Contentious 450 homes development on Margate farmland granted permission on appeal

Farmland at Shottendane that was earmarked for housing development

An  appeal over Thanet council’s refusal of planning permission for a contentious application of 450 homes on agricultural land off Shottendane Road in Margate  has been upheld by the Planning Inspectorate,

The planning proposal by Gladman Developments Ltd was rejected by Thanet council three times – in April, June and then July of last year. But it has now been granted following an inquiry last month.

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.

Gladman’s appealed to the Secretary of State against the refusal.

Planning Inspector David Cliff BA Hons MSc MRTPI has upheld the appeal and granted permission for the development.

In his decision notice Mr Cliff says:” I consider that the appellant’s assessment of viability is satisfactorily robust. Taking account of my findings above, including on build costs and profit margin, there is no clear and conclusive basis for finding that more affordable housing could be viably provided than the 15% proposed. I therefore find that the provision of 15% affordable housing is acceptable in this case and would accord with the affordable housing aims of Policy SP23 of the Local Plan and the Framework.

“Whilst being substantially less than 30%, given that it is the most that can viably be provided, the provision for affordable housing proposed in this case would still make an important contribution towards meeting the identified need within the district and contribute positively to the creation of a balanced and mixed community.”

On the issue of the effect on the integrity of the Thames Coast and Sandwich Bay special protection area the inspector found that developer contributions that would pay towards the employment of wardens, provide for increased signage and interpretation, co-ordination of educational activities, wardens and volunteers and monitoring/surveys were acceptable.

Barley harvest at Shottendane

He also found that the harm upon the setting and significance of designated heritage assets in the vicinity of the site would be “less than substantial.”

However, an application by Gladman’s for a full award of costs against Thanet District Council was rejected with the inspector saying: “Unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary expense during the appeal process has not been demonstrated.”

Among those to make representations at the inquiry were the Salmestone Ward Residents’ Association – which raised funds to fight the appeal- and the Westgate and Garlinge Action Group which has been fighting against development of Thanet farmland.

A spokesperson for Salmestone Ward Residents’ Association said: “We are disappointed with the inspector’s decision to allow this development to proceed with just 15% affordable housing. We feel that this sets a precedent for future developments to wriggle out of TDC policy compliance as has already been seen with the Salmestone Grange development where the proportion of affordable housing was dropped to 18%.

“It’s of note that the inspector also concluded that TDC did not act unreasonably in refusing this application. Therefore costs have not been awarded against the council and the planning committee should take heart that their decision to refuse this application was absolutely the right one.

“We’d like to thank our supporters for sticking with us and for being generous with our fundraising efforts that enabled us to hire a planning consultant.”

A Westgate and Garlinge Action Group spokesperson added: “With huge sadness, disappointment and anger we  confirm the news that the appeal for the 450 houses at Shottendane Rd has been upheld by the planning inspectorate.

“Disappointment doesn’t begin to cover how we are feeling right now. More will be said in the coming days but it’s safe to say we are really up against it now in our fight to save our remaining grade 1 farmland.

“For those directly involved in the Shottendane fight,thank you, your work has been immense.”

Gladman Developments Ltd, will build the homes, a new distributor link road connecting Hartsdown Road, Shottendane Road and Manston Road, two new roundabouts, public children’s play areas and recreational routes.

The latest plan offers 68 properties as affordable housing on an 80% affordable rent and 20% shared ownership mix  with approximately £4.9million in contributions to community and highways infrastructure.


    • I was thinking that too. At this rate there will be no farmland left in Thanet in 20 years time. The green wedges are all being closed.
      What I don’t understand is that the Planning Inspector David Cliff stated that “TDC did not act unreasonably by refusing this application and the planning committee should take heart that their decision to refuse this application was absolutely the right one”. Well if he thinks and says that then why uphold the appeal, why didn’t he refuse it?
      So TDC have put in the Local Plan that 30% affordable housing is needed in housing developments but this can be bypassed by going to appeal. The Local Plan is not worth the paper it’s written on then! What with the Salmestone development also getting away with just 18% affordable homes. So even more traffic on these narrow country lanes soon.

      • It was not the planning inspector who said that, but “a spokesperson for Salmestone Ward Residents’ Association”.

  1. For once TDC made a good decision in refusing this development for it to be overturned by somebody in Westminster who has probably never even been to Thanet. And doubtless “Planning Inspector David Cliff BA Hons MSc MRTPI” has plenty of GPs in the area in which he resides. Does he know how many local people now can’t afford housing here in Thanet? We don’t need more expensive housing, particularly on fields which should remain for agriculture. An appalling decision and one which just shows how out of touch with reality those in Westminster are. David Cliff may have lots of letters after his name, but he seems he has no idea of what living in a deprived area is like.

    Is there any path to try and have Mr Cliff’s decision being overturned?

    • Yes there is if the residents association want to take it further. A Judicial Review of the decision can be made. It will mean another money fund to take it to court though.

    • Planning Inspectorate is based in Bristol although the inspectors who deal with appeals live all over as independent examiners of appeals.

      What came from Westminster was the directive to TDC to allocate land for housing thousands of houses.

  2. Oh dear and so unnecessary, had the motives for moving 2500 houses off the brownfield site at Manston been stopped then these houses could have been not built
    Roger Gale’s to blame for this bloody hypocrite

    • Not heard that inane comment made before. Can’t you think of an original thing to say, one that you can prove?
      However, certainly another nail in Thanet’s overcrowded and GP lacking coffin. As for the now permanent traffic congestion, it will only become even worse.

  3. No word from Windy Gale yet? After all, had he not lobbyed for Manston to remain an airfield the Local plan would have been drawn up ages ago without the extra houses added on because it took successive administrations so long to get the LP through. At this rate, the grass at Manston is going to be the only green bit left of Thanet!

    • Manston again?
      If housing was allowed on Manston would you honestly think it would stop there? Of course it would not!
      All that would happen is that the ‘Manston plot’ would be added on top of land such as Shottendane and Reading Street, the latter now refused.
      Using Manston airport land would turn Thanet into a soulless, crowded Metropolis. Think on it.

  4. Roger Gale could not care less, his home is surrounded by pristine farm land he says says nothing about Thanet being concreted over the man is an arse and no I haven’tb spelt that wrong He is a 1st class Tory arse He so needs to retire.

  5. As a collective, we should Sue Gladmann for £20,000,000.00 –IF–he does not build 30% of the necessary Social Housing. Then Sue again when this Land Floods. Stating “We told you so”.

  6. Margate recently made headlines as having the fastest increase in property value. No wonder the developers pushed so hard, they must be rubbing their grubby hands together with glee. Is Margate a victim of its own success? Sad decision 😞

    • It’s 15-20m above sea level.
      Even with the effects of global warming, it will take quite a few years for this site to flood.

  7. When money is involved no is not an acceptable answer. Things are looking very bad now but its not over till its over. This means direct action, making noise & getting noticed. If another fund is set up for a Judicial Review then i will put my hand in my pocket.

    • Yes and I would too, gladly! Sick to death of congested roads, lack of doctors appointments, hours and hours at AE

  8. The councils is supposed to be looking into more housing for the poor not to buy but to rent not taking our green land away there are plenty of places and empty properties to be done up without taking farmland away

        • I think there are red herrings in these tales about Tivoli Brook.
          It runs in a culvert from Tivoli Park, under Dreamland, and discharges onto the beach.
          20 or so years ago 5 houses in Margate flooded.
          It’s nowhere near the proposed development site.
          If you look at the photo at the top of this piece, you’ll see that the site slopes quite steeply. How is that going to flood?
          Don’t get me wrong: I strongly object to these developments, which are completely ruining Thanet.
          But we have to blame ourselves for voting for a government that supports developers and builders.

  9. What a fiasco, with so many houses being flooded around the country they give permission to build some of these houses in an area known to flood the mind boggles with the stupidity of the secretary of states office for overturning this, we will have to wait for housing to flood not long though the way weather has been going for the last few years.

    • I’d have thought not.
      Permission (or otherwise) for development doesn’t depend on who owns the land, nor on how long they’ve owned it.

  10. As a small contribution to reducing housing need in the country, why not seize all the huge apartments and houses in London and the Home Counties that are part of the property portfolios of Russian oligarchs. Billions worth. Part of their schemes to launder money they stole from the Russian people.
    These are not small houses ,and there are LOTS of them. Many new flat block developments being built right now in London are NEVER intended to be lived in permanently. They are beautiful, fully furnished with quality decor. But they are purely an investment, like gold or diamonds or art treasures stored in warehouses in “Freeports”. Beautiful in themselves but serving no purpose for the ordinary citizens.
    Given all the war,war,war bluster currently in vogue, why not ask your MP is he will support the seizure of ALL the assets of Putin’s supporters in the UK. Just a few of the bigger central London mansions would, if converted, make a serious dent in the need for housing outside of London. After all, many of the prospective buyers of the new Thanet homes will only be buying here because London is too expensive. So what about providing affordable homes in central London, courtesy of the Russian mega-rich?

    • Sorry, but can I ask all the people bleating about “Margate’s green spaces,” to please raise their hand if they have done their bit to stop overpopulation by not having children? Because it’s the only sure fire way of ensuring that the population doesn’t carry on growing, and that new homes won’t need to be built. And unless you have done this, why should you complain about losing green spaces? Or indeed argue that the green space in Margate is more important than the green space anywhere else? Or worse, argue that the we should just build more in London? No one has any qualms about adding to GP’s lists there are they? Which, incidentally is a point which people came harping on about. I moved to Thanet a year ago and changed doctors surgery, and was seen in more than adequate time, despite the pandemic. If you wait a while for an appointment, it’s because GPs have moved on from the ‘first-come, first-served’ basis ages ago, they now triage people beforehand and see them in order of urgency. So if you don’t get an immediate appointment, it just means your minor ailment isn’t as important as you think it is. Just a shame they can’t medicate for peoples’ solipsism, then perhaps I wouldn’t need to point this out.

      • In an ideal world, we wouldn’t have more than about two children per couple.
        Unfortunately, the economic systems of the West absolutely *depend* on more and more people buying more and more things.
        Look at pensions: when I first started working, I was paid a few tens of pounds a week. My NI payments were hardly anything. Now I’m retired I get a state pension of hundreds of pounds a month. Quite clearly, my pension is not paid for from my NI contributions, it’s paid for by the NI contributions of those currently in work.
        And in due course, all these people will rely on the NI of others for *their* pensions.
        Etc, ad infinitum.

  11. Only 1 person to blame greedy farmers who couldn’t give a toss about the countryside. And of course roger fail who is useless anyway.

  12. Most of the land being sold is owned by universities such as Cambridge. The farmers are tenants.
    Imagine you bought a house 20 years ago for £50,000. It’s now worth £220,000.(these are real figures from Rightmove). Should you sell it for £50,000, £100,000 or £220,000? If anything other than £50,000 does that make you “greedy”?

  13. The “problem” of having too many children (leading to a lack of homes) seems to be solving itself. Because, all over the world, especially in the better-off parts, couples are already having fewer and fewer children. In fact, having fewer children, with women having rewarding careers outside the home, seems to be a feature of developed economies.
    BUT, at the same time, the adults are inconveniently NOT dying at the rate we used to. We have been living longer and longer.(The UK has become a bit of an anomaly as we have started to die earlier again in the last few years, but we are still better than in the “good old days ” like the fifties and sixties.)
    So, theoretically, if you are an adult who has had more than two children, you can make up for it by arranging a slightly earlier demise for yourself!
    This, of course, does not apply to me and my family. Out of 11 siblings and siblings-in-law (including partners), we have only produced 7 offspring. So far, those offspring (with their 5 partners ie. 12 adults) have only produced 7 children,and time is running out for more!
    So it may be that housing issues may be solved by building more flats and apartments of, say, two or three stories, suitable for older citizens who don’t want the burden of a large garden.
    What will NOT solve the housing problem is building more large houses with three or four bedrooms that will be lived in by older couples that only,really, want two bedrooms at most. THAT “solution” only solves the house builder’s problem of still not making enough money to keep themselves happy.
    So, if you don’t want thousands of inappropriate houses built all over the greenbelt, stop voting for the Party that is supported by mega donations from house-building corporations and Russian oligarchs. Simples.

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