H2 WOE.

If you had just moved to Folkestone and Hythe in the past two years, you may well be thinking how wet our Winters are. The fact of the matter is that we have experienced two of the wettest winters that I can remember.

Our area has the status of Water Stressed with good reason. During the mid nineties, amid drought conditions, a scheme was in place to transport water across the North Sea from Scandinavia to supply our region due to very low Groundwater levels to supplement dwindling supplies. Another plan was to import water through the Fire Hydrant system of the Channel Tunnel, once again, to top up potable water supplies. With very little headroom in the Dour Region (Folkestone, Hythe and Dover) we are now at a critical stage of water supply to the near 160,000 homes and commercial/Industrial units within Affinity Water’s (AW) catchment area. There have been countless occasions where the threat of water restrictions, in one form or another, has been on the cards with the Tanker Drought probably being the most memorable: https://historicdroughts.ceh.ac.uk/content/tanker-drought-1995-1998

The plan to build almost 15,000 more homes, including the Otterpool New Town scheme is quite frankly unbelievable. Add to that, the ever expanding housing schemes in the Dover District, especially at Whitfield, and you have a pending environmental problem. Low river flows, Groundwater levels plummeting, Water courses running dry, Wildlife destroyed. The threat of Groundwaters becoming brackish,

Compounding the problem is that of Climate change. Whether you think it’s man-made or cyclical, the fact remains that our weather is changing; getting warmer. According to the Met Office, nine of the warmest years ever recorded in the UK have occured since 2002. Thames Water forecasts that, by 2050, our Summers may be an average of 3 degrees hotter and 18% drier.

So, how do we plan to mitigate for water shortages, and who pays?

We are constantly being advised to use less water. Why? – Because there is little to spare. We are being offered freebies from Affinity Water; devices to save water (aerated shower heads and the like) Why? Once again, there’s little to spare. WE ARE THE DRIEST AREA IN THE UK.

The recent Core Strategy Review (CSR) was enlightening in the respect that mitigation measures were exposed as a box ticking exercise to placate both the planning Inspectors and the public. Let’s take the proposed housing estate being tagged as Otterpool Park. Our Council, FHDC, say that water usage per person (per capita consumption – PCC) will be 90 litres per person per day. The planning Inspectors thought this figure to be too low and has settled on a figure of 110 PCC as outlined in the Building regulations. This is, of course, still aspirational. At the moment, the average Briton uses 142 litres per day. So the aspirational figure of 110 PCC is a reduction of 32 litres. Affinity Water tells us that we use 155 litres, Given the above reduction, that would bring down the PCC to 123 litres.Still very much, aspirational.

We are then told by FHDC that a team of plumbers will visit homes within the district and replace old cisterns for new ones, reducing the flush by 3 litres (full flush) and 6 litres (half flush) How are these homes chosen and who pays for this work to be carried out? In any event, modern cisterns will never be compatible with older type pans due to the profile and litreage in the bowl. All of this is complete tosh and will never happen.

The CSR also threw up the discrepancies in funding for the utilties across Otterpool Park. FHDC’s consultants say that £30 million will be enough to install all utilities, including water mains, across the site. When questioned whether it will include the upgrade in the services to and from Paddlesworth reservoir (which isn’t really a reservoir – merely, a transfer pool) and associated 500mm trunk mains ancillary pipework and booster stations, he didn’t know. In a meeting between FHDC (then SDC), KCC and AW 30th September 2016, Ian Macathy (AW) said. ‘In terms of funding, AW advised that costs associated with water abstraction and high level plant are likely to be costs that all AW customers would have to meet.‘ Funding for reservoirs, booster staions and trunking mains would be a matter for agreement with developers while local level mains pipes and connections into new homes would be fully developer funded’. It would appear that no agreement has been settled between AW and FHDC on booster stations and trunking mains, as underlined above. Moreover, further abstraction and high level plant costs would have to be met by AW customers – You and Me.

Talk of building a desalination plant has been mooted on several occasions. AW said they would never build one, Leader of FHDC, David Monk said the Council could part fund the building of such a plant. Where would the money come from? Beckton (London) desalination plant cost £250 million over ten years ago. Where would it be sited? Hythe?, Folkestone?

There is no doubt that the further development of our already water stressed area is a ‘bridge too far’ in terms of development overload.

Our Association will be opposing this scale of unwarranted development, leading to the ruination of our way of life and desecration of our countryside. Please let us know what you think in our comments section or feedback.

S&DRA.

MORE ON QUINN IN SELLINDGE.

Dear Residents,

Quinn Estates have just submitted their ‘Reserved Matters’ application for the Bucknall land behind Rhodes House.You can find the detail on the FHDC website, the planning application reference is 21/0279/FH.https://folkestonehythedc.force.com/pr/s/planning-application/a1n2o000003HbNUAA0/210279fh?tabset-185b1=2This plan shows the extent that they are giving details for now, where they plan to build first….REMEMBER!  They already have outline planning consent for this, including the access point of the A20.
Take a look at all of the information that’s been published, and if you want to say anything about it, now is the time! 
…and it’s something else to amuse yourself with while ‘not going out’ is the order of the day…..

Westenhanger Castle Towers over Otterpool. Or does it?

How often have we heard our beloved Council leader, David Monk, tell us that Westenhanger Castle will be the ‘Jewel in the Crown‘ of the Otterpool Town development. We’ve lost count !

Our Council tell us that:

Westenhanger Castle is a Scheduled Monument and grade 1 listed building in a significant location with the opportunity to contribute distinctive identity for the key open space of the
garden town’.

It now turns out that Westenhanger Castle isn’t even within the boundary of the Otterpool development, but we now hear that the red boundaty line will be changed to include Westenhanger Castle, with the Local Planning Authority and the applicant amending the application to allow a consultation period at that stage. FHDC hope it will be later in the year, but bearing in mind the Core Strategy Review needing to run its course, it could even be early next year.

So why wasn’t the Castle included within the boundary line the moment the purchase was completed by FHDC? How does this affect the Otterpool application in terms of resubmission and, moreover, the recently concluded Core Strategy Review. Was the Castle left outside of the boundary for reasons other than an oversight?

We simply ask the question.

Let’s see the response.

S&DRA


DON’T DELAY – Have your say.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has launched an online survey asking for members of the public to give their views on the planning system, which it says will inform its ongoing inquiry into the government’s white paper proposals. 

Parliament: committee probing latest planning changes (pic: Getty)

Here’s the online survey:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=nt3mHDeziEC-Xo277ASzSsBc9hscYRNFrbfHBkcg0ANUOE0xVzEzWkU5MDVWTE1OVFNJSzFSOFlNTy4u

Please pass it on to friends, family and neighbours.

Thank you.

S&DRA

Council Turncoats.

On the 16th September, an Extraordinary Full Council meeting was convened at the Civic Centre to discuss the Places and Policies Local Plan. The plan was approved 17 votes to 12 with 1 abstention. It’s interesting to note that 3 of the votes ‘For’ came from 3 members that locals would describe as ‘turncoats’. Voting alongside the Conservatives, Cllr. Wimble (Ind), Cllr Meyer and Mullard (both UKIP) showed their support for the plan to swing the vote to the Conservatives, led by Cllr. David Monk. The electorate put their faith in these 3 Councillors at the last election to curb the seemingly rampant developments across the District, halting the Tory stronghold within the cabinet. Our friends at Shepwayvox reported on the meeting in great detail here:

FHDC pass Local Plan and Central Govt propose 1043 homes per year for our district.

S&DRA

STANFORD NO GO – SENT TO MOJO

Yesterday afternoon it was announced that a 27 acre clearance facility/Lorry Park is to be buit at Junction 10A, just off the M20 at Ashford.

You may remember that the site at Stanford West was earmarked for a Lorry park which was heavily supported by Conservative MP, Damian Collins (FHDC) and Dover MP, Charlie Elphicke. Local Councillors Hollingsbee and Carey (both Conservative) also gave weight to the development stating that it was of national importance and therefore could not be stopped. Well, it was. Mr. John Forge of Westenhanger Castle set about with a Judicial Review and won the day. Thanks to the Government and the apparatchiks mentioned above, 15 million quid was lost from the public purse on consultants and exploratory works – taxpayers money.

Residents of Stanford and surrounding villages cited many reasons for not building the worlds biggest Lorry park between tiny Kent villages and, from our own research found that it would have caused more congestion along the M20 and local roads given that Junction 11 would have been closed at the time of  operation. In the end, Highways England conceded that it would have never worked.

So, here we have the story from The Guardian Newspaper.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jul/10/vast-brexit-customs-clearance-centre-to-be-built-in-kent

More confirmation that Stanford et environs will be spared the industrial onslaught that our sio-disant representatives had in mind for us all.

Have a good weekend.

S&DRA

Sellindge, Kent – Mini City of the future.

Dear Residents and friends of Sellindge and surrounding Villages,

 

Please read all comments below after the article.

 

Cast your minds back just 5 years. Look at us now. Would you have ever imagined that our rural scene and way of life would would be under such attack by our own District Council, hand in glove with developers; and rotten ones at that.

We are all aware of the thousands of homes in the local plan and the unwanted and unneeded Otterpool Town that Leader Monk and his cohorts want to foist upon us. As locals we are aware of the back stories of the 250 Taylor Wimpey houses and the Bucknell Trust land proposal for 180 houses. Now we have Gladman Developments. A developer whose reputation preceeds them. We’ll say no more on that subject for now.

The long term plan is to build 170 houses along the South side of the A20, Main Road, Sellindge, with the first phase of 55 around Grove House and Fieldhead. More details on the link here:

https://folkestonehythedc.force.com/pr/s/planning-application/a1n2o00000313PEAAY

Please click on the link above and go to ‘Comments’ heading to have your say.

We would encourage you all to comment on this application as early as possible. The cut off date to comment is Wednesday, 8th July.

To date, there have been 10 residents who have taken the time to comment. For your guidance, we are publishing them below with names and related property names redacted.

 

S&DRA.

 

25/06/2020

The proposed development of land off Ashford Road, Sellindge, opposite the Duke’s Head public house. We wish to register our total opposition to this totally unnecessary development and the further rape of our one-time delightful little village. Our reasons are: Our failing health centre due to massive over-subscription, and that is before the current developments are even fully occupied. The school is also oversubscribed. This land owner has over the years, with various partners, tried to persuade and cajole adjacent land owners to take part in a much larger development, which thankfully have been thwarted. To endeavour to make the development on this parcel of land a more attractive proposition for the developer, 30 odd semi-mature trees have been cut down before preservation orders could be served on them, should this development go ahead many more trees and areas of shrubland would also be vandalised. We cannot allow this to happen. The developer is well aware that no building permission would be considered on the part of the parcel of land which adjoins Bulls Lane and the area behind Grove House and Woodlands, so has come up with a blatant bribe to the village and the planners to construct a play area, outdoor gym and other amenities. Should this ever come to fruition the on-going costs for any equipment with regular inspections, maintenance and refurbishments, and particularly insurance, would be a massive drain on the resources of the village or the District Council for recreational areas, of which we already have 2 in the village. The idea of having a footpath entrance/exit into Bulls Lane is foolhardy and would be dangerous for children, mothers with prams , etc. The existing statutory footpath can be easily and safely accessed at the top of Bulls Lane, along the boundary with Rothergate. The idea of a footpath along the secluded strip of land between Grove House and Woodlands would be a magnet for antisocial and criminal behaviour, when it seems that police resources are stretched in policing the community we already have, further problems should not be contemplated. The prospect of extra pedestrian traffic in Bulls Lane is too dangerous to consider. The Lane is approximately 2.4m wide with no foot way. Quite apart from normal traffic to the properties at the top of Bulls Lane, e.g. delivery vans, gas and oil delivery trucks, etc, the local farmer using this lane to access Rotherwood Farm, whose equipment, for instance a mower 3m wide, stock trailer 2.7m wide, as can be seen, this would be a total recipe for disaster. This proposed development would be on the highest point of land in the Parish of Sellindge so this modern development would be seen from all around the village, and outside. The overview of our once delightful village from places like Farthing Common would be spoilt by this development which would stick out like a carbuncle in the midst of just one more part of destroyed beautiful Kentish countryside. We are appalled with information that has just come to our notice that this development company, with a possibly dubious reputation, in conjunction with the land owner, appears to be trying to subvert public opinion with some people being threatened with legal action if they speak out against, or object to, this planning application. This is morally, if not legally wrong, and a Local Authority administration that prides itself on being “government by the people for the people” should immediately dismiss this application. Name redacted. copies of this email sent to Local parish council Ms Carey Ms Hollingsbee Sellindge Residents Association Sellindge Community Facebook Page

25/06/2020

The proposed development of land off Ashford Road, Sellindge, opposite the Duke’s Head public house. We wish to register our total opposition to this totally unnecessary development and the further rape of our one-time delightful little village. Our reasons are: Our failing health centre due to massive over-subscription, and that is before the current developments are even fully occupied. The school is also oversubscribed. This land owner has over the years, with various partners, tried to persuade and cajole adjacent land owners to take part in a much larger development, which thankfully have been thwarted. To endeavour to make the development on this parcel of land a more attractive proposition for the developer, 30 odd semi-mature trees have been cut down before preservation orders could be served on them, should this development go ahead many more trees and areas of shrubland would also be vandalised. We cannot allow this to happen. The developer is well aware that no building permission would be considered on the part of the parcel of land which adjoins Bulls Lane and the area behind Grove House and Woodlands, so has come up with a blatant bribe to the village and the planners to construct a play area, outdoor gym and other amenities. Should this ever come to fruition the on-going costs for any equipment with regular inspections, maintenance and refurbishments, and particularly insurance, would be a massive drain on the resources of the village or the District Council for recreational areas, of which we already have 2 in the village. The idea of having a footpath entrance/exit into Bulls Lane is foolhardy and would be dangerous for children, mothers with prams , etc. The existing statutory footpath can be easily and safely accessed at the top of Bulls Lane, along the boundary with Rothergate. The idea of a footpath along the secluded strip of land between Grove House and Woodlands would be a magnet for antisocial and criminal behaviour, when it seems that police resources are stretched in policing the community we already have, further problems should not be contemplated. The prospect of extra pedestrian traffic in Bulls Lane is too dangerous to consider. The Lane is approximately 2.4m wide with no foot way. Quite apart from normal traffic to the properties at the top of Bulls Lane, e.g. delivery vans, gas and oil delivery trucks, etc, the local farmer using this lane to access Rotherwood Farm, whose equipment, for instance a mower 3m wide, stock trailer 2.7m wide, as can be seen, this would be a total recipe for disaster. This proposed development would be on the highest point of land in the Parish of Sellindge so this modern development would be seen from all around the village, and outside. The overview of our once delightful village from places like Farthing Common would be spoilt by this development which would stick out like a carbuncle in the midst of just one more part of destroyed beautiful Kentish countryside. We are appalled with information that has just come to our notice that this development company, with a possibly dubious reputation, in conjunction with the land owner, appears to be trying to subvert public opinion with some people being threatened with legal action if they speak out against, or object to, this planning application. This is morally, if not legally wrong, and a Local Authority administration that prides itself on being “government by the people for the people” should immediately dismiss this application. Name redacted.  copies of this email sent to Local parish council Ms Carey Ms Hollingsbee Sellindge Residents Association Sellindge Community Facebook Page

25/06/2020

I am totally appalled that the council is even considering granting permission for more development in the village of Sellindge…… if you can still call Sellindge a village! The people of Sellindge have been subjected to a living nightmare during the last year and a half at least with the continuous traffic issues due to the lorries having to use the village as through road. Enough houses have gone up directly opposite the school. The doctors surgery cannot cope, the school cannot cope and the road cannot cope. I believe there has been enough development before the risk of Sellindge no longer being a village

22/06/2020

The village has many new properties and The amount of houses proposed for this site is unrealistic for the size of the plot.

22/06/2020

Sellindge is currently undergoing a transformation from a typical Kentish village to a sprawling town with no thought given to traffic flow and basic amenities such as increase in doctors or indeed schooling above primary. If this and other developers are allowed to continue to ransack our countryside for nothing other than profit for both them and the council then all quality of life will be forever lost.

22/06/2020

Without knowing the impact of the houses currently being built, how can further houses be planned? The village is already lacking the infrastructure required for the new houses opposite the Co-op, the houses currently being built will add further strain, so an additional 55 houses built on green belt land are neither required or wanted. The character of the Village is being destroyed by overdeveloping. I strongly object.

21/06/2020

We currently don’t have adequate facilities (doctors etc.) for existing residents and any more housing at this current time is not appropriate. This particular location needs to be given extra thought as it’s close to houses currently being built we need to see their impact before adding any more.

20/06/2020

As very close neighbours of the proposed site we have a number of concerns. Of particular concern is the surface water drainage of the immediate area. I sent the following request for information to Gladman during their consultation period, but have received no reply nor the coutesy of an acknowledgement. ” With regard to your development proposals for the land off the A20 in Sellindge, I would like to ask how you intend to deal with the disposal of surface water/rainwater. We live in House name redacted. which is situated on the main road just to the West of the proposed site. Our house is lower than both the road and the land behind us. In periods of persistent rain the existing field (The Site) drains towards the road and the water runs West, regularly resulting in a small river which collects around our house as it cannot flow past the access road to the West of us. With continued rain the level rises, and would ultimately reach the level of the road before draining. This would put our house at least 30cm under water. Currently we are protected somewhat by the fact that the land absorbs much of the rainfall, and with general occasional rain we have no issues. If the area is converted to almost all roadways, hard standing, roofs etc., our position would be potentially be a lot worse. Could you confirm that there will be adequate provision by either main drainage, dedicated soakaways, pumping systems, or any other means to ensure the land drainage situation is not made worse. Could you also confirm what means will be employed to achieve this.” We are also very concerned about the potential traffic hazard caused by the single access road for 55 houses joining the A20. The junction is in a 40mph speed limit which is not enforced, and continually broken by through traffic which is not local, but avoiding the motorway due to closures, accidents or just taking the scenic route. The pedestrian route for children walking to the local school is inches from 40 tonne lorries travelling at 40+mph. Cycling is definitely not a great option, with many cyclists already taking to the pavement for safety, the A20 is just not wide enough. Could serious consideration be given to making future developers contribute to a by-pass for through traffic, before any further developments are completed, in order to provide a safe environment for the existing and new residents, and maintain some semblance of village life.

19/06/2020

With the horror of Otterpool Park on our doorstep do we really need 55 houses built in a Village? There is no local need for them. With Otterpool and various other proposals being squeezed into every tiny space available and also the 250 Taylor Wimpy houses in progress at the moment, Sellindge is losing its village status. We believed Folkestone &Hythe Council when told the 250 Taylor Wimpy homes would be all Sellindge will be asked to suffer. Obviously this was not true. Shame on you. The A20 cannot cope with the traffic at the moment let alone the traffic that this and other developments will cause. The air quality In the Village already suffers from traffic fumes spewed out by continuous artic lorries thundering through the village. Please reject this proposal, it is not wanted and it is not needed.

19/06/2020

As our homes are already blighted by Otterpool and plagued by Motorway closures do we really need more homes?You have approved more by the railway and at the top of Barrow Hill yet will do nothing regarding a bypass.We do not need more housing in the village until you sort out the access for the current residents who are prisoners in their own homes due to the volume of traffic. Our lovely village will become a Town and that is not why we moved here.

Deadline to have your say – 3rd July.

Dear Residents,

Time to shape your community.

Our post of 4th June expressed an urgency for you all to respond by 12th June to register to speak at the Core Strategy Review. We know that some of you are reluctant to speak in public so, we are now reminding you that you can send in a written statement to state your opinion on the Core Strategy Review, but you’d better be quick: the deadline is this coming Friday, 3rd July.

You must contact, preferably by email, Caroline Williams. Caroline is the Programme Officer based at FHDC and is very helpful. The guidance notes for residents to make written statements are set out below:

https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/media/2557/FHDC-EX009-FHDC-Core-Strategy-Review-Guidance-Notes-from-Inspectors-21-May-2020/pdf/FHDC_EX009_FHDC_Core_Strategy_Review_Guidance_Notes_from_Inspectors_21_May_2020.pdf?m=637257487650170000

The Core Strategy Review Submission Draft is here:

https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/media/2234/EB-01-00-Folkestone-Hythe-Core-Strategy-Review-Submission-Draft-2020/pdf/EB_01.00_Folkestone___Hythe_Core_Strategy_Review_Submission_Draft_2020.pdf?m=637206487608870000

And lastly, we understand that working through the above can be time consuming and daunting. Are we expected to follow the due process and respond in Council/Planning speke? We would say probably not. If you have concerns over a proposed development near you or can see that infrastructure is failing even before it starts, now is the time to raise those concerns. If you are having trouble following the process, please contact Caroline on 01303 853376 or email: programme.officer@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk

S&DRA

 

“Time to be happy that the Gladman is coming?

Dear Friends,

Folkestone & Hythe District Council Planning Department has just published onto their website details of a Planning Application made by Gladman Developments for outline permission for 55 new houses on the currently open fields opposite the Dukes’ Head.

You might remember the leaflets they circulated around the village just as we were all going into lockdown and worrying about Covid-19 and how many toilet rolls we had.

The planning application was submitted and validated 4 May 2020, but has only just launched into the public arena. Please go on-line to the Folkestone & Hythe District Council website planning pages where you will find all the gory details under application reference 20/0604/FH:

https://folkestonehythedc.force.com/pr/s/planning-application/a1n2o00000313PEAAY

We particularly recommend that you take a look at the Statement of Community Involvement. Respond with your thoughts about this application online, to the parish council, and of course to our District Councillors.. Please view the covering letter from Gladman to FHDC.

Covering letter Gladman