Thanet District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee will meet on Tuesday 16 January to review a report outlining potential development uses for an area of council-owned land off Shottendane Road in Garlinge.
The report outlines proposals which, subject to public consultation and the required planning permissions, would see the council use part of the land to establish a number of Gypsy and Traveller pitches, as identified within the council’s Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment, published in 2019.
The report also includes proposals to transfer a section of the land to Kent County Council, for use in the proposed Major Road Network (Inner Circuit) improvements and a linked sustainable drainage scheme. This scheme is designed to reduce the pressure on the A28 and A256 trunk roads, and has been the subject of an extensive public consultation about the route, led by Kent County Council.
Following review by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the report will be presented to Cabinet at a meeting scheduled for Thursday 25 January. If approved, the council will conduct a period of public engagement with the Gypsy and Traveller community and neighbouring residents.
Subject to the outcome of the consultation, an application will be made for outline planning permission to provide Gypsy and Traveller pitches on the land. The proposals contained within the report will support the council to fulfil its duty to the Gypsy and Traveller community, under the National Planning Policy Framework.
The Shottendane Road site has been leased for agricultural use since 1977. Other parts of the site were put forward to be allocated for housing under the Thanet Local Plan review. If allocated for housing through the local plan review, the Shottendane Road site also offers an opportunity to further increase the supply of new affordable homes.
Cllr Helen Whitehead, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing at Thanet District Council, said: “As a council we have a legal duty to plan for appropriate sites for members of the Gypsy and Traveller community. In spite of this being a longstanding issue, and an important one, there are currently none identified in the district. I am determined to address this need, and the need to bring our communities together in understanding, respect and discussion.
“We have worked hard, and will continue to work hard to identify and provide sites that work, in size and design, to ensure that we are meeting accommodation needs and supporting our community through comprehensive consultation. The proposed engagement will be key to this and we actively welcome involvement at all stages of this process.”
In 2021, a bid submitted to the government’s Gypsy and Traveller site fund for a capital grant to assist with the costs of establishing a site was unsuccessful. Delivery of this project is dependent on the appropriate funding arrangements being in place.
The meeting will be live-streamed and the full report is available to read on the council’s website.