Thanet Greens call for halt of planning permission for builds of 10+ homes

Green councillor Mike Garner will put forward the motion at the next full council meeting

Thanet Green Party is calling for a halt to the granting of planning permission for developments of more than 10 homes.

Cllr Mike Garner will put forward the motion at a full council meeting next week saying the move will allow for a review into the impact the current housebuilding programme is having across Thanet.

Party members say recent increases in mortgage interest rates will have a slowdown effect on both the building and purchase of new homes, and they believe this is an opportunity to pause the granting of new planning permissions and carry out a review, with both councillors and officers being involved in the investigation.

Green councillors say residents have voiced concerns over housebuilding impact on the already failing Southern Water infrastructure; traffic and highways; health services and schools and properties that remain unoccupied rather than becoming primary residences.

The lack of ‘affordable’ homes being built and made available for residents who’ve spent years on the waiting list has also been raised.

Cllr Garner said: “We have seen, both through recent sewage releases and last year’s major water outages, that Southern Water’s infrastructure is not fit for purpose. During the election campaign we called for a halt to further major planning application approvals until the work to upgrade their infrastructure has been completed.

“A pause now would enable us to review not just the Southern Water issues, but also the serious impacts on our road network and health services, and to determine whether developments that have been completed have delivered the affordable housing that was promised.

“I’m sure Councillors from all parties have been contacted by residents about their concerns and I look forward to hearing from a number of them during the debate next week.”

A number of questions will be raised in the motion, such as how many previously approved planning applications are still to commence development and whether GP surgeries, primary schools and social amenities promised in previously approved planning applications been adequately delivered by the builders?

The suggestion is to set up a cross-party working group of seven councillors to work with officers to carry out the review, using the Treasury Green Book Gate Review process as a guide.

In January Thanet Greens called for a halt to all housing developments across the isle until significant improvements were made to Southern Water’s infrastructure.

The call followed a series of interruptions to water supply due to faults at the Rumfields water tower and sewer outfall incidents around the coast.

‘Misleading residents’

Thanet council leader Rick Everitt (Lab) says the council does not have the ability to pause major planning decisions.

He said: “The council has no ability to ‘pause’ the determination of major planning applications. What would happen if it tried is that the applications would end up being decided by the government’s planning inspectorate instead, on the same policy basis, and the council taxpayers of Thanet would no doubt have to pay the extra costs.

“In any event, it is unclear what could have changed after such a ‘pause’ since the adopted local plan would remain in place as the basis of decision-making, alongside national planning policy.

“The council’s current local plan review, which has itself to go through a very lengthy statutory process, cannot be usurped by a working group of the kind the Greens propose. There are existing routes for councillors to get answers to the questions they say they want to raise.

“It’s clear to members of all parties that there are strong views about the future development of Thanet within the community and that they must be given appropriate weight in future policy-making.

“However, this motion – which officers have already advised in the published report should not be debated next week – risks misleading residents about what the council can and cannot do in the meantime. Green councillors should know better.”

Planning rules

The move would possibly mean having to defer all decisions as refusal would have to be based on planning considerations, such as over development, and that would run the risk of costly planning appeals.

However, local planning authorities should usually make a decision on planning applications within eight weeks. If it takes longer, the applicant can appeal to the Secretary of State with responsibility for planning.

Local Plan

The following month the Party called for a halt to the Local Plan review – which is predicting need for an additional 4,000-4,500 homes by 2040 on top of the 17,140 already required.

They said say the Office of National Statistics data being used to calculate housing need is incorrect – something also stated by witnesses at the Shottendane development public enquiry, including North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale.

The Local Plan sets out the strategy for future development and was adopted for Thanet in July 2020. It runs to the period up to 2031.

The council has been preparing a ‘partial update’ of the Local Plan to extend it up to 2040. This is updating certain parts of the Plan and reviewing topics that previous Local Plan Inspectors recommended, it is not an update of the whole Plan.

Thanet council has just announced plans to ‘significantly’ speed up its affordable housing development with the aim of providing at least 400 social homes by 2027.

The proposal, and the Thanet Green Party motion, will be discussed by councillors at a meeting on July 13.

Thanet council plan to ‘significantly’ speed up delivery of affordable homes and plans for new temporary accommodation


  1. Cllr Garner’s motion conforms to the All Party agreement at the Westgate hustings recently – and the former Council leader confirmed that there would be a pause on all estate developments. Can we really have a sensible Local Plan promising substantial development until we have a clear Water Plan ? The meteorological prospects are not encouraging for what is not exactly the wettest part of the country. Older readers will remember 1976 and the call to save water by bathing with a friend – be careful of the sea nowadays ! Who’s for Minister of Drought ?

  2. Thanet greens and other organisations such as extinction rebellion, swampy and others should be more concerned about the biggest polluters on the planet, aircraft, airports with the HGVs and other international combustion vehicles, which are proposed in thanet. Homes for people to live in aren’t an issue. We already have very high levels of pollution in a few areas in thanet which are increasing without additional pollutants from aircraft by way of exhaust fumes, noise pollution, light pollution, charge a heavy ULEZ on that.

  3. Cllr Garner said: “We have seen, both through recent sewage releases and last year’s major water outages, that Southern Water’s infrastructure is not fit for purpose.
    There was further sewage release this week which affected all of Thanet’s sea shores, which affects resident, Tourists and business that rely on the sea being clean not cess pit.
    All new housing must be halted, until Southern Water sorts their infrastructure that will be able to cope, not just with the current population but also the predicted increase of Thanet’s population.

  4. Labour’s Red Leader is saying no to a pause because government would say yes at appeal.
    Overdevelopment is certainly one reason to “pause” as the motion isn’t asking for a prohibition.
    Longer term public health is a very pressing issue and TDC should be looking at how new builds make demands on water supply and treatment. We have a hose-pipe ban and frequent sewage discharges into our water ways now, how will thousands of new residents improve that without better infrastructure?
    A pause is the minimum action Cllr’s should be taking. Red Leader is really saying let’s all roll over and accept whatever Westminster wants despite it being out of touch with Thanet’s realities.
    Labour were elected to represent residents, not the interests of central government. It may cost on appeals but if we don’t fight now it will be too late.
    Red Leader needs to go unless, the new Cllr’s can provide him some back bone.

    • ‘WE have a hosepipe ban’? Can you be precise where in Thanet where there is a hosepipe ban. There certainly isn’t one in Broadstairs, Ramsgate or Margate. Clarification for the sake of accuracy would be appreciated. Plus I and my neighbours if we choose to use a hosepipe don’t want to face a fine!

      • Hi Lawrence, my mistake. I saw the news about the ban and mistook the region.
        However, the point stands about how water stressed Thanet is and the discrepancy between demand snd supply.

  5. Ric Everett is correct there is no legal way to “pause” or stop developers submitting planning applications for dwellings over ten in number! To attempt to will only cost us money to defend the law! Is this just a dumb gesture by the Greens, thinking it will be a vote winner, or are they just ignorant of the law?

    • I think you’re wrong on this as the motion asks for a pause, not a stop. We’ll see but irrespective of current law the situation needs to change and who will act if not us? If not now when?

  6. You will find in Hansard on 6 April a Conservative MP (Lincolnshire) complaining about local rejection of estate proposals being overturned by the Planning Inspector and the Secretary of State advising that he has a new CEO to take forward what is effectively a ‘post Stalin’ approach to Local Plans which should now be essentially locally led. The new (they are always new) Housing Minister reaffirmed the concepts of Sustainability and Densification before the Select Committee more recently. It clearly makes sense to provide the housing where the jobs and infrastructure exist and HMG will be concentrating on 20 cities (Thanet not mentioned.) Thanet’s ‘pause’ would be in good company as some 60 other authorities have already either ‘paused’ (if not outright ditched) their own inappropriate imposed allocations.
    The idea of community-led development rather than developer-profit optimising (forget 30% affordables with all the trimmings – 7% bank rate will put paid to those if nothing else) is taking hold – and it is distressing to find that TDC can’t house people when it ‘boasts’ one of the worst longterm empty rates in the country. No use empty ? A vigorous refurbishment would provide early accommodation and jobs for smaller enterprises – even central government might find monies to support such ?
    Joined up thinking in strategic planning might start with something as fundamental as water resources – the National Audit Office gives the country about 10 years and Thanet isn’t quite Cumbria ! In the emantime your bills are in danger of evaporating into servicing increasing debts (OFWAT asleep on the job ?)

  7. Rents are increasing due to inflation putting up Buy to Let mortgages! Landlords are passing on mortgage increases to tenants, the best answer is to stop the sale of council property if that still exists, and build more council houses! I do not see why my tax money is paid to a landlord in Housing Benefit, why should I contribute to someone else’s mortgage repayment?

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