Westwood

2.14 The key issues for Westwood are:

  • developing it into a sustainable residential community;
  • ensuring safe movement by pedestrians and cyclists within the commercial area;
  • reducing current levels of traffic congestion.

2.15 Westwood Cross opened in June 2005 consolidating what had become piecemeal retail development in the Westwood area. Since its opening there have been a number of further developments such as the development of the leisure complex and numerous developments at and improvements to the surrounding retail parks. Westwood has proved highly successful in its aims of clawing back retail expenditure formerly lost to locations outside the district boundary. It has secured its place as the preferred location for the large format style of retailing favoured by the national chains. This style and scale of retail was never before available in Thanet.

2.16 Figures show that in the region of 17,000 square metres of retail floorspace is needed at Westwood to maintain the status quo. Some of this floorspace is already taken up by recent permissions, leaving no reason to significantly expand the boundaries of the town centre. The remaining floorspace need at Westwood to the end of the plan period can be accommodated amongst the existing town centre development by way of redevelopment and reconfiguration.

2.17 The adjacent housing allocation and flexible employment allocation at Eurokent supports tourism and leisure uses as well as B1 uses and will serve to add footfall to the town centre and increase its vitality, viability, accessibility and sustainability.

2.18 In addition to the 976 new homes under construction, Westwood is identified as a wider strategic housing allocation to enable its development as a sustainable mixed use business and residential community.

2.19 The area currently suffers from poor connectivity between sites, both vehicular and pedestrian. This is a challenge that needs to be addressed in the future development of Westwood.

2.20 A relief scheme is in development to address this issue, which the Council is implementing. This requires developer-led solutions. A fundamental objective of this scheme is to realign traffic routes to enable free movement by pedestrians between town centre facilities. The final element of the relief scheme that still needs to be delivered is a link between Millennium Way and Margate Road.

2.21 The piecemeal nature of the way Westwood has grown over the years means that it does not form a cohesive town centre as many of the individual component sites face inwards on each other leading to problematic pedestrian connectivity between sites. The Council now seeks to ensure that any new development at Westwood addresses this problem and seeks to encourage active frontages on the intersections between the different retail parks and better pedestrian flows between sites. Ultimately the vision is for the whole area to look and feel more like a single town centre. A supplementary planning document will be drafted to seek to establish this aim following the adoption of the Local Plan. In the interim period any new development will be expected to secure the implementation of these aims.

Policy SP07 - Westwood

The Council will seek to support the evolution and development of Westwood as a mixed use business and residential community in line with the following area based policies, indicated on the Policies Map.

Development in the vicinity of Westwood will be required to secure implementation of the Westwood Area SPD and Westwood Relief Scheme. Development that would prejudice implementation of these will not be permitted.

1) Westwood Town Centre

Retail development will be directed to the core town centre area at Westwood and complementary town centre uses will be accommodated within the wider town centre boundary, as defined by the primary and secondary frontages. Any development proposals should ensure there is no net loss in overall commercial floorspace.

2) Eurokent Mixed Use Area

Development of Eurokent will be for a mix of residential and business purposes, in accordance with a comprehensive masterplan linking and integrating the development into the wider Westwood community.

Land at Eurokent will provide for:

  • up to 550 new dwelling houses, and
  • the development of up to 5.45ha of land for flexible business uses*. Town centre uses that cannot be accommodated within the designated town centres due to format and scale can be located here.

The masterplan shall incorporate, be informed by and/or address the following:

  • Small scale convenience retail provision required to accessibly serve the day to day needs of the community
  • A minimum of 3.4 ha of publicly accessible natural/semi natural open space in accordance with the requirements of Policy SP31
  • Contribute to new, or improvements to existing community facilities at Newington
  • Liaison with service providers to investigate the need to upgrade the capacity of any utility services and infrastructure
  • Archaeological assessment and the need to preserve and enhance the setting of heritage assets adjoining the site.

Proposals will be accompanied by a Transport Assessment informing the masterplan and including assessment of impact of development on the local road network and demonstrating measures to promote multi-modal access, including footway and cycleway connections and an extended bus service accessible to the development. Development will be expected to provide an appropriate contribution to offsite highway improvements in respect of Westwood Relief Scheme, improvements to the A256 from Lord of the Manor and any other improvements identified in the Transport Assessment.

All development must comply with the General Housing Policy (SP12)

3) Thanet Reach

In accordance with Policy SP03, part of Thanet Reach is allocated for employment and education uses. The southern part of the site is allocated for residential development.

* these are flexible employment sites, where wider employment generating uses will be allowed in addition to B1, B2 and B8 uses. Development must be compatible with neighbouring uses. Proposals for main town centre uses should also comply with Policy E05 - the sequential test. These uses will be expected to contribute towards the Local Employment and Training Fund.

View this policy on the map

2.22 Flexible uses include leisure, tourism and other town centre uses which, due to scale and format cannot be accommodated within town centres. They also include uses known as sui generis which do not fall into a category in the Use Classes Order. These include uses such as car showrooms and crèches.