Call made to halt Thanet Local Plan review and ‘reset’ house building target

Housing development

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.

Cllr Mike Garner

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.”

Cllr Pauline Farrance

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 [email protected] 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 protected]

Hard copies of the documents are available to view at all local libraries and some Town or Parish Council offices.

30 Comments

  1. We cannot sustain the continued development of Thanet on this scale, it’s ridiculous and whoever they are listening to must be crazy if that is what they expect.
    There are still some derelict previously built on areas that have lain vacant for decades. The land bankers must be told to use those pieces of land to help the housing needs or lose them by CPO to the council who will ensure they are used. We must stop any further developments on the fields we use for growing crops. We cannot cope with thousands more using the full drainage waste system or with more vehicles clogging up the roads. We are seeing how bad our roads are with traffic jams as soon as one road is closed for emergency works. It shouldn’t take an hour to get through Margate and out the other side but that is the reality of already too many living here in this corner of Kent.
    Cllr Ashbee, you really need to send this back to Michael Gove and ask that no more is expected in this clogged up area.

      • Derelict buildings and land in brownfield areas should be used before any prime greenfield sites that are all popping up because developers want to build on the cheap to buy fields.
        TDC should CPO them (not all at the same time) and they get their money back when sold to be developed. Of course stipulations need to be made in the contracts so there are no more wasting time antics like the situation that caused the seafront development in Ramsgate to take a decade or longer to start.

  2. Once again, we need to ask how the projected number of new homes was calculated and exactly WHAT homes are needed.
    Have the good people of Thanet suddenly become unnaturally fertile and started having more babies? No evidence of that!
    Or have we started to live longer due to the bracing sea air? Well, that used to be the case but the UK has now become the only country in Europe that has seen the average age at death DECREASING! So it can’t be the older Thanetians who are demanding these new homes.
    And it can’t be immigration as the UK ,again, has one of the lowest rates of immigration in Europe and most asylum seekers have to pass through many other European countries en route to the Channel so we only get a remnant trickle of arrivals that way, compared to the much higher rates for France or Germany etc.
    It sounds to me that the government has just looked at the overall rate of growth for the South East as a whole and decided to just disperse everybody across the region regardless of local need or preference. A calculation “on the back of a fag packet”.
    Just as there are residents of Thanet who fear that new houses will crowd round their own homes here, over in London there will be people who fear they will have to move miles away to Thanet and commute because they can’t afford London prices. NONE of them want this situation!

    • There is definitely a housing crisis caused by selling off council houses, and not replacing them! Rents are sky high, and why are tax payers subsidising Buy to Let landlords? Why are people on housing benefit helping to pay of a Buy to Let Landlords mortgage? Thats our money folks, so its time this scandal was stopped, and the reason why this Tory government is forcing local councils to build more houses? Ask Boris Johnson! Everyone loves a clown, but they are not funny when they screw up the job of being Prime Minister!

    • Jo, I believe at one time Planning Permission was granted to build 4,000 homes on Manston airport, which included both Hi and Lo tech industrial/commercial facilities, plus leisure, schools, medical clinics, parkland etc! The infrastructure for sewage, water, electricity etc are still there!

  3. The original number in the Local Plan was 9500 NOT 1750. We do agree that the totals are disgracefully high and totally unnecessary.

  4. Of course you could allow the homes to be built until such time as they don’t sell or there are no more people needing housing, surely that is the ultimate decider as to how many homes are built. Developers won’t build homes they are not sure they will sell and councils/housing associations won’t build if they have no need for them.
    The plan is purely a plan, this one is a best estimate of need upto 2040, so 18 years for that plan to change.
    The number that end up crossing the channel this year will be sufficient to take the full 21,700 not counting the numbers that come in legally and existing internal demand , thats only this year, what about the other 17?
    We have an almost suicidal policy of net zero by 2050 and new energy efficient homes will be an important part of this.
    We aren’t and never again will be self sufficient in respect of food supply, we don’t want to pay the cost of food solely produced in the UK.

    • Where do we put the roads extra roads .the extra fields to grow the extra food we will need .the extra sports halls the schools ? We don’t need school because the population is not going to grow in Thanet so wot do we need more houses for

    • So you’re suggesting that the decision to concrete over our green and pleasant Isle should depend on speculative market forces rather than data?
      We’ll know there’s enough houses because the last 1000 we built on the fields and orchards haven’t been bought?
      Brilliant.

      • It’ll be the most accurate determinate of real housing demand , the house builders will have a much better handle of what is needed. And for those forever whining about the lack of cheaper housing an excess of unsold properties will result in the price dropping and further construction halting.

  5. Given the volume of wheat grown on the Westgate and Birch fields- excellent well drained soil- we should be protecting this area as Ukraine -Europes bread basket- is under threat from Russia if not now then likely at some future point

  6. The number of migrants crossing the channel to Britain is irrelevant to this subject, as they are very unlikely to be able to afford brand-new houses, especially in the south-east of England.

    • It has every relevance , housing demand is housing demand and illegal migrants won’t be buying homes for many years , in the meantime councils/ central government will be housing them all over the country , spreading that demand.

        • Ever heard of aggregate demand? Whatever way you increase an area’s population you are going to beed more housing, so new housing gets built, who actually moves into those homes is a different matter. In addition the council itself may well not house any asylum seekers placed in its area , councils will try to place them whereever they can be that with private landlords or housing associations both of whom ( especially the latter buying the social housing portion of nnew build developments) buy new stock.

  7. We can’t just keep building houses by the thousand until the magic day when there are so many that the price falls. Has this ever happened? There are already thousands of empty houses in Britain. In the wrong place or in a poor state of repair but not being improved. (It’s amazing how many landowners/large farmers have derelict cottages on their land but just don’t bother doing anything with them. It’s a myth to think that so called “entrepreneurship” comes naturally to many people. Farmers grow food. They may not be bothered about their old cottages and unused barns.)
    The cities are also full of privately-owned houses and flats that need repair but the lucky owners who may have inherited them just haven’t got the ready cash (or the energy) to do them up. Numerous shops in our High Streets have flats above that are currently used to store empty boxes and cobwebs. But the owners are only interested in the commercial income from the shops below. Private ownership of land and buildings does NOT guarantee the best use of the properties. It is often a recipe for neglect and under-use. But woe betide anyone who suggests that they be MADE to use their property for public benefit! Apparently that would infringe their “liberty”!
    Until we have taken all the unused homes into proper use, we should stop just building more three-bed semis all over the countryside.

  8. The demand is only there because of the influx of DFL’s holiday home/AirBnB’s pushing up town prices through the roof – So now we all need houses to actually live in.

    • Tosh, the plan only states a number of homes that iti is felt should be provided , i don’t see any description as to who they are for and has been talked about on many occasions any proposed development should have an affordable housing percentage, these usually get bought by social providers and so go to house those unable to buy so in this plan around 7000 social homes ( though this figure will no doubt be negotiated downward).
      Thanet is quite literally the last in the line to be developed and as asuch it seems a huge amount, but you’ve only to drive up the thanet way to see how much development is taking place.

  9. I wondered when Manston Airport would be mentioned. Building on this site is not the answer. The area’s infrastructure cannot support more houses, plus of course the lack of GP’s Dentists etc.

  10. New houses in this area should still be built on the brownfield site where there used to be an airport, rather than on farmland.

  11. Where will the new GP’s/Dentists come from?
    Some surgeries are short of GP’s.
    Who will pay for these new builds?
    The builders won’t pay for these!

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