An inquiry to decide on an appeal over the refusal for a contentious application for 450 homes on agricultural land off Shottendane Road in Margate will be held virtually from January 11.
The appeal will be a virtual public inquiry hosted by Thanet council. All participants will take part online, there will be no face to face meetings.
The appeal starts on Tuesday, January 11 at 10am and will last for 3-4 days. Anyone who wishes to address the inquiry must contact Thanet council by email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain details of how to join.
Anyone wishing to simply view the proceedings can followed it online on the council’s YouTube channel where it will be live-streamed.
The planning proposal by Gladman Developments Ltd was rejected by Thanet council three times – in April, June and then July of last year.
The proposal was initially sent back to the drawing board by councillors with the developer told the 10% affordable housing offer was inadequate. Thanet council’s Local Plan policy stipulates 30% affordable housing unless proved that this figure is unviable.
In June the application was rejected yet again by Thanet council’s planning committee due to an “insulting” affordable housing offer of 15%, flood risk, harm to wildlife and agricultural land and concerns at the inability to provide required health care for new residents.
In July it was again rejected on the grounds of an unacceptable percentage of affordable housing although councillors had raised numerous concerns including the lack of biodiversity surveys and mitigation, wildlife, the loss of farmland and the issue of greatly increased pressure on access to healthcare services.
However, council officers said there were “no cogent reasons” in planning policy to refuse on any basis other than the lack of affordable housing.
Gladman’s appealed to the Secretary of State against the refusal.
The Westgate & Garlinge Action Group (WAGAG) and Salmestone Ward Residents’ Association are fighting the appeal.
Salmestone Ward Residents’ Association (SWRA) are playing an active part in the inquiry as a Rule 6 Party. This means that they have submitted evidence to the inspector and will be speaking at the inquiry.
The main reason for refusal – the viability of the development and the amount of affordable housing – will be fully discussed and examined at the inquiry. New evidence will be presented and witnesses will be cross-examined.
Other concerns were raised and fully discussed at the three planning committee meetings. These included loss of biodiversity, lack of mitigation for farmland birds, a missing bird survey, loss of farmland, concerns about flooding and lack of adequate infrastructure (including lack of GPs and an overloaded sewage system). SWRA have ensured that these additional issues have not been forgotten, as has the Westgate and Garlinge Action Group (against Houses on Farmland) who have submitted a statement that they intend to read out at the inquiry.
The inspector has agreed to hold discussions about biodiversity and flooding.
SWRA has employed a planning consultant and an expert witness on financial viability. Biodiversity experts have also been consulted.
A crowdfunder to pay for the appeal has been launched by SWRA with a target of £5000. The response has so far reached just over £3000. A final push is underway to reach the target so there are sufficient funds to pay the experts who will also need to attend the inquiry.
A petition asking for the Shottendane Road farmland to be preserved has reached 5551 signatures and can be founf here – https://chng.it/x7ss27xx
The fundraiser for appeal battle costs can be found here – https://gofund.me/bc229bb9
Planning appeal reference APP/Z2260/21/3280446.
TDC planning reference OL/TH/20/0847