Consultation event to include masterplan images for 1,600 home Birchington development

Ecology and heritage park plans

A heritage park with archaeological viewing ‘platforms,’ and interpretation boards, a community hub and an ‘edible corridor’ are among the plans for a 1,600 home development in Birchington which will go on public display this month.

Ptarmigan Land and Millwood Designer Homes will show masterplan images for the  194 acre site on the south of the village running from Quex up towards Minnis at a consultation event on February 14.

The event, taking place at The Centre in Alpha Road from 1pm to 8pm, precedes an expected submission of an outline planning application to Thanet council this Spring.

The proposal, which could see the village swell from 10,000 residents to almost 15,000, includes developing agricultural fields on the perimeter of Birchington – an issue that has caused anger and prompted a petition objecting to the scheme signed by 2858 people.

The petition launched by resident Gary Fowler questions why grade one land is being used when the development could instead incorporate grade 2 and 3 land further west.

Concerns over the increase in population, stretched medical services and the loss of countryside and paths are also raised.

Aims to develop the site are contained in the draft Thanet Local Plan  a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure on the isle up until 2031. A vote aimed at retaining aviation at Manston airport in 2018  resulted in a reallocation of properties, including a further  600 homes for Birchington, making a total of 1,600.

The proposal

Olly Buck from Ptarmigan Land said the aim is to engage Birchington residents and introduce a scheme that will ‘deliver benefits.’

He said: “1,600 houses in a new community is inevitably going to bring substantial change and not everyone is going to be in favour of that. The reason these schemes are being delivered up and down the country is the government drive to increase housing. Our job is to very much engage the community to make sure they are armed with the facts and to set out how it will affect them.

“Sometimes the impact that some think will be negative can actually bring a whole range of benefits. This scheme will deliver economic and community benefits. When you do a job right it improves an area rather than having a detrimental impact.”

Ptarmigan and Millwood say the planned link road extending from Minnis Road and the A28 will alleviate traffic congestion in the village and improve air quality in the main square and that 26 HA of open space – more than double to 12 HA requirement – will include the heritage park and archaeological finds, all age leisure facilities such as a skate park, community orchards, growing areas and coastal trails.

Mr Buck said: “There will be a Quex to coast heritage walk which will be a fantastic resource with wayfinding interpretation boards and various things along the route to celebrate the heritage of the area. It is quite exciting.”

He also outlined plans for the edible corridor in the Minnis Road area with growing points, bee friendly planting and ‘rewilding,’ adding: “Agricultural land in intensively farmed so although we are taking away a landscape we are putting elements in that will reconnect nature and wildlife even in an urban area.”

Community hub example

A two-form entry primary school, 70 bed retirement home and financial contributions towards expanding facilities at Birchington Medical Centre are included in the scheme.

A community hub including flexible office space, three acre sports field and leisure space also feature.

Jeremy Handel, from Ptarmigan, said: “The key things are healthy living and healthy lifestyles. There are 19 different play areas, six equipped, for all age groups. The skate park will be designed into the landscape with areas suitable for small children and older kids.”

Homes will be a mix from one bed to five bed with 30% earmarked as affordable, including shared ownership/help to buy scheme properties and social rented homes.

The proposal has a 10-15 year phased build out with the aim of starting construction in early 2022 and first occupations at the end of that year.

Boards showing the new designs will be on display at the consultation event.


The volume of housing planned for the village and the agricultural land location lay at the heart of opposition to the scheme.

According to Thanet’s draft local plan a total of 17140 new houses are allocated for the isle from 2011-2031.

But resident and campaigner for Birchington action group against TDC Local Plan Craig Solly says the development numbers are a nonsense.

He said: “The housing need is wrong; Thanet will not build in total 17140 houses in the 12 years left in the local plan. The plan in the last 5 years will build over 1300 houses a year. This has not happened in the data I have found since 1980.

“If the housing numbers were sensible we wouldn’t have this level set out for Birchington and Westgate.

He added ““Losing the UK’s finest farmland to housing is not the way to deliver housing in the future, especially when there is passion to protect the environment and global climate.  It is a sad reflection of these times to destroy the arable soils that have provided food for generations.  Thanet and the UK has brownfield land which the focus of house building should prioritise, especially when national policy states it to do so.”

District and parish councillor for Birchington, Phil Fellows, says farmland should not be used when there are other available sites.

He said: “I’ve always been against any development on Grade I agricultural farmland. There are enough empty properties and brownfield sites in Thanet; the last resort should be building on farmland.

“The developers have seen this land has been put into the local plan and these developers are just here to make as much profit as possible. We shouldn’t be fooled that they have our interests at heart. We’ve got a medical centre at breaking point, one primary school and a secondary school that are oversubscribed.

“If they were to build a new medical centre, secondary school and primary school first it would be easier to swallow. It has to be infrastructure first otherwise our residents already here will suffer.”


Find the petition here

Find information boards from the Ptarmigan/Millwood consultation last October here


  1. Note that this application is separate from the other planned nonsense of building on similar land bounded by Park Road, Shottandane Lane right up to High Street Garlinge *plus* the land to be gobbled up by the planned A28 by-pass through the whole area emerging on Hartsdown Road. This latter would appear to be much more imminent since, as far as I can tell, surveying work has been going on since before Christmas.

  2. The petition against the housing in Birchington has been signed by over 3,600 people as it was done online which is whete you get your 2882 plus door to door which was over 700 mote

  3. As we are out of the EU and we as a country are encouraged to fly and import less food would it not be more sensible to keep our grade 1 & 2 farm land for its intended use and produce more in order to become more self reliant as a country rather than concrete it over.

    Why in Thanet are we allowing grade 1 & 2 farm land to be developed rather that encouraging the full development of all Brown Field Sites first, in towns such as Broadstairs, Margate and Ramsgate or are these just going to end up being bonus sites for TDC taking the numbers over the present 17,250

  4. Build the houses on the former airfield at Manston. There is ample room for lots of houses and the Thanet Parkway railway station to take the London commuters to work could be built there as well, rather than on the agricultural land near Cliffsend.
    There is plenty of scope there for wildlife areas and archaeological displays.(What better site for a Battle of Britain museum/display?)

    The other advantage of building there is that it will then prevent it being used as a lorry park for Dover if Britain leaves the EU without sensible trade and customs agreements in place. Without a lorry park to absorb the huge delays caused by the extra paperwork generated by “no deal”, Johnson will have to reach a sensible compromise over agreed Rules and Regulations with the EU. Otherwise, the lorries will have to be parked up along the motorways in a kind of permanent “Operation Stack”.

    • A mixed-use development on a very large local brownfield site would indeed be much better than building on farmland and countryside.

  5. Weren’t Birchington Councillors amongst those that voted down the Draft Local Plan, the one where quite a lot of houses would have been built on Manston?
    How ironic that as a consequence they’re being built at Birchington instead.

  6. hey all
    these people and the company have struck a raw nerve
    so far all I can see is that the company name and the same directors of many subsiduries are involved with many local plans
    I do not like what I am reading that this company want to cash in on our green belt land

  7. Great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic
    beauty in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty,
    which have the highest status of protection in relation to these issues. The
    conservation and enhancement of wildlife and cultural heritage are also important
    considerations in these areas, and should be given great weight in National Parks

  8. This has only happened because TDC fudged the local plan to ensure the former airfield known as Manston was preserved for aviation only.

    It’s not like thousands of people didn’t warn this would happen at the time……..

    If they ain’t going to Birchington, and if Bob Bayford and the UKIP overthrowers have sewn up Manston after fudging the local plan, where are the houses going to go? You can’t have it both ways?

    It is sadly, SO obvious this would happen.

    Say no to the DCO. Build on Manston.

    • Why build on Manston
      why do you want houses
      the tories are land grabbing every piece of land they can get their hands on and with the quex park situation sadly my love it is going to the serious fraud office just like Manston is

  9. If all those involved in closing Manston Airport had been sacked and replaced by some common sense persons the airport would have been thriving and plenty more jobs would have been available and the people working there would be able to afford a home to buy, but, building houses for people who have no place to work is not a very good idea,Manston airport is perfect for cargo aircraft and passengers and could save expansion of Heathrow or Gatwick, you need jobs before houses and infrastructure and Manston airport could be saved from destruction.

    • The lack of understanding, the failure to grasp the simplest of issues is, frankly, astonishing.
      Who would sack the people who closed the airport? It was the owners who closed it. They were hardly likely to sack themselves.
      In the most unlikely event that the airport reopened, it would employ fewer people with fewer career prospects than Spoons.
      Manston is perfect for neither cargo nor passenger. Had it been, it would not have closed. Every aviation expert (including York Aviation, consultants to the DfT) say that aviation at Manston won’t work.
      The Davies Commission dismissed using Manston as a reliever for Heathrow in the early stages of its investigation.
      Job or no job, people fundamentally need a roof over their heads.
      Do try and keep uo

  10. so many people & organisations want to make a quick buck and have no regard for the future of our beautiful county.

    That includes the organisation who will benefit from 2000+ extra council tax payments.

    • These nameless organisations set to benefit from extra council tax payments will only do so if the 2000+ extra homes are lived in.
      And were they to be lived in, it would demonstrate that there was a need for the 2000+ houses.
      Or are you suggesting that people should live in tents, or under the railway arches?

  11. Hey, look at the positives. Whilst Birchington becomes a bustling metropolis and the roads are totally clogged up and places for schools are fought over, all those who live there who campaigned for Manston airport to reopen can console themselves that the pipe dream of cargo planes flying around remains alive and kicking!

  12. The developers are to build a new primary school? But just where are the children that will attend that school going to go when it is time for them to move up to secondary schools. All those in Thanet are already oversubscribed? Time for TDC to man up and say no to developers and central government.

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