The Local Plan Strategy

24 The following sections set out the key drivers for this Local Plan strategy, explains the overarching principles of the strategy and context of national planning policy, and the need to deliver sustainable development.

Sustainable Development

25 The Local Plan is prepared by Thanet District Council under the national planning policy system, whose central principle is to achieve “sustainable development‟. This may be defined as “development that meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs‟.

26 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the Government’s view of what sustainable development in England means in practice for the planning system. The NPPF identifies the three dimensions of sustainable development; economic, social and environmental; giving rise to the need for the planning system to perform a number of roles:

‘an economic role contributing to building a strong, responsive and competitive economy, by ensuring that sufficient land of the right type is available in the right places and at the right time to support growth and innovation; and by identifying and coordinating development requirements, including the provision of infrastructure;

a social role supporting strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by providing the supply of housing required to meet the needs of present and future generations; and by creating a high quality built environment, with accessible local services that reflect the community’s needs and support its health, social and cultural well-being; and

an environmental role contributing to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment; and, as part of this, helping to improve biodiversity, use natural resources prudently, minimise waste and pollution, and mitigate and adapt to climate change including moving to a low carbon economy.’

27 In pursuing sustainable development, this Plan positively seeks opportunities to meet the needs of the area, and economic, social and environmental gains are sought jointly and simultaneously. The Plan as a whole sets out what sustainable development means for Thanet.

28 A bold and positive strategy is needed in order to achieve the Council’s vision for Thanet. Realising the economic aspirations for the district and improving the quality of life for all Thanet’s residents will require investment in new job creation, new quality homes, open space and infrastructure, as well as maintaining and enhancing Thanet's existing high quality built and natural environment.

29 Although Thanet has historically experienced social and economic problems, the Council has high aspirations for growth as set out in the Council's Corporate Plan and Economic Growth Strategy. The Local Plan looks to support this by identifying, facilitating and helping to deliver the development required. The NPPF requires the Council to plan positively for economic growth and boost housing supply, which is what this Plan seeks to achieve.

30 Preparing this draft Local Plan has involved some complex decisions including the selection of key sites to accommodate new development.

31 The levels of development proposed within the draft Plan are based upon robust and up to date evidence of the needs of the district. Thanet’s population is expected to grow significantly over the next 20 years, and new homes and jobs are required to support this. The overall strategy aims for an optimistic and aspirational level of economic growth necessary to bring about the step change that is required in the district. It also aims to deliver the right number and mix of housing required alongside such growth, as well as delivering new open space, and protecting and improving the quality of Thanet’s existing built and natural environment.

32 It is recognised that any growth in Thanet must be supported by the necessary infrastructure, such as roads, schools and health facilities. The Plan aims to take a co-ordinated approach to delivering such facilities alongside new development, and the Council has and will continue to work with other agencies, organisations and service providers to ensure that this is achieved. This is addressed in Policy SP01 and through the draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan.

33 The location of growth set out in this Plan is based upon a district settlement hierarchy and the key principle of focusing new development in locations that are highly accessible, and that can take advantage of and support Thanet’s existing infrastructure and services. Thanet’s established settlement pattern and transport links have evolved over a long period of time, and have been strongly influenced by its coastal location and peninsular geography. The hierarchy aims to inform and underpin policies in this Local Plan to facilitate growth in a manner sustainable in the local context.

34 A number of sites and proposals are of fundamental importance to delivering the objectives of the Local Plan. The locations of sites of strategic importance for the Plan are indicated on the Key Diagram, and the text of the Local Plan sets out the relevant specific policies.

key diagram