Thanet council expects work to resubmit the Thanet Draft Local Plan, following the vote to reject publication of the initial plan, to take until next year.
The authority was required to respond to a government threat of intervention, issued in November, for failure to publish an up-to-date local plan – which is a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure in Thanet.
The threat, made by Secretary of State Sajid Javid, 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 on January 30 to be briefed on the next steps in the local plan process. The following day TDC submitted its response to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and made a fresh call for housing sites.
In the response to the Secretary of State TDC says independent expert planning advice 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. A change of status for Manston to a mixed-use designation to include 2,500 homes proved the downfall of the plan. An amendment to defer for two years the mixed-use designation pending the resolution of the DCO process was not sufficient to persuade the majority of councillors.
There were also issues over housing numbers with a strong campaign to protect sites mounted by the Birchington Action Group Against TDC Local Plan members, although this has not been addressed in the response letter to the Secretary of State.
TDC has now told the Secretary of State there will need to be a review of previously submitted, and new, sites; fresh reviews of supporting documents and new reports to council committees.
The letter adds that there now needs to be identification of sites to take the 2,500 homes ‘displaced from the airport site’ plus, possibly, a further 3,090 homes earmarked for the isle if new government calculations are applied.
The authority says this could take between 8-10 months with the intention to publish a pre-submission draft plan by December 2018 with the plan being submitted for examination by April 2019.
The letter, signed by chief executive Madeline Homer, adds: “It is intended to prepare, and publish, a revised Local Development Scheme that reflects the above programme.”
It was originally hoped that there would be a 6-week publication period between January 25 and March 8, when public comments would be made followed by submission to Planning Inspectorate in March and examination in June this year.
Since the vote 14 UKIP members have issued a statement saying they have demanded that Cllr Wells resign with immediate effect, according to a statement from Cabinet member Stuart Piper (pictured) 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.
It is understood a meeting between the ‘rebel’ UKIP councillors and Cllr Wells is expected to take place this evening (February 5).