Stone Hill Park map reveals Thanet’s housing reality

Stone Hill Park has revealed the stark consequences for Thanet District Council (TDC) of failing to pass its Local Plan at its meeting on Thursday, 18 January 2018.

A failure of Councillors to support the Local Plan, which has been prepared by their officers, would allow Westminster to take control over the planning process. It is likely this will lead to higher, centrally assessed, housing numbers generated by the Dept. For Communities and Local Government (DCLG), increasing the required housing numbers for the district by 4,741.

By opposing the Local Plan and excluding the Manston site from their potential housing supply, Councillors expose the wider community to the ‘forced allocation’ of 5,923 homes on what would be otherwise undeveloped sites.

Maps produced for Stone Hill Park, with the input of their planning consultants GVA, illustrate the potential impact of such a ‘forced allocation’ of housing on the community.

To be clear these are sites that are not envisaged in the Local Plan. It confirms how the edges of towns and communities around Thanet would bear the brunt of a decision by councillors to reject their own Local Plan and remove the district’s largest brownfield site from the planning mix – resulting in the potential loss of hundreds of acres of countryside and open green space.

Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs would face the greatest pressure for housing land with sites for more than 3,624 additional homes being set aside for development – from backyard plots to pristine grade one farmland.

Villages close to the former Manston Airport such as Minster and Cliffsend would also be expected to accommodate hundreds of new homes, but with none of the benefits, in terms of improved community facilities and transport infrastructure, that Stone Hill Park will bring.

The map is based on TDC’s Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA), compiled in 2013, providing the authority with its evidence base for future housing supply. It provides a graphic snapshot of Thanet’s future if the airport site is not allocated, the Local Plan is delayed, and – as a result – Thanet is required to adopt the Government’s much higher figure for housing need. It does not include Manston, which was still operational at the time, nor does it include the sites that are already earmarked for development in the Local Plan.

It illustrates Thanet’s potential future should Councillors ignore the recommendation of their officers and the evidence base and choose to vote down the Local Plan.

In October of this year, TDC’s cabinet recommended that Manston’s aviation only status be lifted to allow for a mixed-use new settlement, accepting a lack of credible evidence that commercial aviation on the site – cargo or passenger – would be viable.

This recommendation was followed by a period of public consultation, with councillors now set to vote next month on whether land owned by Stone Hill Park can contribute to the 17,000+ homes needed by 2031 to meet Thanet’s housing need.

Trevor Cartner, co-owner Stone Hill Park, said:

“Stone Hill Park will not only meet the urgent local need for homes, schools and jobs, but by building a new community we will also protect Thanet’s backyard from unnecessary development over the next 20 years.

“That includes 500+ acres of countryside and farmland that is currently not developed, but would have to be considered if our site is not included within the draft local plan.

“There is no need for farmland or green spaces in other parts of Thanet to be sacrificed for development when we can regenerate this brownfield site to deliver benefits for the whole of the district – from housing and jobs; to new leisure and heritage aviation attractions.”

Ray Mallon, spokesman for Stone Hill Park, added: “Thanet has many social and economic challenges, but with strong political leadership and private sector investment, the future can be secured for the young people of today.

“What Stone Hill Park are putting forward is now the only game in town for delivering the opportunities that this next generation are crying out for.

“Thanet faces some tough decisions in the weeks and months ahead about its future, and the map we have produced shows that all too clearly. Stone Hill Park can ease that pressure at a stroke.”

“We can deliver the homes and jobs Thanet needs now; the roads and infrastructure to support the area’s growth; and the investment that will benefit the area’s economy for years to come.” Stone Hill Park, is continuing to advance its enhanced masterplan that includes the retention of part of the main runway as a working heritage airport. These form part of new settlement proposals that include:

  • up to 4,000 new homes over 20 years;
  • a new hi-tech manufacturing business park;
  • a new country park and
  • a state-of-the-art sports and leisure village.

To read more about Stone Hill Park’s enhanced proposals visit the consultation page on this website.