14. Community Facilities

14.1.

Introduction

This Chapter contains the District Council’s planning policies relating to the provision and retention of social, cultural and community facilties. The Council considers that the provision of such facilities is an integral part of a comprehensive approach to the development of a “self -contained” community in the area.

OBJECTIVES

  1. TO SAFEGUARD EXISTING FACILITIES FOR THE SPIRITUAL, CULTURAL AND SOCIAL NEEDS OF THE THANET COMMUNITY;
  2. TO ALLOCATE LAND FOR NEW SOCIAL AND OTHER FACILITIES TO MEET SPECIFICALLY IDENTIFIED NEEDS; AND
  3. TO SET THE POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR THE REQUIREMENT OF DEVELOPMENT CONTRIBUTIONS TOWARDS SOCIAL AND OTHER FACILITIES.
14.2.

Strategic Policy Background

The draft Regional Planning Guidance for the South-East states that health, education and other social considerations and infrastructure requirements need to be taken fully into account in development planning in the Region. Development plans should facilitate the modernisation of health services; enable the provision of facilities for education and training; and support the provision of other facilities required by local communities, wherever possible maximising the potential of existing community buildings.

14.3.

The Structure Plan recognises the need to make provision for community needs – education, health, leisure, cultural and community facilities - and states that local authorities will have regard to these issues in preparing local plans.

14.4.

Provision and Retention of Community Facilities

The District Council recognises the importance that the social, cultural, health and spiritual needs of the community are met as far as possible, and that such facilities, which are often difficult to replace, are not lost to more financially profitable use (Policy CF1 applies). It is recognised that proposals for new community facilities including emergency services, educational services, social services and places of worship are likely to arise within the Local Plan period. This Plan seeks to make provision for identified social and other needs, but it is considered that the other policies within the Local Plan provide adequate general guidance in relation to any other such proposals which may arise within
the Plan period.

POLICY CF1 - COMMUNITY FACILITIES

  1. PLANNING PERMISSION WILL BE GRANTED FOR NEW COMMUNITY FACILITIES IF THE PROPOSALS ARE NOT CONTRARY TO OTHER LOCAL PLAN POLICIES AND THE COMMUNITY USE AND LOCATION ARE DEMONSTRATED AS APPROPRIATE.
  2. PLANNING PERMSSION WILL BE GRANTED FOR THE RE-USE OF EXISTING COMMUNITY FACILITIES FOR ALTERNATIVE (COMMUNITY) USES IF THE ALTERNATIVE USES ARE NOT CONTRARY TO OTHER LOCAL PLAN POLICIES AND THE ALTERNATIVE USE AND LOCATION ARE DEMONSTRATED AS APPROPRIATE.
  3. PLANNING PERMISSION FOR THE CHANGE OF USE OR THE RE-USE OF EXISTING COMMUNITY FACILITIES FOR NON-COMMUNITY USES WILL ONLY BE GRANTED IF:
    1. IT IS DEMONSTRATED THAT THERE IS NO LONGER A SUFFICIENT NEED FOR THE FACILITIES TO WARRANT RETENTION FOR COMMUNITY USE; OR
    2. IT CAN BE DEMONSTRATED THAT ADEQUATE ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION APPROPRIATE TO COMMUNITY USE, AND SUITABLY LOCATED, WILL BE PROVIDED.
14.5.

Development Contributions

In the consideration of development proposals it is essential to ensure that adequate provision of community and social facilities, including education and health, is made to meet the future needs for the District. The Council expects service providers and particularly the County Council and Health Authorities to ensure adequate provision through their planned investment programmes. However, controls over public expenditure have significant impact on the ability of the County Council and other public sector agencies to provide the necessary services.

14.6.

Circular 05/05 relating to planning obligations allows Local Authorities to seek provision for, or contributions towards, educational, social or other community facilities where these are required as a direct result of the development proposed. The Council will be dependent upon service providers
to demonstrate the genuine need for any such new extended or expanded community facilities.

14.7.

Structure Plan Policy sets out the need to provide necessary community facilities and services accessible by walking, cycling and by public transport from the area they serve. It is also a Council aim to seek to ensure that the District’s infrastructure needs are met to secure economic development for the area. Development proposals can often place additional demands on existing
local community facilities and services. Therefore, where a development proposal is in all other respects acceptable, the Council will, where appropriate, seek planning obligations to require a developer to directly provide the necessary facilities or to ensure a contribution towards that provision.

14.8.

Policy CF2 sets the general policy on development contributions. This is complemented by a number of other specific policies in the Plan. These are:

  • Policy EC7 (Infrastructure)
  • Policy H6 (New Primary School at Westwood)
  • Policy H14 (Affordable Housing)
  • Policy TR3 (Transport Infrastructure provision)
  • Policy TR14 (Sustainable Transport)
  • Policy SR4 (Provision of new sports facilities)
  • Policy SR5 (Play Space)
  • Policy SR6 (Amenity Areas).

POLICY CF2 - DEVELOPMENT CONTRIBUTIONS

WHERE A PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT WOULD DIRECTLY RESULT IN THE NEED TO PROVIDE NEW OR UPGRADED COMMUNITY FACILITIES (INCLUDING TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE, EDUCATIONAL OR RECREATIONAL FACILITIES OR AFFORDABLE HOUSING), THE LOCAL
PLANNING AUTHORITY WILL NEGOTIATE WITH THE APPLICANT FOR A CONTRIBUTION TOWARDS THE COST OF SUCH PROVISION, WHICH IS FAIRLY AND REASONABLY RELATED IN SCALE AND IN KIND TO THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT. A PLANNING OBLIGATION TO SECURE THE CONTRIBUTION WILL NORMALLY BE SOUGHT.

14.9.

Training Facilities

Training and education are core elements of the Council’s economic development strategy. In its SRB6 Bid, the Council recognised the need for continued improvements in the educational performance of the area. The Council is involved in the Thanet Lifelong Learning Partnership (TLLP), which is developing a training programme including, for example:

  1. Establishing a “Basic Skills” programme to improve educational levels across all sectors of the population, and reduce social exclusion;
  2. Assisting Thanet SMEs to develop integrated training plans and training key members of SME staff who themselves have training responsibilities;
  3. Expanding the Thanet Employment Training Initiative (TETI) to additional sectors, such as aviation, plastics and electronics;
  4. Supporting new start-up businesses through advice, guidance and mentoring; and
  5. assisting company expansion through pre-recruitment and customised training packages to suit the differing needs of Thanet’s SMEs and inward investors.
14.10.

The Council, as Local Planning Authority, granted planning consent for the development of the new Thanet Campus for Canterbury Christ Church University College at Thanet Reach, and is committed to supporting future education and training developments that underpin the economic regeneration
of the area.

14.11.

At present, the Council is not aware of any specific land use requirements resulting either from the TLLP programme or from individual training and education providers. However, it is important that the Local Plan gives positive support to the development of educational and training facilities
in appropriate locations within the District. The Council will seek contributions from developers of appropriate commercial and other non-residential proposals towards the cost of providing new or extended facilities for related training or life-long learning.

POLICY CF3 - TRAINING FACILITIES

SUBJECT TO THE ENVIRONMENTAL, TRANSPORT AND OTHER POLICIES OF THIS PLAN, PROPOSALS FOR NEW EDUCATIONAL AND TRAINING FACILITIES WILL BE PERMITTED.

SUCH PROPOSALS SHOULD BE OF A HIGH STANDARD OF DESIGN, AND WELL-RELATED TO PUBLIC TRANSPORT FACILITIES, AND WHERE APPROPRIATE, TO THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA WHICH THEY WOULD SERVE.

14.12.

QEQM Hospital, Margate

In the 1984 Thanet Urban Local Plan, the Council allocated land for the extension of the then Margate Hospital site, to allow the provision of additional buildings and facilities. Considerable modernisation has taken place over the last ten years, and the East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust has identified QEQM as a site for future expansion as a result of the major reconfiguration of the pattern
of healthcare services required in East Kent.

14.13.

This expansion is essential to enable the continued modernisation of hospital services at the site, and improvements to the site layout. In particular, services from other sites in the East Kent area are being relocated to the QEQM, providing improved access to a comprehensive range of acute services for the population of the area. It is estimated that at least 300 extra beds are required and the number of hospital visits are estimated to go up by 27 000 per annum.

14.14.

These proposals, together with NHS plan requirements and the improvement of significant areas of substandard accommodation, are likely to require at least an additional 30,000m2 of floorspace.

14.15.

One particular concern at the QEQM has been the quality and location of staff accommodation. Staff levels are predicted to increase from 1800 to 2200. It is a requirement of the ‘New Deal’, NHS plan and the Clinical Royal Colleges that junior doctors and some other staff have on-site accommodation. In addition, further on-site nurses’ accommodation is essential to replace existing
poor quality accommodation and to ensure quality staff can be attracted to the hospital. New accommodation must be to higher quality standards than that provided in the past. A current requirement is for at least 200 high quality staff units on-site.

14.16.

The above development is forecast to take place during this plan period but it is essential that the hospital be provided with sufficient land for expansion to ensure that its needs can be met for the foreseeable future. This Local Plan therefore identifies land to the south-east of the existing hospital site for future expansion. This land was previously designated as Green Wedge land, but
has been released exceptionally to meet the health and social needs of local people. However, in order to safeguard the Green Wedge in the longer term, new development at the Hospital should involve the minimum fresh land-take necessary. Accordingly the Council will expect all elements of detailed expansion proposals to make the most efficient use of the existing and allocated site. This should include appropriate use of multi-storey development as far as is compatible with the effective working of the site and the creation of a pleasant environment for both patients and staff, and limiting visual impact on the Green Wedge.

14.17.

To minimise the visual impact of new development on the Green Wedge, it would be desirable for open uses, such as car parking, to be located on this site rather than amongst the high-density development within the existing hospital. This site, particularly the southern part, would be most suitable for the high-quality staff accommodation the hospital requires. Existing tree screens
along Ramsgate Road and along the footpath should be retained wherever possible. In the interests of sustainable pedestrian and cycle movement it is desirable that a route as direct as possible is retained for the existing footpath connecting Ramsgate Road with St Peter’s Road.

14.18.

The hospital has frontages to Ramsgate Road and St Peter’s Road, both of which are Primary Distributors in the local road hierarchy and where it is important to maintain free flow of cross-town and longer distance traffic. In supporting improvement and expansion of the hospital it is essential that the opportunity be taken to rationalise and improve current access arrangements. Specific proposals will be required to reflect a traffic impact assessment of such proposals and to incorporate suitable access improvements to accommodate any resultant increases in traffic and appropriate access for ‘Blue Light’ vehicles.

14.19.

The Hospital is already a major generator of traffic in the area, and the Council will wish to see the implementation of a Green Transport Strategy for the Hospital, which can be implemented in parallel with development permitted by this Policy. An essential element of this Strategy should be to encourage the greater use of public transport by staff and visitors. The creation of new staff accommodation on site should help to work towards this objective.

POLICY CF4 - QEQM HOSPITAL, MARGATE

LAND TO THE SOUTH-EAST OF THE EXISTING QEQM HOSPITAL, MARGATE, IS IDENTIFIED FOR RELEASE FOR EXPANSION OF THE HOSPITAL. NO OTHER DEVELOPMENT WILL BE PERMITTED ON THIS SITE.

DEVELOPMENT FOR HOSPITAL PURPOSES SHOULD MEET THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:

  1. PROPOSALS SHOULD BE DESIGNED TO INVOLVE THE MINIMUM TAKE OF FRESH LAND, CONSISTENT WITH THE NEED TO PROVIDE A PLEASANT ENVIRONMENT FOR PATIENTS AND STAFF;
  2. DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS SHOULD DEMONSTRATE HOW MORE EFFECTIVE USE CAN BE MADE OF THE HOSPITAL SITE AS A WHOLE;
  3. PROPOSALS SHOULD INCORPORATE THE RETENTION OF THE EXISTING FOOTPATH AND PROVISION OF A SUBSTANTIAL LANDSCAPING SCREEN; PROPOSALS SHOULD INCORPORATE A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW OF ACCESS ARRANGEMENTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE HOSPITAL AND ACCESS PROVISION SHOULD REFLECT THE FINDINGS OF A SPECIFIC TRAFFIC IMPACT ASSESSMENT.
  4. PROPOSALS SHOULD BE COMPATIBLE WITH A GREEN TRANSPORT STRATEGY FOR THE HOSPITAL;
  5. THE LEVEL OF CAR PARKING ASSOCIATED WITH NEW DEVELOPMENT SHOULD BE LIMITED TO THE MINIMUM NECESSARY WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE GREEN TRANSPORT STRATEGY; AND
  6. NEW PARKING AREAS SHOULD, AS FAR AS POSSIBLE, BE LOCATED ON THE NEWLY ALLOCATED SITE.
14.20.

Margate Cemetery is now nearing capacity and therefore there is a need to expand. The following Policy allocates land for this expansion and for additional parking. Woodland burial schemes may be included on this site or in the new community woodlands proposed in the Sport and Recreation chapter.

POLICY CF5 - MARGATE CEMETERY

LAND, AS INDICATED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP, WILL BE ALLOCATED FOR THE EXPANSION OF MARGATE CEMETERY AND ANCILLARY USES AND WILL BE RETAINED FOR SUCH USE.

14.21.

New School Education Centre

The County Council, as Education Authority, is developing a programme to accommodate future needs for secondary education in the District. This includes proposals for the expansion, improvement and rationalisation of a number of existing schools and facilities which have outgrown their present premises. The opportunity exists, within the Local Plan period, to relocate a
number of schools and provide shared, modern, top-quality facilities by identifying a central site to accommodate such an educational cluster. In advance of the emerging Community Plan, the development may also incorporate adult education facilities, libraries and other community uses.

14.22.

Thanet’s urban area is extensively developed, and opportunities to provide a site of sufficient size are extremely limited. Following assessment of available site options to accommodate the scale and type of facilities required, it is considered that an area within the Broadstairs/Ramsgate Green Wedge would provide the only suitable location.

14.23.

A site, as shown on the Proposals Map, is to be allocated to allow built development to be located in an extensive, landscaped parkland setting. This could be accommodated at the southern part of the wedge, where built elements will have far less visual impact. This allows for extensive open space
to occupy the areas of the site which are more visible. The facility would be well related to its intended catchment and to public transport services. Its close proximity to Ramsgate Railway Station should encourage the use of public transport. Vehicular access would most appropriately be provided off Pysons Road. The proposed site does not fall beneath the flight path of Kent International Airport, thus reducing any disruption from aircraft noise which is currently an issue for some schools. In these circumstances, the potentially significant benefits are considered to override the presumption against development within the Green Wedge.

POLICY CF6 - NEW EDUCATION SITE

A SITE AROUND NEWLANDS FARM IS ALLOCATED TO PROVIDE AN EDUCATION COMPLEX. DEVELOPMENT WHICH WOULD PRECLUDE DEVELOPMENT FOR SUCH PURPOSE WILL BE REFUSED.

DEVELOPMENT WILL BE PERMITTED ONLY AT SUCH TIME AS A COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN HAS BEEN DEVELOPED. THIS MASTER PLAN SHOULD:

  • IDENTIFY ALL ELEMENTS OF THE PROPOSED COMPLEX AND INDICATE NOTIONAL PHASING OF INDIVIDUAL ELEMENTS;
  • DEMONSTRATE FULLEST CONSIDERATION IN MINIMISING IMPACT ON THE OPEN QUALITIES AND LONG VIEWS ACROSS THE GREEN WEDGE THROUGH CAREFUL SITING OF BUILT ELEMENTS AND LANDSCAPING;
  • INCORPORATE A GREEN TRAVEL STRATEGY AND ACCESS ARRANGEMENTS BASED ON A TRAFFIC IMPACT STUDY REFLECTING THE SCALE AND NATURE OF EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES PROPOSED.
  • DEMONSTRATE HOW USE OF THE PROPOSED FACILITIES BY THE WIDER COMMUNITY CAN BE ACHIEVED.

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