Thanet council to discuss bid to push back Local Plan update which requires extra 4,500 isle homes

Climate change, housing need figures, Manston airport and Traveller accommodation are all issues that mean the updated Thanet housing plan must be pushed back, says Thanet council

A timetable to update Thanet’s local plan – which is a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure on the isle – is likely be pushed back by around 15 months.

The Thanet Local Plan, adopted in July 2020, covers the period up to 2031 and the Government has directed the council to complete a review, which covers the period up to 2040.

This review 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.

But Thanet council Cabinet members will discuss a recommendation that the timetable for updating its Local Plan is pushed back until several outstanding issues are resolved.

The report going to Cabinet states: “Taking the Local Plan update forward at the moment, in the face of so many uncertainties affecting strategic decisions, is not a credible option.”

The issues standing in the way include the continued wait for a decision on the Manston airport site Development Consent Order.

The report says: “This is important because the decision not only affects the Airport itself, but other sites around it, depending on the outcome. It is also critical to the key decisions about the overall Local Plan strategy. Whatever the decision is, there will be policy implications that need to be addressed.”

The site is currently earmarked as ‘aviation use’ but a rejection of the DCO could mean future consideration once again for housing allocation.

Council build homes in King Street, Ramsgate, to address housing need

Thanet council says it also awaits Government’s revisions to its ‘standard method’ of reviewing local housing need. This could result in fewer new homes being added to the Local Plan.

In April Thanet council leader Ash Ashbee said she would ask government to allow the district to halt the review  and proposed  to raise argument to get the housing need target for Thanet reduced.

Cllr Ashbee said at the time: “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 also called for a halt to the Local Plan review saying the Office of National Statistics data being used to calculate housing need is incorrect.

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.

Other issues hampering the Local Plan update include the lack of provision for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation. A call for sites last year received no response for this.

There is also a need to wait for updated guidance and regulations on climate change and biodiversity and information about the next steps for the Planning White Paper

Cabinet members will vote to either continue with the work programme set out in the Local Development Scheme (LDS), agreed in December 2021, or amend the LDS to push the timings back. This would mean the draft update due to be completed by this November would be pushed back to September 2023 and anticipated adoption of the updated plan would be in May 2026 instead of February 2025.

Thanet council says if Cabinet agrees to amend the LDS work programme, this does not mean that work on the Local Plan Update will cease in the meantime.


However, the report to Cabinet members also outlines risks that could come from delaying the updated plan.

These include a risk of Government intervention if the delay is seen as excessive and the possibility of a further presumption in favour of sustainable development – meaning less ability to refuse housing development applications.

Officers say the risk could be lessened by continuing to approve planning applications for housing on Local Plan allocated sites.

You can read the Cabinet report here

The Cabinet meeting on June 16 will be livestreamed.


  1. Thanet does not need more housing as we don’t want more coming to live here because:

    – We already have one of the worst unemployment figures in the country.
    – One of the worse GP to patient ratios in the country and already can’t get GPs to come and work in this area, resulting in virtually everyone on this site complaining about not being able to get to see a GP. It’s easy to include new GP surgeries on the Local Plan but we need to the GPs to man those surgeries and that is not happening!

    – We are surrounded on three sides by sea and only have a finite amount of land to develop and if we continue to develop Thanet will be become one urban sprawl and no green spaces. No government algorithms take this into account when calculating how much housing councils must approve.

    – With so many empty town centre shops and possible flats above shops, these should be converted to residential housing before any new sites are approved.

    – Only 13% of the UK’s total land area is covered in trees, compared with an average elsewhere in the EU of about 35%. In England, the figure is just 10% and here in Thanet we have one of the lowest tree canopy covers in the UK, at just 4.4% and the lowest in Kent with fellings still taking place at an alarming rate.

    – Much of the new developments are going on prime agricultural land and there should be legislation against this, not just in Thanet but the whole country. The government needs to realise that the country needs to produce more food and not be as dependant on imports as has been highlighted by Ukraine crisis.

    – There should be legislation that all new development (residential or commercial) should have solar panels installed as this would be a huge benefit in reducing our dependency on other fuels for heating.

    All TDC councillors and our MPs should be lobbying government for a review of our housing under the Local Plan and reducing it NOT increasing it.

    • There is no choice. Thanet along with many other areas across the UK must provide additional housing. Yes a further 4500 homes would cause huge strain on resources. I don’t agree homes should be built on green (agricultural) land especially given the fact we as a country are still too reliant on overseas imports to support our food security. We do of course have a huge piece of land at the former Manston airstrip site. Some 7500 homes could be built together with surgeries, schools and leisure facilities. The SOS for Transport has been dragging his heels over the decision whether to grant the DCO for months. There have been many reports including one commissioned by the SOS as to whether there is a need for Manston- all have said there isn’t. So let’s use this land for homes/ green open space/ parks just as Stonehill (the former owners of Manston) proposed. There are those who argue 1000s of cars would take to the roads if homes are built on the site, but better that 1000s of heavy goods vehicles thundering through our streets to complete the journey for goods should the cargo hub open given its poor location.

      • The plan will be the final nail in Thanet’s coffin. The only choice left is trying to educate the idiots that draw up these pathetic plans.Not easy when they have a combined I.Q of under 50.

    • What do you mean our GP services are fantastic in thanet. When I call my GP “our receptionist have been trained to triage patients” how in gods earth are the NHS allowing this. If I purchased a new car and something went wrong I wouldn’t expect the receptionist to diagnose the fault with my car I’d expect the mechanic to.

      It looks to me that Thanet is being used as a commuter belt now for London. However no infrastructure is in place developers are building poor quality homes, and poor quality roads that Thanet Council take over. Where is our MP’s we spend millions renovating dreamland and then sold off.

      Where is the accountability for TDC?

  2. Nicely done. Bounced all the contentious decisions until after the local elections.

    They must think we’re stupid.

    • Having 2 Tory MP’s in such a deprived area doesn’t demonstrate high levels of intelligence to me.

  3. Why can’t we get GPs when so many pepple are moving here who are qualified professionals. I sniff a lack of imagination from a recruitment perspective. Doesn’t make sense at all

    • Simply lots of more recently qualified health professionals don’t want to live in Thanet, why put all the time and effort into your training and then want to live in a relatively poor and deprived area, there are plenty of better employment opportunities in more attractive areas.

  4. Stop protecting the dead duck Manston. The largest brownfield site in Kent obsessively supported by a vocal minority including TDC leadership of all flavours. Absurd. The local plan is a fudge of favouritism towards a failed aviator.

  5. You can all moan about mansion but, do your history and also understand water there contaminated. The cost to build would be enormous. Get the new numbers down , reuse old building and most important, get rid of TDC

  6. What do you mean Chris ‘do your history?’ The water at Manston is not contaminated, indeed the aquifer there supplies water for Ramsgate et al. Building always had a cost, but of course those who build will make £millions because that is the nature of the construction industry. Thanet is not immune to the costs of housing whether buying or renting. Just as in any other area, that is the way of it. As people move into an area, especially to buy it is inevitable property prices will escalate. Which is why it is so important that those responsible for building new homes are held to account to ensure a good percentage of homes are affordable. This is where TDC needs to be ruthless in agreeing planning permission. If the home builders cannot commit fully to affordable homes, then planning permission must be denied.

    • It needs to be borne in mind that providing huge amounts of “affordable housing” only means we perpetuate thanets below average incomes and so perpetuating that areas financial and social issues, we only need affordable housing for our own needs not as a means for other bodies to relocate ever more of lifes least economically active here.

  7. We are suffering the consequences of serial mismanagement by successive councils of various colours.
    We have been let down, big time.
    Stonehill Park could have hosted several thousand houses (now being built on greenfield sites), but council after council have insisted that Manston be reserved for aviation only use.
    The fact that the SoS is still kicking his heels over the determination of the DCO is indicative that there really is no need for an airport there. So release the land for houses.

    • Meanwhile, Michael Gove says that his new Right To Buy scheme will not deplete current social housing stock because for every home sold another new home will be built. Good luck with asking Gove to reduce TDCs housing needs target, Ashbee. Do you think she reads the news? Or her own party’s policies?

  8. 17,000 more houses by 2040 should successfully cover Thanet entirely in concrete. Looking at Thanet through Google Earth shows there is very little left now…

    • (Hope you’re sitting down) It’s 17 Thousand (One hundred and forty) by 2031: If the new (2040) plan is driven forward, that number increases another 4 to 5 thousand.

    • You should get away from WWX a bit more. If you go for a stroll anywhere near Pegwell Bay, Minster, St Nicholas, or Reculver, you’ll see there are still vast swathes of green fields.

  9. You vote for these people in council but are they really qualified to make serious decisions.
    Yes, the aquifer contains contaminated water. It has been proven but the then leader of council swept it under all the dead bodies built on at Manston. The aquifer would flood all of us but IL will push anything through planning because officers get back handers.
    What happens to that 30%of contribution.. Private houses squashed together being built on farmland right now even on pet cemetery.. Stephen King HORROR…

    • Our councillors probably don’t have professional qualifications in public health, environment, building regulations and so on.
      That’s why the council employs officers.
      The job of councillors is to come up with policies; the job of the officers is to, within the law, implement those policies.

      Which aquifer is contaminated? Where is the aquifer? Where do we get our water from?

      I’m very curious about the dead bodies at Manston. Where (and why) are they there?

  10. Surely the plan has 2 quite separate sections.

    1) agreeing on the areas projected need for additional housing upto 2040. Like it or not the area will have to accept that it’s going to have to play its part in housing the nations ever increasing population that is largely south east centric.
    2) Onve the number is known , you then work out where they go.

    You only need to drive down the A2/M2/A249 corridor to see the huge amounts of development that are going on and that thanets time has come to contribute.
    TDC and KCC also need to decide who the housing built is aimed at and plan services and infrastructure to suit , ie, if the new residents are going to be largely retired pensioners we’ll need more health service provision, young well educated professionals then good jobs , entertainment venues, internet connectivity etc. or if its to be the relocation of london borough housing lists and huge swathes of social housing we’ll need more drug abuse services, police and social services. As we’d just be recreating a modern cliftonville.

    Though if TDC a d KCC were functioning properly much of this work should have been done already.

    However in reality by 2040 thanet will have grown massively, with a huge swathe of development in an arc from Cliffs end, right round to the St.Nicholas roundabouts, effectively extending thanet inland by about a mile.
    Much better to have control how that happens thannhave it become an imposed free for all for want of both burying your head in the sand or kicking the can down the road for the next administration to dealcwith.

  11. Got this far and no one has mentioned who is forcing Thanet to build thousands of new houses? Why its Boris Johnson’s government isn’t it, so what are the 2 Conservative Thanet MP’s doing about it?

  12. Next week TDC Cabinet is looking at the Local Plan Review. Not able to progress.
    “As referenced above, the Local Plan Inspectors’ report identified the future of Manston Airport as a matter for the Local Plan update, to take into account the decision on the Development Consent Order. However, a final decision on the DCO is still awaited. This is important because the decision not only affects the Airport itself but other sites around it, depending on the outcome. It is also critical to the key decisions about the overall Local Plan strategy. Whatever the decision is, there will be policy implications that need to be addressed.”
    We now have the ridiculous situation, 8 years after the airport failed for the third and final time, and after multiple studies determine the lack of need and viability, government indecision is a blight on Thanet’s development.
    How many more houses will be approved on green field land while this farce continues.
    If only we had a decent MP!

    • As you we’ll know, David Green, all previous Labour MPs in Thanet were strong supporters of Manston Airport, including Dr. Steve Ladyman, a Labour Secretary of State for Transport.

  13. I just don’t buy it that everyone is moving here apart from GPs.

    Whatever happened to recruitment investment? Good sustainable staffing campaigns? The benefits of moving here. We’re a growth hot spot, I don’t think that is the issue. I think it might be more about how GP structures run, who they’re commissioned by and how sophisticated and competitive they are in their resourcing strategies. Or not. And is there any focus on retention and succession? I doubt it. The people will keep coming, GP and other professions need to think about better resourcing campaigns, it isn’t like it’s an underpaid job.

  14. Well said David Green. The current plan is a protectionist fudge from the ex UKIP now tory or TIC brigade although Rick was hardly anti vocal during his stint either.The obsession with Manston is absurd. And wrong. And it flies in the face of the evidence. No pun intended.

    Many of those folks now worried about green belt development are often the same folks who want to preserve the closed airport land.

  15. I don’t understand what’s taking the SoS so long to reach his conclusion, whatever it might be.
    And there really can be only one conclusion: turn down the DCO. Heaven knows, there’s been enough evidence over the years (at least 12 expert opinions) to say that commercial aviation won’t work at Manston.
    The SoS’s prevarication helps no-one, especially RSP.

  16. Why do some people keep ranting about the people moving to Thanet, particularly from London, and particularly thinking that they are all/most poor or unemployed?

    Have you commuted to London in the last few years? Have you bothered to talk to the newcomers? Have you walked around Ramsgate for example?

    Can we also remember that we have full employment in the UK, which technically means everybody willing to work and looking for work is employed? Do people just want to live and work in Thanet? If those coming from say London are unemployed, it would not change Thanet’s unemployed chances; and if the DFLs are employed, same answer.

    The better question is, what are the 2 Conservative MPs doing about it, and why are people voting for them…?

    • The key word in your comment is “technically”. Personally i call someone who works 20 hours a week as either 50% employed/unemployed, so for every two such employees there is really one unemployed. That is not for me full employment, rather the fiddling of definition to suit a narrative.

      • Which arbitrary number would you pluck from the continuum to describe “employed”?
        40, 45, 72, 168 … hours per week?

  17. Re. GPs & apparent lack of motivation to come here … Take the Limes – understaffed, struggling. Any GP applying for a post there will see the lie of the land i.e. their appointment won’t suddenly make the whole place work like clockwork, they’re going to be run off their feet.
    The last GP to leave was wonderful. My impression was that they pulled out all the stops to work fast and accurately while still listening carefully to patients. Perhaps they left for other reasons, but I can see how someone so conscientious and caring might get burnt-out.

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