Campaigners launch petition in bid to stop development on Thanet’s farmland

Farmland at Shottendane earmarked for housing development

A Thanet campaign group has launched a petition in a bid to stop further development of farmland across the isle.

Westgate & Garlinge Action Group against Houses on Farmland  say building on 50 acres of land off Shottendane Road – which is earmarked for 450 homes by Gladman Developments Ltd – must be rejected when the decision goes before Thanet councillors next week.

Gladman Developments Ltd propose to build the homes, a new distributor link road connecting Hartsdown Road, Shottendane Road and Manston Road, two new roundabouts, public children’s play areas and recreational routes.

The 19.53ha site is made up of two arable fields -Tyrells’s Top and Tyrell’s Bottom – either side of Shottendane Road. Wheat is cultivated on the land.

The contentious plan has provoked more than 50 objections from residents and bodies including Thanet Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) which says Thanet has an impractical and unsustainable target for housing and the Local Plan needs an early radical review, which cannot be done whilst there is uncertainty about Manston airport. The group also raises the issue that only 10% affordable housing is pledged rather than  30%.

Margate Civic Society has also objected on grounds including traffic congestion and the loss of prime agricultural land.

The application has been called to Planning Committee by Cllr Candy Gregory on the grounds of loss of farmland, highway safety and capacity issues, impact on community facilities and flood risk.

Part of the site Image CSA Environmental/Gladman Developments

Thanet council’s planning report says that planning policy not to grant significant developments on agricultural land unless “the benefits of the proposed development outweigh the harm resulting from the loss of agricultural land” do not apply to the Shottendane build.

It is being recommended that councillors defer and delegate the decision to officers for approval, as happened with a 214 home plan for farmland off Tothill Street in Minster earlier this week.

This is likely to be agreed because, as with the Minster site, the Shottendane land is already agreed for development as part of Thanet’s Local Plan – a blueprint for housing, infrastructure and jobs up to 2031.

Minster site

The Westgate and Garlinge campaign group says the scheme does not address the need of residents for affordable housing as the application only allows for 10% affordable housing instead of the usually recommended 30%.

A statement on the petition page says: “The development is linked to proposed housing schemes at neighbouring villages of Westgate and Birchington via Section 106 payments for a new ‘inner circuit’ road. Together, they will mean the loss of some 750 hectares of farmland.

The group wants to save farmland Photo Ros Tapp

“The attractive character of central Thanet’s undulating chalk farmland will be changed forever by the proposed housing, roadbuilding and streetlighting.

“Open views from footpaths in the area enjoyed by so many of us will go, with some of the footpaths absorbed into new housing estates.

“Farmland birds, including our much-loved Skylarks, and other wildlife will lose their habitat. We need to safeguard the valuable ecosystems that thrive on Thanet’s highly productive farmland.

“Another chunk of Thanet’s long farming heritage will be lost.

“Farmland in the UK is challenged by environmental factors such as sea-level rise, flooding and carbon emissions. The country’s best farmland, including that in Thanet, should be retained for the benefit of future generations and their food security.

“If the Shottendane Road development is approved, further losses of nearby farmland are likely as farming in the area becomes increasingly unviable. We urge the council to reject this application.”

The Birchington development site

An estimated 600-700 acres of farmland is earmarked for housing under Thanet’s Local Plan. This includes 2000 homes at Westgate and Garlinge, 1,600 homes at Birchington, up to 250 in Minster, 785 at Manston Green

The Local Plan has provision for 17,140 homes to be built between 2011-2031. Of this number 2,704 had been completed by March 2019.

Between 2021-26  the plan indicates 1,200 homes should be completed each year, equalling a total of 6,000 properties, Across 2026-2031 this number rises to 1317 per year to total 6585.

In 2019 Thanet council delivered just 35% of its housing target. This was slightly higher for 2020 at 54% but the government delivery target is now set at 75% of the district’s total housing need.

Strategic sites that have been approved for development include:

Westwood 1,450

Birchington on Sea 1,600

Westgate on Sea 2,000

Manston Green (planning permission granted so not counted in allocations)785

Land at Manston Court/Haine Road 1400

Land north and south of Shottendane Road 550

Fronting Nash/Haine Roads 1020

Other Housing Sites/Areas 1,691

Rural allocations are:

Tothill Street, Minster 250

Land at Manor Road, St Nicholas 10

Land at Walter’s Hall Farm, Monkton 20

Land south side of A253, Cliffsend 62

Land north of Cottington Road, Cliffsend 41

Builders Yard south of 116-124 Monkton Street, Monkton 20

Former Jentex site Canterbury Road West, Cliffsend 56

Foxborough Lane (South Side), Minster 35

Land at The Length, St. Nicholas 25

Young’s Nursery, Arundel Road, Cliffsend 12

Find the Say NO to the further loss of farmland in Thanet petition here

33 Comments

  1. Have a go at our two MPs. It’s their government that came up with the algorithm that determined such large numbers of houses. Not just in Thanet, but all over the country.
    I dare say it’s got nothing to do with the fact that house builders are huge donors to the tory party.

  2. I agree with Andrew. A “back of a fag packet” algorithm determines that Thanet, and other areas, must have more house building than needed.
    It also allows house building companies to build more 3 and 4-bed “Executive” style houses that are unaffordable to most local residents.
    The housing that we actually need round here would include large numbers of smaller houses and flats.
    Young people starting out AND older people looking to downsize would be in the market for smaller homes. But, no, the house builders make more money out of the big detacheds and semis, and what they say is just accepted as they are the ones who fund the Tory Party.
    Most voters in Thanet might VOTE for the Tories, but they don’t FUND the Tories. That is the difference.
    So most of these big houses will be sold to London commuters. How will they get to London on time, though?
    Easy! Kent County Council and the national government are using tax payers money to build Thanet Parkway station!
    Game, set and match to the Tories and their paymasters. Again!

  3. Tdc really seriously need to look at the history of Thanet as there is a closed river under that land. They should Stop and think what is there before they do anything, you ignore history and you will pay the price. Tdc listen listen listen for once and read up on your history

    • Cht nah let them build let them flood, anyone that buys/rents or whatever should be made aware of any water underneath this farmland if they are not it would be negligence by the builders, sellers and TDC people should be informed of its presence and Phyllis just because you haven’t heard of it does not mean it isn’t there

  4. Tdc you should really really really do your history on Thanet and the lower field were cricket field is…. It’s a covered river so you really want to build on a river that still flood’s. Do your history and do the right thing and refuse building

  5. The Garden of England? Now the Housing Development site of England.
    Is the plan to just join up our Thanet towns into just one giant town?
    Madness

  6. Most days I walk the footpath from Mill Row in Birchington to the lip of the hill leading down to Brooksend, and I am always spellbound by the stunning views across to Reculver, and the sea beyond, and the huge skies. One day last spring, during first lockdown, I stood there taking it all in, surrounded by lark song, when a hare suddenly materialised in the growing corn a few feet from me, gave me a look, and disappeared as swiftly and silently as it had arrived. The thought of all this being torn up by bulldozer and buried for ever under concrete is quite heartbreaking. On a less emotional note, I can’t help wondering how much thought has gone into the chaos, congestion, and gridlocked traffic which will occur as drains, mains and utilities are installed here, for years to come? Who has thought of the water supply, and the impact of tens of thousands more people, and thousands more cars, on our already crowded Thanet communities? My guess is that were a local referendum to be held on the subject of the new builds, a huge majority would say no, let our fields be and leave us some space. But having “taken back control” from Brussels, our own leaders seem happy to ignore the views of the countrymen they are supposed to serve, and impose their self serving plans upon us safe in the knowledge they will be re-elected whatever they do.

  7. What a shame that more time is bwing wasted on trying to revive a long dead airport, while farmland is lost.

  8. Yet again, the pet obsession of a few airport obsessives ruin the green belt for future generations and leave Thanet with a local plan worthy of a Grade F.

    Let’s hope now the Manston DCO has been quashed and the CAA has told them not good enough, that TDC review the local plan again once Manston is finally confirmed as the dead duck we all know it is.

    Not sure why some are so excited about a gigantic cargo hub. I’d have thought the plane spotters would be fully behind housing developments, after all, they support job creation at any cost.

    Good luck to this questionnaire, serious formal questions need asking in Thanet such as why housing isn’t going on brownfield and why Thanet has such a shocking plan.

  9. TDC really should not be building any more new homes until they’ve sorted out the sad state of our towns and facilities. Leave the farm land alone we need this more than the additional pollution that extensive housing estates will bring to Thanet. Every housing developer promises a playground in their plans, but we’re not all of juvenile age, what about the rest of the population in Thanet. Once the local natural landscape is paved over what else is there, we should be living in harmony with our agricultural neighbours.

  10. Phyllis the river runs through Woodchurch through Shottendane rd straight through the lower field they want to build on. The farm had a well it got it’s water from 1890. Flows through tovil sunk part across rd to were industrial estate is (jewson/ along side of old railway line) come along behide Dreamland and under flamingo arcade( Kent hotel pub) past clock tower and out to sea by crabbing pool. At low tide you can still see the water flow in the sand. My father has history book dating 1890ish that states that it’s there and still there. Hope that helps you out.

  11. I moved back to Thanet about 3 years ago from the Staines area. Many years ago, before Heathrow, as we know it,came to be, it was similar to the villages in Thanet. Now, they are building flats on top of flats with no room for parking. Many of the locals are moving out. If we allow this to happen here, many of you will be following suit. I’m not joking!

  12. New homes may create jobs for the building firms which the company have on there books so no local builders will be used ,and when building all finished the building teams move to another build,the building on farmland at Westwood cross in the original plans a new road was to be made to replace the old nash road to make it safer, no sign of that and if the building goes ahead at shottendane needs to have a new safer road made from one end to another ,need to have more schools, doctors ,water better drainage and the biggest thing are jobs for the people of thanet, having a working airport would solve a lot of problems

  13. Great stuff everyone but what are you doing to change things?
    Write to Boris Johnson, write your MP, write to Robert Jenrick, write to Madeline Homer, write to the planning department at TDC – make a noise and demand answers to the important questions about facilities, infrastructure, need and so on.
    Make this what they wake up to and what they have on their minds when they go to bed.

  14. What’s the point of giving Thanet’s soil the Grade 1 rating when this provides no protection from concrete and tarmac? Unfortunately the less we retain, the more food we will have to import from countries whose standards are not as high as our own.
    As the years roll by, we will need our quality soil more and more – if there’s any left. Loss of fine farmland to housing is putting the country’s food security at risk. In 2018, the National Farmers’ Union were describing our declining self-sufficiency as “alarming”, and saying, “Only 60% of the UK’s food needs are currently home-grown.” Well, the decline may be more alarming than they realize because, according to the Chief Executive of the Food, Farming & Countryside Commission, the figure has now fallen to 55%. As for our fruit & veg, the Commission tells us we are only 23% self-sufficient. Crazy.
    At one of TDC’s Local Plan hearings, I spoke about food insecurity and was met by a wall of silence. At this rate, we might as well stop the charade and remove public consultation from the process.

  15. Blue Fox, great swathes of people commented on the current fog bodge plan cobbled together by Bob Bayford and TDC in protection of his precious Manston, which was THE only reason they rejected the previous plan from UKIP leadership. We ALL knew this terrible plan would result in unnecessary green belt build, we said so over and over and over and over.

    Many of those who supported Manston now protest. Including Roger Gale.

    Let’s just hope they review the bodge plan now the DCO has been quashed. I wish this petition every success. Thanet needs a proper housing strategy, starting with the brownfield sites.

    • Agree Emmeline but TDC are reviewing the Local Plan right now and have put out a call for MORE development land to be brought forward – they are not listening to us, thay are acting like puppets under Jenrick and Johnson (manifesto promise of 1 millin new homes by the next election – take priority over everything else, no concern about the consequences)

  16. I’m so glad to see people making the connection between greenfield housing developments and the ill-conceived idea to make Thanet’s biggest brownfield site, at Manston, unavailable for housing. Instead, our Conservative MP has insisted, despite expert advice, on building a noisy, dirty, polluting and tourism-depleting cargo hub. These decisions are made by people who will not have to live with the consequences, while we in Garlinge, Westgate, Birchington, Minster, Monkton and St Nicholas at Wade must host thousands of new homes, with little infrastructure. As well as despoiling our countryside, they will put pressure on local services and communities. As the Green Party candidates for Birchington and Rural, Rob Edwards and I may not be able to stop these decisions in their tracks, but we will stand with you against policies that literally ‘fly’ in the face of reason, compassion and sustainability for our beautiful Thanet.

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