Councillors at Thanet District Council have tonight (Thursday 19 July) approved the publication of its draft Local Plan which recognises the existing use of Manston as an airport and provides an opportunity for the Development Consent Order (DCO) process to continue.
As a result, the plan proposes the reallocation of 2,500 homes originally suggested on the former airport site to be distributed to other locations within the district:
- Birchington 600 homes
- Westgate on Sea 1,000 homes
- Westwood 500 homes
- Hartsdown, Margate 300 homes
- Tothill Street, Minster 100 homes
Following a recommendation from Scrutiny, Council has agreed that the housing development would be phased to ensure that these sites would only be implemented towards the end of the Local Plan period (2031).
Tonight’s vote marks the start of the final pre-submission stage of the Local Plan process. There will now be a further opportunity for the public to comment on the draft plan. This is proposed to run from Thursday 23 August until Thursday 4 October 2018.
Anyone wishing to speak in front of the Planning Inspector has to submit a comment at this stage – submissions from earlier stages of the local plan process will not be included.
Comments from the public will then be shared, along with the draft Local Plan, to the Planning Inspector for examination. Public hearings are then expected to begin in February 2019.
Full details on how to comment will be published ahead of the publication period and will be promoted by adverts in the local media, on the council’s website, on social media. An e-mail will be sent to all of those who have previously commented on the Local Plan via the council’s online planning portal, Inovem.
Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Bob Bayford, said:
“Tonight’s vote was the right decision for our Local Plan. We now have a way forward that provides an opportunity for options around the airport to materialise – whether that’s through the DCO process or through another interested party as a possible indemnity partner of the council.
“It’s important that we now continue with the process and ensure that the public take this opportunity to comment before we submit our draft plan, along with all of the evidence, to the Inspector. We can’t afford any further delays to the process and will be sticking to the timetable to provide assurance to the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government that further intervention will not be necessary.”