We, the people of East Kent, need to speak up for our land and homes before Wed 17th March, the deadline of the vital Reg 18 consultation on Dover District’s new Local Plan. Our responses will be seen by the national planning inspectorate, so let’s provide lots!
The 3 things that people keep asking DDC planners for are not in the local plan. These are:
- Warm, locally-affordable homes in the Dover urban zone that are cheap-to-rent and cheap-to-heat,
- An end to the choking overdevelopment on greenfield and rewilded land within 3 miles of the boundaries of profitable Deal / Walmer, (or within our Kent Downs AONB),
- Real protection for all the carbon-capturing, wildlife-sheltering , food-providing woodland and farmland that are the foundation from which we can build back fairer and healthier from Covid, and lessen the fallout of the climate emergency ahead.
Two recent DDC planning decisions on 17 Dec (Cross Rd) and 25 Feb (Betteshanger) have shown that half of the planning committee have the backbone needed to question the herding /hounding by planning officers who explain repeatedly to the committee why developers need to get what they want.
Both questionable decisions only passed with the casting vote of the chair . In the case of Betteshanger, the evidence that the application should have been refused was overwhelming, but the planning dept dodged the refusal, with a weasel form of words. The report ‘Permission accomplished ’ published by Transparency Intl Aug 2020, looks into the relationship between England’s planning departments and volume developers (who in Kent expect a 29.34% return on their investment); DDC planning dept would do well to follow its recommendations.
West of Dover, all around Ashford, we see what happens when a council has a culture of nodding through applications for large, high-profit, development. With Dover’s 70% rural economy well-placed to extend its role as the fruit and vegetable garden of England, post covid, post-Brexit, we must stand firm and resist importing the Ashford example of kow-towing to Quinn and land-bankers.
In our Green response to the new Local Plan, we will be recommending that (viability study or no viability study),
- only developers who are building warm homes 30% of which are locally affordable in the Dover urban zone, will be considered for ‘windfall’ development sites within 3 miles of the boundaries of high-profit Deal / Walmer;
- that larger developments of 100+ be built zero-carbon with pockets of existing trees retained, and pockets of green space alongside each streetful of new houses;
- that we follow the DealTC suggestions to make walking and cycling irresistible by creating safer, living streets in Dover, Deal, Aylesham, Whitfield and Sandwich;
- that we use municipal bonds to invest in climate-friendly jobs, and make all existing homes healthy.
A Local Plan shapes a place for a generation. Please respond to the consultation, ask for a Local Plan capable of creating a district which is fairer, cleaner and more fruitful, more coherent, a local plan whose content matches what it says on the tin.
Cllr Abi Stroud (DealTC) and Cllr John Lonsdale (WalmerPC),
Dover and Deal Green Party