Members of Westgate and Garlinge Action Group against Housing Development on Farmland have responded to a government consultation over reforms to planning policy and are urging others to make their views known.
The group has highlighted the rapid rate that agricultural land in Thanet is being built on and stressed the need for brownfield sites and existing planning permissions to be used before considering the use of agricultural land. They also say housing projections are out of date and in need of review.
A spokesperson for the group said: “We urge people to make efforts to respond to this consultation as we feel this is a our best opportunity to influence the government and protect our farmland and food production.
“The deadline March 2. It is a very lengthy questionnaire but you could just answer the ones relevant to farmland which is question 38. You can also email PlanningPolicyConsultation@levellingup.gov.uk
The consultation is looking at changes in areas including:
- make clear how housing figures should be derived and applied so that communities can respond to local circumstances;
- address issues in the operation of the housing delivery and land supply tests;
- tackle problems of slow build out;
- encourage local planning authorities to support the role of community-led groups in delivering affordable housing on exception sites;
- set clearer expectations around planning for older peoples’ housing;
- promote more beautiful homes, including through gentle density;
- make sure that food security considerations are factored into planning decisions that affect farm land;
- and enable new methods for demonstrating local support for onshore wind development.
The spokesperson added: “The planning application for the Westgate and Garlinge huge housing development is likely to go to the planning committee after April and the group is preparing for a battle. The impact of this development is significant for all those that live in Thanet not just those in Westgate and Garlinge.”
Millwood designer Homes – recently bought by Elivia Homes- wants to create up to 2000 homes, including up to 100 Extra Care units, a care home, two form entry primary school, health centre and shops, cafes and restaurants on 237 acres including agricultural land in Westgate and Garlinge. A planning application was submitted in 2020 but a decision is yet to be made by Thanet council.
The action group has also submitted a number of questions for tonight’s (February 23) full council meeting and will be in attendance. The meeting starts at 7pm and the group is inviting interested residents to join them.
The spokesperson said: “It is important that we give the message to the council that there is very strong opposition to this development and others in Thanet, particularly at a time when many councillors will be standing for election in May.
“The group has also written to Michael Gove and met with local MP Roger Gale who has stated his support to preserve valuable farmland.”
Westgate and Garlinge Action Group Against Housing Development on Farmland holds public meetings on the last Wednesday of every month at the Bakehouse Westgate which is opposite Westgate United Services Men’s Club.