Thanet’s draft Local Plan, approved by the council on Thursday, July 19, has been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for Examination.
Inspectors Victoria Lucas and Matthew Berkinshaw have been appointed to examine the plan and Thanet council has appointed a programme officer to liaise with the inspectors and those who made comments on the document.
The draft plan – which is a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure on the isle up until 2031 –was approved to go to the publication and public comment stage by a council vote of 31 in favour and 21 against.
The new draft plan, published in August, includes a reallocation of 2,500 homes, out of a total 17,140 proposed for completion by 2031, to sites including Birchington and Minster and the removal of a proposal for mixed-use development designation for the airport. The designation was put forward in a version of the draft plan which was rejected in January. That vote led to the collapse of the UKIP administration of Thanet council.
The authority’s ruling Conservative group and most Thanet Independent Councillors (TIC) backed the new option as a way to protect aviation at the airport site, saying they were honouring the election pledges made to residents.
Members of UKIP and Labour say the plan is unsound and could lead to rejection at the public examination stage and result in the government taking control of Thanet’s housing and infrastructure proposals – potentially costing the authority tens of thousands of pounds.
Thanet District Council was placed in ‘intervention’ in March, with the Government closely monitoring progress due to the authority’s failure to put in place a local plan.
Manston status and DCO application
The status of the Manston site will be reviewed after a minimum of two years if a Development Consent Order or compulsory purchase of the airport land has not been agreed by that date.
A DCO submitted by Riveroak Strategic Partnership, which hopes to create a cargo hub at the site, is now at the stage where an Examining Authority panel has been selected, consisting of Martin Broderick, Jonathan Hockley, Kelvin MacDonald and Jonathan Manning as panel members with Kelvin MacDonald as the Lead Member of the panel.
A Preliminary Meeting, run and chaired by the Examining Authority, will now be arranged.
Once the application moves on to Phase 4 (Examination) there is a maximum of 12 months for the Secretary of State to make a decision on whether to approve the DCO to reopen Manston airport.
The DCO seeks development consent and compulsory acquisition powers over the land. It is the means of obtaining permission for developments categorised as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP). This includes energy, transport, water and waste projects.
RSP wants to compulsorily purchase the site from landowners Stone Hill Park,
Airport site landowners Stone Hill Park have submitted a masterplan for housing, business, infrastructure and leisure at the site.
Just over 2,000 representations were made by Thanet residents and groups and by organisations and businesses in response to the DCO application via the Planning Inspectorate.
Around 52% were against the proposals and 48% in favour. Among the representations made to the Planning Inspectorate are submissions from the Ministry of Defence, Historic England, Highways England, Dover and Thanet district councils, Kent County Council and a document from law firm Pinsent Masons on behalf of Stone Hill Park.
Others came from facebook groups set up specifically for the DCO representation process.
Local Plan process
Comments received on the Local Plan have been sent to the Planning Inspector for consideration. Those who provided feedback may be invited to speak at the public examination of the Plan, expected to take place in February 2019.
Other published council documents in relation to the draft plan are:
- The Sustainability Appraisal/Habitat Regulations Assessment (SA/HRA) of the draft Local Plan;
- The draft Transport Strategy for the district; and
- A Landscape Character Assessment of the area, with the intention to adopt it as a supplementary planning document (SPD).
Find the Local Plan documents here https://consult.thanet.gov.uk/consult.ti/TLP_PRE_SUB/consultationHome