Monday, 26 March 2018

Thanet faces Local Plan intervention

Despite the recent demise of the country’s only UKIP-led council and return to conservative majority-power, housing secretary of state Sajid Javid has announced that Thanet District Council faces central government intervention in its local plan-making process.

In November, Thanet was one of 15 authorities identified as taking too long to produce their local plans and threatened with intervention unless they provided a good explanation by 31 January as to why they had failed to make progress.

The failure of Thanet DC to secure a leave of planning execution means it’s likely Kent County Council will be asked to take over the district’s plan-making processes.

A team of planning experts, led by the country’s chief planner, now look set to advise the Secretary of State on the next steps.

The press release stated the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government has announced it will be carrying out a procurement process “to secure planning consultants and specialists who will swiftly undertake the work on plan production should these councils not comply in the time required”.

So what could it all mean for Thanet and its major projects?

Kent County Council has been supportive of Stone Hill Park, the proposal to deliver 2,500+ new homes and commercial space on the site of the former Manston Airport, which will sound the death knell for the reopening of the airport.

There’s always a price for helping the government out of a damaging hole, so might we see the proposed railway station Thanet Parkway getting back on track with a funding boost?

One thing is for certain, we can expect the local MP Sir Roger Gale, vociferous supporter of bringing flights back to Manston, to have a few things to say if responsibility really is given to KCC to deliver the Local Plan.

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