“Growing pressure to build on Thanet’s farmland must be resisted before it’s too late ” said Driver. “Within a mile of the Manston Green site an application from Thanet Council owned company East Kent Opportunities (EKO), to build 550 houses on prime agricultural land is likely to be approved on appeal. At nearby Haine Road 1,000 houses are already being built on farmland. That’s a total of 2,350 houses concentrated within a mile radius and all built on prime agricultural land. If this carries on much longer Thanet’s much loved open spaces and sweeping panoramic sea views will soon be a thing of the past”.
According to statistics released by the Department of Communities and Local Government, Thanet Council has one of the worst records in Kent for building houses on previously undeveloped land. Between 2008 – 2011 38% of new homes in Thanet were built on undeveloped land, compared with Tonbridge and Malling where only 10% of new houses were built on previously underdeveloped land and Sevenoaks where it was just 11% (1).
“I’m also very worried about the traffic congestion and vehicle emission implications for the Westwood Cross area” said Driver. “Westwood is already a traffic congestion hot-spot and even allowing for road improvements, concentrating up to 2,350 new homes in less than a square mile would be a recipe for a congestion and a pollution nightmare.
But there is no reason to concentrate new house building at Westwood Cross. There are many previously developed, brownfield, sites in Thanet which could easily be used instead. Thanet also has more than 1,200 long term empty residential properties, the highest number in Kent, which could be refurbished and brought back into use(2).
I sincerely hope that Cogent’s proposal is rejected by the Planning Committee and that the Council strongly resists EKOs appeal for 550 houses to be built on agricultural land next to the New Haine Road.
If planning is granted, I am concerned that Cogent Land have not given an undertaking to
include desperately needed social housing in their development plans . Thanet has the longest social housing waiting list in Kent with thousands of families trying to secure decent affordable homes. I believe that at least 250 of the 800 homes should be social housing and that all the homes should have solar panels and water recycling systems included as standard”