4. Town Centres & Retailing

4.1.

Introduction

The approach adopted in this Local Plan is to consider the economic regeneration of the area as a holistic exercise where, in the opinion of the Local Planning Authority, the issues of quality of life and the provision of choice to local residents is an important component of the regeneration programme. In that respect, the quality and quantity of the retail offer within the District is an important consideration not just for local residents but also for potential inward investors.

4.2.

Unfortunately, Thanet’s existing individual town centres are considered unattractive by major retail developers because of their relative isolation, limited catchment areas and relatively small size in comparison with the local population within the District. This lack of interest in the existing centres has led to the major high street retailers concentrating their efforts on larger centres, most notably Canterbury, from whence they continue to provide quality retail facilities.

4.3.

This continuous trend to concentrate at Canterbury is unsustainable in terms of the Thanet economy and unsustainable in terms of the Local Plan strategy of providing choice and quality of opportunity within the District. It is also contrary to PPG13.

4.4.

Council’s Objectives

The following are the District Council’s objectives in developing the policies within this Chapter.

Objectives 

  1. TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF RESIDENTS IN THANET THROUGH A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO REGENERATION OF WHICH RETAILING IS A MAJOR PART 
  2. TO CREATE A RETAIL OPPORTUNITY THAT WILL RESULT IN A STEP CHANGE IN THE QUALITY OF RETAILING AND LEISURE FACILITIES IN THANET, THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT OF A NEW TOWN CENTRE AT WESTWOOD
  3. THAT THE RETAIL OPPORTUNITY IDENTIFIED UNDER OBJECTIVE 2 ABOVE SHOULD BE A SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT WHERE ADEQUATE CONSIDERATION IS GIVEN TO TRANSPORT ACCESS ON A SINGLE LOCATION SITE
  4. THAT THE ROLES OF THE TOWN CENTRES OF MARGATE, RAMSGATE AND BROADSTAIRS CHANGE TO ADOPT A STRONGER ROLE IN THE LEISURE, CULTURAL, HERITAGE AND TOURISM MARKETS WITH THE INTENTION TO ESTABLISH AN EVENINGECONOMY RELATED TO TOURISM WITHIN THESE CENTRES
4.5.

Existing Pattern of Retailing within Thanet

Located on a peninsula on the north-eastern tip of Kent and bounded by the sea on three sides (approximately 61% of the total District boundary), Thanet has a smaller catchment area than districts located inland. However, we have the second largest urban area in Kent, with a population of some 128,000 people and a catchment of some 150,000 people. Our town centres are relatively small and constrained by the historic pattern of development and the street pattern is one of narrow streets with buildings relatively close together, making access and servicing arrangements difficult for many shops.

4.6.

Shopping facilities in Thanet are spread throughout the urban area in town, district and local centres and at the edge of these centres. These shops are supported by many ‘neighbourhood’ shops, either individually or in a group, which serve a mainly local need and traffic passing through. Unlike the majority of other areas in the country, there is no central town in Thanet, where retail facilities can be concentrated. Instead, the three town centres are spread around the edge of the District, on the coast.

4.7.

The spread of shops across the District has led to a large number of mainly small shops with only a limited number of well known ‘high street’ names. This pattern of small centres and local shops offers no obvious single centre which is attractive to retailers and the diverse pattern of current shopping prevents potential retailers recognising a legible hierarchy.

4.8.

The large number of small shops in Thanet sell only a limited range of goods, and do not provide the quality and range of products necessary to compete with other shopping locations such as Canterbury and Bluewater. This distinct lack of quality national multiple shops within Thanet forces those with the ability to travel to other centres, in particular Canterbury, to obtain quality goods, especially with regard to clothing and footwear items. This, combined with substantial growth in the variety of retailers in Canterbury over recent years, much of it out of town, has led to continuing decline of our retail centres. The redevelopment of “Whitefriars”, although not out of town, will further undermine Thanet’s shopping centres.

4.9.

A Wider View of Retailing

According to the Kent Household Retail Expenditure Survey carried out in 2000, Thanet District was losing in the region of £100million in retail expenditure to areas outside the District, especially Canterbury, and this situation has not changed. The survey suggests that Canterbury increased its draw from Thanet residents significantly between 1998 and 2000 and this trend is likely to continue with the proposed retail development at Whitefriars.

4.10.

The lack of choice of quality shopping facilities in Thanet means that residents have to travel to centres outside the District to meet their shopping needs. Thanet has relatively low car ownership levels and the Council considers that those that cannot travel should have greater choice closer to home and those that currently travel should not need to.

4.11.

What This Means for Thanet’s Economy

Losing in the region of £100 million of retail expenditure has a significant effect on the District. Thanet is recognised as an ‘Assisted Area’ in view of high unemployment and high levels of deprivation. Significant regeneration efforts in recent years to attract new employment and training opportunities and other facilities to raise the quality of life for Thanet residents are beginning to reap rewards, with the attraction of new businesses and employment opportunities and with the recent development of ‘Thanet College’ University. With this significant and continuing regeneration effort by the District Council and its many partners, the continuing loss of such a large and increasing sum of available expenditure from the District is no longer acceptable if the District is to achieve a sustainable economic recovery.

4.12.

Should this expenditure be regained within the District, this would create a significant number of direct job opportunities. In turn, this increased income for Thanet residents would result in a significant amount of recycled income being spent in the local economy to meet retail and leisure needs. The Council fully accepts it will not be able to regain all the lost expenditure but the continued loss of such significant levels of both direct and recycled income from the District is hampering the regeneration efforts within Thanet.

4.13.

In addition, the quality of retail and leisure facilities is one of the factors considered by inward investors when deciding whether to locate their businesses in Thanet. (Inward investors assess whether their employees and their families would be happy to locate in the area and the retail provision is an important consideration.)

4.14.

A Sustainable Approach to Retailing

The District Council wishes to significantly improve the quality of retailing facilities within the Thanet area to address two issues central to the successful regeneration of Thanet.

  1. To improve the quality of life for Thanet residents by:
    • reducing the need for people to travel to centres outside the District to meet their shopping needs; 
    • enabling residents to access a range of quality retail and leisure facilities within the District creating a more self-contained economy within Thanet;
    • providing residents with increased job opportunities and associated increases in their spending power.
  2. expenditure is recovered and spent within the District, the recycledTo reduce the leakage of expenditure from Thanet because the District has been losing a great deal of comparison goods spending to other centres (the greater part of which is made up of sales of 'High Street' goods, principally fashion goods). If a significant part of the leaking income and spending power will provide a much needed boost to the general and retail economy of the area, associated with job opportunities.
4.15.

The District has the lowest car ownership rate in Kent (61.1% of households compared to the county average of 73.3%) and with a high number of low-income residents within the district, it is not sustainable, or acceptable to the District Council to continue to expect these residents to do a round trip in the region of 35 miles to meet their retailing needs or to have to accept an inferior product. Thanet residents should be given the choice and opportunity to shop for high quality goods within the District and should not be forced to travel long distances to purchase their chosen goods. With an unemployment rate of 7.9%, (as compared with the Kent average of 3% and the national average of 3.5%) the local community cannot afford in sustainability terms to lose the jobs, the associated increased income or to continue travelling to areas outside the District.

4.16.

Reducing the need for people to travel to areas outside the District for employment, education, training, retail and leisure needs will improve people’s confidence and their quality of life, encourage a sustainable economy and help to achieve a sustainable community within Thanet.

4.17.

The attraction of high quality retail stores in Thanet will create a variety of new jobs for Thanet residents, which will in turn increase the spending power within the District. As the spending power of residents increases within the District, having attractive quality stores where this income can be spent in the local area will retain retail expenditure within the District, improving the local economy and helping to improve people’s quality of life.

4.18.

New retail development brings with it other associated development, such as restaurants and leisure facilities. These developments increase the variety of employment available within the District and help to bolster the economy. They also provide a choice of leisure activities to residents whose increased spending power will demand more choice and opportunity for leisure activity. Without the retail investment, these other development opportunities are not created or are catered for elsewhere and result therefore in a non-mixed economy.

4.19.

Potential inward investors considering locating in Thanet take into account the quality of life that would be available to their employees as an important factor in their decision. Through discussions with potential inward investors, it has become apparent that (the lack of) retail and leisure facilities, along with other factors of a more direct economic impact, are seen as areas of concern to inward investors, who believe their future employees may have a lower quality of life without these facilities and therefore choose to locate in areas where such facilities are available.

4.20.

Leakage of Expenditure from Thanet

The Council is very concerned that the leakage of retail expenditure continues at an unacceptably high level and that local retailers face increasing competition from Canterbury's strengthening retail facilities.

4.21.

New food and bulky goods stores developed at Westwood in the 1990s have helped to redress the balance in these sectors. The Kent Household Retail Expenditure Survey showed that these retail sectors in Thanet retained a significant percentage of expenditure. However, our traditional High Street centres do not offer a modern environment that is attractive to large national multiple retailers. Due to repetition of representation within each centre, they continually compete with one another for available expenditure. This has led to a shopping environment characterised by small shops offering a limited range of items that is repeated in each of the other centres where the same store name is represented.

4.22.

Current Retail Trends

Current retail trends are for greater amalgamations between stores, leading to fewer shop groups. These changes to retailers at the national level affect our town-centre representation through closure of business over a number of years due to mergers and takeovers. Units within our town centres have been vacated, with some units remaining vacant or becoming charity shops.

4.23.

Both the Thanet Urban Local Plan 1984 and the Isle of Thanet Local Plan 1998 supported the continued vitality and viability of our town centres. The District Council, in conjunction with other funding sources including English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and European Funding, has made significant investment in the built fabric of our towns. However, with continued streamlining of town-centre businesses at the national level, the outflow of businesses from Thanet has continued and despite the District Council’s policy approach of continuing to support our traditional town centres, there has been a failure over a significant number of years to make any significant inroads into the situation. They have continued to decline relative to other centres.

4.24.

In recognition that previous policy approaches have singularly failed to develop a change in the retailing pattern, the District Council considers a radical approach is now required in order to prevent further decline.

4.25.

Unsuitability of Existing Centres for Modern Major Multiple Retailers

Our traditional town centres are unsuitable for the location of the major multiple retailers of today because:

  • the limited size of the individual catchment areas of each town, the attractiveness of these centres to inward retail investors is poor;
  • they are located in a difficult location, in terms of ease of accessibility, around the periphery of the District and on the coast;
  • there is a large number of listed buildings and buildings within conservation areas;
  • servicing of shops is difficult due to the narrow streets;
  • the predominance of small shop units in separate ownership makes large site acquisition difficult and financially unattractive to potential developers; and
  • public transport access to our town centres is difficult.
4.26.

These factors make it unattractive for major multiple retailers to locate within our town centres. This became apparent during the 1980s, when several applications were received for retail proposals at Westwood and were approved by the Secretary of State either on appeal or following a call-in. These decisions have created a situation where at Westwood the creation of a retail centre is already well established but in an unplanned way following a series of unconnected disparate decisions.

4.27.

Why locate the new Retail and Leisure Development at Westwood?

Westwood lies geographically at the centre of the urban confines, equidistant from, and located on the main vehicular and bus route between, the three towns, which contain over 95% of the District total population of 126,745 (mid 1998).

4.28.

Due to the spread of urban development around the coast of Thanet, Westwood has and will continue to be a central area through which residents and tourists travel to reach other parts of the District. A considerable number of retail warehouse operators are represented at Westwood, as a result of Secretary of State call-in or appeal decisions (10). Westwood has therefore been recognised by the retail trade as the preferred location for new retail development in Thanet since the mid-1980s.

4.29.

Westwood has provided a sustainable location for the siting of large retail stores that have been unable to find suitable sites within town and district centres or edge-of-centre locations. The acknowledged benefits offered by Westwood as a central location for ‘major travel-generating uses’ (11) have led to the establishment of two business parks, ‘Thanet Reach’ on Northwood and Westwood Roads and ‘Eurokent’ on Haine Road, both with new developments which have led to the creation of new job opportunities for Thanet residents. The new ‘Thanet Campus’ of Christ Church University College on Northwood Road, which opened in September 2000, will offer a variety of courses in business and tourism fields, to meet the specific needs of employers within Thanet, enabling students to train, qualify in their chosen fields and then gain employment on the adjacent business parks.

4.30.

The mix of residential development in the vicinity, combined with the proposal to identify new housing facilities to the north of Westwood, on Haine Road, add to the viability of Westwood as a location for concentration of mixed uses.

4.31.

The mix of uses that has already established at Westwood has changed the concept of Westwood; it is no longer perceived as a typical out-of-centre retail area, where only the retailing of bulky goods is established. It is recognised as being the central urban location, accessible by a range of transport methods. The establishment of new cycle ways within the area, together with the location of residential, employment and training facilities, all encourage the possibility of greater linked trips between uses, especially walking and cycling linkages.

4.32.

The District Council is of the view that an opportunity now exists to create a planned and comprehensive mixed use development at Westwood, linking together existing and future uses in a sustainable manner. The wide range of commercial activities, combined with residential, employment and training facilities that have and are continuing to be developed could be comprehensively linked to encourage more linked trips between uses and less car use around Westwood.

4.33.

The District Council is therefore recognising the current development of mixed uses at Westwood and moving forward by allocating land at Westwood for the development of a new town centre, where a mix of retail, restaurants/pubs, office and leisure uses can be provided in an accessible central urban location well served by public transport. It is envisaged that this development will be phased in stages, with a central town centre (Policy TC2); an area for town-centre expansion (Policy TC3); mixed use area of residential and commercial uses providing a link between the town centre and a residential site (Policy TC4) and areas specifically for retail warehouses (Policy TC5).

4.34.

Why the Haine Site?

The Council’s preferred location for new retail development at Westwood is land to the south of Haine Road and comprises the former Haine Hospital site together with the horticultural nursery, the ambulance station and residential properties fronting Haine Road and Margate Road (defined on the Proposals Map). The majority of this site was identified as an allocated site for bulky retail development within the Isle of Thanet Local Plan, adopted April 1998, with the remainder of the site identified within the ‘area of search’ (Policy S2).

4.35.

Part of this site has an extant outline planning permission for 9290 square metres (100,000 square feet) of bulky goods retailing, given in December 1997. Permission was granted in June 2000 for a variation of condition on this consent, permitting the submission of reserved matters no later than five years from the date of outline approval.

4.36.

The site was identified in the Lawson Price Report (8),‘Retail Study of the Isle of Thanet’, February 1997, as one of three sites that were considered most suitable in planning terms out of those available at Westwood, for retail development, when considered in relation to potential for linked trips with existing retail development. Of the other two sites, the Sericol site on Westwood Road was developed in 1998 for bulky goods retailing and the Coop Hypermarket site has recently been redeveloped and is currently trading as a Tesco Extra food store, which opened in November 2001.

4.37.

An appeal into the refusal of consent for retail development on the Pearce Signs (12) site (at the corner of Haine Road and Ramsgate Road) recognised that the Haine Road site was chosen by the Council after having “taken account of advice in the studies that their location adjoining existing retail development would enable them to be integrated into the existing retail framework” (Pearce Signs Appeal Decision Letter, 7th July 1988, paragraph 22).

4.38.

The site at Haine Road comprises a large area of underused land, which lends itself to redevelopment. With Sainsbury’s located at the south-eastern corner of the site, an existing anchor for development is provided. The site adjoins Sainsbury’s, Wickes and Wigston Warehouse (clothing and shoes) and the opportunity exists to facilitate linked trips within the Westwood area to these and other retail, employment and training sites. The development of Eurokent Business Park to the south-west for employment purposes will increase the numbers of pedestrians within the area and increase opportunity to maximise linked trips to the Haine Road site. With an area of open land to the north, the site is in a location where future expansion of a successful town centre would be a realistic option.

4.39.

What do we expect from Development of the site?

The Council envisages that Westwood Cross will be a modest-sized development with a distinctive High Street atmosphere as opposed to a large indoor shopping mall of lacklustre design which can be found almost everywhere. Building design and form should reflect its town-centre character with the predominant use of 2/3 storey buildings reflecting a variety of styles of architecture, materials and roof heights, to provide the mixed character and appearance associated with traditional town centres. A mix of uses including retail shops selling a range of high-street goods, and restaurant, office and leisure uses, centred on one or more larger quality stores, for example, a department store, can be integrated to create a true town-centre environment. The Westwood Town Centre will be the prime focus for higher order core comparison retailing in Thanet. It is anticipated that the configuration of the site will be shop fronts located on an open air High Street. Featuring notably in this mixed use development will be community facilities, public squares and open spaces for meeting, sitting etc., a transport hub/bus interchange and a range of leisure uses which operate outside a traditional ‘9am – 5pm day’.
4.40.

The District Council wishes to see an intermediate site that complements both the housing site Policy H6 and the town centre Policy TC2. Uses might include a mix of offices, hotels, residential flats and recreation uses. It is unlikely that additional significant retail development within Policy TC4 will be undertaken during the plan period and any that might be proposed will be subject to the tests of policy TC6.

4.41.

The Westwood Town Centre area will be highly accessible because, as well as being central in the urban area of Thanet, the A254 Margate/Ramsgate Road running past the Westwood developments has been identified as a “Quality Bus Corridor”, which means that measures will be sought to improve public transport reliability and passenger information, including approach time displays at stops. The District Council together with KCC and Local Plan Bus Operators have entered a partnership scheme to promote an attractive, reliable and convenient service.

4.42.

Any new development at Westwood must be capable of demonstrating that it provides significant sustainable transport advantages. The District Council would expect a green transport approach to be adopted and any new proposal must include specific measures to encourage at least 20% of customers to travel to the site by means other than by private car. Policy TR18 in the Transportation Chapter applies. Whilst the District Council accepts that the development of a town centre on the allocated site would only require minor alterations to the existing road network, the District Council would require to be satisfied about the effects of resultant traffic flows from other new developments in the mixed use intermediate area and housing area on the capacity of the road network, and applicants will be expected to submit an appropriate Traffic Impact Study indicating the anticipated impact of the scheme and how best to create an improved traffic flow as a result of the proposed development. Negotiations with the Highway Authority will be necessary with regard to the implementation of new transport proposals to reduce the level of congestion.

4.43.

The District Council recognises that part of the site identified for the core Town Centre at Westwood has an existing consent for 10,000 square metres of bulky goods retailing. Allocations to replace this bulky goods floorspace have been made (as identified on the proposals map) as policies TC3 and TC5.

4.44.

Outline Planning Permission was granted for Westwood Cross, a town centre development with a gross floorspace of 350,000 sq. ft, in November 2001. The reserved matters for this application were submitted in September 2002. Also received in September 2002 was an application for the development of a small retail site to the south of Westwood Cross to eventually be integrated with the main scheme as development proceeds.

4.45.

Linkages between Westwood Sites

To achieve the Council’s aims of a unique development which can play a fundamental role in achieving the regeneration of Thanet, this is a development proposal which requires careful consideration of land uses and their relationships within the Westwood area, to ensure that pedestrian and cycle links in and around the area will work satisfactorily, that existing and proposed uses complement one another and that vehicular traffic is diverted away from the core area, with priority given to public transport. In view of this, all applications for development within the areas identified under Policies TC2 to TC5 inclusive will be required to clearly indicate how they link with existing developments and proposed development areas.

4.46.

Applications for development of the area identified under Policy TC4 (Mixed Use Area) will be required to indicate green transport, pedestrian, cycle and vehicle routes into and around the chosen town centre site and indicate how the site can link with existing and future employment and housing development (see Policy H6) through the development of a ‘Master Plan’. This ‘Master Plan’ will need to reflect a full Traffic Assessment of the town centre and residential elements and shall specifically provide details of:

  • layout and logical phasing programme for development on sites allocated under policies TC4 and H6 (including uses included in those policies respectively), together with pedestrian and cycle links with the primary town centre;
  • any realignment of the A256
4.47.

Impact of Development and a New Focus for Existing Town Centres

The District Council acknowledges that supporting the development of a new town centre at the heart of Thanet will have an impact on the existing town centres. However, it also recognises that the town centres have exhibited signs of weakness for some time in terms of vitality following the loss of some of the retail stores from our town centres and long-term continued vacancy of secondary areas. The decline is unlikely to be reversible due to changes in retailer requirements and their choice is to serve smaller towns from one central location. Therefore a “do nothing” option would not secure Thanet’s long-term future. The traditional even-handed approach between centres will not generate the quality of retail development to provide the level of choice appropriate for local residents. 

4.48.

Promoting a radical change in development in Thanet will help retain a significant proportion of the expenditure that is currently spent in Canterbury by Thanet residents and attract it back to Thanet. This in turn will create more jobs in retail and associated developments, enabling a higher level of earning and subsequent spending within the district by Thanet residents. This will be supported by additional spending power created by new employment facilities currently being developed in Thanet’s business parks. It is this additional earning and spending power that will stimulate an economy based on leisure within the town centres creating a more continental café atmosphere. With attractive harbours and waterfront areas and a variety of interesting buildings and spaces, together with supporting regeneration projects, the District Council believes that the economy of our towns can be successful, creating a vibrant town-centre mixed-use economy.

4.49.

Our traditional town centres are important for tourism and the establishment of speciality shopping facilities within them to complement traditional high-street retailers would provide a niche market where specialist goods can be promoted, both to local residents and to visitors alike. Such facilities might include shops retailing items such as wine, cheese, speciality foods, antiques, gifts and specialist retailers retailing goods reflecting local character. These centres form the traditional hub of civic life and with the emergence of people taking more interest in their environment, should remain hubs of transport communications.

4.50.

Adopting a more leisure and tourism-based role would improve Margate and Ramsgate from the emphasis on lower quality retail with struggling economies into high quality interesting and attractive destinations. The towns were once traditional attractive holiday resorts and the District Council considers that encouragement should be given to return to the focus of these towns centred on their harbour and waterfront areas and initiatives and policies are being put in place to achieve this. It is proposed to support the replacement of vacant shop units through the encouragement of more restaurant, café, bar and leisure uses and speciality facilities within the town centres, whilst maintaining a core shopping function. It is essential that the vitality of these areas is promoted by planning policies which permit a wide range of uses including offices and housing (i.e. living over the shop).

4.51.

At the very heart of the regeneration of these town centres are the innovative development proposals that build upon the traditional character and history of our town centres. Partnership schemes such as Margate Old Town (including the impressive Turner Centre) and Ramsgate Renaissance identify future development proposals for our towns that will build upon the unique character and history of these towns and promote and encourage a tourism-based economy.

4.52.

A Strategy for the Existing Town Centres

The Council’s reaction to the problem is to encourage exciting alternative uses in these locations where the draw is tired, in order to remove the run-down appearance and facilitate regeneration of the viability and vitality of the town centre as a whole. This will be achieved through regeneration strategies such as the Town Centre Regeneration and Empty Property Programme.

4.53.

The Council is continuing its existing regeneration programme with welcome funding assistance from a variety of partners including English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Kent County Council and European Funding. In particular Townscape Heritage Initiatives and Heritage Economic Regeneration Schemes are being targeted to achieve the objectives of Urban Renaissance. One notable initiative is the rehabilitation of peripheral areas around the town centres to encourage conversion to residential accommodation and the concentration of commercial activities in the core area.

4.54.

Broadstairs

The Council does not consider that a new focus is necessary for Broadstairs as it has marketed itself well, achieving a good mixed economy with a significant level of leisure and varied, speciality shopping. This alternative shopping complements traditional High Street retailers and includes items such as wine, cheese, speciality foods, antiques and gifts all reflecting the local character. Many activities and festivals have become regular events in Broadstairs and with its Dickensian roots it has established a very separate identity as a unique family holiday resort. The District Council believe that Margate and Ramsgate can become as successful as Broadstairs in achieving a thriving economy with a variety of uses and it is considered that Broadstairs could act as a model for them to follow, allowing them to strengthen their economies.

4.55.

Margate

Thanet District Council in conjunction with a number of partners, and most importantly local traders and residents, is developing a radical innovative scheme based around the Old Town and harbour area of Margate. An Old Town Action Plan has been produced which identifies future development proposals for the Old Town area, much of which lies within Margate Conservation Area and where many listed buildings are located. The scheme encourages mixed use into the Old Town to create an attractive cultural quarter.

4.56.

Work to restore Margate to its former glory has already captured the imagination of local people. Margate was once one of the main gateways to Europe but with the decline of the holiday trade, the town has struggled to fulfil its potential. In particular, the historic Old Town area is isolated and, despite featuring many fine buildings, is rarely visited. The new initiative aims to build on the character of Margate’s Old Town to attract businesses, create new links to the new parts of the town and re-establish the area as one of cultural importance.

4.57.

The project will revitalise a run-down part of the town, transforming it into a vibrant area with cultural and creative industries to complement the High Street. As a centre for small businesses, especially with arts and media connections, it will also have new residential and educational facilities and will broaden the local economic base for more year-round employment. Links to the modern town centre through Cecil Square will be re-established to recreate traditional links. The historic environment will be tastefully restored, and the project will be the catalyst for improving a wider area of Margate.

4.58.

The forward-thinking proposals to rejuvenate Margate have been developed jointly by the public and private sectors with a major input from local Margate residents and dedicated Action Groups, the Creative Artists’ Forum, Kent Institute of Art and Design, Margate Town Partnership and Thanet Regeneration Board. The successful achievement of the plan to rejuvenate Margate is dependent upon a committed and continuing partnership between local, county and regional development agencies since it is envisaged that investment in the regeneration of Margate will total several million pounds. The District Council will be seeking funds by bidding to the European Union and UK regeneration programmes.

4.59.

Building on Margate’s cultural heritage and robust artistic tradition, a key proposal for the Old Town is the International Turner Centre, a contemporary arts gallery, celebrating Margate’s links with the artist, JMW Turner. It is envisaged that such a centre would exhibit national and local works of art and be a focus for training, as well as enhancing the culture and economy of the town. It is proposed that the centre will be built close to where Turner used to live, adjacent to the harbour, alongside the pier close to an area that provides future opportunities to develop restaurants and cafes, as well as creating new enhanced public open space. It is expected the Turner Centre will be a dramatic focal point that will significantly raise the profile of Margate. Other features include artists’ workshops, a heritage trail, public art programme, a media centre, museums and children’s quarter with the associated development of markets and related cultural special events.

4.60.

The long-term initiative will see a revitalised Margate with new educational and job opportunities, a change from the ‘kiss me quick image’ to a more culturally oriented destination with leisure activities for local people and visitors and investment potential for cultural and media studies.

4.61.

Ramsgate

The District Council in conjunction with SEEDA, KCC and English Partnerships appointed a team of consultants to prepare a comprehensive development framework and implementation strategy to co-ordinate a programme of exciting initiatives, investments and projects demonstrating commitment and confidence in the town. The Implementation Strategy, known as “Ramsgate Renaissance” will continue to build on existing and new opportunities and is focused on the Royal Harbour, seafront and adjacent urban areas, including the town centre. The vision involves establishing Ramsgate as a flagship resort on the Kent Coast. It is being promoted and progressed in partnership with leading community organisations, and private investors.

4.62.

One element of the proposals is the provision of an all-weather tourist attraction of national significance, which will provide a high quality, exciting visitor destination on Ramsgate seafront. With increased ease of access from the motorway network and the opportunities offered by the port, such an attraction would attract large visitor numbers and bolster Thanet’s image and economy.

4.63.

Several projects relating to improvements to access to, in and around the town centre and harbour area are improving the visual appearance and attraction of the town to residents and visitors alike. The improvements to York Street, a road linking the town centre with the harbour area, are complete and provide new and interesting mixed use office, retail and residential facilities for the town centre. This street was for several years in a poor state of dereliction and decline, with many vacant and dilapidated buildings, detracting from the appearance of both the town centre and harbour areas. The redevelopment scheme was facilitated by the District Council with the help of funding from private sector partners, including North British Housing Association, SEEDA and English Heritage. Once completed, the development will bring back to life a central commercial area of the town and create a new public square.

4.64.

A large section of the promenade and beachfront area at the eastern end of the harbour area has been the subject of specific improvement works, including new public toilet and changing facilities linked to the beach, new walkways and restoration of the lift between the cliff top and the promenade. These enhancement schemes have greatly improved circulation along the beachfront area.

4.65.

Smart new signing, lighting and displays of public art have all added to the interesting nature of the harbour and marina areas. The completion of the Harbour Approach Road has provided easy, direct access between the port and the country’s dual carriageway and motorway networks.

4.66.

Ramsgate Renaissance focuses on building on a world-class marina and expansion of the port together with the regeneration of the whole area around the Royal Harbour and the seafront. The scheme contains all the elements to create a successful major tourism destination to take advantage of its fine buildings and majestic Royal Harbour. The Council is committed to these proposals and is optimistic of success.

4.67.

Other Initiatives

The District Council recognises that the current decline in the shopping function of the secondary areas beyond the town centre cores is unlikely to be reversible in the foreseeable future. Accordingly, its approach is to encourage suitable alternative uses in such locations, in order to remove any run-down appearance and facilitate regeneration of the viability and vitality of the town centre as a whole. This will be achieved through regeneration strategies such as the Town Centre Regeneration and Empty Building Initiative, as part of the Council’s regeneration agenda, and will draw upon resources from all sectors including external sources of funding. This scheme is a six-year programme, which aims to redevelop properties throughout Thanet and find a new use for town centre buildings that are not being fully utilised. The scheme has been fundamental in achieving the recent removal of vacant, dilapidated properties in King Street, Ramsgate and their replacement with new homes encouraging greater residential use of the peripheral areas of our traditional town centres.

4.68.

Available resources for town centre improvements will be focused upon defined core commercial areas of the town centres, and in particular locations adjacent to the core areas to help to facilitate adaptation and change where property owners are considering alternative uses for their properties. These core areas (defined on the Proposals Map), will be subject to review, having regard to vacancy rates, pedestrian flow, investment in buildings and any other factors which may be considered relevant. The extent of the core town-centre areas will be reviewed periodically as considered appropriate.

4.69.

The District Council will, in consultation with the local community, and within the general vision of a revitalisation strategy, seek to maintain and implement a rolling programme of environmental and highway improvement schemes including traffic management, enhancement of street works and car parking in the town centres.

4.70.

The Council understands the importance of and wishes to encourage locally owned shops as they serve to retain local character and expenditure.

4.71.

Strategic Guidance

Planning Policy Statement 6 (Planning for Town Centres, published in 2005) states that the key government objective is to promote the vitality and viability of town centres. Other objectives include enhancing consumer choice by making provision for a range of shopping, leisure and local services, which allow genuine choice; supporting efficient, competitive and innovative retail, leisure, tourism and other sectors and improving accessibility by ensuring development is well served by a choice of means of transport.

4.72.

PPS6 requires a "Plan Led" approach and advises that local planning authorities should plan for growth and manage change by selecting appropriate centres to accommodate the identified need for growth, by managing the role and function of centres and by planning for new centres where there are deficiencies in the existing network. Priority for new centres should be given to deprived areas.

4.73.

In selecting sites for development local planning authorities are advised to:

  1. assess the need for development;
  2. identify the appropriate scale of development;
  3. apply the sequential test to site selection;
  4. assess the impact of development on existing centres;
  5. ensure that locations are accessible and well served by a choice of means of transport.
4.74.

Key considerations in preparing development plans and deciding applications are to enable the community to benefit from effective competition between retailers, to properly weigh the effect of new developments on the vitality and viability of existing town centres and the rural economy, and to ensure access and location enable choice of transport mode and do not add to polluting emissions. The guidance indicates that local convenience shops (including village shops) offer an important service for elderly, less mobile, disabled people and families with children, and that planning can help provide the environment in which such outlets can thrive.

4.75.

Regional Planning Guidance (RPG9) and Planning Policy Guidance on Transport (PPG13) indicate:

  1. Shopping should be promoted in existing centres, which are more likely to offer multi-purpose trips and a choice of access, particularly for those without use of a private car. 
  2. Where suitable central locations are not available for larger retail development, then edge of town centre sites accessible by foot from the centre and which can be served by a variety of means of transport, should be sought.
  3. Local convenience shopping accessible by foot or bicycle should be encouraged in local and rural centres.
4.76.

The Kent Structure Plan, adopted in December 1996, encouraged the best possible balance of shopping facilities, with emphasis on maintaining and enhancing the viability and vitality of the town centres, and on environmental sustainability in terms of accessibility to retail centres, particularly by means other than the private car.

4.77.

It is noted from the Kent Structure Plan that ‘In East Kent the potential for new floorspace in the short term will be influenced by wider economic and employment performance, notably at the coastal towns. There is a case on economic development grounds for encouraging new retail projects at the coastal towns which currently have an outflow of expenditure (notably to Canterbury) while adopting a selective approach to development proposals at Ashford and Canterbury’, (5, page 213).

4.78.

The Kent Structure Plan recognised ‘The particular focus of attention for employment-creating activity and associated infrastructure should, within the context of regional guidance, be at East Kent to mitigate the immediate and persistent economic problems there’, (5, page 19, para 3.17). It ‘recognised that East Kent should have the highest priority in tackling persistent economic development problems’ that ‘have been caused by continuing structural economic change’ (5, page 30, para 3.46).

4.79.

Policy S8 set out the strategic context for the future development of town centres.

4.80.

Policy EK2 recognises Thanet’s long-term economic problems and the need to provide a choice of sites for industrial, business and distribution activities, new tourist accommodation and attractions.

4.81.

Policy R1 sets out the strategic criteria for the evaluation of retail proposals. Policies R2-R4 relating to convenience, comparison and retail warehousing reflect this emphasis and the scale of current commitments to new development. Policy R3 indicates that comparison retail developments will be accommodated in town centres, and that new free-standing shopping centres will not normally be permitted. Policy R4 indicates that new retail warehouses should be directed to locations adjacent to other out of centre retail developments or on edge of town centres.

4.82.

Retail Policies

The District Council has chosen to adopt a policy approach that will encourage and enable major national multiple retailers to invest and be represented in Thanet, whilst promoting expansion of tourism and leisure uses within the town centres of Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs to ensure their future vitality and viability. Since the second draft of the Local Plan was published in 2003 and subsequent to the Public Inquiry into the plan, the Westwood Cross Shopping Centre opened in June 2005. The benefits and impacts of that development remain to be quantified but the following policies continue to be relevant until revised through the Local Development Framework process.

POLICY TC1 - NEW RETAIL DEVELOPMENT

  1. THE FIRST SEQUENTIAL PREFERENCE FOR THE LOCATION OF NEW RETAIL DEVELOPMENT IN THANET SHOULD BE IN THE CORE COMMERCIAL CENTRES OF MARGATE, RAMSGATE, BROADSTAIRS AS DEFINED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH POLICY TC7;

    AND ALSO AT THE CORE TOWN CENTRE OF WESTWOOD CROSS AS DEFINED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH POLICY TC2. 

  2. OUTSIDE THESE DEFINED CORE AREAS AND EXTENDING OVER LAND AT WESTWOOD DESIGNATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH POLICIES TC3, TC4 AND TC5, ALL APPLICATIONS FOR RETAIL DEVELOPMENT WILL BE REQUIRED TO DEMONSTRATE THE NEED FOR THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT, AND
    1. THAT THERE IS NO SEQUENTIALLY PREFERABLE LOCATION,
    2. THAT THE DEVELOPMENT IS OF AN APPROPRIATE SCALE,
    3. THERE IS NO UNACCEPTABLE IMPACT ON THE VITALITY AND VIABILITY OF EXISTING CENTRES, AND
    4. THE LOCATION IS ACCESSIBLE.

NEED WILL BE ASSESSED ACCORDING TO EVIDENCE OF EXISTING COMMITMENTS, RESIDUAL DEMAND AND AVAILABLE EXPENDITURE WITHIN AN APPROPRIATE CATCHMENT AREA.

(POLICY NOT SAVED) TC2 - WESTWOOD CROSS TOWN CENTRE

  1. WITHIN THE CORE TOWN CENTRE AT WESTWOOD CROSS (AS DEFINED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP UNDER TC2), THE FOLLOWING USES WILL BE ACCEPTABLE:

    USES FALLING WITHIN THE FOLLOWING USE CLASSES OF THE TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (USE CLASSES) ORDER –

    CLASS A1 (SHOPS)
    CLASS A2 (FINANCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL SERVICES)
    CLASS A3 (RESTAURANTS AND CAFES)
    CLASS A4 (DRINKING ESTABLISHMENTS)
    CLASS A5 (HOT FOOD TAKEAWAYS)
    CLASS D2 (ASSEMBLY AND LEISURE)
    CLASS B1 (A) (USE AS AN OFFICE) ABOVE GROUND FLOOR
    LEVEL ONLY
    CLASS C3 (RESIDENTIAL) ABOVE GROUND FLOOR LEVEL ONLY.

  2. THE FOLLOWING DEVELOPMENT WILL NOT BE PERMITTED WITHIN THE WESTWOOD CROSS TOWN CENTRE:

    BULKY COMPARISON GOODS RETAIL WAREHOUSE STORES (1) ANY CONVENIENCE STORE WITH A GROSS RETAIL FLOORSPACE LARGER THAN 350 SQUARE METRES.

  3. ALL APPLICATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT IN THIS AREA MUST COMPLY WITH CLAUSES II – IV OF POLICY TC6.

4.83.

There is a case for pursuing town-centre expansion at the Pearce Signs Site (TC3 on the proposals map). The main occupiers of the site have expressed a desire to relocate to a more appropriate site such as one of the business parks in Thanet, which makes the site ideal for allocation as it is immediately available.

4.84.

Although currently divided into separate uses, any development proposals on the TC3 site must be considered as a comprehensive development of the island site within the context of a Master Plan that takes into account traffic movements both on and off the site. This is important to secure the long-term development potential of the site and avoid fragmentation.

(POLICY NOT SAVED) TC3 - TOWN CENTRE EXPANSION

  1. THE AREA DEFINED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP AS POLICY TC3, OUTSIDE THE CORE TOWN CENTRE AT WESTWOOD, IS DESIGNATED AS AN AREA FOR TOWN CENTRE EXPANSION.
  2. THE FOLLOWING USES ARE ACCEPTABLE FOR IMMEDIATE DEVELOPMENT ON THIS SITE:
    • USES FALLING WITHIN USE CLASSES B1 (A) AND B1 (B) OF THE TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (USE CLASSES) ORDER 1987;
    • RETAIL WAREHOUSE STORES (1) WITH A GROSS FLOORSPACE NOT LESS THAN 1,000 SQUARE METRES;
    • HOTEL.
  3. SUBSEQUENTLY, BUT NOT BEFORE THE DEVELOPMENT OF WESTWOOD CROSS HAS BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETED (2) IN ACCORDANCE WITH POLICY TC2, THE FOLLOWING USES WILL BE ACCEPTABLE ON THIS SITE:
    • USES FALLING WITHIN USE CLASSES A1, A2, A3, A4, A5 AND D2 OF THE TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (USE CLASSES) ORDER 1987;
    • RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT ABOVE GROUND FLOOR LEVEL.
  4. ALL APPLICATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT MUST COMPLY WITH POLICY TC6.

Operational notes:

(1) Planning permission for retail warehouse stores will include a condition restricting the types of goods to be sold. The following items shall be excluded from retail sale or display for retail sale;

  • Food for human consumption (other than confectionery)
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Tobacco
  • Fashion clothing and footwear
  • Chemist/Pharmaceutical goods
  • Jewellery, fancy goods and luggage
  • Books, newspapers and magazines (except where this is ancillary to the sale of other types of goods sold from the units)
  • Crockery, glassware, china and kitchenware (except where this is ancillary to the sale of other types of goods sold from the units)
  • Perfume and toiletries
  • Sports goods and equipment
  • Audio and visual recordings (except where this is ancillary to the sale of other types of goods sold from the units)

(2) Substantial completion of a development will be taken as being 85% of units within that development being let.

POLICY TC4 - MIXED USE AREA

  1. AN AREA OUTSIDE THE CORE TOWN CENTRE AREA AT WESTWOOD (AS DEFINED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP UNDER TC4) IS ALLOCATED FOR A MIX OF USES, TO ACT AS AN INTERMEDIATE ZONE BETWEEN THE CORE TOWN CENTRE AND THE RESIDENTIAL AREA FURTHER TO THE NORTH. 
  2. THE FOLLOWING DEVELOPMENT WILL BE PERMITTED, ONLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH AN AGREED MASTER PLAN AND DEVELOPMENT BRIEF COVERING THE SITES SUBJECT TO THIS POLICY TOGETHER WITH POLICY H6. THE MASTER PLAN SHALL SHOW HOW DEVELOPMENT IS TO BE PHASED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE DEVELOPMENT OF WESTWOOD CROSS.
  3. SUBJECT TO POLICY H6, RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT WILL BE PERMITTED TO A MAXIMUM OF 200 UNITS.
  4. WITHIN THIS INTERMEDIATE ZONE THE FOLLOWING USES ARE ACCEPTABLE: LARGER OFFICES AND COMMERCIAL USES WITHIN USE CLASS B1 WHICH WOULD BE INAPPROPRIATE IN THE CORE TOWN CENTRE; HOTEL; PUBLIC HOUSE; COMMUNITY FACILITIES SUCH AS LIBRARY, PLACE OF WORSHIP, COMMUNITY HALL, HEALTH CENTRE AND CRECHE.
  5. RETAIL DEVELOPMENT IS NOT PERMITTED EXCEPT IN A PARADE OF SMALL UNITS, NOT EXCEEDING 1,200 SQUARE METRES GROSS FLOORSPACE IN AGGREGRATE, TO SERVE THE DAY-TODAY NEEDS OF THE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT.
  6. ALL DEVELOPMENT MUST COMPLY WITH POLICY TC6.

(POLICY NOT SAVED) TC5 - RETAIL WAREHOUSE STORES

A SITE OUTSIDE THE CORE TOWN CENTRE AREA AT WESTWOOD, (AS DEFINED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP UNDER POLICY TC5), IS ALLOCATED FOR RETAIL WAREHOUSE STORES (1) WITH A GROSS FLOORSPACE IN EXCESS OF 1000 SQUARE METRES.

Operational notes:

  1. See operational note (1) attached to Policy TC3.
  2. All applications for development of sites within this area must comply with Policy TC6.
4.85.

Within the Westwood area there are a number of sites containing existing uses to which no specific Policy is applied. However, these sites either detract from or complement the concept and vision for the Westwood area depending on their particular circumstances. In examining the detailed design issues for the town centre development at Westwood the council has taken particular care to ensure that the most prominent elevations are treated in an attractive andwell-thought out manner. It is therefore important that should other sites come forward, either for complete redevelopment or for extension, that their resultant layout, design and appearance are attractive and appropriate and that they complement the scale, form and architecture of a new town centre at Westwood. The principles of good design set out in the Design chapter and in Kent Design will be applied. The principle is particularly important for those sites lying on the immediate approaches to and surrounding the Westwood roundabout. Proposals for alternative uses on these sites will be considered in the light of their relationship with the pattern of development proposed in the Plan and against all other relevant policies.

(POLICY NOT SAVED) TC6 - ASSESSMENT OF APPLICATIONS

ALL APPLICATIONS FOR DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS SUBMITTED UNDER POLICIES TC3, TC4 AND TC5 WILL BE REQUIRED TO:

  1. DEMONSTRATE THE NEED FOR ANY PROPOSED RETAIL AND LEISURE DEVELOPMENT; AND 
    1. THAT THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT IS OF AN APPROPRIATE SCALE; AND
    2. THERE IS NO UNACCEPTABLE IMPACT ON THE VITALITY AND VIABILITY OF MARGATE, RAMSGATE OR BROADSTAIRS (AS DEFINED UNDER POLICY TC1), OR WESTWOOD CROSS; AND
    3. THE LOCATION IS ACCESSIBLE.

RETAIL NEED WILL BE ASSESSED ACCORDING TO EVIDENCE OF EXISTING COMMITMENTS, RESIDUAL DEMAND AND AVAILABLE EXPENDITURE WITHIN AN APPROPRIATE CATCHMENT AREA.

  1. SUBMIT A TRAFFIC STUDY TO DEMONSTRATE WHETHER THE CAPACITY OF THE ROAD NETWORK WILL MATCH THE CUMULATIVE TRAFFIC GENERATION ASSOCIATED WITH DEVELOPMENT IN THE VICINITY; AND HOW AND BY WHOM THE EXISTING NETWORK IS TO BE IMPROVED, IF AND WHEN IT IS NECESSARY TO DO SO.
  2. SUBMIT A HIGHWAYS SCHEME TO DEMONSTRATE THE ABILITY OF THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT TO MANAGE TRAFFIC GENERATED BY EXISTING AND PROPOSED CUMULATIVE DEVELOPMENT AT WESTWOOD; AND THE MEANS TO FACILITATE ACCESS BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT.
  3. PROVIDE SUITABLE VEHICULAR, PEDESTRIAN AND CYCLE LINKS BETWEEN EXISTING AND PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT.

IN APPROPRIATE CASES, CONDITIONS WILL BE IMPOSED ON PLANNING PERMISSION FOR RETAIL USES, TO RESTRICT THE TYPE OF GOODS TO BE SOLD (1), LIMIT THE FLOORSPACE AND TO PREVENT THE SUBDIVISION OF LARGE STORES. 

NB (1) relates to the operational note attached to Policy TC3 concerning Classes of goods sold.

Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs Town Centres

POLICY TC7 - RAMSGATE AND BROADSTAIRS CORE CENTRES

THE COUNCIL'S AIM IS TO ADOPT A STRONGER ROLE IN LEISURE, CULTURE, HERITAGE AND TOURISM, AS PART OF A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO REGENERATION.

NEW DEVELOPMENT OR CHANGE OF USE THAT SUPPORTS THIS AIM WILL BE PERMITTED SUBJECT TO SATISFACTORY DESIGN, ACCESS AND WHERE APPROPRIATE, PARKING AND SERVICING ARRANGEMENTS.

THE MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC SPACES AND LAND-USE ASPECTS OF THE TOWN-CENTRE MANAGEMENT WILL BE SUPPORTED TO CREATE AN ATTRACTIVE AND VITAL TOWN-CENTRE ENVIRONMENT.

4.86.

District & Local Centres

On the basis of the scale of retail floorspace, range of shops and the definition of retail centres as set out in Annexe A of PPS6, four district centres can be identified in Thanet. These are Birchington, Cliftonville, Minster and Westgate. These centres fulfil an important convenience-shopping role and attract much walk-in trade. Cliftonville's range of shopping is boosted by staying-visitor expenditure. Birchington and Westgate are located amongst large, middle-class neighbourhoods and appear to be in a state of retail equilibrium. New housing in Birchington in recent years may have contributed to this. Minster is an important centre serving mainly the rural parishes of the district.

4.87.

Cliftonville, a linear district shopping centre whose vitality is bolstered by considerable walk-in trade, kerb side parking and the tourist trade, has scope for the contraction of shopping floorspace without affecting consumer choice. The district centres of Westgate, Birchington and Minster all offer a wide range of shopping facilities to meet the needs of local people, the tourist trade and passing trade in pleasant and vibrant surroundings. It is important that the vitality of these centres is maintained. Thanet is also well served by local centres of varying sizes such as St Peter’s and Westbrook.

4.88.

The District Council envisages that any new retail shops within these centres should be local shops, to serve the local catchment of the particular centre. However, it is recognised that there may be a need for local food stores that may be larger than other local shops, but these should have a maximum floorspace of 1000 square metres.

POLICY TC8 - DISTRICT AND LOCAL CENTRES

PROPOSALS FOR ADDITIONAL SHOPPING PROVISION AT TRADITIONAL DISTRICT AND LOCAL CENTRES WILL BE PERMITTED WHERE THE PROPOSALS MEET A LOCAL NEED, WIDEN THE CHOICE, QUALITY OR RANGE OF SHOPPING FACILITIES AND ARE OF A SCALE APPROPRIATE TO THE PARTICULAR CENTRE*.

* Operational note: 

In the Council's view the appropriate scale of new retail development in existing traditional district and local centres is for stores of less than 1,000 square metres gross.

4.89.

Specific Town Centre Issues

Car Parking in Town and District Centres

The attractiveness of town centres for business, shoppers, residents and tourists depends amongst other things on an adequate level of car parking and effective enforcement of traffic regulations to prevent illegal parking on the highway and on public footpaths and grass verges.

4.90.

The District Council (as set out in the Thanet District Transport Plan 2001-2006) does not propose to develop or create additional off-street public car parking spaces, within the town centres of Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs. The Council wishes to promote better use of the existing facilities and to encourage greater use of public transport for short journeys and it is considered that providing additional off-street parking facilities would be counterproductive.

4.91.

The Thanet District Transport Plan identifies the aims of the District Council to convert existing free on-street car-parking facilities within the town centres to charged parking, to encourage more efficient use of parking spaces. The level of charges will reflect the Council’s aims to encourage greater use of public transport facilities and the cycling and walking network.

4.92.

In view of this, all new development within the core commercial areas of the town centres will be discouraged from providing dedicated car parking spaces, over and above those necessary to service the business use, through the use of planning controls. This approach aims to retain the existing level of car parking facilities within these core areas. Policy TR17 in the Transportation Chapter applies.

4.93.

Hot Food Takeaways

The District Council recognises that hot food takeaways form an important element of the mix of uses within core town, district and local centres and other locations, which attract high use including seafront areas and considers that they help to support the Council’s aims of ‘an evening economy’.

4.94.

However, the Council is aware that conflict, relating to additional noise generation, sometimes arises between takeaway uses and other uses, especially in predominantly residential areas. The location of such uses demands careful consideration in respect of the sensitivity of neighbouring uses, including uses above takeaway premises, noise, disturbance from street level activities, smells, opening hours and quick turnover of on-street car parking.

4.95.

In addition to the above, hot food takeaways generate significant amounts of litter, and spillages frequently creating unsightly staining of paving, often not in the immediate vicinity of the premises. The Council therefore considers it reasonable that such uses should contribute towards the cost of general cleaning and will therefore require applicants for new takeaways or for extensions to existing uses to make an annual financial contribution towards additional street cleaning.

4.96.

The annual payment will reflect the additional cost of extended or additional street cleaning as may be required to maintain a satisfactory clean street environment. This will be a standard annual payment, irrespective of size of property.

4.97.

The District Council therefore proposes the following policy to guide the development of takeaways.

POLICY TC9 - HOT FOOD TAKEAWAYS

NEW APPLICATIONS FOR HOT FOOD TAKEAWAY FACILITIES WILL BE JUDGED AGAINST THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

  1. THE CHARACTER OF THE AREA;
  2. THE SENSITIVITY OF NEIGHBOURING USES; AND
  3. THE LIKELIHOOD OF QUICK TURNOVER OF KERBSIDE PARKING BEING GENERATED BY THE PROPOSAL AND ITS EFFECTS ON THE FREE FLOW OF TRAFFIC, HIGHWAY SAFETY AND ITS POTENTIAL TO CREATE NOISE AND DISTURBANCE.

ALL APPLICATIONS SHOULD INCLUDE DETAILS OF THE SITING OF ANY FLUE EXTRACTION EQUIPMENT THAT MAY BE CONSIDERED NECESSARY IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE PROPOSED USE, TOGETHER WITH SUPPORTING TECHNICAL INFORMATION DEMONSTRATING HOW THEY CAN BE LOCATED TO MINIMISE VISUAL IMPACT AND PREVENT ODOUR AND NOISE SPREAD TO NEARBY OCCUPIERS. 

ALL APPLICANTS WILL BE REQUIRED TO ENTER INTO A LEGAL AGREEMENT WITH THE COUNCIL TO PROVIDE FOR A FINANCIAL PAYMENT TO BE MADE TO MEET THE ADDITIONAL COST OF MAINTAINING A CLEANER STREET ENVIRONMENT.

IN PREDOMINANTLY RESIDENTIAL AREAS, CONDITIONS WILL BE IMPOSED TO LIMIT OPENING TO 11.30PM.

LP Implementation Target
Policy Area
Town Centres and Retailing
Relevant Policies
TC1, TC2, TC7
Indicator
No. of vacant shops within core commercial area of each town centre
Target
Not more than 5% vacancy in any single year period
Monitoring
Through survey of Prime Shopping Frontages
LP Implementation Target
Policy Area
Town Centres and Retailing
Relevant Policies
TC2, TC3, TC4, TC5
Indicator
Reduce the leakage of expenditure from Thanet on non-bulky goods
Target
Reduce leakage of expenditure to 25%
Monitoring
In conjunction with KCC Household Expenditure Surveys
LP Implementation Target
Policy Area
Town Centres and Retailing
Relevant Policies
TC2, TC3, TC4, TC5
Indicator
Increase the share of spend on clothing and footwear items retained within Thanet
Target
Increase share of spend on clothing and footwear items to 75%
Monitoring
In conjunction with KCC Household Expenditure Surveys
  1. Extract from Management Horizons ‘Ranking of Retail Centres’ 2000/01, supplied by Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners, 14 Regent’s Wharf, All Saints Street, London.
  2. Table supplied by Kent County Council Strategic Planning Intelligence Group, ‘Thanet household spend by destination’, based on Kent Household Survey 2000.
  3. Kent Household Retail Expenditure Survey 2000.
  4. Thanet Travel Survey 1998, Thanet District Council.
  5. Kent County Council Strategic Planning, ‘Unemployment Change in Kent’, Travel-to-Work Areas, September 2000, Page 2.
  6. Pfizer Ltd, Sandwich, ‘Housing Impact Study’, February 2000.
  7. Kent Structure Plan 1996, page 213, Kent County Council.
  8. Lawson Price, ‘Retail Study’, February 1997.
  9. Colliers Conrad Riblat Erdman, ‘Kent Household Retail Expenditure Survey’, July 2000.
  10. Background Paper, ‘Town Centres and Retailing’, Table 3, Thanet District Council, August 2000.
  11. Inspector’s Report into the Local Plan Inquiry held between December 1996 and February 1997, para 5.18, page 74.
  12. Town and Country Planning Act 1990, Section 78 and Schedule 6 Appeal by Pearce Signs Group, Application OL/TH/97/0563, The Planning Inspectorate Decision Letter Dated 7th July 1998, Appeal Reference No. T/APP/Z2260/A/97/286178/P7.
  13. Planning Policy Guidance Note 6 (PPG6), ‘Town Centres and Retail Development’, Department of the Environment, June 1996.

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