Thanet council must put ‘pro-development’ measures in place after failing to reach yearly housing target

New homes build in Thanet

Thanet council delivered just 35% of its housing target in 2019 according to figures published by the government – meaning it must now put measures in place to ensure housing is created at a faster pace.

In the results of the 2019 Housing Delivery Test published by The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Thanet is shown as having the third lowest rate of housing target completions in the country.

It means the council has to have an action plan showing why the target wasn’t met and how it will make sure more houses are completed – either built or brought back into use – in the future.

A 20% buffer of extra land for housing, on top of that already identified, must be created and there must also be a presumption in favour of sustainable development.

All three measures now apply to Thanet meaning the council is expected to approve development proposals that are in line with an up-to-date local plan without delay. Care has to be taken to make sure there aren’t other policies which automatically count against a development, such as Green Belt -not Green Wedge- areas of outstanding natural beauty; World Heritage Sites; Scheduled Ancient Monuments; SSSI’s and important habitat sites. But for ‘ordinary’ sites the balance will be tilted in favour of development.

Photo Frank Leppard

In 2017/18 Thanet had a delivery test target to create 793 homes but the actual number of homes created was 238. This rose in 2018/19 to 366 homes delivered.

Out of 11 sites granted planning permission last year with an affordable homes stipulation 10 sites achieved 30% and the remaining one had an affordable homes figure of 22% – making a total of 20 affordable homes delivered.

Some 322 empty properties were also brought back into use.

Targets in the draft Local Plan – a blueprint for housing, employment and infrastructure up until 2031- require 600 ‘new’ homes to be delivered per year between 2016-2021. From 2021-2026 this rises to 1200 units per year and from 2026-2031 this rises 1317 units per year.

However Thanet council is predicting it will exceed those numbers, outlining an expected 838 homes for 2020/21 and a further 1780 homes for 2021/22.

According to a report by Thanet council  7015 homes have to be created between 2019 to 2024 and a further 8738 homes must be delivered in the following period to 2031.


Birchington campaigner Craig Solly says not only are the housing figures unrealistic but when the local plan is adopted, expected this year, and then reviewed six months later, government formula will mean Thanet’s housing target will rise from 17,140 homes to a requirement of 21,000 homes by 2031.

He added: “Do they seriously believe the housing numbers are deliverable? The housing need has to be realistic and deliverable.”

Local Plan

Last year the government warned Thanet council of continued intervention due to the failure of the authority to get an approved local plan in place. A vote to approve the plan the previous year was rejected in a ‘rebellion’ that led to the end of the UKIP administration.

The rejection was mainly based on the change of status for Manston which proposed to ditch aviation-only use designation and replace it with a mixed use for development.

An “11th hour” amendment to defer for two years the mixed-use designation for Manston airport pending the resolution of the DCO process was not enough to get the plan voted through to publication stage.

In July 2018 Thanet councillors voted to move forward with a new Draft Local Plan which included the re-allocation of 2,500 homes to greenfield sites in the villages, Margate and Westwood as part of a pledge to retain aviation use at Manston airport. The allocations have prompted protests and petitions of objection.

Action plan

According to the council’s action plan housing delivery has been slow due to Thanet attracting small developers but not many of those wishing to create larger schemes. Low property prices, reduced developer profit margins and a stalled market are also blamed.

Thanet District Council leader Cllr Rick Everitt, said: “There is an obvious need for homes in Thanet and this administration is fully committed to the planning and delivery of these homes.

“Thanet’s Local Plan to 2031 will be adopted in the next few months.  We have identified sufficient land to meet the required housing numbers and ensure a five year housing land supply and are performing well in processing new planning applications.

“It’s also important that we listen to the views of local residents about plans for new homes and I would encourage people to take part in our Housing Strategy consultation which closes on February 24.

“We have an ambitious programme of building new council housing which is a priority for this administration. We are exploring the role that a new council owned housing company could play in building more new homes quickly.

“Following the examination for our new Local Plan, the Planning Inspector recommended some changes to the housing trajectory for the district which will help us meet the requirements of the Housing Delivery Test in coming years.

“It is, however, important to say that planning for new homes is only part of the story. For delivery targets to be achieved, we need national housebuilders to be more enthusiastic and proactive about building in Thanet.

“For example, we have 3,570 homes that have an existing planning consent but have not yet started on site.  We also know that developers want new homes to be accompanied by key infrastructure projects so we are hopeful that Kent County Council will grant Thanet Parkway planning consent in May of this year.

“Finally, we are working closely with the Housing and Finance Institute on their ‘Housing Business Ready’ programme so feel that we are taking every possible step to see more homes built in Thanet and to encourage house builders to invest locally.”

Read here: Masterplan images for 1,600 home Birchington development

Read here: New Thanet council plan aimed at tackling housing crisis


  1. Back to building on the former airport at Manston, then. Everything else is just unnecessary delay.

    Or appeal to the “weirdos” in Number 10.

    The public school bully disguised as a homeless beggar who now runs the country might go for any “build all over the villages” scheme that upsets people.

  2. The housing situation is simple. No jobs here so apart from London boroughs who move their people here because it’s cheaper, no houses are needed. Once Manston Airport reopens and creates lots of jobs here and in Kent, then houses will be in demand.

    • Hi busy Bee,
      You must be new to the area. When Manston closed it employed only around 135 people. Since the closure tourism has developed steadily in the area and employs many people. If we have freight aircraft every ten minutes (which is the basis for the DCO) that tourism will be lost.

      • quite right 21000 houses- maybe 500 jobs if it really develops..hmmm .all the good jobs will be for skilled people already working elsehwere–so will likley commute in, and lorry drivers based around the M25.

  3. If we as residents actually wanted these vast numbers of homes should we blame TDC. NO. The developers are the ones in charge. They are the ones that buy the land and prefer to land bank the land preferably to sell at a profit to the next profit seeking outfit.

    Why don’t developers build. Because to them there is not enough profit for them to be able to give shareholders a good enough return on their investment.
    If the government actually forced companies with brown field sites to develop these first then things might change a little.

    The former Butlins Hotel site in Cliftonville has lain empty for years as has the old Gas Works in Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate . Hosers Corner in Cliftonville is another prime example. I am sure there are many other sites but it still ends up with do the developers want to touch these sites.

    Many small to medium development companies are being taken over because the original owners failed to make a sufficient profit. When the big boys take over standards decline as is being seen on some developments in Thanet already.

    Do we as residents actually want grade 1 farmland becoming a bland mass housing estate Like the Wimpey Estate in Broadstaies or Palm Bay. NO

  4. Perhaps if TDC councillors had concentrated on a creating a local plan instead of trying to justify keeping Manston for aviation only against every piece of evidence and against officers advice we wouldn’t be in this position. I blame it entirely on the pro airport brigade.

  5. We did attract a big develope SHP who could have fulfilled a big chunk of HMG’s target but instead they got mucked about by TDC and left. Their vision for Manston was probably the best use of the site. I think Craig Silly forgets he supported reopening the airport and was warned this would be the outcome

  6. There is a public video put up by Save Manston Airport in which Craig Mackinlay talks of the interference in our draft Local Plan by Conservatives at a local and national level and some UKIP members.

  7. Erm, who was it that voted down the Draft Local Plan to much acclaim from the airport enthusiasts?
    “Chickens” and “roost” spring to mind.
    It’s not too late, though. If RSP bring forward their real plan by 3-4 years we could be saved. You’d easily be able to fulfill the government’s requirements. Instead of 17,000 ATMs, read 17,000 homes.

  8. Why on earth does the council want Thanet Parkway to be built – ON A GREENFIELD SITE – when there are certainly enough railway stations in Thanet already? If the existing stations need more parking space, allocate £2 million to providing that, along with more frequent and better co-ordinated public transport.

  9. Thanet is probably the only place in the UK with a huge brownfield site just perfect for a large housing developement, sadly it may turn into a noisy, polluting,
    Loss making, no jobs airport.
    Tragic and wasteful.
    Why do some of you prefer look to the past not the future? New types of people bring new energy
    And ideas to a pkace, they do not detract from a place.

  10. TDC has no money for essential services, cutting back on every last penny, yet they find £2 million towards a station and £3 million for new offices ! Is the defunct airport being developed to make use of this station or will it become a white elephant as it is not needed for a working cargo airport as what RSP want? There is a lot of squandering funds going on that cannot be afforded at this time.

  11. When is somebody going to wake up to the fact that you cannot pour a quart into a pint pot ?

    Thanet is a relatively small geographic area when compared to most other local authorities. There is not much space left without sacrificing remaining green or open spaces. There may be a few brownfield or derelict sites that could be bought back into use but that is about it.

    Unfortunately, the continual building of more new houses is self perpetuating the problem of increasing population and immigration. Somebody needs to stand up and say, “No – enough is enough – we are now full”.

  12. Your right John , there are still plenty of empty properties in Thanet council needs to take back and do up, big empty space in northdown rd, and where Dane valley arms used to be, .

  13. Thanet Council cannot afford to CPO and renovate all the local empty properties and it’s hardly likely that the government will adopt a sensible housing policy that would enable councils to do this.

Comments are closed.