An application for development in Ramsgate that was quashed after a Laleham Gap parent took it to Judicial Review has been resubmitted.
The proposal by Kentish Projects is for 23 houses,15 flats and parking for 59 cars on land off Stirling Way. In October 2020 Thanet council approved the plans for the build, sited in the perimeter of the Eurokent Business Park and bounded by Royal Harbour Academy and Laleham Gap Schools.
But the decision was challenged with the Judicial Review brought by the parent.
In July the High Court allowed the claim on all six grounds in the parent’s claim and quashed the planning permission.
The Judge agreed that: the circumstances of the contract, which was for an application inclusive of land owned by Thanet council and Kent County Council under EKO LLP; the fact that it did not go to planning committee; the lack of explanation for why it had initially been scheduled for committee and then withdrawn, and other grounds in the legal claim, did mean that a fair-minded observer would have thought there was a real possibility the decision-maker was biased.
The Judge also granted a pro bono costs order in the claimant’s favour for £35,000.
The development site, immediately adjacent to the school, is owned by an LLP joint venture in which Thanet council and Kent County Council are partners.
Owing to the council’s interest in the site for which it was considering the planning application, the Judge held that it was under an enhanced duty to engage with objections thoroughly, conscientiously and fairly. However, the application was approved by officers and not taken to committee despite more than 30 objections being lodged.
The result was an order for Thanet council to quash planning permission for homes at Stirling Way, overlooking the school playground, with the decision branded as unlawful and having the appearance of bias.
Now a new application has been submitted by Kentish Projects, with additional documents to address the points in the successful JR claim.
The developer says the application will this time go to committee and that “clarity over the land-owning position will be addressed through submission of revised ownership documents, rectifying any apparent bias.”
The document adds that measures will be put in place to reduce noise from the project and to address highways issues so students can still safely walk to school.
The developer says there have been discussions with Laleham Gap headteacher Les Milton since the Judicial Review to look at the concerns.
A second consultation is being held prior to a new decision being made. The development plans for the site remain unchanged.
A spokesperson for Laleham Gap Parents Association, which had backed the legal challenge, said: “It appears to be very much the same damaging project, just resubmitted, so still has the same problems for traffic, jamming, air pollution , noise , privacy, emergency services access, environmental and ecological damage, drinking water catchment, loss of recreation and dog walking .
“We are furious that we have to waste time filling in forms on the council site again but we urge the local rate payers to fill in the online form or send an email to planning at email@example.com and send us, the Laleham Gap Parents Association, a copy at”firstname.lastname@example.org so we can count the objections by December 8. Written objections are still valid after December 8 and should continue to be sent in and read by committee members and planning officials.”
The association says there are concerns that the footpath by the site, used by school children, ramblers and dog walkers to get from Stirling Way to Jacky Bakers playing fields and the library, has been blocked and that the density of the development will reduce open space needed for the prevention of airborne disease, such as covid.
Views on the application can be submitted at Thanet council’s planning portal, reference F/TH/19/0323