Councillors to discuss 214 home development on Minster agricultural land

The site in Minster Photo by Minster's Future Matters

An application to build 214 houses on agricultural land in Minster will be discussed by councillors on Thanet’s planning committee.

The total application area is 34.67 acres, with proposed residential development and associated open space and services on approximately 32.27 acres and a reserve site of 2.40 acres proposed for the future extension to Minster Cemetery.

The land on the west side of Tothill Street Minster is owned by St. John’s College Cambridge and Spanton Farms Limited.

The site is one of 12 parcels owned in the district by The Master, Fellows and Scholars of the College of St John the Evangelist in the University of Cambridge that have been put forward for development.

The site, which is on a Special Protection Zone, includes the expansion to the west of Minster cemetery.

Planning documents say: “The Tothill Street proposal provides an opportunity to provide much needed open market and affordable housing in the district. The scheme will provide a mix of tenure and type of dwellings which will offer benefit across a broad, cross section of social groups, including a proportion of affordable housing.

“Access to green spaces and leisure is an important ingredient to encourage social interaction of a community and sense of well-being. Formal and informal green open space is fully integrated into the scheme. It will also include formal areas for children’s play. “Enhancements to the existing landscaping such as the green corridor along the western boundary and sustainable drainage to create new opportunities for biodiversity within the development and surrounding area.”

The planning document also states: “The vision is to create a sustainable new living environment, based around a fully integrated new community with new homes that are accessible to everyone, an inclusive place which makes everyone feel comfortable, safe and secure, a place where people want to live, which promotes an active lifestyle and sense of wellbeing, a place where future residents are proud to call home.

“The proposals will provide ready access to, open space, landscape and amenity areas. It will deliver a wide range and choice of new, sustainable, high quality housing, including affordable housing.”

But the development plan has provoked more than 40 objections with concerns including the loss of Grade 1 agricultural land, loss of habitat and views that brownfield sites should be developed before greenfield sites.

National policy states that where significant development of agricultural land is demonstrated to be necessary, areas of poorer quality land should be preferred to those of a higher quality.

In response to this, a report to councillors says: “The application site comprises undeveloped greenfield land, still actively in use for agricultural purposes. The site is a Strategic Allocation for residential development in the Local Plan where the loss of agricultural land has been considered and weighed against the need for housing through the policy process. “Therefore policy E16 does not apply to this proposal, and the general presumption to safeguard best and most versatile agricultural land does not apply to this site.”

The loss of agricultural land has caused concern across the isle in regards to other developments, including 2,000 homes earmarked for land in Westgate and Garlinge and another 1,600 homes proposed for Birchington.

There are also concerns about traffic, noise and  strain on facilities in the village.

Minster Parish Council has lodged an objection saying  there is a conflict with policy to protect the countryside and that the scale of housing is excessive in view of the relatively weak local economy.

The parish council adds: “The scale of housing provision proposed on the site can only be accommodated by increasing the harm to the character of the countryside, and/or at the expense of the amenity of existing properties adjacent to the site,”

They add: “It would significantly and adversely affect views south-eastwards towards the village, the “landmark” spire of St Mary’s Church, and beyond to Pegwell Bay and the sea.”

It is noted that the site lies in an area that is generally rich in archaeology with buried landscapes from prehistoric, Roman, Saxon and medieval times known in the fields and open ground on the southern slopes of Thanet around Minster.

The site itself was known to contain archaeological assets as cropmarks visible on aerial photographs indicated the presence of a number of prehistoric ring ditches – the remains of Bronze Age barrows – a trackway and enclosures.

The Kent Historic Environment also records the finding of Roman burials in the cemetery in the north while excavations at the Tothill Services and on the East Kent Access Road have also indicated the rich archaeology of the area around Mount Pleasant, the highest ground on Thanet.

Works have identified significant archaeological remains in the fields covered. Including a Roman track or road, likely to be ‘Dunstrete’ the main Roman route into Thanet crossing the site. Alongside are two small settlements of Roman date with distinctive and mostly unique to Thanet sunken featured buildings.

Other finds across the site include remains of later prehistoric date.

The development design arranges for open space to accommodate the preservation of two substantial Bronze Age barrows and the Roman trackway will be used to form the northern boundary of the development, protecting the Roman road.

The site is earmarked for housing under the Local Plan. Originally it was suggested 150 homes could be sited at Minster but this was increased to 250 after a vote to retain the Manston airport site for aviation and so redistribute housing numbers that had been allocated to that site.

The proposal, put forward by agent Savills on behalf of the landowners, would also require developer contributions of:

Special Protection Area (per unit figure)

Primary Education £4,535 per house and £1134 per flat

Secondary Education  £3,534 per house and £798 per flat

Libraries  £10, 275

Community learning  £4,414

Social care  $16,424

Health Provision  £144,000

Spitfire Way Junction Highway Works  £166,000

30% on-site affordable housing provision

Off-site highway works to Tothill Street Roundabout junction

Resurfacing of Bridleway

It has been recommended that councillors defer and delegate the application for approval by officers, subject to safeguarding conditions, and the submission of a signed S.106 agreement.

The planning meeting takes place on April 14 from 5.15pm. The meeting will be streamed online.


  1. Yet another impact of Sir Roger Gale’s and Craig Mackinlay’s inexplicable support for a fraudulent barrister and his ridiculous plans for the closed and defunct Manston ex-Airport.

    • Sincere apologies Ramsgate Lover, My comment was aimed at Minster Lover. Got my lovers mixed up lol, Hopefully the deluded fool will realise. But I’ve come to learn that there’s not a lot of hope of getting these people to ever admit that they were wrong.

  2. Ramsgate lover , I and others will listen when you get your facts correct ! Nothing to do with Manston or the the local MPs support of the re opening of Manston.

    • “The site is earmarked for housing under the Local Plan. Originally it was suggested 150 homes could be sited at Minster but this was increased to 250 after a vote to retain the Manston airport site for aviation and so redistribute housing numbers that had been allocated to that site.”

      • Being rude and unwilling to engage in intelligent debate won’t make you right. Most locals now realise that the ill thought out nostalgic dream of Manston Airport operating as a freight terminal is coming at the cost of ancient farmland in Minster, Westgate and Garlinge being irreversibly destroyed. So we stand to lose a beautiful environment and gain noise, air pollution and further strain on our already struggling services. If you consider that a win you are truly delusional.

    • Its everything to do with Manston airport! A planning application was made for 4,000 dwellings I believe, instead Gale, and Mackinlay preferred a disgusting, air and noise polluting cargo airport, that will put scores of people out of work in the hospitality trade, Duurh!

  3. Yet another disillusioned soul, house’s will still be built here and all the other sites that are available, with or without house’s on the old airport land🤷🏼‍♂️

    • True.
      But fewer would have been built at Minster, Cliffsend, Birchington-on-Sea and so on had a few thousand been built on Manston’s brown field site.

      • Andrew, no no no! When it comes to house builders, when they get hold of land they WILL fill it with as many houses they can get away with, back to back rabbit huts, there’s just too much money money in it for them.

        Build 50-100 thousand house’s, what percentage of the families that fill them will have children, who in turn will say, “we were brought up/born here” ” we now need more homes built for our children” and so it goes on.

        • Big nose, I see you are struggling with this concept. Now, you have some beans and some jars to keep them in. Now, if you decide that you dont want to use one of the jars you have to put more beans in the other jars. Has this helped?

    • yes this is it, you are getting the houses anyway , if you built on the airport you would still get these houses on all the other sites, l don’t know what part they don’t understand

  4. With 100,000 health care professional vacant posts in the UK, the downgrading of QEQM, Thanet has lost 7 GP surgeries in recent years, how are the health needs of Thanet going to be met?

  5. More decimation of the green belt and our precious countryside due to the obsession of a vocal few and our terrible MPs and their unwavering support for the incompetent Manston airport hobbyhorse.

    Not only that, but it’ll be nice and noisy for these residents too if the monstrous hub goes ahead and these houses are built.

    Thankfully the CAA just rejected RSPs most recent homework, just like the judge who quashed the DCO outcome. It ain’t impressive is it.

  6. Shameful – no backbone in the planning committee and delegate to officers? I think we all know what that means!

  7. All these new home built will surly make more pollution then a few aircraft each night. But then others would say different. The real fact is more than enough brown field site to build enough homes, the number that they want to build is way over the top and is only to accommodate London’s over spill. So let’s stop arguing over airport or homes and make a push for commonsense, brown field not new field and local homes not 1000s of homes. To have big plans you need lots of jobs and NHS, doctors that can provide cover to all. This is not here in Thanet, so should never be given the go ahead.

  8. As the site was included in the now approved Local PLan, despite hundreds of objections and the TDC arbitrarily extending the village boundries without local consultation, it is likely to receive consent.
    I suggest that the planners of TDC will not be happy until the whole of the district is one urbanised dormitory estate!!

  9. Enough is is enough. The needs & requirements of those already here have to be counted. Acceptance is coming to an end.

  10. Not sure whether to laugh or cry at the utter madness of a system that is happy to destroy this area, yet in the same breath object to a house extension because its got a bit of character. It’s the stuff of a west end farce.

  11. Common sense would recognise that a cargo plane over Ramsgate at 500 feet every 12 minutes is not a positive development.

    Housing is coming. Just a shame 4,000 can’t go on the defunct runway. Stone Hill Park included funding for new GP surgeries and schools and other local infrastructure and it was rejected.

  12. Blame TDC and blame St John’s College as it is they who have put their land forward for development. It is St John’s who the people of Birchington have to thank for the 1,650 new boxes planned there.
    Write/email the Master (Heather Hancock) and Scholars, tell them what you think of their grubby money grabbing antics: Postal address:
    St John’s College
    Cambridge CB2 1TP

    • The reason we’re getting houses built everywhere is because we have a crap Local Plan.
      The original one expired years ago. Under the watch of several previous TDC Administrations, no progress was made in producing an up-to-date one.
      Almost at the last minute, a plan was produced by the Officers. But because it did not reserve Manston for aviation only use, it was blocked by Tory and UKIP councillors, to be replaced by one which firmly rejected houses on Manston. An irony is that many of the noble burghers of Birchington were vociferously against the first draft of the Plan.
      Talk about chickens coming home to roost!

      • True – but remember the Local Plan is not a rationale beast, it can only propose development on land that has been offerred for development by the landowners. If no one came forward with land then the Local Plan would be in some difficulty – as it is the houses go where ever the land owner wants to cash in not neccesarily where they are needed.
        It’s all part of the reward for those at the trough.

  13. Manston airport Will be reopening it is part of a national security issue strategically placed in the event of any emergencies or threats to the UK the more houses that are built in East Kent I fact increase the need for the airport.
    The corrupted CAA need their wings clipped look at who the faces are behind it and why they are keen to try and block the airport. The government will make it happen under national security laws that no whips / snowflakes / moaners / RTC / tree kissers / mini Dawes / JWs. Will be able to stop. Get used to it.

  14. The CAA didn’t say what you, Ann, wanted to hear, but that doesn’t mean they’re corrupt. But if you have proof that they are, do share it with the rest of us.

  15. Ann, what national security issue are you referring to, and how would a cargo hub flying in those shortage loads of freeze dried fish/race horses/luxury cars help with this security issue? (For the fact checkers, these cargo loads are on the record from RSP as to what these desperate UK shortages were).

    I think in reality, you’ll find the CAA took a look at the inept application and concluded what the examiners concluded in that this cargo plan is a load of old rubbish.

    More failure is coming. Get used to it.

  16. If the CAA are so clever and knowledgeable how come they never once in all the time Manston Airport was open for both passengers and cargo and for emergency help around the world when earthquakes and other disasters happened to fly supplies to help victims it was fully used as a cargo hub by Cargolux who used to use d it daily. Why did the CAA not raised one by objection. In due course there will be a documentary on the on the a program on TV you will then see the truth behind lies.

  17. What should always be remembered is Manston Airport is a reopening NOT a new airport. This point conveniently overlooked by those it suits. The law on reopening an Established business with historic presidents has no restrictive laws to stop it doing so.

  18. Ann, I do agree a documentary on the TV to expose the lies behind Manston would be compulsive viewing. In particular, who are the overseas mystery investors? Why does Roger Gale MP get away with being their self confessed spokesperson? Why did Grant Shapps overrule the planning inspectors? Can anyone provide evidence of need or benefit because the judge clearly also agreed this question needed answering. How are they allowed to get away with the jobs numbers lies? Let’s hope they commission this programme really soon.

    PS It is a new airport, it has 1. no planning permission 2. no CAA approval 3. no MOD approval alongside 4. no cargo customers and 5. no local planning approval or 6. no DCO approval.

    • You’re right Emmeline, a documentary would probably be very enlightening! Not much point telling Ann the truth as she is utterly blinkered, as are so many airport supporters. Of course RSP’s cargo hub (can’t believe they actually want one!) would be a brand new airport.

  19. Emmaline. You are talking rubbish. 1. It is not a new airport. 2. It does not need NEW airport CAA approval or other planning bods jumping on the bandwagon as they could with a new airport . 3. It matters not one jot who the investors are. Many organisations have many investors they don’t have to be identified in person. 4. Sr Roger Gale as an MP is backing Manston Airport like Craig McKinley MP Because they can see the benefits of the Airport REOPENING.

  20. RSP are being silly to themselves by trying to assure critics that they are doing everything they can and to please the investors. List me the law any law that states. That an an established airport that closes cannot reopen at a later date as an Airport. The pending court hearing will make this very clear.

  21. The UK is witnessing the lowest birthrates ever. There are thousands of second homes that are barely touched, empty buildings, brownfield sites that could easily cover this quantity of houses. We need to breathe in Thanet, it ‘was’ a very special environmental place with a fantastic climate for growing produce.

  22. Ann- talk to me about these ‘national security’ issues please. Perhaps you inconveniently missed it when you were offered the opportunity to elaborate on this comment several times. I’d dearly love to know, as someone who knows a lot about national security. If you have facts here- I can helpfully check them for you, otherwise I’m just going to assume you’re grandstanding and talking s**t, again.

  23. Why not use manston airport,build the houses there,instead. I dread think in 50 years time,there will be no such as a countryside.

  24. I’m sorry but some of you are quite delusional if you think 4000 houses on Manston would stop others developing land in Thanet, you should be worried more on the infrastructure, can the doctors take on more patients, will there be places at local schools, traffic the list goes on, but unfortunately we have a council which only see numbers and not the big picture. I wouldn’t mind if the local population could afford the properties but they will be snapped up by people from other areas as this is a cheap place to live and you get more for your money

  25. Nobody is delusional about other houses not also being a requirement beyond those that might have been built at Manston.

    The government determines new housing targets. Councils are supposed to have a good local plan which accommodates these targets but alas in Thanet, we have TDC so years of not having a plan at all, and now a plan that was clearly fudged about by the plane spotters so their precious defunct airfield could be protected.

    As a consequence, any housing that COULD have gone at Manston will now go on prime farmland.

    Thank you Roger Gale and all TDC Manston obsessives. 17,000 houses are gonna go somewhere and the old Manston site would have been ideal for a large chunk of them. Especially galling when the previous owner included investment commitments for heritage aviation, GP and School sites. All rejected by the TDC administration at the time which was fudged about for new leadership when the former leader recognised that the evidence confirmed Manston as an airport was a very bad idea.

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