for the area are legally safe, and within Government guidelines. Whilst we continue to seek evidenced alternatives to get a local plan through, as a council already in intervention, the options are limited.
“I take my responsibility as Leader seriously and believe we must make decisions based on fact.”
Cllr Wells suffered defeat on the proposal when 12 of his own UKIP members aligned with the Conservative Party and three Independents to vote down taking the Local Plan to the publication stage.
A change of status for Manston to a mixed-use designation to include 2,500 homes proved the downfall of the plan, with 35 councillors rejecting the proposal to put it forward for publication.
An amendment to defer for two years the mixed-use designation pending the resolution of the DCO process was not enough to persuade the majority of councillors.
Since the vote 14 UKIP members have issued a demand that Cllr Wells resign with immediate effect, according to a statement from Cabinet member Stuart Piper on behalf of the group.
Cllr Wells has not resigned his post and is said to have removed Cllr Piper from his Cabinet role for housing.
He told The Isle of Thanet News: “I understand Cllr Piper has expressed dissatisfaction in his Cabinet role. I would not want an unhappy Cabinet member, so am happy to release him from irksome duty”.
Cllr Piper said he learned of the ‘sacking’ from a facebook post. He later received an email on the issue.
He added: “This is an entirely predictable response from Chris Wells who does not handle disagreement at any level. I am surprised he waited as long as he did but then he has consistently denied any request that he resign so at least by this move he can deny it no longer.”
Cllr Piper’s details have been removed from the Thanet council page listing Cabinet posts and those responsible for them.