Two green plots of land in Broadstairs are to go up for auction despite the sale initially being halted in May following a plea from residents, area councillor and the town tree warden.
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey had put one 9,417 sq ft plot by The Silvers/The Hawthorns and another 10,046 sq ft plot off Chestnut Drive up for auction. Both plots had a guide price of £15,000 for the freehold.
The plots were withdrawn with a pledge by the housebuilder company to engage with residents about future plans.
But the sites are now relisted with Allsop auctioneers to go under the hammer on November 3. The guide price remains the same as previously.
Both plots, which are on the estate built by Wimpey in 1972, are marked as Green Space in the town’s Neighbourhood Development Plan and the district Local Plan. The land off Chestnut Drive is also the site of a memorial tree planted for a resident of the estate who walked there every day.
Broadstairs tree warden Karen McKenzie says despite the pledge from Taylor Wimpey director Tim Betts no discussions took place with residents or the town council.
She said: “We are losing green spaces in Thanet at such a rate. I’m heartbroken. As Tree Warden, I persuaded Broadstairs Town Council to request that TDC put Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) on all the trees. TDC refused because they said the land was not at risk. How wrong they were!
“We planted two trees on the smaller of the two sites with TDC’s blessing. They didn’t even own the land!
“We emailed Tim Betts when the land first came up for auction and got it withdrawn. They promised to discuss its future and then we never heard a thing. It’s disgraceful that once again profit overrides the environment.”
Town and district Green Party councillor Mike Garner said he is disappointed that the sites have been relisted for sale without the promised ‘engagement’ over the future of the sites.
He said: “The way that Taylor Wimpey has handled this over the Summer has been extremely disappointing. When they first withdrew the land from auction, they told us that they would speak with the Town Council, and residents, to see what other options might be available. I was hopeful that the Town Council would be able to take over the land on behalf of the local community.
“Despite reminders from me, and from the Town Clerk a month or so ago, the only ‘consultation’ they have carried out is to deliver a letter to some of the residents telling them that the land is once again going to be auctioned.
“I don’t believe this is good enough and have again written to them asking one last time for them to reconsider their approach. Although it is very unlikely that any sale of the land would lead to development because it is designated as local green space in the Town Council Neighbourhood Plan, I think we would all be happier if we could find a way to transfer ownership to the Town Council so that it became a community asset in perpetuity.”
Taylor Wimpey says the land will be sold as a green site – its existing use – and that it is unlikely permission would be granted to build on it.
A Taylor Wimpey spokesperson said: “We apologise for any upset caused as a result of our decision to sell the land at Broadstairs.
“We have written to residents to let them know in advance of the upcoming sale and will be happy to continue to engage with local councillors on any questions they have about the auction.
“We would like to assure the community that the land will be sold in its existing use and it will be the responsibility of any new owner to apply for planning permission should they want to change this.”