Thanet Green Party is calling on district council leader Ash Ashbee to halt the Local Plan review – which is predicting need for an additional 4,000-4,500 homes by 2040 on top of the 17,140 already required.
The update to the Thanet Local Plan – a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure on the isle – has housing need calculated using the Government’s “standard method” resulting in a figure of 21,700 dwellings by 2040.
The adopted Local Plan identifies an outstanding supply of 13,147. There are additional dwellings provided through the empty homes programme (540 units) and “windfalls” (3825 units). This means there is an outstanding requirement of just over 4,000 dwellings which needs to be accommodated as part of the Local Plan update.
The plan update report says some 548 affordable homes per year would be needed to fully meet local needs.
But Thanet Greens say the Office of National Statistics data being used to calculate housing need is incorrect – something also stated by witnesses at the recent Shottendane development public enquiry, including North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale.
Thanet Green Party leader Cllr Mike Garner has written to TDC leader Cllr Ash Ashbee calling on her to halt the current Local Plan review process, He has also asked her to write to the Secretary of State, Michael Gove asking for Thanet’s housing targets to be reset to a level more consistent with the isle’s environmental and infrastructure constraints.
Cllr Garner said: “A number of other councils in the south east, including Conservative controlled Mid Sussex, have already done this and we believe we need to take action before it’s too late.”
Newly elected Thanet Villages representative Cllr Abi Smith said: “The planned overdevelopment of our greenfield sites was the issue raised most on the doorsteps during the recent by-election campaign.
“On top of the well-known issues with Southern Water’s infrastructure, we’ve recently learnt more about the damage being done to the internationally important reed beds at Stodmarsh caused by increasing levels of nitrates and phosphates in the River Stour, due in part to overdevelopment across the region. Residents expect us to take action now to protect our environment.”
The call is being backed by Independent district councillor Pauline Farrance who is one of the representatives for Salmestone ward.
She said: “This is an important initiative from the Green Party councillors. We must demand a government review of the 17,000 new houses planned for Thanet.
“ Should we really be planning to increase our population by 50%? This seems to be based on circular calculations of projected employment needs and projected housing needs.
“Thanet already has the highest density of population in Kent -apart from the London fringes – of 140,000.
“Do we really expect to have tens of thousands of new jobs in Thanet over the next decade or two? Why should we build on our fields – which are producing much-needed food for our country? The UK is in food scarcity, we have to import 46% of our food. The figures speak for themselves. The UK has to import £11.5 billion of fruit and vegetables each year, and exports only £1.3 billion.
“We urgently need a government review to save Thanet’s precious remaining green spaces.”
Thanet Local Plan
The Local Plan sets out the strategy for future development and was adopted for Thanet in July 2020. It runs to the period up to 2031.
The council is now preparing a ‘partial update’ of the Local Plan to extend it up to 2040. This is updating certain parts of the Plan and reviewing topics that previous Local Plan Inspectors recommended, it is not an update of the whole Plan.
Thanet council leader Cllr Ash Ashbee said: “The Plan really does shape how our district will look in the years ahead, both in terms of housing, but also other types of development and infrastructure. It is so important to us to hear your views on the Plan at all stages of the review.”
Public consultation is due to close at 5pm on Friday 4 February
A draft Plan setting out detailed policy proposals will then be published. This will be followed by a further opportunity to comment on a full draft Plan and the wider allocation of housing and sites.
The public can submit views via the council’s consultation website
The supporting evidence documents are available to view on the council’s consultation website, where comments can be made, and supporting documentation can be uploaded as further evidence to support responses.
Feedback can also be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Strategic Planning Team, Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent CT9 1XZ. Please mark your comments ‘Local Plan Partial Update’.
If you would like to speak to one of the Local Plan team before making comments, please contact 01843 577591 or email: email@example.com
Hard copies of the documents are available to view at all local libraries and some Town or Parish Council offices.