Meetings will be held this week to discuss Thanet’s Draft Local Plan and the possible impact on Westgate and Birchington.
The draft plan – a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure on the isle up until 2031 – is currently out for public consultation after being approved in July for the publication and public comment stage.
Both meetings will outline the process for making comment and representations.
Many residents are concerned at the number of houses proposed for the isle.
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.
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 town to 2,000. This is a rise from the 700 proposed in 2015.
Birchington now has 1,600 – and extra 600 on original proposals and an extra 500 homes were allocated to Westwood, bringing the total to 1,450.
A further 300 homes were allocated to Hartsdown, Margate and an additional 100 to Tothill Street, Minster.
The council says these sites are considered the most appropriate in terms of sustainability, transport and, local and national planning strategies.
A meeting will take place at Westgate Community Centre in Lymington Road on Wednesday, September 12 from 7pm. The meeting is organised and hosted by Westgate Town Council.
In Birchington a meeting will take place at The Centre, Alpha Road, on Friday, September 14 from 7pm. This meeting is hosted by Birchington Parish Council.
On Thursday, September 13 Conservative district councillors and North Thanet MP Roger Gale will also hold a local plan meeting at The Swan pub in Sea Road, Westgate, from 7pm.
Comment on the Draft Local Plan
The draft Local Plan, passed by councillors in July, is now open to public comment for 6 weeks, running up until 5pm on Thursday, October 4. The comments received on the Local Plan at this stage will be sent directly to the Planning Inspector for consideration. Anyone who does provide feedback at this stage may be invited to speak at the public examination of the Plan, expected to begin in February 2019.