24 January, 2018

Thanet District Council update following vote on Local Plan

Following Full Council on Thursday 18 January, officers at Thanet District Council have been busy seeking options to move things forward as a consequence of the vote – not to submit the Local Plan for publication.

The key date is Wednesday 31 January, by which time Thanet District Council must have filed a response to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Political group leaders will meet on Tuesday 30 January to be briefed on the options available to permit a Local Plan to be enacted, as required by legislation.

A few days beyond that, it should be clear what levels of intervention may be relevant to the situation. Until then, further commentary remains speculation.

A summary of the outcome of the vote can be found here.

Leader of Thanet District Council, Cllr Chris Wells, said: “There has been a lot of commentary during the days since last weeks’ local plan vote. The facts remain pretty simple. It is my view that the decision by Councillors to vote down the proposed local plan will have consequences and these consequences will only become clear over the coming days and weeks.

“The reasons Councillors give for voting the plan down are varied. There has been a suggestion that the plan was not sound. I can clarify, only a planning inspector can decide that and voting not to submit, means the planning inspector does not get to make that judgement.

“Some hold the view that the housing total was too high, yet the vote now means risk of additional housing numbers.

“Other views are in relation to retaining the airport, but there is no formal evidence to demonstrate a viable airport is achievable within the Local Plan period in order to include it for consideration.

“The Leader of any council has a responsibility above party politics. Part of that is to ensure any proposals for the area are legally safe, and within Government guidelines. Whilst we continue to seek evidenced alternatives to get a local plan through, as a council already in intervention the options are limited.

“I take my responsibility as Leader seriously and believe we must make decisions based on fact.”

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