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Decision on plans for 450 homes at Shottendane Road in Margate delayed due to concerns over lack of affordable houses

A decision on divisive plans to build 450 homes on farmland has been delayed amid concerns over the lack of affordable housing.

Members of the planning committee at Thanet District Council had been recommended to approve the scheme at Shottendane Road in Margate.

The fields off Shottendane Road which could be developed with 450 new homes. Picture: Picture: Gladmans/CSA Environmental
The fields off Shottendane Road which could be developed with 450 new homes. Picture: Picture: Gladmans/CSA Environmental

But during a meeting last night, members voiced concerns that the developer Gladmans had slashed the number of affordable homes from 30% - a figure required in council policy - to 10% in its application.

Planning manager Iain Livingstone said the figure was fair due to the other extra costs of the development, including the link road and junctions, as well as the complex nature of the site.

He said the scheme would not be viable with 30% affordable homes.

"From the evidence taken into account, the site won't come forward for housing development as allocated in the local plan with the infrastructure that's required with more than what's been put forward," he said.

He added that if the figure went up to 30%, other developer contributions towards community amenities would inevitably have to be reduced.

The development scheme at Shottendane Road. Picture: Gladmans
The development scheme at Shottendane Road. Picture: Gladmans

But the 10% figure was branded "unacceptable" and "an outrage" by some members.

Cllr Steve Albon said: "We need to consider the human cost of this.

"It's clear that within the local plan this area of land is designated for housing and the council has approved that.

"But it's not what should be built, it's how it should be built and the effects of that on our community.

"I am extremely disheartened in relation to a 10% affordable housing.

Cllr Steve Albon
Cllr Steve Albon

"My view is that it is unacceptable. It's clear policy - 30% affordable housing - and if they can't afford that and to build it, then don't build the development."

Cllr Reece Pugh, who is not on the planning committee but was speaking as a neighbouring ward councillor, added: "For the applicant to argue that the affordable housing be dropped to 10% I think quite honestly is an outrage, particularly in an area where we need more of it.

"We've already had a re-examination on the application of Minster which was approved last week where the land owner had campaigned for 10% affordable. Instead it was revised back up to 30%.

"What's more important is that this land is included in the local plan. The Planning Inspectorate has accepted our local plan and this site to be allocated with 30% of affordable housing.

"So the fact that this application has now put forward only 10% I think is more than enough grounds to refuse permission."

Cllr Reece Pugh
Cllr Reece Pugh

Seven members of the 13 voted against the recommendation to defer the plan for approval, meaning the scheme was refused.

But Mr Livingstone then put forward a new recommendation for the decision to be delayed while further discussions with Gladmans take place regarding affordable homes, with councillors backing this instead.

"We will speak to the applicant and work out alternative scenarios with regard to affordable housing provision, whether or not that's possible," he said.

"We can look at an increase to some extent but what that will do is decrease the other contributions that will be provided and that will have it's own knock on."

Sixty letters of objection were made to the local authority against the 450 homes, citing concerns about more traffic and pollution, and loss of wildlife and farmland.

Residents have also voiced their worries about housing numbers in Thanet being too high as they fear the district will "lose its charm from overdevelopment".

Developers say the new homes will accommodate 1,080 new residents.

The proposal includes a new link road and roundabout around the junction of Shottendane Road and Manston Road.

If approved, the new homes will lead to millions being invested towards community infrastructure.

Around £388,000 would also be invested into creating extra patient capacity at Margate's Limes Medical Practice.

Thanet council officers say the provision of up to 450 houses would make a significant contribution to the district's housing supply.

Read more: All the latest news from Thanet

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