Local Plan Update - Engagement

Discussion Paper - Development Strategy


  1. The Local Plan was adopted on 9 July 2020, and was subsequently reviewed in line with the recommendations of the Local Plan Examination Inspectors.

  2. The Local Plan is now the subject of a partial update, which includes, among other matters:
    • An assessment of the implications of the Government’s Local Housing Need Methodology on housing requirements for the district;
    • Identifying additional employment land, as required;
    • Updating retail floorspace figures for town centres; and
    • Considering the provision of Gypsy & Traveller sites to meet the requirements set out in Policy HO20 of the adopted Local Plan.
  3. The Housing Needs Update (2020, updated 2021), published alongside this paper, indicates a total housing need of 21,000 dwellings up to 2040 (1,085 dwellings per year). Taking into account the housing provision in the adopted Local Plan, this means that the update of the Local Plan needs to identify sufficient land/sites to accommodate an additional 4,000-4,500 dwellings.

  4. In addition, the Gypsy & Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA) undertaken for the Council for the adopted Local Plan identifies a cultural need for 7 permanent pitches and 5 transit pitches. The Council has also previously identified the need to provide a “directed stopping site” in the district.

  5. A separate paper sets out the identified needs for employment floorspace for the Plan period.

  6. During the preparation of the adopted Plan, a number of development strategy options were assessed. These ranged from previously-developed land in the towns to a potential new settlement:
    • Maximise development within the existing built up areas of the towns and villages in order to minimise use of greenfield land;
    • Focus on existing built up areas of the towns and villages but with restrictive criteria, for example to safeguard gardens/family homes/sites that are not previously developed land;
    • Focus provision on greenfield sites and aim to restrict housing sites in the existing built up areas to those important for regeneration;
    • Greenfield site scale options - at a single location; at a small number of locations or at dispersed sites; and
    • Greenfield site location options - adjoining the urban area; adjoining the villages; freestanding countryside sites or as a new settlement.
  7. The adopted Local Plan sets out the development strategy at Policy SP01:
    The primary focus for new housing development in Thanet is the urban area as identified on the Policies Map.Within the Thanet villages, housing development is allocated primarily in Minster, with limited development at Cliffsend, Monkton and St Nicholas. No housing development is specifically allocated in Sarre, Acol or Manston, but housing development of a size and scale commensurate with the size of the relevant settlement will be permitted within village confines, subject to other policy requirements of the Plan.

  8. The adopted Local Plan identifies sites, to meet the housing requirement to 2031, on previously-developed land in the urban areas; other urban sites; adjacent to the urban areas and at some of the larger rural settlements.

    Key Diagram (Local Plan 2020)

    key diagram new

    Future Strategy

  9. The approach set out in the adopted Local Plan was accepted by the Examination Inspectors as a “sound” approach to the development strategy.

  10. In order to meet the additional housing need, the Council needs to consider whether to maintain the strategy set out in Policy SP01, or whether a slightly different approach is required, such as one of those considered as part of the last Local Plan process. Views are sought on this issue.

    Call for Sites

  11. The call for sites carried out by the Council in March to May 2021 did not yield the range and scale of sites that had been anticipated.  No sites were submitted by landowners for Gypsy and Traveller sites, and relatively few sites on previously-developed land.
  12. As part of the current engagement work, the Council has reopened the call for sites to explore whether there are other sites available, which are also suitable and achievable, within the context of Government guidance.

  13. The Council is also carrying out a separate site search, looking at other possible sources for suitable sites (including previously-developed land and publicly-owned land) that might meet the Government guidance.

  14. In terms of suitability, Government guidance suggests a range of matters to be taken into account, but it includes matters such as:
    • Supporting sustainable patterns of development, with local services that are accessible by a variety of means of transport, and encouraging walking and cycling
    • Giving priority to the use of previously-developed land
    • Avoiding flood risk areas
    • Avoiding impacts on heritage, townscape and landscape assets
    • Protecting the integrity of nationally and internationally important wildlife sites
  15. The Council will need to take all these matters into consideration when establishing the appropriate development strategy, and selecting specific sites for development in the update of the Local Plan.
Please follow this link to our Response Form to comment