Westgate Town Council is urging residents to attend the independent examination of Thanet’s Draft Local Plan in a bid to show opposition to the planned extra 1,000 in the town.
Hearings to establish the viability of Thanet’s draft local plan will take place from April 2.
Thanet councillors voted to move forward with a new Draft Local Plan – a blueprint for housing, roads, business and infrastructure on the isle (from 2011 when the last plan expired) up until 2031- in July last year after it was initially voted down in January 2018.
The January vote failed after 35 councillors rejected it due to revisions that included axing the aviation-use only designation at the Manston airport site, which was shut down in 2014
The change of status for Manston was to be mixed-use designation pending resolution of the DCO bid by RiverOak Strategic Partners for compulsory purchase powers to enable the creation of a cargo hub. The land belongs to Stone Hill Park which has submitted a planning application for homes, businesses and infrastructure on the site. The hearings for this process are currently taking place and expected to conclude in July.
That vote caused the collapse of the UKIP administration at Thanet council with a minority-led Conservative party taking the reins at the end of February last year.
The newly-drafted plan voted through in July includes the re-allocation of 2,500 homes to greenfield sites in Westgate, Birchington, Minster, Margate and Westwood as part of a pledge to retain aviation use at Manston airport.
The homes reallocation will be: Birchington 600 homes; Westgate on Sea 1000 homes; Westwood 500 homes; Hartsdown, Margate 300 homes and Tothill Street, Minster 100 homes.
Westgate Town Council says it opposes plans for extra homes and wants to ensure that if Manston is changed back to a housing development designation the extra 1000 houses are taken back to the airport site.
Cllr Dr Hannah Scott, will attend the examination and give evidence representing the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group of the Westgate-on-Sea Town Council.
She said: “Westgate-on-Sea Town Council and residents of Westgate have been vehemently against the allocation of 1000 houses to be built on top of quality agricultural land in and adjacent to the town, this figure has recently been increased to 2000 houses due to the reallocation of houses intended for Manston.
“While Westgate on Sea Town Council believes that some houses should be built, 1000 are too many for the area and 2000 is complete over-development of the town. It also believes that the planned 17 thousand houses allocated to be built in Thanet by 2031 is massive over-development and is based on inaccurate population projections.
“It is complete destruction of grade 1 and 2 agricultural land across Thanet which should be used for growing food at a time when our climate is unpredictable and food security is under threat.”
Members of the public cannot make any statements at the Independent Examination but they can attend and observe.
2-4 April – Hearings Week 1 – Ruby Room, St. Augustine’s
9-12 April – Hearings Week 2 – Ruby Room, St. Augustine’s
16-18 April – Hearings Week 3 – Ruby Room, St. Augustine’s
7 May – deadline for submission of Hearing Statements and Statements of Common Ground for weeks 4-5 (Matters 11-18)
21-23 May – Hearings Week 4 – Austen Room, Thanet DC
29-31 May – Hearings Week 5 – Austen Room, Thanet DC
What is the draft plan
Thanet’s Draft Local Plan –which runs until 2031 –sets out how much development is needed to support the future population and economy. Allocating land through the plan is designed to give the council greater control over where and what type of developments can take place.
Government guidelines currently suggest a build of 17,140 new isle homes by 2031 -some 1,555 homes have already been constructed; another 3,017 have been given planning permission; 2,700 are accounted for through windfall housing –sites that have historically had planning approval and may be put forward again – and 540 are already empty homes.
Wesgate residents can contact Cllr Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org