Judicial review of Lydden Hill circuit decision to be heard in February 2022

The proposals for the site in the Kent Downs AONB were challenged by Dover CPRE

A judicial review of Dover District Council’s decision to approve the expansion of Lydden Hill racing circuit is due to be heard on Tuesday, February 15, 2022.
It was in January 2020 that councillors backed proposals to pull down the circuit’s two-storey administration building and replace it with a two- to three-floor pavilion including office space, external viewing areas, function areas and six garages. Permission for a new access road from Geddinge Lane and extra land for parking was also sought.
Wootton Environment Protection Group has since raised funds for the judicial review of the council’s decision and this has been brought by nearby resident Penelope James.
Dover CPRE had objected to the scheme when it was first mooted in 2015 and maintained its opposition throughout.

  • For more on this story, see here

Monday, November 15, 2021

Time to ditch the London Resort: wildlife charities call for withdrawal of theme park planning application after Swanscombe wins special protection status

The vote is unanimous! Natural England decides to confirm Swanscombe Marshes as an SSSI

Wildlife charities are calling for the withdrawal of the London Resort theme park planning application that would destroy a nationally important wildlife site in north Kent, after the site was awarded special conservation protection today (Wednesday, November 10). 
Swanscombe Marshes, which sits on the bank of the River Thames, has now received confirmation of official designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England – the government’s adviser for the natural environment in England – after a consultation period. 
SSSI status recognises that the marshes are of high conservation value and particular interest to science, due to the unique and biodiverse wildlife and plant species found there.
CPRE Kent, the RSPB, Buglife, Kent Wildlife Trust and Save Swanscombe Peninsula are working together to fight the building of the London Resort Theme Park on the marshes. 
The marshes being confirmed as an SSSI is another stepping-stone in the fight against this proposed colossal entertainment development, which would concrete over vital wildlife habitat, meaning much of this haven would be lost forever.
The decision to award SSSI protection status is particularly timely during COP26 as, more than ever, the importance of protecting the environment and natural spaces like Swanscombe Marshes is key when the world is facing a nature and climate emergency.
The wildlife charities say the site, which consists of a remarkable mosaic of grasslands, coastal habitats, scrub and wetlands, is home to a staggering amount of wildlife. This includes more than 2,000 species of invertebrate, including the critically endangered distinguished jumping spider, found at only one other site in the UK, as well as the sea aster mining bee, brown-banded carder bee and saltmarsh shortspur beetle.
Swanscombe supports an outstanding number of breeding birds, comparable with the best sites in England, including marsh harrier, cuckoo, nightingale, black redstart and grasshopper warbler. 
Hilary Newport, director of CPRE Kent, said: “We are hugely relieved that the SSSI designation has been confirmed. The wildlife on Swanscombe Marshes is extraordinarily rich and varied, while the site provides an invaluable green lung for local people in an otherwise heavily over-developed part of the world. We believe London Resort should drop its plans to destroy this wonderful place.”
Jamie Robins, projects manager at Buglife, added: “We welcome the great news that Natural England has taken the crucial step of confirming Swanscombe Marshes as a SSSI. This should dispel any notion that it should be anything but a haven for nature and the local community. We urge the London Resort to look elsewhere to build their theme park, as in a biodiversity and climate crisis, it cannot be justified to concrete over one of our finest wildlife sites.”
Nick Bruce White, operations director at the RSPB, shared the excitement: “We know the value and importance of Swanscombe Marshes for wildlife and the natural world and are incredibly pleased that the government’s own adviser on the environment, Natural England, has also recognised how truly important this site is, too. We now call upon the London Resort Company to withdraw its application to build on this nationally important wildlife site.”
Julia Hunt, head of advocacy at Kent Wildlife Trust, said: “Not only is this site important in its own right; it also forms a critical part of the nature recovery network that we sorely need to prevent irreversible loss of wildlife and damage to our climate.
“We are thrilled that Natural England has recognised the site’s value.  It is now imperative that London Resort cease their plans to destroy this wildlife haven.”
Finally, Donna Zimmer, of the Save Swanscombe Peninsula group, which has said: ”Natural England have completed a thorough and professional assessment which formally recognises Swanscombe Peninsula as one of the best wildlife sites in England. As a local campaign group, we are absolutely thrilled that our irreplaceable green space with such wonderful wildlife receives this much needed protection. We expect London Resort to recognise this and so withdraw their theme park proposal.”

  • To sign the Save Swanscombe Marshes petition and make your voice heard, click here  
  • For more on the SSSI designation, click here

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Cleve Hill solar site is sold… and given an extraordinary new name

The special landscape of the marshes around Faversham will be changed forever should the solar farm be built

Perhaps to nobody’s great surprise, the site set to host the country’s largest solar farm – formerly known as Cleve Hill – has been sold.
It was in May last year that the Planning Inspectorate announced Alok Sharma, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, had granted a Development Consent Order for Cleve Hill Solar Park.
It was desperately disappointing news for CPRE Kent, which believes the industrialisation of almost 1,000 acres of the North Kent Marshes – an area of international importance to wildlife – is wholly unacceptable and further evidence of the government’s chaotic approach towards sustainable energy generation.
Now comes the news that Hive Energy and Wirsol Energy have sold the scheme to London-based operation Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners, which promptly renamed the whole thing Project Fortress.
Quinbrook, which is reported to manage assets worth more than £1.5 billion, says it aims to start construction at Cleve Hill – sorry, Project Fortress – in the first half of next year, with it becoming operational in 2023.
Energy is to be stored in a giant lithium battery system, which has sparked serious safety concerns for the nearby town of Faversham and village of Graveney.
A Swale Borough Council spokesman said: “When the scheme was approved by the Secretary of State, several requirements were placed on the permission for the developer to undertake before the scheme can start on site. These have been ongoing and more submissions are required.”
Quinbrook is reported to already operate two large solar farms in Nevada, United States, and “pride itself on being an investment group solely involved in renewable energy schemes”.
It will be both owner and operator of the north Kent scheme. A spokesman said: “We believe Project Fortress is a landmark transaction on many fronts and represents a new frontier in UK solar teamed with large-scale battery storage.
“We have been immersed in large-scale solar and storage in the US for many years and we can apply our significant experience in project design and equipment selection to ensure Fortress becomes the new benchmark for renewables that support the UK grid rather than challenge it.”

  • For more on, erm, Project Fortress, see here

Monday, October 25, 2021

Vast Canterbury housing scheme blocked… for now

‘We are more determined than ever to create a beautiful and sustainable community,’ says a council spokesman (pic Corinthian Land)

The giant ‘garden city’ planned for countryside to the south of Canterbury has been stopped in its tracks by a High Court ruling.
The 4,000-unit Mountfield Park scheme would have destroyed more than 550 acres and was first backed by the city council in December 2016, but legal challenges delayed matters until a 7-5 vote in December to approve it by the council’s planning committee.
The decision gave developer Corinthian detailed permission for 140 homes and outline approval for another 3,860. It was claimed 30 per cent of the development would comprise affordable homes.
However, on Wednesday last week (October 20), the council quashed its earlier decision to approve the scheme. It made the move after a judge accepted Canterbury resident Thomas Lynch’s attempt to take its approval to judicial review.
Mr Lynch launched his review bid in March this year, based on three tenets:

  • The council had failed to comply with its Local Plan
  • The council had failed to sufficiently assess damage to Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve
  • The council had not provided financial viability assessments relating to delivery of affordable housing.

High Court judge, the Honourable Mr Justice Waksman, decided Mr Lynch’s case could proceed on all three grounds. And, rather than take on the legal challenge, the city council conceded the case and agreed that planning permission should be quashed. It should be noted that the council conceded two of the grounds but not the Stodmarsh element.
The council paid Mr Lynch’s legal costs. He is reported to have raised almost £30,000 from supporters in his effort to bring the review – money he says will be reimbursed once he receives the money from the council.
He told Kent Online: “My main issue has been with the city council and its members, who steamrollered this decision through, totally ignoring the views of residents who they are supposed to represent.
“I fully expect Corinthian to come back with revised plans and I will take advice at that stage on what further action, if any, we will take.”
The original planning permission for the development had lapsed last year, but it was voted through again in December.
Corinthian says it intends to submit a revised masterplan next year. “A spokesman said: “Elected councillors have now voted twice for affordable, sustainable and beautiful new homes in Canterbury, and it is disappointing to see those much-needed homes delayed again.
“The application will be considered by committee for a third time in the next few months. We are confident that we will be able to get going with making this wonderful new place in the new year.
“In the meantime, we will continue to work closely with residents and with Canterbury City Council, who are determined to see sustainable, affordable homes built for local people in east Kent.”
The city council took a similar tack, its spokesman Rob Davies saying: “Following recent legal action, the planning application for the South Canterbury urban extension will be considered afresh by our planning committee.
“We are more determined than ever to create a beautiful and sustainable community. We expect this to be early next year.”

  • For more on Mountfield Park, see here

Monday, October 25, 2021

See you tomorrow (Saturday) for the Swanscombe rally… but the SSSider is off

Here’s a final reminder about tomorrow’s (Saturday, October 2) rally at which we will be calling for the protection of the wildlife-rich Swanscombe peninsula. Sadly, however, we must report that the SSSider Soak planned for Gads Hill Farm in the afternoon has fallen victim to a grim weather forecast. Hopefully another time!
It’s full steam ahead for the Swanscombe rally, though, and we would love to see you at 10am for a tour, where we can all enjoy the sights and sounds of the peninsula, which is threatened by the proposed London Resort theme park.
If you can’t make it bang on 10am, we’ll be walking at a gentle pace, so you’ll be able to join us over the next couple of hours.
CPRE Kent is one of an alliance of organisations, notably Buglife, Save Swanscombe Peninsula SSSI, the RSPB and Kent Wildlife Trust, fighting to stop such a hugely destructive scheme coming to pass.

  • Campaigners on the rally will gather at Manor Way, opposite Britannia Metals, Northfleet DA11 9BG, on Saturday, October 2, at 10am
  • To learn more about the Swanscombe peninsula, click here

Friday, October 1, 2021

Scheme for thousands of new houses near Sittingbourne would have devastating impact on countryside (and it’s not even in the Local Plan)

A vast swathe of attractive landscape is threatened by the proposals (pic Paul Buckley)

We have objected to a vast housing scheme – effectively a new town – of more than 9,000 properties south-east of Sittingbourne.
Quinn Estates has submitted two outline planning applications for what is collectively being referred to as Highsted Park.
One comprises a scheme for 1,250 homes and other uses, including completion of the Sittingbourne Northern Relief Road, while the other is for 8,000 homes and other uses, including a new M2 junction south of the A2.
The application conflicts with the adopted Local Plan and we believe there are no material or exceptional considerations why the Plan should not be followed.
Among a range of issues, the site lies in countryside and within a designated Local Countryside Gap, while the proposed development would have a detrimental impact on the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, an Area of High Landscape Value and ancient woodlands and Local Wildlife Sites.

Friday, September 24, 2021

CPRE Kent fights at inquiry to protect High Weald AONB countryside

This swathe of Wealden landscape is threatened by the proposal

An 18-day public planning inquiry opens today (Tuesday, September 21) into a scheme for 165 houses near Cranbrook in the High Weald AONB.
Berkeley Homes had been granted permission to build 36 homes at Turnden, in the Crane Valley between Cranbrook and Hartley, back in February 2019. The developer then expanded its scheme to add 165 more homes – which was also backed by the council.
This scheme represents substantial development in the AONB on a greenfield site that has not allocated for development within a Local Plan. CPRE Kent has been vocal in its objection to the scheme from the start.
CPRE Kent supported Natural England in objecting to the proposal and asking the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to call in the decision. This request was accepted and the inquiry opening today is to inform the Secretary of State’s decision.
CPRE Kent is undertaking a formal role at the inquiry, working alongside Natural England and the High Weald AONB Unit in presenting evidence against the scheme and challenging the evidence being presented in favour of the proposed development.
We do not undertake such formal action lightly though are deeply concerned the Turnden scheme would set a precedent that could lead to harm to protected areas throughout the country.
The outcome of this inquiry is not just critical to AONBs in Kent but to protected landscapes across the country.

For more on this story, click here

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

London Resort examination… now we’re looking at April

The marvellous wildlife habitat of the Swanscombe peninsula is under threat (Paul Buckley)

Examination of a developer’s bid for consent to build the country’s largest theme park has been stalled again.
The scheme entails the construction of the London Resort park at Swanscombe, between Dartford and Gravesend.
The Planning Inspectorate’s six-month examination of the application by London Resort Company Holdings had been anticipated to begin in September, but in July the inspectorate advised that “The ExA [examining authority] does not have a detailed understanding of the Applicant’s proposed consultations and updates” before stating that the process was not going to begin until the second half of January next year – at the earliest.
Now it has been delayed again because LRCH has failed to produce all the documents required by the inspectorate; the preliminary meeting is “unlikely to be held before April 2022”.
Further, the inspectorate seems unconvinced that LRCH has consulted enough parties in preparing its submissions, while it’s not clear if the developer’s evidence will even be up to date by the time the examination eventually starts.

For more on this story, see here

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

‘A victory for common sense’: CPRE responds to reported rethink of planning reform

Tom Fyans: ‘The devil is in the detail’

It has been reported in The Times this morning (Saturday, September 11) that the government is planning to abandon substantial parts of its planning proposals, including the zonal planning system.
If correct, this will be a huge win for the CPRE planning campaign, so fingers crossed!
Commenting on the reported rethink of the planning proposals, Tom Fyans, deputy chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, said:  “The devil will be in the detail, but it looks as though some of the most damaging proposals of what was a top-down developers’ charter have been rightly binned. However, the government must not shy away from overhauling a tired planning system to make it fit for the multiple challenges of the 21st century.
“Local communities need a stronger right to be heard in local decisions; brownfield sites must automatically be developed first to help protect local green spaces and our Green Belts in the fight against climate change; and young people and key workers desperately need more funding for rural affordable homes.
“Positive changes to the planning system are long overdue – in future it is vital local communities are empowered to protect their precious green spaces while delivering the affordable homes they desperately need and, at the same time, responding to the climate emergency by regenerating the countryside.
“This decision by ministers is a victory for common sense and local campaigners all across the country who just wanted a proper say on the needs of their communities and how their area should be developed.
“We look forward to working with the government on creating a planning system that puts the needs of local communities ahead of developers’ profits.”

Saturday, September 11, 2021

London Resort examination will not begin before January 2022

The Swanscombe peninsula has a superb array of natural habitats… CPRE Kent would like it to stay that way (pic Paul Buckley)

The proposed London Resort theme park has largely disappeared from the radar in recent months, so it is timely to give an update on proceedings.
In January this year the Planning Inspectorate declared that it was accepting the application by London Resort Company Holdings for a Development Consent Order to build the park.
A six-month examination of the project, in which CPRE Kent will take part, had been expected to begin two to four months from that point.
Good news for the peninsula, its wildlife and the local people for whom it is a critical area for recreation, but there would be a four-month consultation before potential SSSI confirmation.
Far from it, however! LRCH chose instead to plough on with its project, although saying it would be changing its plans after the SSSI designation. It was granted an extra four months to submit revised documents in its DCO bid, meaning the examination would most likely begin in September.
However… in July this year the Planning Inspectorate advised that “The ExA [examining authority] does not have a detailed understanding of the Applicant’s proposed consultations and updates. Having considered the information available to date, the ExA is minded not to decide on the date(s) of the PM [preliminary meeting] before it has seen the Applicant’s submissions. On that basis the ExA anticipates that it will be unable to decide on the date(s) of the PM before mid-December 2021 and that therefore a PM is unlikely to be held before mid-January 2022.”
Or, in other words, examination of the London Resort is not going to begin until the second half of January next year – at the earliest.

  • For more on this story, see here
  • To read why CPRE Kent views the project as so damaging, read here
  • To read the Planning Inspectorate letter detailing the delay in beginning the examination, see here

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Gladman pushed back for a third time: ‘a great day for democracy’

Harvest time on Thanet’s wonderful farmland: Gladman wants 450 houses to be built here

“A great day for democracy,” was how the chairman of Thanet CPRE described the third refusal of plans to build 450 houses on farmland at the edge of Margate.
The Gladman Developments bid to win planning permission for the development at Shottendane Road was rejected by Thanet District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday, July 21.
CPRE Kent, through its Thanet committee, has contested the Gladman scheme throughout on a range of issues, but the principal concern for the planning committee has been the proposed cut in affordable housing from 30 per cent (as set in TDC Local Plan policy) to 10 per cent on the first application and then 15 per cent on the second.
As part of its third attempt, Gladman offered 68 properties as affordable housing on an 80 per cent affordable rent and 20 per cent shared-ownership mix. It also claimed it would make almost £5 million in contributions to community and highways infrastructure.
However, this was not enough to convince the planning committee, which was looking to agree on reasons for refusal to be cited should the case be taken to appeal by Gladman.
In the end, the statement for refusal read: “The proposed development, by virtue of the proposed level of affordable housing, would not meet the identified need for affordable housing in the district, thereby not providing the required homes to create a balanced and mixed community.
“This harm is considered to significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits of the development, therefore the proposal would not constitute sustainable development and is contrary to Strategic Priority 3 of the Thanet Local Plan and the objectives of the National Planning Policy Framework.”
David Morrish, Thanet CPRE chairman, said: “This is a great day for democracy and common sense. Let’s hope it’s a lesson to other would-be speculative developers that Thanet council won’t be deterred from defending its own policy to provide affordable housing.
“It took three meetings of the planning committee, but it’s been good to see councillors defending the housing policy.”

  • For more on this scheme, as well as the way Gladman operates, click here

Monday, July 26, 2021

CPRE Kent urges Thanet council to be bold and refuse Gladman application that runs contrary to Local Plan

Under threat from Gladman: countryside at Shottendane Road, Margate

Thanet District Council will tonight (Wednesday, July 21) reconsider the Gladman Developments bid for planning permission for 450 houses at Shottendane Road, near Margate. 
CPRE Kent has long argued against this development, both during the Local Plan process and the current attempts to win planning permission. Despite this, only one significant ground of dispute appears to remain between the council and Gladman, and that is the issue of affordable housing.
This is because Gladman only wants to provide half the amount of affordable housing that TDC considers should be provided.
Thanet’s planning committee is reminded that Gladman is not in the business of building houses – rather, it is in the business of maximising land value through the securing of planning permissions.
It is worth noting that Damian Green, MP for Ashford and former First Secretary of State (de facto deputy prime minister) highlighted Gladman as the only company with which he had “flatly refused” to speak.
Gladman is a land agent or land promoter, taking on the costs of securing a planning permission on the basis that it then splits the resulting profits with that landowner when it sells to an actual housebuilder. 
This incentivises putting maximum pressure upon a council to approve as quickly as possible and encourages negotiating out as many future costs as possible so the permissioned land can be sold at a premium. 
 As Gladman says on its website: “It is in our interests to optimise the value of your land as we, like you, only get paid when the land is sold.”
The point is, this land has not yet been sold on, meaning everything is theoretical until this point.
If the council insists on the full level of affordable housing being provided, the purchaser will need to reflect this in the price it pays for the land. This is exactly what planning policy guidance on viability expects should happen.
For these reasons, CPRE Kent is calling on Thanet District Council to be bold and refuse this application as contrary to the adopted Plan.

  • Our comments on the revised application are here
  • Details of the Gladman business model are set out on its website here
  • For more on this story, see here

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Lower Thames Crossing: Community Impacts Consultation begins this month

Lower Thames Crossing… the process rumbles on

The next round of public consultation on the Lower Thames Crossing begins on Wednesday, July 14, and runs for eight weeks until Wednesday, September 8.
Highways England says: “This Community Impacts Consultation will give people the opportunity to review and comment on our plans to build and operate the Lower Thames Crossing, and how we propose to reduce our impact on the local community and environment.
“Topics include changes to traffic, air quality, noise and vibration, as well as the impact of the new crossing on the environment and landscape.
“The consultation will also include some changes made to the project since the previous consultation in 2020. This includes a reduction in the area needed to build and operate the scheme, a smaller impact on local properties and woodland, and new public spaces on both sides of the River Thames.
“We have also summarised how the feedback provided during earlier consultations has been used in the development of the project.”
CPRE Kent believes a new crossing is not an acceptable option.
Speaking before a previous round of consultation on the project, Alex Hills, CPRE Kent’s Gravesham district chairman, said: “Cities in this country and around the world have become aware that, due to the dreadful Covid-19 disease, more needs to be done to boost active travel (walking and cycling).
“This is partly to enable social distancing and partly to reduce air pollution. The Climate Change Committee has called for proposed spending on roads to be spent on measures that offer better value for money and at the same time reduce congestion and air pollution.
“Increasing investment in active travel, sustainable transport and broadband all offer better value for money. The KenEx tramline (see here) could take up to 10 per cent of traffic using the Dartford crossing for £600 million as opposed to a new crossing costing at least £6.8 billion and increasing congestion.”
Highways England plans to submit a new application for a Development Consent Order this year, starting an 18-month examination process. If it wins consent, HE aims to begin construction in 2024, with the new road opening in 2029 or 2030.

  • The consultation materials are due to be released at one minute past midnight on July 14; they will be available here
  • For more on the Lower Thames Crossing, click here
  • To read CPRE Kent’s response to the spring 2020 LTC consultation, click here

Monday, July 5, 2021

High Court challenge puts Lower Thames Crossing in the spotlight

In the news again… the Lower Thames Crossing

The future of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing was highlighted this week (Tuesday and Wednesday, June 29-30) when a legal challenge against the government’s roadbuilding programme was heard in the High Court.
The challenge was brought by the Transport Action Network and targeted the Department for Transport’s £27.4 billion roadbuilding scheme (labelled Road Investment Strategy 2, or RIS2), saying it breached climate and air quality laws.
TAN claims the government has failing to consider fully the Paris Agreement, which commits the UK to tackling climate change by limiting global warming to less than 2°C. Indeed, the group says the transport secretary pulled plans to cut CO2 emissions for a tranche of upgrades and new schemes.
RIS2 includes 50 schemes, the largest of which is the £8.2bn Lower Thames Crossing.
TAN said it expected the DfT to contest its challenge, saying commitments to climate change were not “obviously material” to roadbuilding schemes.
However, Chris Todd, TAN director, said: “Trying to argue climate change isn’t ‘obviously material’ to approving the largest-ever roads programme is like saying public health is not relevant to reform of smoking rules.
“In an audacious attempt to protect his addiction to asphalt, [Transport Secretary Grant ] Shapps is now seeking a legal precedent that decision-makers can ignore climate targets.
“This puts ministers on a collision course with the Climate Change Committee, which [has] called on the government to adopt a Net Zero Test for all policy decisions.”
Laura Blake, chairman of the Thames Crossing Action Group, said: “We know that the proposed Lower Thames Crossing would create over five million tonnes of carbon emissions, along with all the other negative impacts which we would suffer if the LTC were to go ahead.
“We have many serious concerns about the impacts of the proposed Lower Thames Crossing and feel it is essential that all the negative impacts of the scheme should be taken into account.
“We are grateful to TAN for bringing this legal challenge on climate grounds against the government’s £27bn roadbuilding programme, which of course includes the £8.2bn Lower Thames Crossing.
“We wholeheartedly support this legal challenge and appreciate all the hard work by TAN and the legal team.”

  • For more on the Lower Thames Crossing, click here
  • Transport Action Network has set up a ‘Stop the largest ever road-building programme’ CrowdJustice page

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Delight as Thanet council ‘sticks to its guns’ and sends back Gladman housing scheme

The attractive landscape on the edge of Margate targeted by Gladman Developments

The decision to refuse a revised planning application for 450 new houses on farmland at Margate has been warmly welcomed by CPRE Kent’s Thanet committee.
The scheme from Gladman Developments had first been refused by Thanet District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday, April 21, with seven members voting against it, four voting in favour and two abstaining.
Loss of farmland, flooding, challenging topography and impact on wildlife were all noted as reasons for refusal, but the main concern was the proposed cut in affordable housing from 30 per cent (as set in TDC Local Plan policy) to 10 per cent.
Gladman came back with the level of affordable housing increased from 10 per cent to 15 per cent – a rise described as pathetic by David Morrish, chairman of Thanet CPRE – and on Wednesday, June 23, this was also refused by the planning committee, this time by an overwhelming vote of 11-1.
Thanet CPRE had objected to both Gladman applications for the Shottendane Road site.
This was despite council officers saying the 15 per cent figure was acceptable as Gladman had claimed a higher level would not be financially viable. They recommended the decision be deferred to officers for approval.
“Thanet CPRE is delighted that Thanet council’s planning committee is sticking to its guns and defending its Local Plan policy to ensure that 30 per cent of all housing-zone major developments is genuinely affordable,” said Mr Morrish.
“It has resisted attempts by a land promoter to chew into the countryside, resisting paying minimal costs to the community and placing profit above people.
“It is great that councillors have not been cowed by ‘advice’ from planning officers threatening dire problems if the council turned down this application.
“A CPRE national report showed that experienced land promoters, such as Gladman, which can afford expensive lawyers and multiple appeals, often win against local authorities at appeal, leaving them confident in their ability to gain planning permission that goes against local wishes.
“For example, the Gladman website states: ‘Whilst we try to achieve planning permission locally, sometimes for a variety of reasons this is not possible and the site is refused permission at planning committee. This is nothing to worry about; on average around two thirds of our sites go through the appeal process.’.
“Meanwhile, councils are retreating from the appeals process due to high expenses and the perceived low chance of winning – standing up for their own policies is seen as an unmerited expense.
“Let us all hope that Thanet councillors will have the courage to not retreat on this important matter and follow their own consciences rather than the diktats of council officers and threats of greedy land promoters.”

  • For more on this story, see here

Monday, June 28, 2021