Thanet council will call for new housing sites due to the Local Plan rejection vote

Chris Wells

Thanet council will put out a fresh call for housing sites following the rejection of the proposal to take the Local Plan to publication stage at a meeting on January 18.

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.

Thanet political group leaders met yesterday (January 30) to discuss the next steps and today TDC is submitting its response to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on its exceptional circumstances and proposals for progressing with the plan.

Further independent expert planning advice has been sought, which TDC says confirmed that the draft Local Plan recommended to Full Council would have met the required tests of ‘soundness’.

However, the next stage of the plan was voted down by 35 councillors against, with 20 in favour,

The council will be seeking permission to publish the response to government in full once it has been considered by the Secretary of State.

As a result of the rejection of the plan the council will also be putting out the fresh “call for sites”, as there is now a requirement to identify additional locations for housing across the district in order to achieve required land supply.


Councillors voted the plan down

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 has removed Cllr Piper from his Cabinet role for housing.

A threat by the UKIP councillors who voted down the plan to leave the party and stand as Independents has not come to fruition. A call for a vote of no confidence in Cllr Wells by Thanet Tory Party leader Cllr Bob Bayford is unlikely to take place if the UKIP members do not quit the group at council.

Read here: The Local Plan and the issue of the Manston airport site