Agenda item

Land at Shottendane Road


Cabinet discussed proposals for the public consultation regarding land at Shottendane Road as a potential site for setting up facilities for the traveller community. The Council completed a Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment in 2019, which forms part of the evidence base for the Thanet Local Plan. The study is published on the council’s website. The assessment considered the accommodation needs of gypsies, travellers and travelling showpeople. The study identified the need for 7 permanent pitches and 5 transit pitches over the Plan period to 2031. This need is driven entirely by the current and anticipated future needs of families already in the area and who are already an integral part of our community. The Council had a duty to plan for sites to meet these identified needs. The Council already had a criteria based policy, in the existing adopted local plan, that allowed for planning applications to be considered and determined. The details of this policy were set out in the report. This was not the first time that this Cabinet had considered the need for gypsy and traveller sites in the district.


On 16 December 2019, Cabinet considered some potential options for a tolerated stopping site. A report was subsequently published ahead of the Cabinet meeting on 30 July 2020 which assessed a number of further sites, including the site at Shottendane Road. This report was deferred and not discussed. Cabinet then considered a further report at its meeting on 17 September 2020, when it was decided that the issue of site allocation would be considered as part of the local plan review. Since that time, in preparation for a review of the Local Plan, Council had held a call for sites, specifically inviting submissions of land to provide for the needs of gypsies and travellers and the Council received no submissions. Additionally the Local Plan update continued to be delayed as a result of a number of uncertainties, including uncertainty about future housing numbers and about the level of protection awarded to agricultural land through the National Planning Policy Framework.


Further work on assessing suitable sites for gypsy and traveller provision was done by the Conservative administration between 2021 and 2023, and I understand that cabinet members visited Shottendane Road then and identified it as a potential site, but the council failed in a funding bid to take matters forward. The recommendation in this report was to undertake a public consultation about the potential to provide some gypsy and traveller pitches on the land at Shottendane Road. The submission of a planning application would be subject to the outcome of this consultation and in itself subject to a further period of statutory consultation. These consultation processes would enable the Council to fully explore the suitability of the Shottendane Road site against the Council’s adopted planning policy and other factors that may be raised.


It was fully recognised that the Shottendane Road site was currently used as agricultural land, and the report therefore recommends that Cabinet note that no proposals for housing on the land could come forward ahead of the Local Plan review, by which time the number of homes that the council would have to provide by 2040 and the level of protection provided to agricultural land through the National Planning Policy Framework may be clearer. Housing does not form part of the consideration tonight. Overview and Scrutiny made two recommendations when it considered the report, which were around dealing with the outcome of the proposed consultation and delaying the consultation to look at other sites. Two different cabinets had previously looked at a long list of other sites twice in the late four years and the Council had also conducted a call for sites for this use without success. In any event, more than one site was likely to be required as set out in the report. In view of the obvious public interest, however, and mindful of the need for transparency, the leader proposed to amend recommendation 2. This would mean that Members and the public had a further opportunity to comment before a decision to submit a planning application was made. The report also recommended the disposal of two areas of the site to Kent County Council to facilitate the new route of the inner circuit major road network. This route had itself been the subject of a major public consultation and was an integral part of the district's infrastructure needs.


The following Members spoke under Council Procedure Rule 20.1:


Councillor Worrow;

Councillor Braidwood;

Councillor Green;

Councillor Austin;

Councillor Davis;

Councillor Kup;

Councillor Pugh.


Cabinet agreed the following:


  1. To conduct public consultation with the Gypsy and Traveller community and neighbouring residents about the proposal to establish a number of Gypsy and Traveller pitches on land off of Shottendane Road (area shown in annex 6).
  2. Following the consultation, bring back to cabinet, and prior to that to the overview and scrutiny panel, any proposal arising to submit an application for outline planning permission for the provision of Gypsy and Traveller Pitches on the land marked 1aii in annex 5,


Cabinet further noted:


4.  That proposals for the provision of housing on the wider Shottendane Road site could only be considered following the assessment of all land submitted to the council as part of the ‘Call for Sites’ and the completion of the current review of the Thanet Local Plan.


20:00hrs: Councillor Whitehead left the Council Chamber


Councillor Everitt proposed, Councillor Albon seconded and Cabinet agreed the following:


3.  To dispose of part of the land at Shottendane Road (areas marked as 1b and 2b on annex 5) to KCC for the proposed Major Road Network (Inner Circuit) improvements and a linked sustainable drainage scheme.


20:01hrs - Councillor Whitehead returned to the Council Chamber.

Supporting documents: