The Thanet Local Plan roadshows are over – here is what happens next

Roadshows to share plans for revisions to Thanet’s Draft Local Plan were attended by 349 people.

The Local Plan is a blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure for the isle up until 2031.

It 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.

Engagement sessions were held at eight locations across Thanet but further information or the opportunity to submit views is still open and should go to thanet.gov.uk/consult. The consultation closes at 5pm on Friday 17 March.

Revisions to the plan included axing the aviation-use only designation at Manston airport and putting forward two new isle sites.

The revisions also include a small change to the location of the proposed Thanet Parkway Station and new roads.

How many new homes are planned?

Government guidelines dictate a build of 17,140 new isle homes by 2031. This is much higher than the original 12,000 home figure announced in 2015.

The rise is due  to new government projections in March 2015 following the latest Census data.

The council carried out a review based on the fresh data, resulting in the higher housing rate.

Some 1,555 homes have already been constructed; another 3,017 have been given planning permission; 2,700 are accounted for through windfall housing –sites that have historically had planning approval and may be put forward again – and 540  are already empty homes.

This leaves 9,300 properties to be accommodated.

Revised sites would provide 3,450 of these.

Manston airport

Manston airport was designated for aviation only use in the last Local Plan – which expired in 2011 – but the independent viability report by Avia Solutions led to a decision to consult on the site being open for mixed use development to include homes and business space.

Photo Adam Dark

The report stated that airport operations at the site are “very unlikely to be financially viable in the longer term and almost certainly not possible in the period to 2031”.

The airport closed in May 2014 after Stagecoach bus bus Ann Gloag bought it for a nominal £1.

A campaign to reopen the site has followed but potential investors, American firm RiverOak, were rejected as compulsory purchase order partners by Thanet council, which cited a failure to provide the requested evidence of resources as the reason.

RiverOak is now embarking on a Development Consent Order for the site through Central Government.

The land is owned by Stone Hill Park which submitted a planning application for 2,500 homes, a business park, sports and leisure facilities and parkland and open space.

The Local Plan revision states: “The site has the capacity to deliver at least 2,500 new dwellings and up to 85,000sqm employment and leisure floorspace.

“The overarching principle …is the creation of a single sustainable settlement that can be easily served by public transport and good, easily walkable access to central community services.”

Proposals for the site could include “a limited element of aviation use,” the document states.

Two proposed extra sites

Land at Manston Court Road and Haine Road  has been earmarked for 700 homes and land at Manston Road and Shottendane Road  allocated for 250 homes.

The Thanet Parkway station would move slightly to allow maximum use of the space.

Roadshow meetings

Cllr Lin Fairbrass, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Services, said:  “We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to attend a session and to provide their feedback on the changes made since the 2015 Preferred Options consultation. The council is committed to plan development to support economic growth and regeneration, to ensure homes are built in the right places and to maintain Thanet’s clean, green and welcoming environment.”

“By speaking with the council’s planning team, people were able to get a better understanding of the Local Plan process and that our housing targets are set by central government. We were also able to assure them that development would be focused in accessible areas and that the green wedges separating Thanet’s towns would be protected.”

“It is clear from the comments received that transport and infrastructure are important issues for local residents and the council will continue discussions with Kent County Council and other providers to ensure that supporting infrastructure is provided at the right time. We also had copies of the Draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan to show how the proposed development is supported by adequate infrastructure.”

“We would encourage as many people as possible to view the latest plans and leave their comments. We are fully committed to an ongoing dialogue with the public and will provide pre-submission information events on the final plan later on this year.”

Find the details

All the information displayed at the sessions is available at www.thanet.gov.uk/consult and in public libraries.

What next?

Submission to the Planning Inspectorate at the end of 2017.

Public examination

The Inspector may recommend changes to the plan. A further consultation would be carried out.

The council  adopt the Thanet Local Plan which will form part of the development plan for Thanet to 2031.

Draft Local Plan – other sites already included and number of homes planned

Westwood 1,450

Birchington 1,101

Westgate 1,036

Manston Green 700

Margate/Cliftonville 816

Ramsgate 793

Broadstairs and St Peter’s 304

Rural 375