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Communities Secretary Eric Pickles approves 550-home proposals following appeal by East Kent Opportunities and Rosefarm Estates

By Chris Price

More than 500 homes and over 750,000 sq ft of business, office and community space is set to be built after getting the approval of the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

The mixed-use development at Eurokent business park in New Haine Road, Ramsgate, was given the go-ahead two months after a public inquiry by the minister.

This is despite Mr Pickles acknowledging the plans present potential “moderate harm” to nearby lisited buildings.

The Eurokent site off New Haine Road in Thanet

The Eurokent site off New Haine Road in Thanet

He added: “This harm is limited and is in fact outweighed by the scheme’s significant benefits which also merit considerable weight.”

He was called to investigate after an appeal was made by developers East Kent Opportunities and Rosefarm Estates, following Thanet District Council’s decision to refuse an original application for the site made in 2011.

Strangely, East Kent Opportunities is a joint venture between Kent County Council and Thanet District Council.

“The provision of housing, including family and affordable dwellings, and the school and community facilities, would all contribute positively to the social role of sustainable development, and that the activity of developing the site would also contribute to the economic role...” - Eric Pickles MP

A spokesman for East Kent Opportunities said: “This has a been a protracted process.

"We are delighted with this emphatic decision, and the recognition by the Secretary of State, that Eurokent should be permitted as Thanet Council accepted that it cannot demonstrate that there is a five year supply of housing land as required by national planning policy.”

Outline planning permission has been granted for 550 homes and more than 587,000 sq ft of business floorspace.

The minister also approved plans for an 87,000 sq ft car showroom and 21,000 sq ft of shops, offices and cafes.

The application also includes nearly 54,000 sq ft of community facilities and nearly 13,000 sq ft of space for healthcare services.

The appeal decision recognises that although the site is greenfield, it is within a built-up area which have already been allocated for other built development by the council's Local Plan Policy.

Mr Pickles added: “The provision of housing, including family and affordable dwellings, and the school and community facilities, would all contribute positively to the social role of sustainable development, and that the activity of developing the site would also contribute to the economic role.”

An artists' impression of how New Haine Road could look following the completion of the proposed Manston Green development

An artists' impression of how New Haine Road could look following the completion of the proposed Manston Green development

An unconnected planning application has been submitted for another development, dubbed Manston Green, further up New Haine Road by developers Cogent Land LLP.

It is thought the plans for more than 800 homes could go before a planning committee next month, although no date has been confirmed.

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