The flawed and unpopular Local Plan was given a resounding defeat in a full meeting of Thanet District Council last night.
Immediately after the vote, Kent Online reported that the Local Plan had been rejected by the council.
Thanet District Council has until March to agree on a new Local Plan to avoid having the government impose one. However, after staking his reputation as a leader on this vote, Chris Wells may not be in power to see that happen. Indeed it is possible that UKIP rebels may hand control of the council to the Tories.
Full House at TDC
A packed house witnessed Thanet District Council’s vote on the Local Plan. In fact, evidence to suggests that people had to be turned away from the offices. When was the last time that happened?
Thanet South MP, Mackinlay rocked up to the council offices just before the session began expecting to be let in. Mackinlay was shocked to discover that the venue was full up. According to his twitter update, Mackinlay’s failure to anticipate the importance of this headline topic was the council’s fault.
Mackinlay described the situation as “Another unbelievable Thanet Council fiasco.” Quite why he expected fire safety regulations to be waived for him remains unanswered.
Another unbelievable @ThanetCouncil fiasco. I’m currently not allowed in to the Special Council meeting to decide #Thanet’s future #Localplan as it is ‘full up’ according to door staff. @Kent_Online @ThanetGazette @IsleThanetNews
— Craig Mackinlay MP (@cmackinlay) January 18, 2018
What happens now?
Thanet District Council will have just two months to come up with a revised Local Plan. With Manston such a huge sticking point, a new Local Plan so quickly would surely require UKIP to back down on plans to put houses on the Manston site. In all likelihood, to do so the council will have to vote Chris Wells out of the leadership position.
For Manston, the vote means that there is still a hope that the site can become an airport again.
The Local Plan is supposed to direct developers as to how and where the authority would like houses to be built. If the council fails to agree on a Local Plan, the government may step in to impose one. An imposed plan is unlikely to be fully beneficial to local needs.
Only time will tell but unless whoever ends up in control of the council listens to concerns about the draft Local Plan, there is no way they will have something ready by the end of March.