Friday, 14 March 2008


The story of the Great Garden Grab was first run by the very good but now suspended, ended, temporarily shut, Thanet Life and is a good reason why Simon Moores should come back to local blogging.
Basically, developers calling themselvesLilybrook Developments have either purchased or have already sewn up purchase of a number of houses (if Planning consent is obtained) in Downs Road and Pegwell Road in Ramsgate. The houses all have very big gardens and the plan below shows the houses and gardens at the moment. To get some idea of just how pretty this area is in Pegwell, go to Virtual Earth and have a look from the air! Laura Sandys, presently on late honeymoon and local Cllrs Kirby and Gideon got stuck into this issue in December and hopefully sufficient objections were sent to TDC. You can see why with the plans submitted by Lilybrook Developments. shown below. 26 new homes are to be crammed into this area because technically it is a brown fieldsite.
Whilst these gardens are without doubt rich in wildlife this is not the real issue.
A Ms Smith is shown as an owner on Planning Application F/TH/07/1734. If Ms Smith owns No 2 Downs road, does she already own the rest? have they all been taken in by 'offers they can't refuse' by Lillybrooks. The biggest existing plot is 169 Pegwell Road and Mr & Mrs Kirkaldie hold the key land to this whole proposed development. Mr & Mrs Jones at No.16 Downs Road would like to have most of their garden but are happy for half of it to have two houses on it, even if those houses would be over-looking the gardens of 173 and 177 Pegwell Road. Ms Smith( No 2 Downs Road)and Mr & Mrs Kirkaldie(169 Pegwell Road) are about to spoil the rear areas of the poor inhabitants of 27, 29,31,33,35, 37 and 39 Mark Avenue who will now have 9 houses overlooking their modest sized back-gardens.
This sort of 'garden infilling' is an absolute disgrace. Greed on the developers part and individual house-owners who also see the £ signs in their eyes should not be allowed to change the very nature of an area that many others who have settled and live there,originally moved there for.
I just hope that this apalling situation can be avoided. The real key to stopping this so-called 'brown site' development is a rigorous local democracy with Cllrs having the 'balls' to reject it at a FULL COUNCIL PLANNING MEETING (no nodding through by Planning Dept Officers or by the Planning Committee) .
I hope that whatever advice may be given by Planning Officers, Cllrs realise that they can throw it out and be damned at the cost to the rest of us TDC Council Tax Payers. In the present economic environment, delay and costly appeals by Lillybrooks will make them seriously think if this whole project is not financially viable. TDC Cllrs must draw the line in the sand some-where and this seems as good a place as anywhere to do it. Let us hope that Cllrs Kirby and Joanna Gideon can convince the Planning Committee next Wednesday 19th March to throw the application out or refer it to a full council meeting.


Anonymous said...

This garden grabbing should be stopped in its tracks whereever it is happening. The other side of the island has the same problem and the properties thus erected are not in keeping with the existing houses.

Rick said...

You can't buck the market garden ?

Bertie Biggles said...

It just requires our Councillors to have the interests of their constituents as a priority, thats all, Rick.

Rick said...

Yes I know that.

In the 80s I built an extension on a three bed semi.

The TDC Building Regs guys were excellent. I did my own drawings and they told me what was required re a main drain passing under the extension.

So I did 45 degree load spread lines etc and ended up digging down six feet casting a concrete base building up either side of the drain in engineering brick piers then putting lintels over etc

All passed by TDC building regs.

But when it came to the final certification which I got the TDC officer looked along the back gardens.

Don't know about any of those extensions he said. Bet none of them have done the proper groundwork to protect the drain.

Well in the 87 hurricane most of them got fault lines.

But enforcement action ?

In recent years I did some renovation work in Margate with a mate who bought properties at auction. And again TDC building regs no problem. Agree how it is to be done, do it, pass. None of this iterative boll-cks where you do it and they tell you it is wrong etc. (Hoop jumping)

Reluctant to mention this as if a cllr sees it they will stick their nose in and make a decent dept awkward.

But from the time of the drain incident I wonder just how much enforcement they can do ?

Bertie Biggles said...

In my experience, enforcement by TDC, can be a little hit and miss. The problem is that the Planning Dept is snowed under with work and applications and that the enforcement team is small. However, if you suspect something is not right, they will follow up enquiries and take action. Perhaps we need to help them out by drawing matters to their attention more?