A bid to build 65 homes on a former gas works site has been deferred and delegated for approval.
Thanet District Council’s planning committee voted in favour by six votes to three for the Northdown Road development in Broadstairs to be approved by officers later this year once an agreement setting out legal terms is signed.
Part of the site was used for gas production from the 1920s to the 1950s, and it was later used as a gas holder site containing local pressure control equipment.
In 2016, the site was included in a larger development plan for 140 homes and sheltered accommodation, but it was refused on the grounds that part of the scheme included land within the green wedge. It was also rejected on appeal.
The latest 65-home plan by The Mocketts Wood Trust Ltd will use the developed, brownfield land and no greenfield site.
The developers state they will pay the significant costs to decontaminate the land, which is contaminated due to its former use. This has already started in part, but requires further work to allow it to be used for housing.
But critics, which includes Broadstairs and St Peter’s Town Council, warn the housing development will lead to over-development, additional traffic on already busy roads and damage to the local environment. Concerns have also been raised about the contamination of the site.
However, the developers say £1.25m will be used to decontaminate the land, that the scheme includes 20 affordable homes and there would be an ecological area and public open space, including an eco-pond.
St Peter’s Green councillor Mike Garner says he is disappointed at the decision to approve the plan.
“This is not a suitable site for development for a number of reasons,” he said.
“The site is currently capped with concrete with no clear understanding of the contaminates beneath although we do know that there are two outlets releasing methane into local fields.
“The access to the site via Northdown Road is also totally inappropriate. At one end a narrow railway bridge and at the other the already over congested Church Street.
“I am also extremely concerned that if development progresses on this site it will lead to the whole strip of farmland across the back of Mocketts Wood, St Peter’s churchyard and Dane Court Gardens to Dane Court Road being given permission for development.
“This would be a totally unacceptable incursion into the green wedge between Broadstairs and Margate and needs to be resisted.”
A separate petition has been set up calling for the leader of Thanet District Council to look at improving safety at the junction of Westover Road and Northdown Hill, near to the development site, by installing double yellow lines.
It warns that the additional housing will increase traffic using the junction.
To see the petition click here.
To see the full housing plans click here and search reference OL/TH/21/0774.