Thanet council makes ‘call for sites’ for development

The Local Plan Image Lewis Clarke / Thanet : Thanet Scenery

Thanet District Council has today (March 25) launched a ‘Call for Sites’ in which developers, landowners and members of the public are invited to put forward potential sites for development.

The authority is looking for potential sites for housing, self/custom building, Gypsy and Traveller sites, employment space, retail, nature conservation and biodiversity offset sites and open/green spaces.

After sites are identified they are then assessed against the needs in Thanet’s Local Plan review.
Potential sites for development can be submitted online between 10am today (March 25) and 5pm on Friday 21 May. Invitations to participate have been sent to a wide audience including parish councils, landowners, developers, agents, businesses and some local interest groups.

Bob Porter, Director of Housing and Planning at Thanet District Council said: “The Call for Sites is an early step in the update of our Local Plan. It will inform options for future development and the provision of other important facilities in Thanet, up to 2040.

“We would encourage the community, especially landowners and developers, to put forward potential sites and to be clear about what development could take place in the future. Please also ensure that the online questionnaire is answered in full as we want to bring forward sites that support the wider objectives and timescales of our Local Plan strategy.”

Submitted sites will be assessed against a number of criteria including suitability, availability and viability for the purpose proposed as set out in the online questionnaire. The form also contains a map drawing tool for people to identify their site and upload supporting documentation.

The Thanet Local Plan was adopted on 9 July 2020. It is a blueprint for development in the district up to 2031. 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 isle homes by 2031, this is inclusive of homes already built.

The Local Plan includes modifications recommended in the Inspectors’ Report, sets out policies and proposals that will be used to guide investment and decisions on development and regeneration. It details where homes, jobs, community facilities, shops and infrastructure will be.

Thanet council says the Local Plan will provide a higher level of protection for land identified as unsuitable for development.

A review is being undertaken to look at areas including the implications of climate change; the provisions of the plan in relation to Manston Airport; the implications of the Local Housing Need Methodology on housing requirements for and the provision of Gypsy & Traveller sites.

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

The plan includes the re-allocation of 2,500 homes to greenfield sites in Westgate, Birchington, Minster, Margate and Westwood after the allocation was removed from the Manston airport site to retain aviation use. This was to be reviewed in light of the government granting a development order but the order has since been quashed and a fresh decision letter -either granting or denying the order – needs to be written.

Campaign groups have been voicing their objections to large developments on farmland in Westgate, Garlinge and Birchington.