An important vote on Thanet’s Draft Local Plan is due to take place

The local plan is a blueprint for new housing, business and infrastructure on the isle

Thanet’s Draft Local Plan – a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure up until 2031 – will be voted on by Full Council next month (January).

The document sets out how much development is needed to support the future population and economy. Allocating land through the plan is designed to give the council greater control over where and what type of developments can take place.

Consultation was carried out earlier this year on revisions to the plan, including axing the aviation-use only designation at Manston airport and putting forward two new isle sites at Manston Court Road and Haine Road.

These changes were approved by Cabinet members at a meeting in October but still needed to go to members of the council’s Scrutiny panel in November.

Rejected

At this meeting the plan was overwhelmingly rejected – raising speculation that it could be voted down at the full council meeting on January 18.

Thanet currently has 55 councillors and one vacancy. This is made up of 25 UKIP; 20 Conservative; 6 Labour; 2 Independent Group and 2 Independent councillors.

For a motion to be carried either way it will need at least 28 votes, meaning members of more than one political party will have to vote the same way.

Approval timetable

If it is approved there will then be a 6-week publication period between January 25 and March 8, 2018, when public comments can be made followed by submission to Planning Inspectorate in March 2018 and examination in June 2018.

Or Central Government intervention?

However, if it is rejected it could mean Central Government steps in to take over the plan.

A statement issued in November by Secretary of State Sajid Javid, from the Department for Communities and Local Government, said the failure of Thanet and 14 other authorities to meet deadlines to put a local plan in place meant the government may serve notice of its intention to intervene.

In the statement Sajid Javid says: I am particularly concerned about the 15 local planning authorities that have recently either failed the duty to cooperate or failed to meet the deadlines set out in their Local Development Schemes, the public timetable that all local planning authorities are required to put in place.

“I am therefore writing to the local planning authorities of: Basildon, Brentwood, Bolsover, Calderdale, Castle Point, Eastleigh, Liverpool, Mansfield, North East Derbyshire, Northumberland, Runnymede, St Albans, Thanet, Wirral and York.

“These letters will start the formal process of intervention we set out in the housing White Paper.”

The White Paper is the Government’s proposal to enable it to deliver one million new homes nationally by 2020 and a further 500,000 by 2022.

Thanet council has until January 31, 2018, to justify to Government any failure to produce a Local Plan.

More homes?

Photo Frank Leppard

Government intervention could mean the housing numbers required for Thanet will rise. Government guidelines currently dictate a build of 17,140 new isle homes by 2031.

But if a government proposal to standardise the way local authorities work out housing need is given the green light that figure rise to more than 20,200 homes, raising the requirement from 857 dwellings per year to 1063 dwellings per year.

However at a council meeting in December an officer said Thanet was not building the current target of 857 houses per year and it was doubtful this would ever happen on a consistent basis. In the past 12 months Thanet created 389 additional new homes.

The isle’s last active local plan was adopted in 2006.

7 Comments

  1. Whilst I understand that feelings run high over the future of Manston – and the pro-airport groups will make a lot of noise against the revised plan – I think that it would be a failure for Thanet as a whole if this one topic causes the proposed local plan to be voted down.

    To lose control of our own planning to central government is not going to be good for us – just look at the recent planning inspectorate appeal decision – Manston, whilst important, must not become the tail wagging the dog.

  2. No Voting should be pre-determined by either Press or media interference. I am sure Councillors will do their level best to ensure a correct and satisfactory. They have taken advice from all sides of the tables, and listened to the local Residents and other associations effected.
    Main worries are:
    1. Police.
    2. Hospital.
    3. Doctor & Dentist Surgeries
    4. Southern Water.
    5. Manston.

    Unfortunately, if Mr Javid is insisting… I feel he will be hitting a brick wall.

    Thanet is a deprived Area, and will remain so until a successful economy is built up, and this present depraved Government wants us to build more and more houses. It just does not add up. There is no infrastructure plan laid, and no plan B in place.
    There were plans for housing in 2011, these did not involve Manston area at all.
    If the DLP goes ahead….. it might be bye-bye Manston…. forever!
    My views entirely.

  3. TDC Officers SHOULD have had a rolling programme on the Local Plan for years..
    That they haven’t is due to the failures of the Chief Executive past and present…
    The current debacle could easily have been avoided with the simple insertion of a clause in regard to the Airport… It IS common knowledge that a DCO application is pending..
    The current status of “Reserved for Aviation Purposes Only” should be subject to the granting of the DCO.. IF the DCO IS rejected , then the site should be altered to whatever the owners plan …
    Attempting to Airbrush the ending DCO out of the equation is foolish, That is what is causing the strife in the Council Chamber over the Draft Plan…
    The Officers have only a few weeks to get this sorted out…
    Otherwise they could well come under the umbrella of the DCLG …
    Not a scenario anyone desires…
    Again ..The Senior Officers who are supposed to be on top of these situations are not performing very diligently. ..Yet they are very well remunerated, Particularly by an Authority that is on the verge of fiscal collapse …..
    Perhaps we would all be better served if the DCLG had the reins ?….

  4. Compared to everything else which the local plan must take into account, the land owned by Stone Hill Park is pretty small beer.

    If the councillors have any common sense they will vote the local plan through. The thing which seems to attract most resistance locally is the quota of new housing being imposed on Thanet. It seems a straightforward decision then: vote in local plan, get thousands fewer houses than you’d get by not voting it in.

    • This comment is exactly what I meant about outside influence being exerted
      This commenter is obviously employed by SHP.
      Councillors out there… disregard comments by Marva Rees.

      this sentence is far too persuasive.

  5. It would be a tragedy were the Local Plan to be voted down over Manston.
    There is overwhelming evidence that commercial aviation will fail. There is not one scrap of evidence to suggest the contrary.
    Given that a DCO, were one to be granted, would trump the LP.
    There is absolutely no reason to follow the reckless path of not having a LP, having little control over important issues such as local housing.

  6. Recent statistics show that Thanet is one of the areas where very pitifully few new homes have been built over the last 6 years. Despite all of the whinging by NIMBYs, the level of house-building in Thanet is way below that which is needed to meet the demands of a growing population, let alone doing anything to address the chronic historical backlog. No wonder prices are so ridiculous. Frankly, anyone who thinks that Thanet doesn’t need more housing, and a lot of it, must be living in some parallel universe. The NIMBY’s often spout: “Jobs not houses” as they rail against more housing. They don’t seem to understand that successful modern businesses which are making a decision to locate or relocate in an area will look at the availability of good quality housing for their workers. It’s very hard to attract good staff if there are no decent houses for them to live in. Social housing is important but it is good quality family housing which will help regeneration. I do hope that councillors will not allow vociferous minority groups to derail the new local plan, which is already long overdue. It is of particular concern that the Conservative councillors are said to be planning to vote down the plan. I would expect it from UKIP but I would have thought the Tories had more sense.

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