An application by Plunketts veterinary service in Ramsgate to move from the High Street to a unit at Princes Road is likely to be turned down despite overwhelming support from residents and Ramsgate Town Council.
Plunkett’s has applied for change of use at the industrial unit to give the service the opportunity to expand.
A move to the unit would provide parking and up to 14 jobs. The site would mean veterinary services being retained in Ramsgate.
‘Accessible to all’
The applicant adds: “One of the primary reasons for pursuing the relocation of the existing veterinary surgery is to ensure that the facility is accessible to all members of the community. The current premises have a stepped approach and the accommodation is distributed over 4 floors.
“The proposed design includes an accessible ramped approach with dedicated accessible parking and all of the accommodation (for clients and staff) across a single ground floor.
“We believe that retaining a veterinary surgery with modern clinical facilities, in the centre of Ramsgate (rather than in business parks on the perimeter of the town) is supported by the need for short journeys with a range of transport options in close proximity to the established community.”
There are 6 existing veterinary surgeries in Thanet, distributed evenly in Margate, Broadstairs, Westwood, Ramsgate and Minster.
Plunketts Veterinary Surgery is currently the only practice serving Ramsgate town centre. A suggested option of moving to Eurokent Business Park would mean the service would be “ on the periphery of Ramsgate town.”
Retaining a town service
The application adds: “If the existing business were to relocate to this development the town centre would no longer be served by a veterinary practice. There is an existing Companion care Veterinary service in the nearby Westwood Cross retail park (located in a Pets at Home retail unit), 1.3 miles/5 minutes drive, from the Eurokent site.
“Retaining a local veterinary service in Ramsgate has obvious benefits for local residents. It also maintains a balance of services from a variety of providers, each with a separate catchment area.
“The applicant believes that the Princes Road site offers the best opportunity for redevelopment in central Ramsgate. The site is close to the current premises, retains a level of town centre employment and offers an important service within easy access of existing local residents and clients.”
But planning officer advice to councillors is to refuse the proposal because: “The proposed use as a veterinary surgery does not fall within the permitted use classes for the Princes Road Industrial Estate”
They add: “Whilst the proposed development is considered to bring some benefits to the area, the existing and draft local plan have identified a continued need for the retention of sites falling within these (industrial) use classes. The proposed development is therefore contrary to saved policy EC12 of the Thanet Local Plan and the principle of development on the site is considered unacceptable. It is therefore recommended that members refuse this application.”
The application has the support of Ramsgate councillors Peter Campbell and Becky Wing.
A decision is expected to be made by planning committee members at a meeting next Wednesday (December 18).