County council go to appeal over rejection of 20 homes plan next to Cliftonville Primary

Cllr Cedric Towning and parents at Cliftonville Primary

An outline planning application to build 20 houses at the former site of Laleham School playing fields in Margate which was refused by Thanet council last April has been appealed.

Kent County Council and Orbit Homes applied to build the properties at the site off Northdown Park Road. The site is bordered by a 70-home development also from Orbit Homes where the former Laleham Gap School buildings used to stand. Those homes were granted permission in 2016.

The county council proposal was originally for 26 dwellings, comprising 7x 2 bed and 19x 3 bed houses. This was reduced to 20 after the design was amended

But the application was rejected due to concerns about  loss of playing field in an area that already lacks playing/green space, the negative impact on existing recreational areas and lack of legal agreement over affordable housing.

The site

The proposed development is planned to be sited along the school boundary on the strip of land that runs alongside Reception and Year 1’s playground and the school field and forest school area.

Objections to the application had been lodged by the school, residents, community members and Sport England.

However, Kent County Council and Orbit have appealed the decision to the Secretary of State.

Parents and the school are urging people to lodge objections by the deadline on Wednesday (March 9).

Cliftonville Primary School headteacher Ms Whichcord said: “This will have a long term effect on the social, emotional and academic development of our children.

“We are very disappointed that there hasn’t been a greater degree of consultation with us around the plans and their impact on both our school and the local community.”


Parent Georgina Griffiths said there are numerous concerns about the development being so close to the school.

She said: “The children have a right to play and learn without fear of being overlooked by strangers and they need sunlight and clean air. Building directly next to the school will cause pollution, noise and stress to the children, staff and parents and carers.

“We need KCC do the right thing and keep this as a virtual green corridor that benefits  the entire community of Cliftonville.

“The Mulberry estate is already flooding due to poor drainage, there are no pavements for children to walk on so it is dangerous and an accident waiting to happen. Please help the children, haven’t they been through enough?”

The school and parents are being backed by district councillor Cedric Towning in their fight against the development. Thanet council will defend its rejection of the housing proposal.

The application was refused

In documents lodged for the appeal Kent County Council says: “KCC are required to seek best value for the site, and any profits will be directly reinvested into the county’s operations, which include funding for education provision.

“The applicant has sought to address all of the concerns expressed by the school. However, the school has expressed a fundamental wish that no development take place on the site, therefore it has not been possible to come to an agreement that is sufficient to overcome the objection.”

The appeal documents say Cliftonville Primary was given extra land following the sale of the former Laleham Gap site: “to allow for both expansion of building sufficient to accommodate increased pupil numbers in addition to increased hard and soft play areas.”

KCC say retaining the current mesh fence along the boundary and adding a low acoustic barrier will prevent overlooking between the sites while allowing light and views through to the green planting beyond.

The site

Parent Kate Barrett says it is the wrong place for housing. She said: “I know houses need to be built but this is just the wrong place. It’s obvious this will have a huge negative impact on the children in the short and long term.

“ Imagine all the dust and building material pollution and then once built, this area is due to be parking so all the fumes will be directly going onto the young children. This is just a completely immoral position from KCC.

“Why would they want their residents to suffer in this way? They are now appealing to the Secretary of State but I can’t imagine she would want something like this happening near her child’s school! Have KCC forgotten that there is a climate crisis? If they consult their own biodiversity strategy, they’ll see that this land would be much better used as a green wildlife corridor.”

The disposal of the whole school site was part of a proposal to develop a replacement special school site for Laleham Gap. The school moved to its new home in Ozengell Place in Ramsgate in 2016

As part of the appeal process comments must be lodged by Wednesday. A date for the Planning Inquiry hearing is yet to be set.

To comment email [email protected] quoting the reference APP/Z2260/W/21/3283984.


  1. It’s to close to build homes next to a school, it’s asking for trouble from pedophiles, let the school have it and turn it into a wildlife area so the children can learn about nature and how it’s important this is ,item with TDC on this matter.

  2. Let it remain as an open space. Why must we make the children feel boxed in all of the time. Classrooms can be crowded and rooms feel like boxes. The children go home to a home that has boxes for rooms. This development is over crowding.

  3. How hypocritical of Cllr Cedric Towning and we have to assume his fellow Tory East Cliftonville Councillors. They are supporting this Tory Government policy. Thanet has 2 Tory Members of Parliament who have shown concern and have objected or was in just LIP SERVICE? Along with a Tory led TDC have had ZERO effect on reducing the Local Plan . The entire Austerity Party are hell bent on destroying the beautiful Garden of England for a few silver pieces from their developer mates. People of the future will NOT be able to eat concrete, tarmac or bricks even if some of these cheap builds are still standing in 50 years time>

  4. There should always be a wide perimeter around schools, not only for noise reasons but overcrowding too. They have built enough homes on that old school land already, trying to cram another 20 in is just for greed without thought to the children trying to have lessons so close.
    There is plenty of room at Manston for extra homes without crowding kids in school or anyone else. The stupid Local Plan needs revising ASAP

    • KCC sold off land adjacent to a school in Thanet only 3-4 years ago. We can’t remember the exact location but not far from this site.

  5. Personally i disagree with the 20 house development but like many non neighbours we have no say when it comes to planning comments.
    Tdc have recently lost on appeal 450 homes on either side of Shottendane Road.

    Hopefully tdc refusal reasons for this 20 house development are 100% watertight, planning is open to discussion it’s not all about whats printed in historic documents.

    There is an excellent chance these 20 new houses will be allowed on appeal, hopefully not.

    See why developers love thanet, super cheap land costs landowners selling to landbankers and planning permissions won on appeal.

    Others will disagree!

  6. Cliftonville Primary is the heart of Cliftonville.
    It lacks so much, but it has a great school, that helps all this kids around the area.
    It would be awfull decision to build more houses there.

  7. “Tdc have recently lost on appeal 450 homes on either side of Shottendane Road.”

    Ugh, so the NIMBY f00kwits once again win out. Then wonder why their kids cannot get out on the housing ladder. Nevermind the loss of business for local labourers, brickies and plant machinery ticket holders.

  8. “this area is due to be parking so all the fumes will be directly going onto the young children.”
    It’s reassuring to see such concern for the safety and well-being of the school’s children.
    I assume that neither the teachers nor parents drive to or park at the school?

Comments are closed.