Chairman: David Morrish
Thanet district, the smallest in Kent, includes the towns of Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate, all rich in built heritage and benefiting from a gradual resurgence in tourism. It was once a true island, sea level rise may flood the Stour Marshes and separate it from the mainland once again!
- Thanet’s beaches – these are absolutely key to Thanet’s main industry, which is tourism, and yet we believe not enough is being done to protect and enhance their appeal. The main beaches at Margate, Broadstairs and Ramsgate do receive due attention, but there is so much more of Thanet’s coastline that should be safeguarded and could be promoted. Accessibility and appropriate facilities need to be enhanced, and the risk of pollution from uncontrolled discharges, or storm overflows operating when they shouldn’t, better managed.
- Thanet’s forgotten countryside – with the tourism focus in Thanet being naturally on the beaches, the downside is that it’s beautiful countryside has been largely forgotten. The hinterland of Thanet has a lot to offer by way of leisure and recreational activities, such as walking, cycling and horse-riding. And there are some spectacular views and tranquil areas to be enjoyed (there are not that many flights from Manston). We are aiming to encourage this appreciation of Thanet’s rural areas through a forthcoming project to open up the countryside – watch this space !
- Solar Farms – as with the rest of Kent (and indeed the UK), Thanet is seeing its fair share of solar farm developments. The latest to spring-up (almost un-announced) is a new installation along Manston Court Road, taking up yet more valuable farmland. While we support ‘green energy’ installations, we do believe that due consideration must be given to their location to ensure a minimal impact on visual amenity (which fortunately the plant on Manston Court Road does achieve), and best use of the land. These solar farms do not necessarily need to be sited on the highest grade, or even any, agricultural land, yet this is often overlooked when planning permission is granted.
- The rise of the ‘mini-mart’ and the fall of town centres – springing up like a rash, the main supermarket chains are developing small, local convenience stores in every community. These steal away custom from a variety of local shops, often in already thriving communities, which results in their eventual closure. On a larger scale we have similarly seen the destruction of our town centres through the dominance of Westwood Cross. While this is an urban issue, and may not be seen as a concern of CPRE, we believe the land occupied by such convenience stores could be better used to meet Thanet’s purported housing needs, rather than having these new homes built in the countryside.