Thanet's New Local Plan - Options consultation

Issue 12 - How do we ensure that new development respects Thanet's important and valued views and landscapes?

Introduction

Why do we need to address this issue?

Thanet has historically been recognised for its distinctive wide, simple and unrestricted views and dramatic chalk cliffs along parts of its coastline. The landscapes contribute to Thanet's sense of place and island characteristics, as well as economic benefits in making the district an attractive place that people want to come to.

National planning policy states that one way the planning system should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment is by protecting and enhancing valued landscapes.

What evidence we have on this issue

Previous landscape assessments have been carried out for Thanet. These include the following:

  • Preliminary Report of the Isle of Thanet Landscape Assessment Survey, Thanet District Council Planning Department February 1993.
  • Kent Historic Landscape Characterisation - Croft, Munby & Ridley May 2001.
  • The Landscape Assessment of Kent - October 2004, prepared for Kent County Council by Jacobs Babtie.

A review of Thanet's landscape character areas has also been carried out to inform the new local plan. The findings from this assessment and summaries of the previous assessments can be found in the Natural Environment Topic Paper.

The following section draws out the key facts, information and relevant considerations from the above evidence in order to help inform your thinking

Key Facts and Information

The following key facts are important when considering Thanet's landscapes:

  • Thanet's landscapes reflect the District's historical evolution.
  • The landscape area is defined by the former limits of the island that was cut off from the mainland by the Wantsum Channel until it silted up around 1000 years ago.
  • The Council has sought to protect these important landscapes in previous local plans.

The Thanet Local Plan 2006 identifies the following as important Landscape Character Areas:

  • Pegwell Bay - large open skies, sweep of chalk cliffs, open and relatively unspoilt landscape.
  • Former Wantsum Channel - former sea channel, vast flat open landscape, important visual evidence of the physical evolution of the Wantsum Channel.
  • Former Wantsum North Shore - visual evidence of the growth of human settlement, agriculture and commerce, long views of the former Wantsum Channel and Pegwell Bay.
  • The Central Chalk Plateau - generally flat or gently undulating landscape with extensive unenclosed fields.
  • Quex Park - formal and extensive wooded parkland and amenity landscape.
  • Urban Coast - long sweeping views of the coast, traditional seaside architecture.

National policy states that we should be protecting and enhancing valued landscapes. A number of valued landscape character areas have been identified in Thanet, and it is therefore considered that these should be protected and enhanced through policy.