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New homes next to Laleham Gap School in Ramsgate will go ahead

An unpopular plan to build homes next to a special educational needs school will be approved.

The original scheme for the 38 properties next to Laleham Gap School in Ramsgate was thrown out in the High Court in July last year.

Laleham Gap School
Laleham Gap School

But members of the planning committee have agreed that a decision on a resubmitted plan by developer Kentish Projects Ltd can be deferred and then approved by officers.

This is despite numerous concerns by parents and the head teacher of the school, who say the new houses off Stirling Way will overlook the playground, meaning children with complex needs will lose their privacy.

They say there will also be an increase in traffic on the A256 New Haine Road and a negative impact caused by construction noise when the 23 houses and 15 flats are built.

An initial plan for the site - which is allocated just 20 homes in the Local Plan - was approved by a planning officer in October 2020.

This prompted a parent, supported by the Laleham Gap Parents' Association, to push for a judicial review to challenge the decision and the way in which it was handled.

A CGI of the development. Picture: Kentish Projects
A CGI of the development. Picture: Kentish Projects

Six grounds were put forward and Deputy High Court Judge Tim Corner QC upheld them all at a hearing and quashed the planning permission, stating the decision to approve the plan was "unlawful".

One ground was owing to the council’s interest in the site, which is owned by East Kent Opportunities, a partnership of Thanet District Council and Kent County Council.

But Kentish Projects Ltd resubmitted the plan in December.

A site visit was held by councillors on April 1 with pupils left upset, claiming they were not allowed to speak.

At a meeting on Wednesday, planning members discussed the proposals and the recommendation to defer and delegate for approval.

Landon and Chloe from Laleham Gap School were upset their voices couldn't be heard at the site visit
Landon and Chloe from Laleham Gap School were upset their voices couldn't be heard at the site visit

During the meeting, Cllr Pat Moore expressed her concerns about the development.

"We should do as much as we can to support this school because it's unique in this area," she said.

"It looks after its pupils so well and helps them.

"One of the pupils, I have a photograph of him and his mother, father and brother at Canterbury university where he went for his degree. At 11 years old he wasn't able to go to a state school.

"But look at what he did, and that's because of that school.

"I know we've got the Local Plan to think about but there is so much changed in these last three years that I don't think the Local Plan is all that good now."

Cllr George Rusiecki and Cllr Becky Wing also raised concerns.

However, the recommendation to allow officers to approve the plan was passed.

Kentish Projects has outlined measures to mitigate noise including a limit on hours of construction work, acoustic fencing and conditions on piling methods.

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