Updated plans for the development of 153 homes at the Westwood Lodge site in Poorhole Lane will be discussed by Thanet council’s planning committee next week.
The application for approval of access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale of the development has been called in to committee by Green Party councillor Mike Garner who wants to raise issues of biodiversity, affordable housing and conditions laid down by the Planning Inspector.
The development was rejected by Thanet council in August 2015, citing the impact on the green wedge and lack of planning obligations. The application was subsequently approved on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate in February 2017.
The Planning Inspectorate decision overturning Thanet council’s case said it was weakened by a lack of a 5 year housing supply plan and “as the woodland visible along the northern and eastern site boundaries would be largely retained its distinctive landscape qualities would not be prejudiced.”
Former developer applicant Places For People Homes Ltd pulled out of the scheme last year. During the second half of 2020 Rooksmead Residential Ltd agreed terms with L&G Modular Homes on a revised set of proposals.
L&G Modular Homes have made a series of amendments including moving new builds further away from the existing buildings and retaining more of the trees onsite.
The Grade II listed main house of Westwood Lodge, built in 1864, the 17th Century cottage and the gate piers will remain intact on the site.
The main changes are:
- More of the established landscape structure, with internal woodlands creating three discreet clearings to the north, appears to be retained. These landscape buffers break the proposed development into three smaller sections, thereby limiting the overall visual impact as perceived from any one view and have the effect of moving the central ‘block’ of development further away from any more direct views from the terrace of Westwood Lodge;
- The layout has a more informal feel than the perimeter blocks, with buildings grouped in longer terraces, thereby minimising any busy visual clutter which might distract from the setting of Westwood Lodge more generally;
- More of the historic carriage drive has been retained, with the new estate road using only a small section at the ‘spur’ with the service drive before crossing through the woodland to the new perimeter road further north. The crossing point lies substantially further west, away from Westwood Lodge, thereby protecting a greater proportion of its setting
- Whereas the new buildings closest to Westwood Lodge were three full stories with prominent gables, the orientation of the roofscapes have been rotated with rear pitches backing onto the new road layout, presenting a more recessive form of development onto the retained setting of the assets.
No formal boundary is proposed between the new development and Westwood Lodge. This will remain as existing, with the boundary will be formed by existing trees, in order to protect the setting of the current building.
The listed entrance gates will be retained and opened up to pedestrian access along the carriage drive.
In a document to the planning committee Thanet’s biodiversity and horticulture officer says amended plans have resulted in an extra 2.89ha of woodland being retained, wildlife corridors, wildflower areas, hedgehog highways, a pond and swift and bat boxes.
A survey at the site found seven species of bats recorded foraging/commuting within the site – predominately common and soprano pipistrelles.
At least 31 species of breeding birds recorded on site – including amber and red listed species. A Barn owl recorded foraging within the site. Trees with low/moderate potential to be used by roosting bats and a brown long-eared bat roost was confirmed in a tree which will be retained.
The biodiversity officer says: “I believe the land management proposals if enacted as visioned could be an exemplary example for flora and fauna connectivity and people’s enjoyment.”
However concerns have been raised with 34 letters submitted in regards to the updated proposals raising issues including increased traffic and pollution. The Broadstairs society has also lodged an objection to the plan based on issues including the loss of trees and the lack of medical facilities to serve residents.
Kent County Council’s response on biodiversity was that the management plan, and inclusion of the habitat features, should be in place as soon as possible and monitored throughout the scheme.
Kent Police has asked for several conditions to make the scheme ‘safe.’
Last year the Thanet Trees demonstrated, dressed as zombies, against tree clearance at the site. The site was thought to be a former medieval plague burial pit but a heritage study carried out as part of the application says this could not be confirmed.
The scheme, which will include 30% affordable housing, will be mainly in the northern area of the 8.2 hectare site within land previous classed as countryside and Green Wedge.
Homes will be two-storey and comprise of two, three and four-bed properties. 337 parking spaces have been provided, 2 spaces per dwelling and a further 31 visitor spaces
Planning officers recommend the application is approved when councillors discuss it on May 19.
Find the amended plans on Thanet council’s planning portal under reference R/TH/20/0174
Westwood Lodge history
Westwood Lodge was built in 1864 as a holiday retreat for Spencer Herepath, a Kensington stockbroker whose firm specialised in South American Railway securities.
The architect is not at present known but there is speculation that it could have been Henry Winnock Hayward (1825-1893) who had built houses of a similar style in Phillimore Place, Kensington near Herepath’s London residence.
Herepath’s daughter Marion married Linley Sambourne, the celebrated Punch illustrator, in 1874. After Spencer Herepath died in 1884, Mrs Herepath lived there until the property was sold in 1893.
The next owner was Harry Rickards (1841-1911), a celebrated music hall artist who became a music hall impresario in both England and Australia. This was his English estate. By 1911 he was considered probably the largest single-handed music hall manager and proprietor in the world. Subsequent owners were the Farrell family. The property has been in continuous ownership by one family from 1948 until the present day. From 1929 the estate was used for farming and market gardening.
The entrance piers, gates and wall to Westwood Lodge were built circa 1865 in Gothic style.
The 17th century flint cottage is possibly listed as no 599 on sheet 2 of the Tithe Apportionment of 1838 for St Peter’s and Broadstairs, a house and garden owned and occupied by Mary Packer, connected with three arable fields. After 1865 it came into the same ownership as Westwood Lodge.
L&G is in fact the Insurance company Legal & General. This is becoming the trend for insurance companies to enter into the house building/development sector.
…it’s a trend for a great many companies to build property portfolios because of the yields.
Would permitting this development mean that permission for a similarly-sized development on a greenfield site could be rejected?
This is a greenfield site. And no, it doesn’t necessarily follow that if you build here 150 homes will be rejected elsewhere. If you want to save greenfield sites, better to protect them all
Quite a lot is woodland and there are buildings on part of the site. I thought greenfield sites meant farmland.
The best way to protect the countryside is to lobby local MPs. as it is the government which decides (using a dodgy algorithm, apparently) how much housing any particular area must have.
I cannot believe that consideration is even given when Westwood is a nightmare and gridlock especially at school times, there are many trees there and where are the wildlife supposed to go, they were ousted off their homes when westwood shopping centre was built, now they are being evicted again. This area cannot sustain all these properties being built enough is enough all this is doing is bringing outsiders to the area,locals do not benefit as they cannot afford the homes
…Outsiders? I found an old news paper the other day from 1998, the property section had a 5 bed Grade II listed terraced town house, Trinity Sq, Margate, freehold for sale. I imagine locals passed up the property at that price so that outsiders might buy it…and the rest is history. I’d argue that “locals” do benefit from a more prosperous Isle, especially if they bought their homes in the 80’s and 90’s.
Well said Gary Perkins.
The inhabitants of Thanet have to give go their long cherished xenophobia if they ever want Thant to progress.
oooh, forgot to mention, it was listed as £49,995. (no that isn’t a typo)
The “outsiders” are welcome to Margate. I stopped liking it when The Ship and its down-to-earth bikers were pushed aside for TC and its pretentious t*ssers.
If there are trees involved I would probably think TDC will grant planning as we all know they hate trees. This is just going to cause gridlock but as we know they don’t give a **** if they did they would have had their own local plan and not have to be dictated to by central government
TDC do not hate trees. That is a ridiculous exaggeration. I doubt if even one member of TDC “hates trees”.
TDC continuously have given consent to these developments with no protection given towards the trees so I would also say they hate trees. A concrete jungle is what we will end up with when they are finished.
These modular homes are cheap to make and put together and the resale prices are low so I should imagine only 30% being affordable means there will be a huge mark up for the developer. It’s good money being a developer these days with councils having to give consent with ease to controversial developments.
According to a member of Thanet Trees, TDC goes in for “frenzied ecocide”.
And how will the light pollution of all these new homes and streets affect the bat and owl population? And as Thanet already has one of the lowest number of trees in the UK how can anyone approve any at this location being cut down?
Until Westwood Cross has a Medical Centre built and operating with sufficient GPs there should not be any further building in the area. Thanet is already short of about 20 GPs and something has to be done about this before continuing to build more homes and encouraging more to come and live in this area. To say nothing of unemployment……….
It seems to me that the Planning Inspectorate has their own agenda to build new homes without taking ALL other considerations into account.
you said it Jane
If the trees already there have not been managed for several years then there is probably a need for some pruning and thinning out.
Completely agree with you Marva.
Here here my thoughts exactly.
it was reputedly a burial site for victims of the black death, hence the name, I don’t think it should be disturbed, because burial sites are sacred!
Larry no dig has been carried out and doesn’t look as if it will be now mark my words they have something to hide otherwise a dig would be carried out as is usual for a site like this the whole thing stinks as per a few bodies regardless of whether they were plague victims or not does not matter on jot look what ‘s happening to the burial sites along the HS2 route bodies are being dug up and buried somewhere else out of the way it is a disgusting way to treat the dead
Not unless you are a religious believer.
Wait!……..what do you mean Marva?
I’m replying to Larry who says “burial sites are sacred”.
no developer delivers what it promises so I do not believe a word they say it is pure wanton destruction of the last habitat like this in the Westwood area of course TDC will pass it just because they can and will go against the public again
And how many of you arborophiles regularly shop at WWX?