Anger at ‘lack of consultation’ over 2,000 home plan for Westgate agricultural land

Artist impression via Millwood Homes public exhibition boards

Westgate Town Council says community concerns over a 2,000 homes development in the village have been ignored.

Millwood Designer Homes intends to submit a hybrid planning application – for both outline and full permissions on different phases of the build- to Thanet council next month.

The developer plans to create 235 acres of homes, a new primary school and health centre, accessible areas of open space and walking and cycling links.

The proposed site is larger than that suggested in Thanet’s draft Local Plan, which is a blueprint for housing, development and infrastructure on the isle up until 2031.

Under that plan Westgate was originally allocated 1,000  homes but a vote to retain Manston airport as aviation-use only instead of mixed-use development meant 2,500 proposed homes had to be 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.

Artist impression via Millwood Homes public exhibition boards

In recent exhibition boards Millwood Homes says: “Our vision is for a sensitive extension of Westgate-on-Sea through a complementary, integrated and sustainable new neighbourhood that offers new homes, important infrastructure, create new jobs, accessible areas of open space and walking and cycling links.

“Up to 2000 homes are proposed, including affordable housing and the potential for up to 100 homes for the elderly.”

Phase one of the plan is for 120 homes. Millwood will apply for full planning permission for this site which is earmarked as a “new Dent-De-Lion neighbourhood,” with views of the Dent-De-Lion Gatehouse and fronting on to a village green with a ‘feature pond.’

Via Millwood Homes public exhibition boards

The following phase will consist of:

Parkland Frontage- with detached homes, play areas, tree planting and swales to create a parkland edge.

The Greenway and Avenue- with homes, raingardens and clusters of trees.

Mews and Courtyard- with smaller homes.

However, Westgate Town Council set up a Neighbourhood Plan Steering group in 2017 and carried out a community survey which revealed the majority of 500 residents who responded did not want housing to be built on prime agricultural land and that they felt 1000 homes was overdevelopment for the town.

A town council spokesperson said: “The results also showed that residents wanted space between the existing and new neighbourhood to prevent encroaching on existing residents’ houses.

Development protest held in 2018

“Many felt that some houses should be built but the use of prime agricultural land was not appropriate given the need to protect it for food security and to protect the countryside in Thanet. Residents felt that a small number of affordable homes, homes to down size to and family homes were reasonable.

“The steering group raised these concerns with Millwood Homes and also asked how Westgate and Garlinge would benefit from this development through the community infrastructure levy e.g. would the developers contribute to local facilities such as our community centre?

“Not one of the concerns raised by residents and the steering group have be allayed.

“The total area of the agricultural land used by Millwood Homes has increased significantly, including all the land down to Shottendane Road from the east edge of Westgate.

“Millwood Homes and (architects) JTP have not consulted the Westgate and Garlinge residents. During master planning it is only correct that developers consult the members of the public during the design process. They have instead just consulted the steering group -and they did not take on board their suggestions – and then, for one day after most of their designs for the 2000 house master plan had already been completed, they consulted the residents. The Town Council are very shocked that local residents have not been able to input properly into the design and that Millwood Homes intend to submit the masterplan design in December.”

The town council has also raised concerns about the lack of information regarding what community infrastructure levy would be in place with only contributions to the new inner circuit road at Shottendane mentioned by Millwood.

The town council spokesman added: “ We believe that the next step is to change the law on agricultural land so that Thanet’s top quality farmland does not continue to be concreted over. Furthermore, the method by which the housing need is allocated should be changed from a district wide plan to Kent wide plan so that areas of low quality land instead of top quality farmland.

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

“Housing is important, especially affordable housing for our young people, but this overdevelopment and destruction of Westgate and Thanet as a whole needs to be stopped now.”

The view is backed by campaigner Craig Solly, who has consistently highlighted issues with Thanet’s draft Local Plan.

He said: “Since the draft local plan in 2015, residents have always objected to the inclusion of Westgate’s allocation with  a petition, signed and raised to council.  What we have now is a planning application which will be objected to in the same scale and loudness as before.

“The behaviour of the developer is highly questionable in that consultation has not been undertaken before the planning application is submitted.   Westgate Town Council has been ignored with no input into the plans.  The timing of the application is questionable as there are some modifications and public consultation on the local plan left to do.

Artist impression via Millwood Homes public exhibition boards

“Development should be built in the right places and it is clear to local residents that this isn’t the case.  This development fails to recognize will encourage more traffic and loses more high quality farmland than stated in the local plan.”

Millwood Homes says it will carry out public consultation in the first quarter of 2020 and aim to start work on site by the end of next year.

Further comment from Millwood Homes via architects JTP has been requested.

19 Comments

  1. “Under that plan Westgate was originally allocated 1,000 homes but a vote to retain Manston airport as aviation-use only instead of mixed-use development meant 2,500 proposed homes had to be 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.”
    Chickens coming home to roost ….

    • It’s not happening
      Never know why tdc officers do not do their jobs properly
      Due diligence would find them offshore leaks

    • As for keeping Manston as an airport really wasn’t an option if any of you local people know anything about Manston at all you know full well it was pie in the sky you could not build houses on Manston it would not be possible think about it. It was never on.

      As a person that was born in Thanet is pretty obvious whilst I was working away for about 5 years and I came back there were hundreds and hundreds bungalows and houses built fields of course I didn’t hear anybody shouting then, I wonder just how many of you people with your placards are not local and just came to take advantage of all the new properties built on farmland now you’re shouting about it. I’m sure you’re not gonna like that but it’s true.

      All the nasty stuff goes on all over the world starving homeless and in this country and your shout about the house to be built and have to go somewhere Manston is not fit to be built on.

  2. presumably there will be sufficient electricity,gas,water,hospital beds,doctor surgeries,dentists,secondary school places to cater for this sudden influx of 6,000 or so extra people?Will these new houses reduce the council house waiting lists or are they all going to be for sale to private buyers

  3. It’s been a done deal for a while, the approval of the 50 million odd new road, will all be part of it and eventually the land the other side will be built over too.

  4. In reply to the airport comments, that will have little bearing on what gets built, the fact that the relief road has been approved ( it would never be built without being used as infrastructure for future house building . Eventually ( many years though) there will housing from westwood cross, down the coffin corner, behind salmestone , right out through garlinge, westgate and onto acol, a rough guess 10,000 by 2050.
    At some point the same will happen the other way towards lord of the manor, with the advent of another releif road. The relentless population growth, demand to live in the southeast and thanets relatively cheap land make it all inevitable.
    Quite where the jobs for all these people will be provided is another matter altogether

    • As was pointed out above, the existence or not of the airport most certainly does have a bearing:
      “Under that plan Westgate was originally allocated 1,000 homes but a vote to retain Manston airport as aviation-use only instead of mixed-use development meant 2,500 proposed homes had to be 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.”
      If misguided UKIP/Tory/TIG councillors had not voted down the draft Local Plan, there would have been 1000 fewer houses allocated at Westgate.

  5. Is there that much of a demand to live in the south-east? (Well, in Thanet.) I thought the Londoners who are flooding into Kent were mostly being forced to move from their council-owned homes so that their local councils could sell the sites to property developers.

    • I did’nt say the demand was for thanet, but as you point out those displaced by the demand in london need to live somewhere, thanet is cheap by south east standards so we get those for whom economic realities mean thanet is there best option.
      As for the Manston argument, a thousand houses at manston would make no difference in a 10 year timeline, that land has been earmarked for housing many years ago.

        • Again I did’nt say most, and has there been any figures for the amount of the housing planned for the isle that is being funded by london boroughs, housing associations etc then what is the social/ affordable content of the developments proposed?
          The number of londoners buying down here has eased off with the cooling of london property prices, but come the next increase and if thanet is still relatively cheap, they’ll all be back looking.
          Currently listening to the radio, where a politician is saying the uks population will be around 75 million by 2050, a 10 million increase, 5 of whom will want to live in the south east, thanet will be housing 3-400,00 by then. That’s a lot more houses, there won’t be much open land left between margate ,and cliffsend, acol, minster and minnis bay.
          Stick a note in your diary for 30 years time and see how thanet looks then.

          • Clearly, part of the solution to the problem of over-population is to enforce a limit on the number of children a couple is allowed to have.

          • Not really, birthrates among the native uk population has fallen and these days big families are the exception, no form of restriction on family sizes of those coming to the uk would be seen as acceptable, most of the population growth will be the result of those coming here and the families they have once here, that’s not going to stop, the world is a very fluid place , the real challenge is building an economy that can support the uk population and provide steadily increasing standards of living.
            It won’t matter a jot in 50 years as the adults then will know no different.

  6. We all should congratulate officers like Tim howes made line homer Simpson for all this
    Tim H did you check legals
    Wills did you check for fraud

  7. There is a public video on YouTube of Craig Mackinlay (at the time Conservative MP and now running for re-election in South Thanet), Sir Roger Gale (at the time Conservative MP and now running for re-election in North Thanet), Tony Freudmann (founding director and only UK director of off-shore owned Riveroak Strategic Partners Limited which since 11 July 2019 owns the Manston site) and members of Save Manston Airport (SMA) made on or around 11 February 2018.

    In this public video put up by SMA, Craig Mackinlay tells in his own words the story of what happened with and the Conservatives and UKIP’s involvement in Thanet’s Local Plan and the changes that resulted in the displacement of 2500 houses to greenfield land without infrastructure.

    The public video is 6:39 minutes long and I would respectfully suggest that anyone who is not happy with the increased housing in Westgate (and elsewhere) to watch it and draw their own conclusions.

    It is publicly available here> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gvVlQt5SSok

    It is also worth noting when viewing the video that, Right Hon James Brokenshire (at the time Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (Conservative)) stated in his Local Plan Intervention letter of 28 January 2019 –

    “[I] am also, for the avoidance of doubt, now putting on public record [my] concerns about the low level of housing supply and delivery in Thanet. [I] expect planning decision-takers to have regard to these concerns as a material consideration when deciding local planning applications.”

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