With much of Thanet under attack from developers attempting to squeeze one-bedroom flats out of large houses, news of an appeal that shows that the developers don't always win.
The appeal against a new policy, restricting the type of housing that can be provided in the Cliftonville West Renewal Area, has been thrown out by a planning inspector.
New planning guidance was developed by Thanet District Council in response to concerns from people in the Renewal Area about the increasing amount of small flats and the lack of family homes there.
This guidance was designed to help the Council to refuse planning permission for any further applications to provide one bedroom flats and bedsits in the Renewal Area and received significant public support. It was adopted by the Council in December 2006.
An appeal was made over the Council's failure to determine an application within a given period to convert a property at 19 Godwin Road into three one bedroom flats. The Inspector dismissed the appeal and refused to grant planning permission for the conversion. His report stated that "The Council has provided substantial and detailed evidence as to the social, economic and physical character of the Cliftonville West Renewal Area* it is clear that the area does not form a stable, inclusive and mixed community, which is one of the strategic national objectives for housing policy." He goes on to say that "I accept that the high proportion of small units of rented accommodation in this area is inextricably linked to the area's serious and diverse problems."
Head of Development Services, Brian White, said: "This is excellent news and shows firm support for Thanet District Council's new planning guidance in the Renewal Area to help restrict the number of small flats, bedsits and non-self contained accommodation there. We are determined to improve the quality of life for people living there and residents have told us that the key to that is developing a more balanced and vibrant community. That's why this policy was developed and we hope that it will have a major impact in helping the Council's work to improve life for people living in the Cliftonville West Renewal Area over the next few years."