Next steps for Thanet 20 year blueprint for development following Planning Inspectorate report

Thanet Image Lewis Clarke / Thanet : Thanet Scenery

Thanet council’s Draft Local Plan has been deemed as having an ‘appropriate basis’ to be adopted – but only if a list of modifications are included.

The council has now received the Planning Inspectorate report on the draft plan – a blueprint for housing, roads, business and infrastructure on the isle (from 2011 when the last plan expired) up until 2031 – and it will next  be considered by Full Council. The modified plan is expected to be adopted by the Summer – present coronavirus crisis allowing.

The Inspectors’ Report follows the Examination of the draft Local Plan last year. The Report concludes that plan as modified with changes which were consulted on in December last year, meets the necessary requirements.

The Report supports:

  • The overall amount of housing development in the Plan

  • The proposed locations and sites for new housing development

  • The approach to employment land and sites set out in the Local Plan

  • The council’s approach to environmental, infrastructure and other matters in the Plan

The Report also includes recommendations for:

  • A lower level of housing in the first five years of the plan

  • A new policy for Manston Airport to recognise the current Development Consent Order process

  • A new policy to reflect the intention to carry out a review of the plan within six months of its formal adoption by the Council. 

The six month review will need to look at areas including the implications of climate change; the provisions of the plan in relation to Manston Airport which will be based on whether or not the DCO is granted; the implications of the Local Housing Need Methodology on housing requirements for and the provision of Gypsy & Traveller sites.

Modifications also include a stipulation that development will be expected to provide proportionate contribution to necessary offsite highway improvements in the  Westwood Relief Strategy and to the A256 from Lord of the Manor.

A new paragraph highlights the requirement for the council to “recognises the need for a new Lifeboat station in the Margate area, capable of accommodating the latest class of lifeboat. It is recognised that there are limited opportunities for such a facility, and the council will work with the RNLI to identify a suitable location to meet their operational requirements.”

A number of changes have been made to housing allocations and some open space requirements have been reduced. Large portions of the plan’s wording has also been struck out with alternatives supplied.

Council leader Rick Everitt said: “It has taken hard work and dedication to get to this point and I would like to thank everyone involved, including residents who took the time to provide us with feedback during the whole process and those who took part in the Examination.

“I welcome the Inspectors’ careful analysis of the issues and am pleased that they have agreed with our overall approach and concluded that the Plan is sound.

“Priorities in the Plan include creating jobs, meeting housing needs, providing genuinely affordable housing and supporting growth with the necessary infrastructure and regeneration strategies for key locations.

“If Full Council agrees to adopt the Plan, it will provide the basis for decisions on all subsequent planning applications. It will also provide a higher level of protection for land the council has identified as unsuitable for development, which I know is important to many residents.”

Plan upheaval

Thanet councillors voted to move forward with the Draft Local Plan in July 2018 after it was initially voted down in January of that year. The January vote failed after 35 councillors rejected it due to revisions that included axing the aviation-use only designation at the Manston airport site, which was shut down in 2014

That vote caused the collapse of the UKIP administration at Thanet council with a minority-led Conservative party taking the reins at the end of February last year. This was then superseded by a Labour administration in October 2019 following a vote of no confidence in Conservative leader Bob Bayford.

The newest draft plan includes the re-allocation of 2,500 homes to greenfield sites in Westgate, Birchington, Minster, Margate and Westwood as part of a pledge to retain aviation use at Manston airport.

The plan sets out how much development is needed to support the future population and economy. Government guidelines currently suggest a build of 17,140 new isle homes by 2031.

The Inspectors’ Report is available to download at


  1. “The newest draft plan includes the re-allocation of 2,500 homes to greenfield sites in Westgate, Birchington, Minster, Margate and Westwood as part of a pledge to retain aviation use at Manston airport.”
    Any more news Kathy on the scheme attributed to the PLA to fly freight into Manston, tranship it via trucks to the Port, then move it up the Thames to London?

    • Hi Andrew, no I’m afraid not. I did go back to them but I imagine my request has been put to one side due to the current crisis.

      • Understandable as RSP and Tony Fraudman are right in the forefront of the fight against Corvid19.

    • Andrew: The plan is for 2,000 from High Street Garlinge to the Quex Caravan site. There are plans for a further 1600homes in Birchington from Brooksend Hill through to Minnis Bay. Discussions are about to take place on a potential development on the land opposite Margate football club. In reality Garlinge, Westgate, Birchington, Minnis Bay could have up to 4,000 additional dwellings by 2031. We have a former leader of TDC to thank for this as he was the one to go out to local farmers asking them to submit potential sites. Originally Manston Airport was never in the equation for housing.

      • SHP were going to build a mixed-use development- housing and industry. THousands of houses and flats. That would have been a much better use for the site than what RSP say they want.

  2. The new plan features hundreds of yeh but no but yeh options due to the absurd incompetent unecessary DCO. Its the worst merry go round inconclusive plan that ever existed in a local authority. One that has failed to have any adopted plan at all in the last 14 years.

    There’s also no pledge to preserve aviation, this is misleading. There are various options because some foggy overseas cash has bought the land. They may pledge to preserve aviation but its not the decision of RSP is it. Thankfully.

    Thanet residents deserve better. What a terrible merry go round of ineptitude and plane spotting.

    Shocking and depressing.

    • It was also a different administration that made the pledge. I imagine the thinking of the current administration differs vastly

  3. The airport also wasn’t closed down.

    It went bust. For a third or fourth successive time I believe, since it attempted commercial success once the MOD and USAF no longer needed a base and it went from airfield to airport.

    It has never succeeded commercially and it never will. Freeze dried fish or otherwise.

    This version is an embarrassment to local government, requiring national intervention due to TDC inability to land any plan at all, for 14 long years and for various administrations to indulge their plane spotting egos.

    The latest administration appears to have a different position but this shouldn’t be about politics or sentiment it should be about evidence and sensible business planning. None of which exists in the DCO.

    Who can make sense of this plan?


    • Well, it isn’t easy reading and that’s for sure. Quite a lot struck out in the modifications appendix.

  4. In a way, isn’t it , sort-of, maybe, “better” to have a plan that is unclear and a bit of an uncertain hodge-podge? Why?
    Because we are a democracy. We have elections every few years.By LAW!
    The local Council, not to mention the national government , can change and , hopefully, can change quite dramatically.(We can’t stagger on like this much longer!)
    So how can we devise a Local Plan that commits us all to the same plan for decades to come, regardless of which Party and policies have been elected?

    Surely, THAT must be one of the reasons for 30-40% of potential voters declaring that they won’t vote as “They are all the same!”
    Voting has to MEAN something! It must have consequences, for good or ill. Not just life going on much as before.
    So we should not have a Plan that commits our area to the same policies regardless of who has just won an election.

    • Blimey! That’s a lot of upset people.
      Most upset, if Manston is designated aviation only, will be Tony Freudmann and RSP, because they won’t be able to build the 1000s houses they’d intended.

        • Oh, I don’t think they’ll be upset, but utterly bewildered by the folly of the council’s decision to designate the ex-airport site for aviation only, given the former commercial airport’s repeated failures and the fact that as(obviously) the site is still in exactly the same place, its chances of future success have not improved.

    • The Londoners I speak to (on the rare occasion as they are unaccustomed to gentlemen saying “good evening”) all love it here and can’t afford to return to London unless they are ultra wealthy.
      The ultra wealthy tend to stay in Mayfair and Belgravia and wouldn’t dream of living in Margate or Ramsgate.

      • I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say good evening except possibly on the radio and/or on television. How does GR Wilson know he is saying “Good evening” to a Londoner if he rarely speaks to Londoners?

  5. If Heathrow extension is put off and freight transferred to Manston its a win win for thanet and London

    The local economy can only gain by development

  6. If there was a new airport at Manston it would be very bad for the local residents’ health and for the environment.

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