Westgate & Garlinge Action Group: Monthly meetings and ‘mini-budget’ concerns

Westgate & Garlinge Action Group Against Housing Development on Farmland

By Jacqui Brown and  Sarah Bowers of  WAGAG

Westgate & Garlinge Action Group Against Housing Development on Farmland (WAGAG) now hosts monthly meetings for anyone who is concerned about the loss of productive farmland throughout Thanet.

These public meetings are on the last Wednesday in the month 7pm-9 pm at Westgate Town Council offices opposite the Carlton Cinema in Westgate and are in addition to bi-monthly committee meetings where progress and future action plans are discussed.  The last public meeting was standing room only so after the next meeting on October 26 we may have to find a new venue. Watch this space.

These public meetings are always productive, and we come away with something we can action.  We are keen to work with other local campaign groups such as Birchington and Minster and residents’ groups such as Salmestone Ward Residents Association who fought the Shottendane Road application. We have already had input from members of Birchington and Minster action groups so far at the meetings.

The group wants to save farmland Photo Ros Tapp

KCC Councillor (Thanet Villages ward) Derek Crow-Brown attends our meetings and is a valuable source of information and advice.   If there are any other campaign groups out there who would like to work with us please get in touch via our Facebook page or by email (see below).

At the September meeting there was rightly a lot of concern about the recent announcements made by the government in the mini budget and the proposed further deregulation of planning is one of the areas we are currently focused on. There was also a lot of anxiety that there seems to be a lack of awareness across Thanet about the scale of development the isle is facing over the coming years. The majority is on prime productive farmland like the fields in Westgate & Garlinge, Birchington, Minster, on Shottendane Road and at Westwood Cross and will have a massive impact on all of Thanet’s residents.

Our local plan to 2031 brings an additional 17,140 houses to Thanet (21,700 dwellings by 2040). Bearing in mind that our isle is just 40 square miles that is a lot of extra houses and traffic in a relatively small area. To put it in perspective, the whole of Kent will have an additional 180,000 houses so Thanet is taking almost 10% of the total for the county. Most of these houses are destined to go on our farmland and permission has already been granted for the hundreds of houses that you see going up at Westwood Cross, and fences have gone up just past Sainsbury’s as well as near the Manston Tesco. In addition, there are sites at Shottendane Road and at Minster that have approval, and anyone who visits St Nicholas at Wade or Cliffsend will have seen all the new houses being built there.

Residents have a right to be concerned about all these houses when it is already very difficult to get a doctor’s appointment and it is well known that recruiting GPs to Thanet is a challenge. School places and a lack of jobs are another concern as is the amount of traffic that all these additional houses will generate.

We are also very concerned about losing around 700 hectares of some of the best farmland in the country. At a time where food security is becoming a global issue it seems very wrong to be building on prime farmland that should be growing food as it has done for centuries.

Because of all these concerns and the announcements made in the recent mini budget many North Thanet residents and members of the WAGAG committee have already written to our MP Roger Gale. We would urge others to please do the same or to contact Craig Mackinlay if you live in his constituency (contact details below).

Email Roger Gale: [email protected]

Email Craig Mackinlay: [email protected]
Email WAGAG: [email protected]

26 Comments

  1. i admire them , has anyone been along haine road recently ? going by the amount of fencing from the lord of the manor to sainsburys i dont think there will be any farmland left soon , that will be something else the tories will tell us – ” its better to import food” , then they can destroy the farming industry just like all the other industries they have wiped out.

  2. TDC clapping their hands with joy ,all this extra money to spend,quick guess 21000 houses equals £27m a year,what will they spend it on more art I guess

  3. There is another article on line here from Kathy Gailes which refers to potential troubles at the Manston Migrant Processing Centre.
    Kathy has seen fit not to make comment available to Thanet people, and others of course,
    Is this or is this not a form of censorship???
    I’m sure many of us will have a view on the current situation but Kathy Gailes seems to think we do not have the usual rights in this case.
    Not happy at all.

    • You have a right to share your views by sharing the article and making the comments on your own social media pages. Comments are turned off because some people will make inappropriate comments. Commenting on the website is not ‘a right.’ My job is to provide news, the commenting function is an added extra on this free to read resource.

      • Many apologies for misspelling your name, Kathy Bailes.
        I still consider it censorship. Either allow commenting on all of your posts or on none at all.

  4. they know full well what the comments will be, and they dont want people to tell the truth and ” offend ” others .

    • The problem is that some people have a strange notion of what “the truth” is, and very unpleasant ways of saying it.
      This is the IoTN, run by Kathy Bailes. She makes the rules. If you don’t like them, then there are other social media sites available.

  5. Any suggestions as to where the infrastructure for 21k houses.

    Water shortage and nn prospect of getting any.
    Gas shortage now.
    Future electricity cuts forcast.
    Total breakdown of doctors surgeries.
    QEQM robbed of specialist services to fund Canterbury and Ashford.
    No jobs and NIMBIES set to scupper Manston airport.
    No hope of limiting UK population to economic and feedable levels.
    No hope for our children.

    • For the 10,000,(…),000 time:
      We get the houses with or without the airport.
      Which would you rather have: 1000s of houses, or 1000s of houses and 1000s of planes?

      Thanet has a Local Plan. This was consulted on and agreed. The LP identifies the number of houses Thanet must have, and where they should go.
      There was an earlier draft LP which accepted fewer houses, but did not restrict Manston for aviation only use, so was booted out by the then UKIP/Tory administrations (egged on by residents of Birchington and Westgate) leading to the current situation.

      • Trouble is though Andrew, when all those house’s are filled, do you honestly believe it will stop! local people calling for more affordable housing for their children now…… when all those new houses produce more children, the cycle will start again, there has to be a point where enough is enough and this is what locals are saying now. Not having the infrastructure for what we have now is a very important problem which will only get worse, just a quick example (because I’m getting fed up with one finger typing on my phone) with all these new houses we had over the last 10 years and the new being built as we speak, I’ve not seen or heard that our local ambulance or fire service is expanding.

    • The number of houses Thanet must build is determined by the government approved Local Plan, not by the presence or otherwise of an airport.

        • TDC doesn’t build houses. It can’t afford to. Developers buy land, apply for planning permission (which, unless there’s a very good reason not to, has to be granted.
          The (Tory) government made the regulations.

          • I’m quite aware who builds the houses, thank you very much. The point is, government housing targets are a minimum, not a maximum. So your usual banging on about building on the airport site to stop building elsewhere is just a fantasy.

            I’m not neccesarilly in favour of an airport, but I’m even less keen for a huge housing estate that joins the villages of Manston, Minster, Monkton, Acol and Cliffsend into one large, ugly, mass. Something that should be prevented at all costs.

  6. And drive on it, houses will mean roads, stop building on the fields and redevelop the towns. Why are we building houses for people who don’t even live here.

  7. If the belief is that all and any suitable bit of land will get built on, we can only conclude that the Westminster government(which is the ultimate authority) will have to be changed as TDC and KCC don’t have the ability to resist all these houses.
    But the current Westminster government have been in power for over 12 years. And there hasn’t been any sign of the house building mania being reined in.
    In fact, its been encouraged.
    So who will you vote for?
    The same lot again?

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