Campaigners’ delight as 74 home development on Reading Street agricultural land refused

Refusal for farmland housing plan Photo Fran Daley.

Campaigners in Beacon Road and Kingsgate Wards are celebrating after an application to build 74 homes on land off Reading Street Road was refused.

The proposal was to build on 5.06 hectares of agricultural land between Broadstairs and St Peter’s that was also within a designated ‘green wedge.’

In the planning application it says: “An application for residential development on this site would, under normal circumstances, be contrary to the adopted Development Plan, however in this instance, Thanet District Council have failed the Housing Delivery Test.

“The Housing Delivery Test (HDT) was introduced by the Government as a monitoring tool in order to speed up the delivery of housing.

“The Housing Delivery Test compares the net homes delivered over three years to the homes required over the same period. The 2020 results show Thanet District Council to have delivered just 54% of the housing requirements in the district. The November 2019 results for Thanet show that delivery was just 35%.

“Therefore, the council had to apply a 20% buffer to housing land supply and to produce an action plan. The failure to pass the HDT at such a low level means that the presumption in favour of sustainable development applies to all housing development within the district.”

However, Thanet council has refused the plans, some 9 months after they were first submitted.

The proposal provoked some 140 objections with campaigners saying the development would put pressure on local infrastructure and especially on highways.

Resident Wendy Hall said: “It is great news that the essential green wedge land at Reading Street Road is going to be preserved for the benefit of all local residents.

“It’s great that the views of the community were louder and heard above the might of the developers, a real milestone in the history of the area.”

Campaign spokesperson Jenny Matterface said: ‘It’s been a very long and worrying wait for residents. The campaign started when we couldn’t hold public meetings so the whole campaign was run on social media and by leaflet-drop.

“We thank everyone who helped deliver the 1200 leaflets. This site is in the Green Wedge in both the Local and Neighbourhood Plans and was a protected vista in the latter. Green Wedge designation is designed to create clear space between settlements and this one, if approved, would have closed a large part of the gap between Broadstairs and Margate.

“We are delighted with the refusal.”