An application to create six homes at the site of British wrestler Jackie Pallo’s former Ramsgate property has again been refused by Thanet councillors due to concerns about pedestrian and cyclist access.
Ozengell Farm was the home of the wrestling hero until his death from cancer in 2006, aged 80. His son, Jackie Jnr, and wife Trixie continued to live at the property. Trixie died in 2013.
The four-bed property was gutted by fire in March 2018, believed to have been deliberately set. Ramsgate and Margate crews were called to the site with 16 firefighters and four fire engines at the scene during the height of the blaze.
Mont Blanc Developments Ltd want to demolish the gutted property and build the new ‘courtyard’ development. The plans were previously refused in 2019 and an appeal was also dismissed in 2020.
Planning officers recommended the plan’s refusal due to road safety concerns as the farmhouse is on Haine Road which is unlit and lacks a footpath, leaving pedestrians exposed to road traffic. KCC Highways objected on the same grounds.
Mr Hare, from TaylorHare Architects, speaking on behalf of the developer said the ‘well-designed, contemporary’ development would replace a current eyesore.
The site now also falls under an ‘urban’ designation rather than countryside since the adoption of the Thanet Local Plan.
But, despite some councillors on the planning committee acknowledging the proposal was well designed, concerns about the busy Haine Road and lack of cycle and pedestrian paths resulted in the rejection.
Planning officers said there would be linked cycle and pathways and a downgrading of Haine Road as part of the adjoining Manston Green development for 785 homes but there was no indication when this work would be completed.
It is expected footings will be dug for Manston Green phase one before October to make sure the outline planning consent gained in 2016 and Phase One reserved matters consent given in October 2019, is still valid but there is no estimated completion date.
The committee was told phase one – for 220 homes- is expected to have the first 20 units built in the 2022/23 financial year – but there is, as yet, no confirmed housebuilder for the project.
However, the Inspector at the recent appeal for the six home development at the Pallo site did ‘not doubt that phase 1 of the Manston
Green development, when completed, would provide safe pedestrian and cycle highway access for the occupants of the appeal scheme.’
And planning consultant John Elvidge outlined in documents for Mont Blanc: “The developers of Manston Green have confirmed that details to discharge all pre-commencement conditions for phase 1 of the development have been submitted, with work upon phase 1 and the Staner Hill junction improvements due to commence in September.
“Reserved matters (likely) to be submitted for all three phases by July 2021. In addition, condition 3 imposed upon that consent requires each phase to be commenced within two years of the date of the final approval of the reserved matters for each respective phase. As far as phase 1 is concerned, the reserved matters approval was granted on 18th October 2019 and, as such, the forthcoming September commencement fully accords with this requirement.
“Moreover, as it took only six months for the reserved matters application for phase 1 to be approved, there is no reason to assume why the respective submissions for phases 2 and 3 to take any longer, which would mean that approvals during Spring 2022, will subsequently require commencements upon those phases by Spring 2024.”
He said the likely completion of the appeal scheme would be during this time, in 2023.
The Phase 2 application for Manston Green has been submitted to Thanet council since Mr Elvidge’s report.
Cllr Jill Bayford said: “This is a busy road and I do not think personal safety can be ignored. It is a pity as this is an attractive development and it would be good if Manston Green goes ahead but I think it has to be one for the future.”
The committee voted to refuse the Ozengell Farm application.