Council leader reveals plan to ‘push back’ review on extra 4,500 isle homes and bid to lower housing target

Thanet council leader Ash Ashbee is to ask government to allow the district to halt a review  which proposes an additional 4,000-4,500 homes be created on the isle by 2040. The properties would be on top of the 17,140 already required by 2031.

She also proposes to raise argument to get the housing need target for Thanet reduced.

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 local plan up to 2031 – with 17,140 homes required – was adopted in July 2020 but at the end of last year a review began to extend the plan to 2040.

The aim was to publish a draft Plan this year setting out detailed policy proposals for the area up to 2040 with a full draft Plan including the wider allocation of housing and sites to follow.

But Cllr Ashbee has now said she will be asking for this to be pushed back by 14 months, saying: “I do not think we are (currently) in a position to make a decision regarding an extra 4,500 homes.

“I’m asking for an extension to push it back by 14 months. That will give us time to raise more arguments regarding extra housing. There is a lot of work to push back the housing requirement numbers.”

In February Thanet Green Party called for a halt to the Local Plan review saying 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.

During the enquiry Sir Roger said the requirement for 17,500 houses was based on old ONS data and Thanet actually needs just half that amount, which could be accommodated on brownfield sites. He said both he and South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay have called for a moratorium on housebuilding in Thanet until under pressuresewage systems are upgraded.

Thanet Green Party leader Cllr Mike Garner said the council also needed to ask for Thanet’s housing targets to be reset by central government to a level more consistent with the isle’s environmental and infrastructure constraints.

The call was backed by Independent district councillor Pauline Farrance who said Thanet’s green spaces needed to be preserved and existing schools, roads and GP surgeries would not cope with the increased population.

A number of campaign groups, including Westgate and Garlinge Action Group and Minster Action Group, have also been campaigning against new builds on agricultural land, raising issues including the loss of farming capacity, strain on services including Southern Water infrastructure, and flood risks.

However, Thanet Labour Party leader Rick Everitt says the reason for halting the review is because government still have not made a decision on a Development Consent Order application for the Manston airport site – and that decision is needed to complete the Local Plan review.

He said: ““The main reason the local plan review has to be delayed is the fact that we still haven’t had a revised decision on the Manston Airport DCO from the Conservative Secretary of State.

“The review was always intended to accommodate that decision one way or the other, but apparently that matter is of no urgency to the government. It appears they still can’t find a lawful way to justify overturning the inspectors’ recommendation for refusal.

“Thanet Tories and their allies previously moved 1,500 proposed homes off the airport and on to green field sites so they are as much to blame as the government for the current plans to build on our countryside.”

Cllr Ashbee is now pushing ahead with the bid to have the review halted and Thanet’s housing numbers re-examined. The proposal will first be discussed at a Thanet council Cabinet meeting in June.

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 has been preparing a ‘partial update’ of the Local Plan to extend it up to 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 would be an outstanding requirement of just over 4,000 dwellings needed as part of the Local Plan update.


  1. Well Rick. Manston Airport was never in the equation until the former leader. …….Now was he Liberal, Conservative, UKIP, Communist, Labour, Independent. Dependent on the flavour of the month. Whichever way it was dependent on the benefits he could achieve for himself.

    • I have argued this for years. It’s not xenophobic to be self sufficient whether it’s energy or food. Being reliant on other countries makes us vulnerable to blackmail: France with its threat to cut off power to channel Islands or Russia controlling vital gas supplies and wheat

  2. The former airport site most certainly would have been in the equation had the then draft Local Plan not been scuppered by UKIP, aided and abetted by the Tories.

    • Well i for one am glad there are no proposals to build on Manston.
      I will still like an airport and jobs there.

      • What jobs Gary? And for who? Local people? Or people with freight airport experience that live elsewhere? A lot of the work is automated. Most of the other jobs need specialist training.

        At no point did manston even when it had brief “success” did it ever need a great number of staff. Especially for the foot print of land it takes.

        It’s a failed airport and never ever was it a big employer of locals.

        Get over it.

  3. Gary, the airport went bust six years ago, employing less than 150 folks.

    Ash Ashby shouldn’t be so obsessed about the cargo hub as I understood Manston could have accommodated 4500 homes not 1500. Oh and Stone Hill Park also proposed GP and school buildings. Oh and a heritage runway.

    Chickens coming home to roost on the incompetent and fudged local plan?

  4. Thank you Andrew.

    Lets all remember the Stone Hill plans versus the relentless cargo obsession of a vocal minority. Led by Ash and others. So much so that the UKIP n Tory TDC admin protected the defunct airport and let development ride rough shod over the green belt.

    That they’re now howling about.

    And no shame in fudging the local plan for a pet project at the expense of Ramsgate.

    Say no to the DCO.

    • I must have missed the referendum recording a “vocal minority”? In fact both UKIP & the Tories promised to keep Manston as an airport. Where as Labour/Momentum didn’t. Out of 56 Councillors at that election Labour ended up with 5 (five) Councillors, so stop being a Boris J and admit for once the truth?.

      • Did UKIP/Tories *only* promise to keep Manston, or were there other issues on their manifestos?
        Ruth Blackstone Bailey, who stood on the single issue of Manston, got fewer votes than Al Murray (the Pub Landlord character)
        What is clear is that the UKIP/Tory coalition booted a rather benign Local Plan onto the long grass. It is them we can thank for the huge housing numbers now thrust upon us.

  5. I’m sure this has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that TDC has elections due for all of its Councillors in May 2023.

    Kicking the local plan into the long grass to then emerge after the elections have been held would of course be politically advantageous due to how controversial the local plan is likely to be.

    • You have hit the nail firmly on the head, yet more disgraceful lies oops (lip service) from the Austerity Party. Successive TDC Councils indeed did kick the Local Plan down the road. Until UKIP grasped the nettle and revealed the shocking number 17500. More shockingly a current Tory Councillor D. Bumbrace insisted that it was UKIP that had come up with the numbers NOT the Government. Bumbrace is also well known to continue to promote certain local (donors) Developers.

  6. If the government wants even more houses built, are we to believe that they have plans for more immigration, not less?
    After all, whenever the subject comes up, Tory supporters bleat about it all being caused by immigration. And that we wouldn’t need all these houses if there weren’t all these immigrants etc!
    But the government keeps telling us that they are the Party to stop immigration. They are even saying they will turn back boats in the Channel with warships and that asylum seekers will be sent to Rwanda in central Africa before being allowed into Britain.
    Well, which is it? Either we need the homes to accommodate immigrants, or there won’t be many immigrants due to government policies, so we won’t want the homes, will we!?
    Or is it the fact that most new housing demand comes from all of us living longer, as well as 50% of marriages ending in divorce , in which case two homes will be needed by the former partners rather than just living together in one.
    This isn’t talked about much because, as always, it’s easier to blame those “other people”, the immigrants, for all our own problems.

  7. More likely that the government has- well, hopes rather than plans, as they don’t seem too clever apropos plans- for bigger donations from housing developers.

  8. An airport as well as farming land is far more valuable to our country than increased population making increased crap in the sea surrounding Thanet. It seems Thanet has a brilliant leader in Ash Ashbee.

  9. There needs to be a halt on anymore new homes immediately until the Victorian sewage pipes are updated to accommodate all the crap at present. We cannot have more homes and increased populations when the sewers cannot cope now. When will those in the know act appropriately and stop all this.
    We need our fields more than ever now to grow the crops we have been relying on other countries to provide. We should never have sold of the power, oil and water to foreign countries who are now selling it back to us at a great mark up while giving their own population discounts. This country needs expert economists in charge of running it, not ex-public schoolboys and buffoons.

  10. Ash Ashby (Leader of the minority TDC Tory Party) tells the residents “I will Push Back 4500 houses ” We wonder what that means. Does it mean we will push back until after 2023 elections OF COURSE IT DOES. Only the most hardened Tory/Austerity party voter “my ancestor’s always voted Tory so I MUST” will fall for this PIFFLE and BS.

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