That’s the impression that our beloved Folkestone & Hythe District Council, along with their development bedfellows and apparatchik consultants and PR sidekicks would want us all to believe. The fact of the matter is, there’s… More
Same old, same old. That was the story as angry residents streamed out of the Otterpool (Offshore) Park exhibition hosted by ‘out of town’ folk hired by FHDC.
Residents told us of ‘experts’ describing Stone Street as Stone Road with other ‘experts’ pleading with angry residents to stop the barrage of questioning, simply because they didn’t have the answers. All in all, it wasn’t a lot different from the two previous public, tick-a-box consultations.
We said on our previous, Watch this space, post, that questions would be answered from a leaflet handed to residents as they entered the consultation. Here they be:
Why build a New Town when all of our housing needs have been met for the next 20 years? Why indeed. This proposed development was the brain child of Leader David Monk and his close associates within FHDC. It has nothing to do with Planning and is totally cash driven to bolster Council income.
What public consultation was there before FHDC (SDC) decided to build an new town amidst our villages? None.
How many houses will there be in the new town, 12,000, 10,000, 8.500, 5,500? Many figures have been banded about in an attempt to confuse us all. Obfuscation is just one of the feeble weapons in the FHDC armoury that we have grown accustomed to.
How can water supply for the district be guaranteed when Affinity Water say they can only supply enough for 1000 new houses at Otterpool Park? This is a subject that has to be investigated in detail. We will dedicate one of our forthcoming posts purely on Water Resources within the Dour (F & H) region. It is true that Affinity Water can only supply 1000 houses (we have the evidence) via the existing, limited infrastructure, given that water is available.
How many houses at Otterpool Park will be ‘affordable’? Put simply, will an average Shepway salary be enough to secure a home for a local resident? – NO. With the average income of around £23,000 pa, there would be no way that a local person would be able to secure a home on Otterpool Park. Even with a combined salary of £46,000, purchasing a new property would be out of the question. Moreover, the saving for a deposit of typically £12,000 would be near impossible if an individual or a couple are already renting at exorbitant rates.
What changes will FHDC make to plans for Otterpool Park now that the anticipated £281,000,000 Government Housing Infrastructure Fund has been refused. Fewer community facilities?, Lower quality landscaping?, Less Green space?, Fewer and less affordable houses?, Scrap the high speed station at Westenhanger? It stands to reason that the less money available for non profitable features of a development, the more likely it is that they will be pulled. We see it on a regular basis where developers promise 30% ‘affordable’ homes on a section 106 agreement but halfway through a development, 30% becomes 10% because the developer says there isn’t enough money left in the pot. Moreover, Council Leader Monk and his team have already stated that services in the district would be cut if Government financial support wasn’t forthcoming (see KM, F&H Express 26th July 2017 – More Government cash needed or key services will take the hit) to build Otterpool Park.
Is it now time to cancel the Otterpool Park Park project? Even though FHDC have already wasted thousands of pounds of our Council Tax money on consultants of many shades overseeing the promotion of what would be a dystopian nightmare for us all, we are sure that you would all agree that cancelling the Otterpool Park project is the only option. Looking to the future, with land in Council ownership (which in effect is our land), a coming together of all local residents to agree and decide on the future for our communities, our children and grandchildren is the way forward. The only way, of course to do this, is to rid the Council offices of the incumbents that hold power. May 2019 is the date to set in your diaries. Only we can do it, but it is up to each and everyone of us to spread the word. More on this soon.
A better than expected turnout was a surprise to us all thanks to our own teams, alongside local press. Recording residents comments is always helpful in assessing the level of support for Otterpool Park which we have done on the previous two occasions. Many of the comments are not printable but lets just say that the one word expletive that repeatedly filled the air was the term used for fairly warm waste from a cattle herd, useful in agriculture after composting.
Out of 146 residents interviewed, 130 were opposed to Otterpool Park, 10 supported it and 4 were undecided. No doubt FHDC will put their own spin on the consultation, but the facts can not be denied. This is supposed to be, as set down by Government, community led. It really is nothing of the kind.
A final word to all those residents who have signed up to our website – a big thank you. It is only through information sharing that change will happen. We have already heard about two families that have recently moved into the area not knowing anything about a new town on the cards, even though a thorough search was carried out by their solicitors? Why didn’t FHDC disclose such information?
Please keep your emails coming in to us, we’d love to hear from you.
For all of us Residents attending the Sham, Tick-a-box Consultation at Westenhanger Castle today, seven questions will need to be answered – More on this when you arrive.
We can be sure that the PR company hosting the event will have a template answer fed to them from FHDC but watch this space over the next 48 hours to get the real and honest facts.
If you thought that Westenhanger Castle was promoting a Sham 69 Concert with Jimmy Pursey banging out ‘Hurry up Harry’ as an encore, you’d be very much mistaken. However, it will be an event to get your blood pressure increasing to stratospheric levels, as it has to a lady who has contacted us today.
Comments are coming in, thick and fast about the Sham Otterpool Town Consultation being held at Westenhanger next Wednesday, 20th June. Below is a comment (unedited) that we feel fully justified in bringing to the attention of all Shepway Residents.
“Everybody needs to cross out all options for the new town and just write across it….NO DEVELOPMENT WANTED…..WE WANT OUR GREEN SPACE AND FARMLAND LEFT AS IT IS !! Then they will know that we don’t want their disgusting newtown……perhaps we could add that they could build it next to where they live !!”
We would like to thank the author of the above article for taking the time and trouble to write to us.
We would love to hear from other Residents, on all issues, whatever their views.
On Wednesday the 20th June, Folkestone and Hythe District Council (SDC) will be presenting us all with the third and final consultation on Otterpool Park New Town at Westenhanger Castle between the hours of 2 pm and 8 pm.
If you ‘re hoping to go along to voice your opinion on why we really need such a new town, given that we already have 14, 560 proposed homes in the local plan to meet local housing needs, forget it.
Cast your minds back to the previous consultations and you will recall that we have NEVER been asked whether we want a new town on our doorstep or not. Indeed you will also recall that Andy Jarrett has already stated in an interview last Summer:
Those people that aren’t happy with the plan, they just have to put up with it then?
(Even bigger sigh)
While they have to…they have to put up with it, or they have to try and work with us to shape it.
What we are not entering into is a dialogue about it not happening.
So if you’re in the camp of 98% of residents that have already told our beloved District Council to shove it, based on environmental, economic and health concerns, what’s the point of attending the so called Consultation? Only you can decide that. We would neither discourage or encourage you to attend, but if you are in agreement with Councillor Monk and FHDC that we do need a new town, irrespective of the fact that Affinity Water can only supply 1000 dwellings (given that we are not in a drought situation) with potable water and GP’s are in short supply, then go ahead and tell FHDC’s PR company that you would like to see blue tarmac on the roads and taking the fresh Otterpool air, walking along a tree lined riverside promenade with all the other healthy Otterpool Park residents would be conducive to your longevity, living a life of total contentment, spiritually uplifted, in an eco friendly, high spec, ever so affordable home, then you will be shaping the utopian FHDC dream.
And lets not forget about attending the multi faith halls (see FHDC’s master plan) of religions on the sabbath or whatever day suits the multicultural, autonomous, dormitory, Otterpool community.
Let’s face it, this is another tick-a-box exercise for the benefit of Monk, his cohorts at FHDC and Cozumel (offshore) Estates just to say that all public consultations have been carried out in their feeble attempt to hoodwink a Planning Inspector later this year. And will they ever issue the true results? Of course not.
Perhaps we’ll see you all on the 20th.
Plans for a permanent solution to Operation Stack are to come under the spotlight for a second time as part of a public consultation that will get underway next week.
The government recently announced that it would implement a contra-flow system along the M20 between Junction 8 and 9 as an interim measure in the face of possible delays when Brexit takes effect.Now Highways England is to invite views on finding a permanent solution – for the second time – which could involve one or more lorry parks to prevent the M20 being closed completely when delays happen.A six-week “listening exercise” will take place from next week, with a series of exhibitions and meetings across the county.These will be the start of a longer-term consultation process aimed at identifying permanent improvements to how freight traffic is managed when there is disruption to cross channel services in future.
People will be asked whether they would prefer to have an on-road or off-road lorry holding area; or a combination of both on either single or multiple sites.
The government has emphasised that it has no sites in mind for lorry parks and is open-minded about its options. But it says the consultation will seek views on whether everyday 24-hour lorry parking should be considered as part of a lorry park solution. Approximately 900 lorries park illegally or inappropriately across Kent each day.
Highways England project director John Kerner said:
“The disruption that people in Kent experienced in the summer of 2015 underlined the need for improvements to how traffic is managed when services across the English Channel are interrupted.
“We now have an opportunity to take a completely fresh look at what a permanent solution to Operation Stack could be, and understanding people’s views will be vital in making sure we can identify the most appropriate outcome.
“I encourage anyone with an interest to get involved.”
The government was forced to scrap a planned lorry park off the M20 near Folkestone last year ahead of a Judicial Review.
All meetings to take place from 2pm to 8pm except Dover and Maidstone when the times are 12noon to 6pm.
- Details of the events and other information is available at www.highwaysengland.co.uk/kentlorryarea
In last weeks local KM newspaper a story hit the front page; Just a green dream that was termed as ‘exclusive’ about the promised 40% green space for the proposed commuter Town (Otterpool). The headline read: Emails reveal council and landowner agreed to scrap 40% green space Otterpool pledge.
To be clear, the KM are not talking about local landowners or farmers who may, or may not about to be compulsory purchased by FHDC. The land owner in question described above is Cozumel Estates, aka The Reuben Brothers, based in the ‘offshore’ British Virgin Islands.
Far from being an exclusive, this story was revealed by our friends at Shepwayvox back in April:
The green space is now just an ambition. It is known that Cozumel representatives wish to reduce or even eradicate the 40% green space. They went as far as asking FHDC to remove the figure of 40% of green space.
Are we surprised to learn of the deception surrounding open space? Is the Pope a Catholic? The point being, if they are prepared to deceive us on this, what else are they deceiving us on? We already know that the Leader of the Council will readily lie to further his dystopian dormitory Otterpool dream, not only in print, but also on BBC radio: a true votarist.
The “unrealistic target of up to 40%” evidence is set out below in an email dated 24th May, 2016 from Stephen Higgins to Susan Priest at SDC (FHDC). This document, described as Confidential, was obtained through a FOI request and is now in the public domain.
Less than a week ago more than 50,000 homes received the FHDC publication, Spring/Summer edition of ‘YOUR DISTRICT TODAY, where on page 11 it clearly states that ‘outdoor space will make up over 40 per cent’. Why is this figure still being bandied about? Could it be that low density housing will become flats or even towers to accommodate the outdoor green space to ‘emphasise healthy living and wellbeing’. For whatever reason, we would respectfully ask FHDC to desist from using such misleading information.
In the same magazine and on the same page we are told of another re-run of the public exhibition being held at Westenhanger Castle, 20th June, between 2pm and 6pm. A six hour window for us all to be told how wonderful the Otterpool dream is going to be for us all. 12,000?, 10,000?, 8,500?, 5,500? dwellings that all of our children and grandchildren will be able to afford, living healthy lives with great transport links, cycling to heritage sites, riverside walks, medical centres, schools, multi-faith halls of worship. What is there not to like about Otterpool Offshore Park New Town? The list is endless.
We’ll see you all on the 20th June.
If you have ever questioned the intelligence of our Councillors or MP, your thoughts are justified. We recently witnessed the complete farce of attempting to build the worlds biggest lorry park at Stanford West, supported by Damian Collins MP, along with Monk, Hollingsbee and Carey, only to find that it thankfully fell at the first hurdle, purely because our MP and Councillors were too lazy and arrogant to work out that disregarding the Environmental impact and protocol is an avenue never to be explored. A Judicial Review was duly launched against Highways England and the rest, as they say, is history. Stanford West remains part of the arable landscape.
We now have a similar situation with a commuter town, planned to obliterate our villages, which our beloved Council are calling Otterpool Park. Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you would know that we live in the most water stressed area in the UK, so the very idea of building a town of 12,000 dwellings makes no sense at all. Moreover, with some 24,000 other dwellings planned for the area, you wouldn’t need to be a hydrologist or water industry expert to have an inkling that the development of a town may just be a bridge too far in terms of providing a potable water supply to each and every home. Enter Councillor Monk and his ‘Expression of Interest’ to build a town.
The original intention was to build 12,000 dwellings, then it was 10,000. After a conversation with the local water company it’s now 5,500. We believe that it won’t stop there. Here’s the email dated 23rd January, 2018 sent from Chris Lewis at FHDC (SDC) to Affinity Water (AW):
“For clarification, the current position is that the policy requirement is for a minimum of 5,500 homes over the Core Strategy Local Plan period until 2037, with development capacity within the red line of 8000-10,000 homes (subject to detailed masterplanning) drawn from evidence base work providing opportunity for growth beyond the plan period.”
It should be noted that a meeting took place last December (2017) where AW announced that capacity exists for only 1000 dwellings, but after that, major infrastructure upgrades will be necessary. Let’s not forget that the Governments Housing Infrastructure Fund of £281,000,000 destined for FHDC amounted to nothing.
Have a nice weekend.
If you haven’t already made your views known on the latest Core Strategy Review, you only have until the 18th of this month to comment. We hear from Residents that it’s confusing and time consuming, not knowing where to find the document.
Remembering that your comments will go some way to shaping how our area develops over the coming years, it is vital that your comments are noted.
Within the Core strategy, there is also the opportunity to comment on the proposed New Town which our District Council is calling Otterpool Park, and do remember that when the Core Strategy document goes before a planning Inspector, your views will be taken into consideration.
The easiest way to comment is to simply click on the link
Then click on Core Strategy Local Plan review, then: Read and Comment on document. It’s that easy.
If you have any problems in logging on or need further advice, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Thursday, 26th April, 6 Parish Councillors met with Andy Jarrett, Head of Strategic Developments Projects, to hear about the latest update and presentation on the proposed New Town development being called Otterpool Park. According to our sources, it was pretty much the same old rhetoric promoting the advantages of a non piecemeal build with riverside walks and state of the art ‘green’ living.
The Questions and Answers session revealed cracks in the facade with many points put to Mr. Jarrett being deflected or responding with: ‘I’m no expert’. Pressed on the water issues, or lack of, the very best that Mr. Jarrett could come up with was: I am told by Affinity Water that they can supply water to Otterpool Park Town. When questioned on homes for local people, once again, obfuscation was the order of the day.
In a recent FHDC document, Healthier Housing Strategy 2018-2023 (Draft), it clearly states at 4.11:
It is vital that new housing provision within the district meets the needs of the local community and also contributes toward
enabling the district to fully meet its economic and regeneration objectives. The Core Strategy Local Plan (adopted 2013) has committed the Council to the development of a target 8,000 additional homes in the district over the period 2006 to 2031. The Council is now in the process of reviewing the Core Strategy. The evidence base document, the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), has indicated that there is an Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) of 14,560 dwellings over the period from 2014 to 2037. This is an additional 6,560 homes over the 2013 Plan. The majority of the 633 homes required each year will be market homes provided through private developers, with the SHMA also identifying a need for an additional 139 affordable dwellings per year.
We make no apologies for repeating our stance on Housing for local needs. The above statement clearly defines, after the Core strategy review, that 14,560 dwellings are required up to 2037. The expression of Interest to build a Town came purely from Shepway District Council (now FHDC). Otterpool is not intended for local people, evidenced by the proposed development of Westenhanger Station, but an empire building, venture capital exercise that will see our Residents, notably young citizens, pushed even further away from the Housing ladder.
With our Leader Monk and Deputy Leader Hollingsbee instrumental in this venture, refusing to attend any public debate, is it any wonder that Residents opprobrium towards our so-called representatives is at boiling point.
We also learn of another Public Consultation being planned for June. Bearing in mind that we have already had two consultations that revealed less than 2% support for the Otterpool development, this will be another box ticking exercise where the results are never released. But FHDC will be able to tell the Planning Inspector that 3 public consultations have taken place and stakeholders are on board.
So, if you’re off on your hol’s and fancy a novel full of lies and deception, pick up a copy of Otterpool Town – The death of Rural Kent. To be found nowhere in your local bookshops.
Have a nice weekend.
Over the past few weeks you may have noticed a digger in the field almost opposite Rose Cottage (the green bungalow) on the A20 at Newingreen.
Oxford Archaeology have been commissioned by land owners to carry out investigative work as to what lies beneath the surface of the site. One wouldn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to work out that somewhere in the district (so close to Stone Street), fortifications or dwellings would have been a feature on the landscape circa 43-410 AD.
For a local view, our friends at Shepwayvox have now posted on their site the following: https://shepwayvox.org/2018/04/27/probable-roman-villa-discovered-at-otterpool-park/
We believe that this site should be a Scheduled Monument, affording protection against unauthorised change. Please take the time to tell us if you agree. The choice is: A rich history for us all to enjoy or an unaffordable property keeping local salaried Residents firmly off the housing ladder.