Homes plan for woodland off Tivoli Park Avenue rejected by councillors

The site off Tivoli Park Avenue (Google)

A proposal to build four homes on woodland at the end of Tivoli Park Avenue in Margate has been rejected by Thanet councillors.

An application was submitted by site owners Ernest Biela and David Watts who bought the plot in 2017.

The area was previously a community garden and had become overgrown. It was used by dog walkers and links Tivoli Woods and the former railway line, creating a wildlife corridor.

The land was sold  by Thanet council as part of its asset disposal programme, fetching  £155,000 at auction. It was marketed as offering potential for development, subject to all necessary consents.

The owners previously cleared a number of trees at the site in 2019, prompting objections from Salmestone Ward Residents Association.

At that time Mr Biela said there was a plan to “replant on site to yield produce for eateries to complement locally sourced seafood and enhance the local food scene with entirely Margate derived menus.”

The recently submitted plan was to create four 4-bed homes with landscaping, access and highway improvements.

Six letters of objection to the scheme were lodged citing concerns including loss of trees and green space, impact on wildlife, no affordable housing and a restrictive covenant for the land for recreational use only.

A report to councillors noted the site lies in an area with significant archaeological potential.

It said: “Extensive archaeological remains can be seen as cropmarks in the fields to the south of Hartsdown Academy including a number of ring ditches representing Bronze Age funerary monuments.

“Excavations at the Hartsdown Football Ground revealed significant Iron Age remains (amongst others) and the camber of a roman road may cross Tivoli Park to the west of the present site. The remains of a possible Roman villa have been found to the north west on Tivoli Park Avenue.”

The Roman villa site, containing multiple frescos, was partially excavated in 1924 by Arthur Rowe – who bequeathed many historical finds to Margate.

The issue of a  covenant was also raised previsoulsy, saying it had been gifted to the Borough of Margate in 1923 for public park and/or recreational use but councillors were told the covenant was not applicable.

The application was discussed by planning committee members on January 17 following a call in by former ward councillor Pauline Farrance  and Cllr Mike Garner, to consider the impact upon ecology, loss of trees and potential for overdevelopment.

A number of residents attended the meeting and local Donna Garfield spoke out against the development.

Although officers had recommended approval, councillors rejected the application.

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “The application was refused on a number of grounds. If permitted, the development would result in the loss of protected trees and open space, whilst creating increased pressure on the Thanet Coast and Sandwich Bay Special Protection Area (SPA), and Sandwich Bay and Hacklinge Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) without adequate mitigation being in place.

“The proposed development was found to be contrary to the Thanet Local Plan, the National Planning Policy Framework and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.”


  1. Ha ha you could not make it up the council sold the land £155,000 at auction. It was marketed as offering potential for development, subject to all necessary consents. Act 2.
    New Labour council takes over administration and tell the potential developers no that’s got archaeological interest.
    The land owners were conned by the Conservatives. That’s what the Conservatives are best at conning people.

  2. Well done to Katie pope present councillor for speaking against this proposal on behalf of local residents who don’t want open spaces and wildlife destroyed by over development

  3. The owners should demand TDC buy the land back as they were sold a plot of land that they believed, in good faith, that they could develop.

    If TDC did this is would simply go back to being the unloved and untended woodland wasteland that it was before it was sold off.

  4. This is a clear case of “buyer beware”, there were no guarantees with the sale, just the words “potential development” which could mean anything. As a child when visiting Margate, I always liked this wooded area and I remember it fondly. A positive decision by the new administration to protect our environment and Well Done to all the locals who stood up and said, No, enough is enough. We want to save our local wood.

    • Well said Gerrard . On purchasing land ; property ; or any expensive property it is always a case of BUYER BEWEAR . The parcel of land was not sold with development permission , but it is possible permission could be granted decades from now. TDC did nowt wrong at all . It does have ( had ) quite a few trees and wildlife habitat which should have rang alarm bells for any purchased

    • Gerard, but it’s not “our” (as in the communities) that ended when the council sold it off, with the potential of development subject to approvals, that the councils professional planning officers feel that the proposal meets the conditions for that approval , surely means it should be granted permission. If decisions are to be made bu untrained councillors what’s the point in employing professionals?
      On what grounds in terms of planning legislation , local frameworks / policies , have the councillors refused this?

  5. That the councils own professional planning officers recommended approval , so will have taken into account the various legislation etc, councillors interested in showing how important they are say no seemingly on no real grounds other than their opinion.
    The applicants will most likely go to appeal and in the absence of any real issues with the proposal will win ( unless in meantime the council can find grounds for refusal within the planning rules) , will the councillors who voted this down be reimbursing the council its costs if it goes to appeal and they lose?

    • So basically what you are saying is that councillors should always just keel over and agree with officers? I think you might find that there are quite a few people who would disagree with that.

  6. Great news , now can we have a similar verdict regarding any clearing of the woodland area for development on Jacky Bakers please due to it being a nesting site for several bird types and some other wildlife concerns.

      • Wouldn’t say its been earmarked for social housing more like affordable housing (according to what was reported in March), whatever that really means nowadays. If it was going to be used to bolster the council housing stocks then fair enough but its been valued for sale at between £900k and £1.12m. In either case though they need to do a proper wildlife study before they put it up for auction or think of building on it.

  7. Surely they will just go back, and reapply with less or smaller houses. Then when they start building, just ask for a change. As they are doing on the old railway line across the road. They have recently applied to build a additional house on the area, on the drawings for the turning of Fire Engines, and Dust Carts etc. I suppose they are hoping nobody will notice. Or remember the original plans.

  8. How was planning permission granted on the new haine road going towards sainsbury’s for that prison to be built ?

    They must be the worst new builds in the uk absolutely horrible looking.

  9. Ive remembered that it floods down there . It’s been sold wrongly .They are building everywhere , arable land next to the lok storage firm at Poor hole lane on the narrow Westwood Rd is next . No roads as roads don’t make a profit . They are slowly ruining Thanet .

    • Drive up the thanet way and onwards m2, the amount of housebuilding on the coast side is just incredible, go to Aylsham and see how that’s grown, it’s not just thanet.
      Whislt the country lets so many people rely on the state and do no work and as a result we allow huge numbers into the country to do the work people here don’t want to, we’ll need to build huge amounts of housing , there’s no way round it. And as the south east is the most prosperous part of the uk it attracts a disproportionate percentage of those arriving here.
      The underlying realities and clamour for homes means nothing is going to change in the foreseeable future.

      • You’re slightly wrong,it’s going on all over the country,I have family up north and the midlands,they state exactly the same thing happening there

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