Proposed Modifications to the Thanet Local Plan

Document Section Main Modifications Chapter 2 -Town Centre strategy MM/019 MM/019 [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 125
Respondent Lorna Quashie - Pavilion Prope… [View all comments by this respondent]
Agent Justin Mills - Contour Plannin…
Response Date 24 Jan 2020

Whilst the preparation of the ‘Westwood Area SPD’ will assist all parties understand the future planning strategy for Westwood Town Centre, it is imperative that the Local Plan provides a timetable for the preparation and adoption of the SPD.

The Council’s latest ‘Local Development Scheme‘ (produced in March 2019) refers to consultation on the draft Westwood Area SPD taking place in ‘Summer 2019’ with adoption in ‘Summer 2020’. The LDS also anticipated’ that the Thanet Local Plan would be adopted in ‘Spring 2020’.

These timescales illustrate that Policy SP07 was originally drafted in the context of the Council expecting the Westwood Area SPD to have been published in draft (and subject to consultation) before the Local Plan is adopted.

These timescales have not been realised and the Council now finds itself in the position that the Local Plan is likely to be adopted well before the Area SPD is drafted and ultimately adopted. This creates uncertainty for developers looking to bring forward proposals in Westwood town centre (such as the Pavilion Property Trustees), and has the potential to sterilise development in the town centre until the Area SPD is in place. This approach is ‘unsound’.

To provide greater certainty on this matter, adoption of the Local Plan should be delayed until a draft SPD has been published (and subject to consultation) and/or the Local Plan should include a timetable for preparing the SPD - thus removing uncertainty.

Furthermore, the modified Policy SP07 requires development proposals to have regard to “the provisions of” the Westwood Relief Strategy. This wording (and approach) is unacceptable to the Pavilion Property Trustees, as the Westwood Relief Strategy includes diagrams (and text) showing Westwood Relief Road routes crossing their land, despite the removal of these routes from the Local Plan (as indicated in MM/077).

Consequently, as currently worded, Policy SP07 creates a scenario whereby the Council could reject future development proposals on the Pavilion Property Trustees land which do not deliver (or would impede the delivery of) the routes identified in the Westwood Relief Strategy, despite the Council’s acknowledgement (at the EiP) that these routes are not deliverable. As currently worded, this element of Policy SP07 is unsound.

Suggested Alteration:

The Local Plan should be amended to refer to a timescale for the adoption of the Westwood Area SPD and/or adoption of the Local Plan should be delayed until a draft of the SPD has been consulted on – in line with the LDS strategy.

The Local Plan should clarify that where there is conflict between the Local Plan and Westwood Relief Strategy, the Local Plan should take precedence over the Westwood Relief Strategy (since the latter does not form part of the adopted Development Plan).