18 August 2019
Thanet Green Party councillors Becky Wing and Mike Garner visited the development at the site of the former Laleham Gap School in Cliftonville on 9 August and have expressed their deep concern over the mass removal of mature trees and shrubs at the site. Local residents and the Thanet Trees Group have also expressed concern.
Following the site visit, Becky said: "We, and clearly locals, are deeply saddened by this total devastation of what was once a bustling habitat of mature trees, hedges and wildlife, some of which is protected. Thanet is one of the most densely populated areas in Kent with one of the lowest tree cover and therefore associated habitat and wildlife, so seeing even a small area disappear is simply not right. We were shocked at what seems to be a near total removal of mature trees, hedges and undergrowth. After e-mails to TDC finally a small group of trees has been protected but what about the Pipistrelle and Long Eared bats as well as the slow worms, both protected with surveys undertaken in August 2017. We will continue to ask questions and now a Kent Wildlife Police Officer is on the case we might get some answers. We need to safeguard what little habitat we have and send developers the message that TDC will enforce planning rules."
TDC councillors’ recent unanimous declaration of a Climate Emergency highlights their commitment to preserving the ecology of the Isle – but our Green councillors say this could be endangered by poor planning enforcement.
We are calling on the planning department to toughen up enforcement procedures to make sure planning conditions are adhered to. We are also calling for the planning process to be made more transparent and easier to access by members of the public.
Read the full story on the Isle of Thanet News.