At an extraordinary planning committee meeting in East Kent last night, it was revealed that the majority of farmland in Thanet is under threat.
As locals fight to save their green spaces and open areas in the Garden of England, the planning officer has highlighted an area of concern for all. According to the Planning officer at the meeting, Grade 1 farmland means that “we have to build on it”.
Unfortunately for those in the area and anyone looking to protect our countryside, the majority of of Thanet is indeed marked as Grade 1.
The map of Kent, which can be found on the DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) website clearly shows the colour bands of the different areas. Blue Grade1+2 (top arable grades), Green Grade 3 (mixed farming), Brown 4+5 (livestock & sparse livestock) Red = Developed area.
It is not good news for Kent that large swathes are coloured in blue. It is not clear who is to blame for the colour coding but it is bad news all round if Kent is to be covered in new housing.
There are already plans underway to build over 17,000 new homes in the Thanet area – using existing farmland. There are concerns that what farmland is left, is prone to flooding and so is not sustainable for a long term viable business.