Thursday, 17 June 2010


During discussions on Thanet's Local Development Framework at the TDC Planning Committee meeting on Wednesday evening Cllr. Clive Hart repeated his plea for minimum floor sizes for new homes across Thanet to be increased as a priority.

Cllr Hart said "The TDC report we discussed this evening explained that there had been significant growth in the number of flats being built throughout the district and pointed to the loss of family size housing to flats and smaller denser development. It also stated that as long ago as 1997 a study here in Thanet had indicated that the existing housing stock by size and type was by then already over-represented by smaller units.

The report confirmed that the number of permissions for smaller flats had accelerated further since then and it also pointed to the problems this type of housing imbalance had created by way of numbers of vulnerable people and a growing dependency culture.

The serious detrimental effect that cramped living conditions can have on health and crime are the issues we in the Labour Group have been arguing in our campaign to increase the minimum size of any new homes being built across Thanet.

On Wednesday evening, having had our original concerns once more confirmed by this latest TDC report, I repeated my plea for TDC to THINK AGAIN, listen to the serious concerns of local residents and to make increased minimum sizes for new homes across Thanet a top planning priority."

Note1: Less than a month ago, at the TDC Cabinet meeting on 20th May, the Conservative Cabinet Member for Housing Cllr Chris Wells ignored Cllr Hart's motion calling for an increase in the minimum sizes for new homes across Thanet and moved that members confirm the existing programme only. Therefore, to date, no additional resources have been made available to bring forward the programme and the lengthy, drawn out, eight stage process just to START discussions including minimum flat sizes will not begin until April 2011 (+ even more time for what TDC describe as 'slippage').


AGENDA ITEM 4 - NOTICE OF MOTION SUBMITTED BY COUNCILLOR C. HART IN RELATION TO MINIMUM SIZE OF FLATS IN NEW DEVELOPMENT Labour Group Leader - Cllr. Clive Hart. "When I proposed this motion at full council I outlined the detrimental effect that small and cramped flats can have on mental health and crime in overdeveloped areas of Thanet so I won’t repeat those concerns today. Instead I’d like to concentrate on the report before us and the long term effect on our next generation. According to Shelter one in ten children are being failed because of cramped living conditions. There is overwhelming and devastating evidence that overcrowding undermines family wellbeing and quality of life, from health to education. Children who live in these conditions have a severe lack of space to play or do homework, and most disturbingly, are ten times more likely to contract meningitis than other children. There must be a concerted effort to build better-designed affordable homes in Thanet and to drag our local private rented sector into the 21st century. The latter can only be done if minimum room sizes for new flats, particularly in the private sector, are increased, and quickly. At paragraph 2.3 of the brief report before us, written by the Director of Regeneration Services, we are informed that a review of flat conversion guidelines – leading to a Supplementary Planning Document - is timetabled to begin as late as April 2011, but that there has already been slippage in that particular timetable. At paragraph 2.5 the lengthy eight point process needed to adopt such an SPD is also outlined. Simply put, to just confirm the existing programme for the Conversion Guidelines SPD that will hopefully increase minimum room sizes here in Thanet would mean that this administration would be jeopardising many local children’s life chances and ignoring their health needs. Last night (Wednesday 19th May) I sat in the very chair that you are sitting in now chairman and listened to council officers telling the planning committee that an application for a very cramped block of flats in Ramsgate was OK because it met TDC's minimum flat size rules. So there's the evidence chairman, each and every day we delay dealing with this issue more and more cramped flats are being built. I therefore call on Cabinet to allocate extra resources to enable the SPD to be brought forward earlier – option 3.1 (ii) in the report. Please give our local kids a fighting chance". Cllr. Clive Hart - Phone: 01843 298770 Ignoring Cllr Hart's plea, Conservative Cabinet Member Cllr Chris Wells moved that members confirm the existing programme only. Therefore, no additional resources will be made available to bring forward the programme and the lengthy, drawn out, eight stage process to start discussions including minimum flat sizes will not begin until April 2011 (+ some time for 'slippage' of course).

Published by Thanet Labour Group Press Office, 44 Northdown Road, Margate, CT9 2RW.

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