Sensible options to be Put to Thanet Members over RAF Manston /Local Plan

Sensible – puts the key decision in the hands of the DCO examination.

Isle of Thanet News

Three options are believed to be due to be put forward to councillors when they take a new vote on Thanet’s draft local plan next month.

The draft plan – which is a 20 year blueprint for housing, business and infrastructure on the isle – was voted down in January by Conservative and ‘rebel’ UKIP councillors  with 35 against and 20 in favour.

The vote, which led to the collapse of the UKIP administration, was prompted by a change of status for Manston from aviation-only to a mixed-use designation to include 2,500 homes. An amendment to defer for two years the mixed-use designation pending the resolution of the DCO process was not sufficient to persuade the majority of councillors.

There were also issues over housing numbers with a strong campaign to protect sites mounted by the Birchington Action Group Against TDC Local Plan members.

The failure to vote through the plan led to the government stepping in to speed up the process.


Now a new vote is to take place in July and it is understood that councillors will be presented with the option of approving the plan as presented in January or making amendments to the Manston airport site.

The Isle of Thanet News understands that one option will be to defer mixed use proposals for two years following the adoption of the local plan. If a Development Consent Order (DCO) or Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for aviation use is granted within those two years the housing allocations for the site will be scrapped.

Another, similar, option is thought to be to amend the wording of the plan to recognise the lawful use of the site as an airport, with no development allocation, for a two year period or until the decision is made on the DCO if that comes before the end of the two years. This would mean additional housing sites for Westwood, Birchington and Westgate plus smaller sites across the district to be earmarked for development at the end of the local plan period in 2031.

A DCO is the means of obtaining permission for developments categorised as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP). This includes energy, transport, water and waste projects.

Riveroak Strategic Partners, who want to bring aviation back to the Manston site, made a DCO submission in April but this was withdrawn ;ast month. The firm says it aims to resubmit the application.


Thanet is in an ‘intervention’ stage from central government following the failure to agree the local plan to go forward to the next stag when councillors took the vote in January.

Then-Housing Secretary Sajid Javid wrote to 15 local authorities in England in March to inform them of decisions on intervention.

Thanet was one of three authorities where the government confirmed it could take over the entire process.

TDC initially said a new plan could take between 8-10 months with the intention to publish a pre-submission draft plan by December 2018  and submission for examination until April 2019.

But council leader Bob Bayford, who was voted in to the council top spot following the resignation of UKIP leader Chris Wells at the end of February, had pledged to “progress and deliver the local plan.”

New vote

Thanet council Cabinet members will meet to discuss the draft plan on July 2. The issue will go to the scrutiny panel on July 11, back to Cabinet on July 19 before a final decision from full council on July 26.

Documents for those meetings have not yet been published.

The draft plan

Thanet’s Draft Local Plan –which runs until 2031 –sets out how much development is needed to support the future population and economy. Allocating land through the plan is designed to give the council greater control over where and what type of developments can take place.

Consultation was carried out last year on revisions to the plan included axing the aviation-use only designation at Manston airport and putting forward new isle sites including Manston Court Road and Haine Road.

Government guidelines currently dictate a build of 17,140 new isle homes by 2031.

This level of housing may need to rise even further following a government plans to standardise the way local authorities work out housing need.

The figure could rise to more than 20,200 homes, raising the requirement from 857 dwellings per year to 1063 dwellings per year.

Some 1,555 homes have already been constructed; another 3,017 have been given planning permission; 2,700 are accounted for through windfall housing –sites that have historically had planning approval and may be put forward again – and 540 are already empty homes.

This leaves 9,328 properties to be accommodated.

Allhallows-on-Sea – Kent’s version of Southend that never took off



As I look out of the window across the Thames Estuary you see the Hoo penninsula. the only development on its coast before you get to the isle of Grain is an ugly caravan park at Allhallows.

There is a railway line across thepenninula, promoted by local land speculators.  The northern bank of the estuary here was no less empty than Hoo before the railways came so why did Southend take off and Allhallows not.

It very nearly did – according to Wikipedia.

In 1878, Henry Pye with a deputation of other local farmers met the South Eastern Railway Company with a request for a new railway to be built in the area. From this meeting a new company was established, the Hundred of Hoo Railway Company. The SER saw it as part of the development of continental traffic, and the ferry terminal at what was named Port Victoria was built as terminus of the line. The traffic did not materialise and that section of the line and the line beyond Grain closed in 1951.

On 14 May 1932 a branch railway was opened to the Thames estuary beyond the ancient village of Allhallows. It was intended to become a riverside resort of some size, and grandiose plans were formed. The new area was given the name of Allhallows-on-Sea. Little came of the scheme, and today all signs of that branch have disappeared, save for the water tower which supplied locomotives at the terminus – it is now a listed building. There is a holiday village on the site where the resort was intended to be.

the fantastic British Pilot Pub is one of thefew buildings of this era still there, most of teh rest of the small village is park homes and postwar ribbon sprawl.

The problem was the original railway was built along the ridgeline and not along the coast.  When the branch line was built it was at the height of the Great Depression  and missed the Victorian seaside boom.

None the less it is a huge waste of land at a site that could again be linked to the rail network.  It is outside flood risk areas and protected European sites.  Its a wonderful sandy beach like Southend, unlike the muddy and marshy areas elsewhere in the Thames Estuary.

Where else in England could you build a Garden City on Sea?  As North Kent has to scrape around for sites for its share of the one million new homes in the Thames Estuary 2050 plan it could worse than look here, especially as an alternative  original Lodge Hill proposals down the road now it is an SSSI (whilst acknowledging the Homes England proposals are now much more environmentally friendly)



The Treasury just isn’t interested in Thames 2050 – Here’s Why and Heres how to fix it

Releasing the Thames Estuary 2050 report on the same day as the Heathrow vote and the Letwin review is no coincidence but deliberate media manipulation to bury it.

Surely Teresa May, known to have tried to bury the Northern Powerhouse simply because she disliked George Osborne, is not well disposed to a project once led by Micheal Hesiltine.  Hesiltine would have seen this as a delivery project with detailed and costed proposals.  I greatly admire Sir John Armitt but this and the Arup report that accompanies it see it primarily as big engineering.  Sorry I think that was a miscalculation.

It was buried because the Treasury wont back it.  Hammond is not disposed to ‘bids’ from private Pike and other ministers having now been forced to raise taxes for the NHS.  Cam-MK-OX got the green light because the technical work showed a ‘transformational’ growth scenario allowing for higher economic growth.  What is more astonishing is the SHMAs for the area do show the uplift this implies – for South Essex for example it implies +16% (to 2036).  Im rather angry it was job number 1 for Arup and was missed.  The various partnerships in the area will now have to make the case.