Appeal dismissed over council refusal for 74-home plan on agricultural land off Reading Street Road

The site off Convent Road/ Reading Street Road

An application to build 74 homes on land off Reading Street Road which was refused by Thanet council has now also been rejected at appeal.

The proposal was to build the homes on 5.06 hectares of agricultural land between Broadstairs and St Peter’s. The site is within a designated ‘green wedge.’

Prospective developer Land Allocation Ltd appealed to the Secretary of State to overturn Thanet council’s decision to reject the plan.

But the Planning Inspectorate has dismissed the appeal, noting the open strip of land provides a “spatial and visual buffer between the settlements of Broadstairs and Margate,” and that the site sits within the Green Wedge in the Thanet Local Plan (TLP).

The planning inspector also noted: “The evidence shows that the appeal site sits within the St Peter’s Undulating Farmland Landscape Character Area (LCA) and that this area is characterised by undulating chalk farmland which is important for long distance views to the marshes and sea and for performing a settlement separation function. This area also contains high quality farmland and that is open and undeveloped which contributes to an essentially rural character.

“The submitted indicative layout shows that the proposed housing would project past the existing built form of the settlement on both sides of this part of Reading Street meaning that it would spatially and visually intrude into the more open landscape beyond.”

Refusal for farmland housing plan Photo Fran Daley.

The inspector said that although the proposal would be screened by landscaping features including trees when seen from the public footpath and other similar vantage points it would have “a significant adverse visual impact” on the close range views from Convent Road.

Then inspector also found adverse impact due to the loss of best and most versatile agricultural land but said this harm would be moderate because of the small size of the development.

The inspector’s dismissal notice says: “In relation to the adverse impacts of the proposal, these are substantial harm to the character and appearance of the area and its landscape. Other adverse impacts include substantial harms in terms of lack of affordable housing provision, highway safety and archaeology and moderate harm in relation to the loss of BMVAL.

“With regards to the potential benefits of the proposal, it would provide social, economic, and environmental benefits carrying some weight in favour of the appeal scheme.

“However, given the conflict with the development plan and policies of the Framework I find that, the proposal cannot be considered sustainable development.

“I consider that the adverse impacts of granting planning permission would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits.”

The proposal provoked more than 140 objections when it was lodged with Thanet council in 2021 with campaigners saying the development would put pressure on local infrastructure and especially on highways.

District councillor and long-term campaigner against the scheme, Jenny Matterface, said: “The Green Wedge has been protected. One crucial factor was the town council’s Neighbourhood Plan in both the original one from 2021 and the one recently voted on in the referendum on October 26th. Two of the policies in there were highlighted by the independent Planning Inspector, namely the Green Wedge designation and the protected Views and Vistas (BSPs 1 and 2).

“The campaign against the development was run on virtually no funding but ample support from those in Beacon Road, Kingsgate and Cliftonville East wards, all of whom would have been adversely affected had this development got the green light.”

15 Comments

  1. How come this has been refused but every other application in Thanet has been allowed? Does someone important live there?

    • We couldn’t have run the campaign without the help of people who felt so strongly about the plan they went out delivering leaflets, wrote their objections and spoke to their neighbours. Part of the campaign was at a time we couldn’t hold a public meeting so it all got done by social media and emails.

  2. Well done everyone. All these applications have to be considered on their merits – and this one didn’t have any!

  3. Wonder who owns that bit of land? Philpot?
    Land Allocation Ltd operates as Bathurst Partners you can see how they work by googling them at bathurstpartners.com
    Well done Jenny and all those involved.

  4. Each planning application is decided on it’s own merit, which to a point is fitting, however it also allows for no consistency, zero continuity or little quality forward planning. This is evident throughout the country but if you look at certain districts in this country, there are a few, not many but a few which stand out as being consistent, do forward plan, limit the quantity and quality of building, and other types of application and have a continuity forward looking plan to safe guard the area while allowing quality required development in the area. Unfortunately TDC has never been this good. Ah well.

  5. If the council had put into place the original local plan instead of dilly-dallying we maybe of been able to save some of the other farm land that wasn’t allocated by the council for housing, it would not be much but every little helps, but we’ll pleased for everyone who was involved with saving the land from the builders a very❤️❤️ well done

  6. Well done. Still we have lack of homes for homeless families. Is 6.5 years on a waiting list too long? Then work out why it’s that long?
    Plenty of investors properties can be rented though on air bnb.(?Greed?) Can we concentrate efforts on rehoming folks now? What’s that feel like? How is that gonna work? Threads one sided.✌️We need homes in thanet desperately.

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