What’s wrong with the Thanet Local Plan

I have been asked what I know about the local plan

I know that it is based on a central government formula that dictates that TDC has to make allocation for 17,400 new houses to be built on Thanet by 2031. This is 3.5 times more than the average to be built on Thanet for the next 10-15 years. I don’t believe this national formula is working properly for Thanet and don’t believe we need that many houses. I couldn’t put it better than the CPRE:

“The ridiculous housebuilding targets imposed by Whitehall on our local authorities have been well charted, but few places highlight some of the inherent issues as much as Thanet.” January 16, 2019

I know that the current system is reliant on private developers to provide the large numbers of houses in formats that make profit for their shareholders.

I know that the prescribed figure for affordable housing is set by TDC at 30% for most developments, however, this is often commuted to a financial contribution to TDC in the face of the development becoming uneconomic. And where 30% are built as affordable homes, they are not truly affordable for local people on local salaries to buy.

I know that there are around 2,500 people on the TDC waiting list for housing and that the current system is not going to be making much of a dent in this list anytime soon. I also know that there are more than those on the list in need of affordable houses to rent or buy.

I don’t believe that the houses being built are in the best interests and filling the needs of the local population. I don’t blame the developers, they are doing what they are tasked with by their shareholders, central government and by dictat, regional and local government.

Currently Conservative central government policy is to get the private sector to build large numbers of houses quickly. However, whether you vote Conservative or Labour you are going to get a centralized solution. A one size fits all approach.

The only alternative is the Liberal Democrat community led approach.

We would work with the community to determine the local housing need, usually by carrying out a housing needs survey. Once the type and number of houses needed in the community is understood we can look at a range of ways to get them built.

There are opportunities for Councils to build houses for rent. However the council is more focused on balancing its books. The Lib Dems would push for a program of building council houses for rent in Thanet.

Another recent very popular option is community led housing. I have set up a steering group for a Community Land Trust and would welcome contact from anyone interested in learning more about this.

Liberal Democrats will look at all options to see what works best for local people. A big difference from either Conservative or Labour who get their ideas handed down from central office in a one size fits all approach!

The whole point of the Liberal Democrats is their belief in the freedom of the individual in the context of equal opportunities for all. Come along to one of our meetings to chat through our policies and ideas and where you will be welcomed and listened to.

Angie Curwen
[email protected]

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