Planning application submitted for 1,650 home Birchington development

Birchington development proposal

A outline planning proposal to build 1,650 homes, a primary school, shops, a 70 bed care home and a community park on farmland at Birchington has been submitted to Thanet council.

The development is earmarked to take place on land off the Canterbury Road and is proposed by Ptarmigan Land and Millwood Designer Homes.

The plans for Ptarmigan Land and Millwood include potential improvements to the Birchington Medical Centre, a network of new cycle and pedestrian links within the site and surrounding area and a strategic link road to help alleviate traffic in the village centre and wider Thanet area.

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 Birchington development plans for the 194 acre site on the south of the village running from Quex up towards Minnis.

Aims to develop the site are contained in the 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.

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 will include the heritage park and archaeological finds, all age leisure facilities such as a skate park, community orchards, growing areas and coastal trails.

Last year Olly Buck from Ptarmigan Land 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.”

A two-form entry primary school, the 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.

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.

A design document for the development says areas of regionally important archaeological remains have been identified across the site that are to be preserved in place.

These include:

  • The double concentric ring ditch (possible late Neolithic/early Bronze Age henge) located along the northern boundary of the site at Mill Row
  • The rectilinear and rectangular enclosures located along the southwestern perimeter of the site
  • The group of three ring ditches located to the south of the site to the east of Canterbury Road

The document says: “Development is avoided in these areas which will be retained open space that can be used as a cultural resource for residents of the Birchington community. Visual links are maintained through strategic landscaping between the southern areas of the site along the boundary and the areas to the south which contain two of the scheduled monument sites.”


A Northern Link Road will form the primary access to the northern parcel of the site, providing a link from the new roundabout on Minnis Road to the proposed signalised junction on the A28 Canterbury Road.

The Southern Link Road will form the primary access to the southern parcel of the site, providing a link from the new signalised junction on the A28 Canterbury Road to the new roundabout which will be formed with Park Lane, Manston Road and Acol Hill.

The Link Road  will be subject to a 30mph speed limit. A shared foot/ cycleway will be provided on both sides of the carriageway and there will be no direct vehicle access from private drives along the Link Road.

Park Lane’s speed limit will be reduced from the national speed limit to 30mph, with suitable traffic calming features, and Manston Road will be widened.

A new roundabout will be provided on Minnis Road. New cycle and pedestrian routes will link Quex, the coast and the wider countryside.

Play areas

The plan has 36 play spaces throughout the scheme. One of the equipped play areas will be within woodland on the eastern part of the site, the other is near to the skate park and cricket green, in the western part of the site.

The woodland play area could incorporate rope structures, balancing logs, a zipwire and wooden climbing frames. The orchard area play could incorporate play associated with farm production and fruit associations.

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.


However, the proposal, which would see the village swell from 10,000 residents to almost 15,000, means developing agricultural fields on the perimeter of Birchington – an issue that has caused anger and last year prompted a petition objecting to the scheme.

The petition launched by resident Gary Fowler questioned 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 have also raised.

A number of amendments have been made to the masterplan for the development following the rounds of community consultation. These include the school building location, reduced building heights for the mixed use community hub from three storeys to a maximum of two and a half storeys and the character of the eastern side of development adjusted to be lower density with greater tree planting.

Find the application on Thanet council’s planning portal with reference OL/TH/20/1755

Find the planning documents and details on the development website here

Millwood Designer Homes has submitted a similar plan for land in Westgate and Garlinge.

Plans submitted for 2000 homes, school, shops, medical centre and care home on Westgate and Garlinge farmland


  1. On the positive size, this should at least help Birchington’s (rather good) shops survive – unless they build a nearby retail park of course!

    • The air quality in Birchington is very poor despite being on the coast. The traffic on the Canterbury Road is at full capacity. I doubt whether the pollution levels in town are within legal limits? They should not be able to get away with adding to our population and consequent further rise of pollution levels. Will they carry out legitimate surveillance of the air quality in the area before the building work goes ahead? I very much doubt it. Breathing problems such as COPD and asthma are very high amongst residents. The ongoing destruction of trees and hedges which has been rapid in recent years doesn’t help matters. The whole of Thanet is becoming a dirty and unhealthy mess.

  2. What is wrong with the World, we are taking away farming land which we need and replacing it with Houses madness with the massive building plans in Westgate and along the Shottendale road,this is massive, as for the promises of parks etc. Pipe dreams.

    • Absolutely. It will be houses and more houses and then people complain about flooding. Well this is what happens when you concrete over everything. Wouldn’t be quite so bad if it was the old style of Council let housing for people to rent, but it never is these days. Woodframed boxes crammed into every available space at un-affordable prices for the local people

      • I imagine you both have houses which you can afford to own or rent.

        The fact is we have a housing shortage in this country. There is no food shortage so I don’t see how we can say we ‘need’ these fields!

    • Well you should take this up with your local Conservative MP, whats his name, Oh yes, Gale isn’t it, because its this conservative government that is imposing a massive house building scheme on ALL local Authorities! Personally, I think a new housing estate on the former Manston airport would be ideal, and if I remember correctly a planning application was made years ago, to build 4,000 houses there!

  3. Blame Roger Gale, SMA and thanet District Council for backing the multi-failed airport at Manston. Stone Hill Park was going to include a mixed use of the site to include buisness, recreation and housing but people complained. Now they have to go somewhere.

    • I don’t think any flavour of the Council can hold up its head with pride over this.
      Iris Johnson (Lab), Chris Wells (UKIP (Who?); Bob Bayford (Con) – they all cosied up to RSP at one time it another and jumped on the Manston bandwagon.
      Due to a calamitous Local Plan, hundreds of acres of brownfield site are unavailable for housing, so they have to be built on Greenfield and village green instead.

  4. Thanet, one huge housing estate more cars more pollution, cycle paths are of little interest to disabled people and those of limited mobility, developers promise this that and everything else just to sway our easily swayed TDC planners they never deliver on their promises,the only thing they do deliver on is misery for the people affected by these new housing estates and before any one brings up Manston do not bother we have heard the moaning all before about how it should be built on are some really so daft as to think that even if Manston was built on it would stop other developments in Thanet? It would not , at a time when we should be growing our own food for the people of this country these developments are an absolute disgrace as are the land owners who have sold the land for a quick buck

    • The majority of people are NOT disabled, so cycle paths are very useful indeed (it’s a bit like claiming that cars are no good to the blind!).

      I’m not over-enthusiastic about spoiling the lovely countryside out there with all this housing, but I’ve also seen worse plans.

      • Typical comment coming from a cyclist and and I do not care whether you use the road or permitted cycle lanes a lot of cyclists do not and that is the problem seeing a wheelchair user forced in t o the road because of some selfish individual on a bike is not a pleasant sight to see so if cycle paths keep selfish individuals out of a wheelchair users way they can build them all over Thanet for all I care

        • It’s not pleasant seeing wheelchair users having to use the road because of parked cars either – as both a cyclist and long-distance walker, I see this far more often. Fact is there are bad motorists and bad cyclists (and indeed, also bad pedestrians), but they’re all in the minority.

  5. Houses that could have gone on Manston under SHP’s mixed use development that would have come with some infrastructure so well done Roger Gale and SMAa !!

  6. Ironic, isn’t it, that the group “Birchington Against the Local Plan” was so successful in preventing Manston from being used for anything other than aviation!

    • Being smug is not very pleasant it is a pity Ramsgate and Broadstairs are not having thousands of new homes being built on their door steps none of you would be so quick to comment sod you Jack I’m alright springs to mind

      • Actually, I believe Ramsgate IS, as the ever-expanding Cliffsend is just down the road, ditto the many new houses being built in Minster (which is officially part of Ramsgate)… and the monstrosity that’s Westwood Cross is part of Broadstairs.

        With more housing being built in Garlinge, Westgate, Monkton and St. Nicholas, the sad fact is that hardly any farm land in Thanet is safe from development.

        • OOH actually I know nowhere in Thanet is safe from being built on what I am saying is some places are being let off with very few new builds whilst others are seeing thousands why should my life be blighted more than someone who lives in Broadstairs? Westwood does not affect most of the residents of that town it affects those who live in the area around it never mind 2 thousand due to be built in Westgate try six thousand around Westwood on for size it is sickening that’s what it is

  7. With an ever growing population and no real appetite from the majority of the electorate to severely constrain migration, there needs to be huge amounts of housing provision, lthanet will have to take its share and being relatively small ,adjacent to decent road links to london and with plenty of relatively cheap land on its boundaries , why would anyone expect there not to be extensive house building here?

    • Would perhaps make sense to build some offices, warehouses or factories. Both the pandemic and growing concerns for the environment has shown that the long term plan should be for less commuting, not more.

  8. Grade one farmland is being built on because TDC has protected Manston and fudged the local plan. Houses are coming, supporting Manston won’t stop them.

  9. Is this because Quex are selling out and seeing the pound signs or because there is no money in farming any more.

  10. The only demand for housing comes from people outside Thanet. Constant advertising campaigns in London are one of many initiatives by those who want to pave over the island and show it as the next commuter heartland with high speed rail links. The population growth for local residents has been virtually zero for years. Promised infrastructure? Never happened in the past, once they get building the funds suddenly dry up for affordable housing, schools, green areas etc. The powers that be have ignored us totally. Food crops need to be protected.

    • There are no food shortages because we import so much now we will import even moreshortsighted fast buck

  11. Paul, do you think that people in Thanet don’t have children who will want to leave home when they are old enough? Of course there is a demand for housing from people who already live here!

    • Many want to move away due to lack of career opportunities here… and even if they did, how many of these properties are truly “affordable”?

  12. I’ve been trying to post comments via the TDC planning portal only to get a message about server problems. I can’t believe that there are no public comments!

  13. My belief is that it was the UKIP Leader who planted the idea that if Manston was not chosen as a site for 5000 homes, that both Westgate & Birchington would suffer the consequences.
    I remember going to a meeting that actually split UKIP. We were being forced to vote for Manston. Most were not in favour. This is when his suggestion was announced. Then TDC Officers clicked on too!
    It is a case of ‘spite’.
    The DLP, was until this path was adopted, in danger of collapse.

  14. I don’t have a problem about the need to build homes for people. But wouldn’t a council start with its own EMPTY properties first especially given that there are no less than 2600 empty homes in Thanet? But perhaps it’s because there are no fat incentives there for a corrupt council which we all know we have! My main gripe is that we are being LIED to AGAIN. The homes which are being built are NOT for local people. They are being built for Londoners. I have asked this question numerous times to Helen Whitehead but she ignores my question. Secondly, local people cannot AFFORD many of the homes so the affordability concept ‘sold’ to us is risable! This area of Kent is seeing huge changes which will make Thanet one of the most built on areas in Kent disproportionately so to its surrounding areas. Cars, pollution, a rise in childhood breathing diseases, diminished wildlife, and row upon row of monotonous Lego boxes with the simultaneous loss of grade 1 agricultural land will become the New Thanet. What a bal** up!

    • Councils cannot afford to buy up hundreds of flats and houses and then renovate to modern standards.

      I have seen very attractive brand-new mixed-use developments with well-proportioned modern flats and houses. I don’t, therefore, think of new-build as necessarily “monotonous Lego boxes”.

    • How do you know the houses being built are for Londoners? Is there a condition in the contract, a covenant in the deeds, that requires a potential purchaser to show they are currently a Londoner, and have been a Londoner for x years?
      I don’t think so.
      As to the loss of arable land, you might ask some of our Kentish farmers (or is it farmers of Kent) what persuaded them to sell to the developers in the first place: none was CPO’d.

  15. This is the product of disfunctional elected representatives of all parties and lazy council officers.
    Thanet does not need 17,000+ new homes, 9,000 is more likely the requirement over the next 10-15 years and there is no need to build over almost 2.5 square miles of Best Most Versatile farmland before all vacant property and brownfield sites are used.
    TDC has brought us here and now we are stuck with this mess unless government changes its policies and instructs the council to revise its plans.
    Complain to your elected representatives and to Robert Jenrick the government minister in charge (enclose a substantial party donation to oil the wheels).

    • As pointed out in another post, a good number of the homes that are proposed are being built by/on behalf of london boroughs looking to deal with their housing lists , usually in partnership with a social housing provider/ association.

  16. Roger Gale and other MPs have indeed recently persuaded the government to reduce the number of housing units to be built on greenfield sites.

  17. Plenty of online resources, start with just do the work. To help you out kent had an overall increase of a little over 1% in 2019. Thanet had a net loss due to more deaths than births for 2019. Since the last census in 2011 the popluation of Thanet increased by 6000. So roughly 600 per anum moved here.

    • So, has the population of Thanet gone up or down since the last census?
      It’s all academic, since the government decides how many houses we need.

  18. If the population of Thanet increases by about 600 a year that would, I assume, include births here and people who move here.

  19. I think we can all see that this is evidence that £ talks. Sod the wildlife, the environment, the farming, food productions etc lets just build on anything we like and sod the future. These houses look lovely in the plans, but have you driven around new sites in the Thanet area lately, they all look like toy town. The fact that it takes months for Thanet Council to cut the grass anyways mean that this will be ruined thanks to “our leaders”. Can we not design a graph to see how many people want to move to Birchington, we talk about a housing crisis but looking on right move I see it very differently. This “housing crisis” is gov code for give me some money and I will let you ruin a village. Shame on anyone who voted for this plan!

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