Residents turn out for protest march against 2,000 homes plan for Westgate and Garlinge

Gathering for the protest march Photo Ken Wraight

Dozens of people joined a march in Westgate and Garlinge this morning (September 1) to protest at plans for 2,000 new homes to be built on greenfield land either side on Minster Road.

The proposals are part of the Thanet Draft Local Plan – drawn up by the council as a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure up until 2031.

A total of 17,140 homes are earmarked for completion by 2031. Of that number 2,182 have already been built (up to March 2018) with 4,500 scheduled for delivery by 2021; 5,500 between 2021 and 2026 and 5,585 between 2026 and 2031. A proportion of these already have planning permission – 4,294 – some are ‘windfall’ sites – 2250- and 357 are empty homes. Around 8939 still need to be accounted for.

Westgate was originally allocated 1,000 of those homes but a vote aimed at retaining aviation at Manston airport-a U-turn on the mixed-use development including 2,500 homes that was recommended in a version of the draft plan voted down in January – means the 2,500 homes have been reallocated to new sites.

2,000 homes are planned for greenfield sites either side of Minster Road in Westgate

The reallocation resulted in an extra 1,000 homes for greenfield sites either side of Minster Road in Westgate, bringing the draft plan total for the area to 2,000. The homes are scheduled to be phased in near the end of the draft plan period.

The march was organised by Westgate-on-Sea Town Council and  initiated by Cllr Hannah Scott – Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and also backed by members of the Westgate Development Concerns group.

It started outside the Hussar pub in Garlinge and followed a route to Westgate Library and then to The Swan, Westgate.

The march was well received by passers-by and  drivers who tooted their support.

Cllr Scott said: “It went really well and we gathered about 100 people along the way.There was a great atmosphere.”

The group says the building of homes should not be on agricultural land. They have also questioned whether the sites are simply being used to provide funding for new road infrastructure at Westwood Cross.

Photo John Smiddy Smith

Westgate Town Council will write a representation against the 2000 houses and is encouraging residents to write in again.

There is also a meeting organised by the town council for people to raise there concerns which will be held at the Lymington Road community centre on September 12 at 7pm.

A second protest will be held on September 18 at 6pm outside the Thanet council offices in Cecil Square. This will coincide with a Cabinet members meeting that night.

Cllr Scott said: “This protest will be for everyone who is against the 17.1k houses planned and against the building on agricultural land.”

Photo John Smiddy Smith

The beginning of the protest also attracted some protesters who displayed a banner saying ‘Build on Manston, the viable alternative’ in reference to the proposals  in the rejected draft plan to earmark the site for housing and business.

The Westgate group say this was not part of the official protest.

Find more about the Westgate group here

Find the draft Local Plan here

8 Comments

  1. The banner saying “Build on Manston the Viable Alternative” had nothing to do with “anti airport protesters” and everything to do with common sense.
    If you must, at the government’s insistance, build 1000s of houses, then where’s the first place you look? The little remaining green fields around the Villages, or the 100s of acres of brownfield, currently doing nothing at all?

  2. “The beginning of the protest also attracted some anti-airport protesters who displayed a banner saying ‘Build on Manston, the viable alternative’ in reference to the proposals in the rejected draft plan to earmark the site for housing and business.”
    Your comments, I believe?

  3. The blame for an additional 1000 houses in Westgate lies squarely on the shoulders of the local Tories, who voted against building on the former Manston airport, preferring to build thousands of houses in Westgate, Birchington, Hartsdown, Westwood and Minster. Shame on the local Tories, ,especially the two Tory Westgate District councillors.

  4. Spot on westgate resident !! Especially as the two westgate ward councillors voted for the airport and the extra 1000 houses for westgate and then had the nerve to be photographed on the protest march AGAINST the houses!!

  5. What everyone is getting wrong is you are trying to provide somewhere for these houses to be built when the reality is the need isn’t there for Thanet residents, the 1000 homes are for people who don’t even live near Thanet. A better campaign is Don’t build houses before jobs!

  6. Duurh! Why did the Tory council vote to make Manston for aviation use only in the Local Plan, when it is a disused airport, a Brownfield site, which should take priority over Greenfield, and which can happily accommodate thousands of new houses! Tory and some UKIP Councillors stand accused of double standards, and hypocrisy, don’t vote for them next year unless you want to see thousands of new houses being built on the green fields of Thanet! Email in to TDC Planning (local.planning@thanet.gov.uk) to object to their proposed aviation only use of Manston in the Proposed Local Plan!

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