‘Zombie’ protest held outside Westwood Lodge development site

Around 35 to 50 people, including some ‘zombies,’ turned out for a protest at Westwood Lodge today (February 20).

The Thanet Trees group want Thanet council to ask for a halt in works at the 153 house development on the lodge site, off Poorhole Lane, for full ecology surveys, approval of planning conditions and more information can be shared about a rumoured burial pit.

The group say there are concerns for birds, bats, slow worms and reptiles that could inhabit the development site. Pipistrelle bats were found to be present during surveys in 2015. Protesters say the site also offers potential habitat for badgers, dormice and hedgehogs.

Outline planning permission for the development, which is private land, was granted by appeal in 2017. The original application in 2015 was rejected by Thanet council for reasons including concern at additional pressure on Sandwich Bay protection area and “a significant incursion of the built form into the green wedge.”

Photo Carl Hudson

However, the Planning Inspectorate decision states Thanet council’s case was weakened by a lack of a 5 year housing supply plan and “as the woodland visible along the northern and eastern site boundaries would be largely retained its distinctive landscape qualities would not be prejudiced.”

Photo Carl Hudson

Reserved matters planning documents submitted by applicant Places For People Homes Ltd this month say trees on the south of the site and east and north boundaries will be protected and new street trees planted.

A build of 69 shared ownership houses and 84 affordable rent houses are planned for the land.

Image Fusion Architects

The Grade II listed main house of Westwood Lodge, built in 1864, the 17th Century cottage and the gate piers will remain intact on the site.

Developer documents say evidence for a burial pit is “not compelling.” It is understood that contractors have carried out ground surveys and there is an archaeological dig taking place but no ‘burial’ evidence has surfaced.

Read here: Thanet Trees group ‘zombie’ protest over wildlife concerns at Westwood Lodge homes development

10 Comments

  1. Most of the trees in the wood have already been felled. You can now see right into the estate from the roundabout junction on Ramsgate Road. It looks like work has already started without an up to date ecology survey required. I hate to think where all the slow moving and protected under law wild animals have left to go if they haven’t been killed already. This was all that is left of the woods in Westwood where it gets it’s name from. Development is happening everywhere around there killing of the green wedge between towns. It seems nothing is immune to development in Thanet now when there is plenty of idle concrete up Manston at the disused airfield big enough to save all the development happening on our historical features. Where is all the extra traffic going to go as it’s nose to tail along Westwood already? Birchington, Westgate, Margate all losing their green fields and farming land and TDC are doing nothing as usual. Shame on them!

  2. A lot of poor hole lane was redeveloped around 1920 including units that came later, back in around 1996 a number of boreholes were dug to see how much chemical waste from Sericol and Cummins had drained into the ground, since then over 470 tones of solvent has been removed from the chalk aquifer.

      • Yes nearest Cummins was on Westwood Industrial Estate I think. There was a 12 year remediation project at Sericol which was concealed from cllrs by lying senior TDC officers This project recovered 470 tonnes of cyclohexanone from chalk layers under Poorhole Lane . When cllrs were told the truth it was 2008 by a member of public who enterprisingly made an FOI application to Environment Agency. The cllrs with the wool pulled from their eyes nonetheless let the officers get away with it and never reviewed the 2006 local plan which was passed at a time cllrs were misled.

  3. TDC is digging its own Grave on letting decisions go unchallenged by an Inspectorate, who knows nothing about this piece of Land, and works from a small Office in Wales.
    The sooner we have a Town Council, the better.

    • I don’t see how having a Town Council would make any difference. TDC had its decision overturned by the PI; so would a TC.
      And I don’t understand all this stuff about the aquifer being polluted with cyclohexanone. Surely if there were consequences they would apply all over Thanet, not just at Poorhole Lane? Yet house building is going on all over Thanet.

  4. There is a comment on the Thanet Trees facebook page pointing out that most of the houses in the revised plan are semi-detached, making them (I paraphrase) more attractive to London councils.

    One reason the council didn’t like the previous plan was because there were several longish terraces in it. Wouldn’t terraced houses (cheaper) would be more attractive to London councils?

  5. When there was an appeal to Thanet Council refusing planning permission,I, along with other residents, walked round the site with the woman from central government. I asked her “So after you’ve reviewed all the information do you put it to a committee to decide? She said “No. I alone decide ” I was shocked as I think having one person decide such an important issue is open to abuse through bribery etc.I’m not accusing her of this, just making the point.

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