Last Tuesday, 17th April it was mooted that the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) would not be finding its way into the hands of Leader Monk and his cohorts at Folkestone & Hythe District Council (FHDC)… More
With little time to spare, we would ask that you open the following link:
The recent announcement by Homes England to purchase 60 hectares of land in Lympne has prompted a backlash by local Residents against the purchase. Here’s what veteran campaigner David Plumstead has to say:
Our airfield has been sold to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government under the name of ‘Homes England’ for housing as part of its drive to bury us under 12,000 houses a.k.a. Otterpool New Town.
We have fought off threats to the Airfield five times in the last twenty five years as the succession of Planning Inspectors and High Court have supported us.
We will fight this threat as a grass roots community as before and directly challenge the Government’s own officially stated reason for the creation of the Minstry of Housing quoted here from its own website:
“The Ministry of Housing, formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has been formed to create great places to live and work and to give more power to local people to shape what happens in their area.”
‘Homes England’ (The Ministry) has various powers of its own (e.g. compulsory purchase), but in the main, it has to work through the planning system. Just like any other developer, it needs to seek planning permission from the local planning authority and, where it wants to influence the local plan, it has to make representations like any other objector.
We have registered our objection to the Airfields’ inclusion in the Local Plan which will be debated with the Planning Inspector at the Public Inquiry later this year.
To launch a successful campaign we need to hold a public meeting at Lympne Castle on Tuesday, 3rd April at 7.30pm to explain what we have to do and answer your questions.
David Plumstead. The Friends of Lympne Airfield Association. 01303 265737. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Chance Saloon – for Places and Policies Local Plan representations.
PPLP Programme Officer Pat Yiga has generously agreed to accept submissions up to midnight tonight via her email address: email@example.com she can be contacted by those having difficulty putting their representations on the SDC ‘Portal’ and there are many of us!
That will enable late submission of representations about the PPLP which are essential if the Planning Inspector is to include them in his/her judgement and recommendations to the Secretary of State following the Local Plan Public Inquiry due to take place in a few months’ time.
Do not forget to to state whether you think:
The Plan is ‘legally compliant’
Whether it is ‘sound’ ie Positively Prepared and Justified
Effective and/or consistent with national policy –
and the Duty of adjacent LA’s to Cooperate
– here are some notes to help you:
- The Plan is not legally compliant as it fails to address the serious issue of air pollution from road traffic. The Government has recently lost a third appeal in the High Court against successful prosecution for failing to implement its own regulations.
- For the same reason the Plan is not ‘sound’ and has also been prepared with a view to encouraging the building of insupportable numbers of houses in inappropriate locations – eg the Otterpool Newtown development in an officially designated area of water scarcity where the supplier – Affinity Water – has raised serious doubt about its ability to comply with its statutory duty to supply sufficient potable water.
- The Plan fails to comply with national policy wherein at Annex 1 Paragraph 2.5.2 the East Kent Audit Report of 7th March highlights an unmet requirement stating:
- The Council needs to set up a public register for contaminated land and for environmental permitting in order to fully satisfy legislative requirements.
That being the case the proposed development at Princes parade PPLP ref. UA18 is unlawful.
- We understand that cooperation has been agreed with the adjacent LAs of Ashford and Dover but we have not been consulted or informed of the nature of the agreement.
Note also the need to answer the following:
Does your representation relate to a new site that has not previously been submitted as part of Local Plan process?
Yes – large parts of proposed Otterpool Newtown
If your representation is seeking a modification, do you consider it necessary to participate at the oral part of the Examination?
Definitely ‘Yes’ I wish to participate in the oral Examination
If you would like to participate at the oral part of the examination, please outline why you consider this to be necessary
To clarify and highlight vital local issues for the Inquiry Inspector’s better appreciation of the very serious concerns of thousands of Shepway residents, notably those arising from proposed housing development on Lympne Airfield, the Otterpool Newtown Plan for 12,000 houses, the proposed development of Prince’s Parade and the ongoing despoliation of Fisherman’s Beach at Hythe.
And generally for the sake of information sharing and upholding the principle of democratic local governance.
This will also appear on our website: www.slurry.org.uk
This is an urgent notice for all residents, especially those living in Lympne, concerning a major Housing Development on Lympne Airfield.
The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has set up a quango/business which it has called ‘Homes England’ complete with Government money – our money – to buy Lympne Airfield from off-shore (Jersey) registered owners Phides/Somerston Estates as part of its drive to force through Otterpool Newtown.
It was hatched up without public consultation by the DCLG last September and is now being presented as a ‘fait a complis’
Our best chance of stopping this twin curse of the loss of our Airfield and our village is by immediately registering an objection with Shepway District Council (SDC) to any and all housing development on the Airfield referred to in the Places and Policies Local Plan (PPLP) and stating that you wish to give evidence to the Public Inquiry into the PPLP in due course.
But representations to the PPLP have to be registered with SDC before the end of this Monday – 19th -. This can be done by email to firstname.lastname@example.org – and it is very important that you ask for confirmation of receipt of your objection by SDC.
For more information about this, contact:
David Plumstead, Shepway Environment and Community Network (SECN) at this email address: email@example.com or telephone 01303 265737
You should also look on the News Page of the Airfield Website: ‘The Friends of Lympne Airfield Association’: http://www.lympneairfield.com
Further information will follow on these revelations. Please share and ask friends, family and colleagues to ‘sign up’ to our site. Thank you.
According to Shepway District Council’s (SDC) Collaboration Board, we may soon be having a new water company to supply water to 12,000 commuter homes.
So what’s the problem with the water company, Affinity Water (AW), that we already have?
As of yet, we don’t know. But what we do know is that AW have reservations about supplying the proposed Otterpool Park new town, that Councillor Monk is determined to foist upon Shepway Residents irrespective of the fact that Water Scarcity is a major issue in our region. In a ‘Strategic Planning – Duty to co-operate’ meeting on the 30th September 2016, Affinity Water made it abundantly clear that
“There is neither the water resource, or the main transfer capacity, to serve 12,000 new homes and therefore an alternative solution will need to be sought”.
In a previous S&DRA post dated 4th August 2017, we outlined the consequences of the development of a desalination plant. Could this be the “alternative solution”:
In another meeting, The ‘Affinity Water Liaison Meeting’ was held, at County Hall on the 11th August, 2017 where AW’s Production and Network Manager stated:
“The Affinity WRZ 7 had the largest gap between forecast demand and planned supply”.
(WRZ 7 – Shepway area).
At that meeting, there were also concerns raised on commercial developments, which are more difficult to assess in terms of water supply requirement, together with further demand from Dungeness.
So how does Albion Water fit into the equation? We too are perplexed. Perhaps Albion have agreed to ‘tanker in’ water via a stream of bowser’s, or do they have a secret aquifer that AW know nothing about? Ridiculous we know, but the idea of increasing Shepway’s population by 50% is even more ridiculous.
Perhaps there has always been a secret plan to install a Desalination Plant in Hythe. Is Albion in on ‘it’? It’s not beyond the realms of fantasy. Just take a look at this Hansard post from 13th July, 2006:
One good reason NOT to go with the Otterpool flow.
Viewers of BBC2 probably watched a programme called ‘The New Builds are Coming’ last week, where South Oxfordshire District Council revealed plans to build 3,500 new houses over Green belt land in the tiny village of Culham, home for just 450 residents. Please click on the link below to watch the programme.
If like us, you experienced the unsettling notion of deja vu, you wouldn’t be alone. Dozens of Residents have contacted us to vent their anger at, not only to what’s happening to us here in Shepway, but also to what’s going on all over the country. Quelle surprise.
Unlike Oxfordshire that has the designation of being in a housing crisis, Shepway is not. With 8.800 homes already in the local plan, our District Council has exceeded the housing requirement as set out by Central Government via a democratic process, whereby local residents all over Shepway, has a ‘say’ in how many homes are built and where. These are being built for local people as calculated by local Government.
ENTER: Otterpool New Town – 12,000 dwelling Housing Estate. – Undemocratic, Unnecessary and Unwanted by local Residents. The similarities between Culham and Lympne/Sellindge in the way to which procedure and attitude has manifest itself is startling. Residents had no knowledge of landowners being consulted prior to disclosure of the plan, bullying tactics, (although denied), less informed Residents held up as the ‘silent majority’, prospective house purchasers struggling to save a deposit or borrow money, the list is endless. With the average house price here in Shepway at £250,000 and the average salary at £22,000, what chance do our Children or Grandchildren have of ever being a property owner?
Please take the time to watch the programme and draw your own conclusions.
S&DRA say: Affordable homes we need. A 12,000 Commuter Housing Estate, we do not.
Please spread the word and ask your friends and family to join our campaign for a fairer Shepway and sign up to our website
We are now almost two weeks into the New Year and as we look behind us much has been achieved in terms of people power, affecting the direction in the way that Local and Central Governments would like to take us. But let’s not be complacent; the institutions are still in place that are hell bent on the ruination of our countryside and communities. Our individual groups are stronger than ever, with a communication thread that can inform and mobilise in seconds.
So let us briefly take a look back at what people power has achieved along with a look into the future.
THE LORRY PARK.
It was Damian Collins MP that lobbied Central Government in 2015 for funds to build a lorry park to counter operation stack. Bearing in mind that Mr. Collins has had no logistical highways training or any other civil engineering skill, he made a case to build a lorry park at Stanford West, even though previously he was an advocate of using the M26 as a solution to M20 congestion at a time of the Port and Tunnel being closed.
Moving on, we can distinctly remember the first Highways England (HE) consultation in Sellindge where our representatives, Cllr’s Carey and Hollingsbee told us all that it’s no good trying to oppose it because it’s of national importance, just like the channel tunnel. It was clear that both Councillor’s were in the same camp as Collins, towing the line: apparatchiks. Thinking outside of the political box was clearly not an option for all three, to the detriment of local residents.
Together with all of our group’s efforts, and that of, principally, Stanford Parish Council, SOS Kent and Westenhanger Castle and their legal team, a judicial review was launched which HE could never realistically defend due to their own ineptitude, leaving our so called representatives smarting from a people power hammering. The proposal for a lorry Park at Stanford West was abandoned on the 15th November, 2017.
And no, this isn’t a case of nimbyism. It’s a case of tackling a problem with foresight and skill, both in terms of practical and technological solutions. Something that ‘the powers that be’ clearly lack.
As for the future: Collins is still pushing to build a lorry park, even though Highways England has admitted that it will NOT solve operation stack. We have also learned that Highways England will not be consulting on any form of Lorry Park until March 2019; so much for the espousing by Collins at building at pace to cope with Brexit and ridding East Kent of congestion. In the interim, HE has now decided to use the moveable barrier system should operation stack ever occur. To conclude, a quarter of a billion pounds is still in place with DfT to build a lorry park, irrespective of £15,000,000 already spent on Consultations and Balfour Beatty fees.
We should all be very proud of all our efforts by countering this ridiculous scheme with clear, concise, technical and legal expertise.
We should all be used to the shenanigans of Shepway District Council (SDC) by now but once again, we are angered by the cavalier attitude of Leader Monk and his band of followers in his cabinet, riding roughshod over the views of the majority of residents in Hythe and its environs. As with other unwanted proposals in the area, ‘Save Princes Parade’ (SPP) is being supported by other members of our alliance in opposing the exclusive development proposed for the Hythe seafront. This a beautiful area enjoyed by many, near and far, famed for its sense of open space, encouraging residents to walk the promenade, taking the sea air, individuals and families alike. This proposal has been in the offing for a decade at great cost to Council Tax payers, so by now should have been scrapped due to the overwhelming opposition.
Dressed up by the promise of a Leisure Centre on the seafront, the proposal is out of scale and out of touch with the wishes of the majority. Moreover, a Leisure Centre had been allocated for the Martello Lakes development, supported by Sport England, which would have better served the people of Hythe AND the Marsh areas.
The viability factor for the Princes Parade has never been considered, but are we surprised by that? We are talking about SDC here.
And what of the flood risk in the Princes Parade area. The Environment Agency has designated the area as flood risk level 3. The Martello Lakes area has the same designation, but the difference is, a flood risk defence is in place at Martello Lakes.
Despite protestations from local residents as well as the respected ‘Historic England’, SDC are pushing ahead, leaving SPP with no alternative than to have the application ‘called in’.
Where do we start with the 12,000 dwelling housing estate that SDC is foisting upon us. We will try and keep it succinct.
Despite Community Engagements, SDC has failed to convince Parishes and Residents that ‘Otterpool Park’ is a wonderful development for ALL. Strength of feeling and deep rancour is unwavering against this development that SDC, along with their offshore bedfellows, Reuben Brothers, are hell bent on dumping upon us.
Our demonstrations over the past year and continuing support has clearly shown that the anger directed towards Leader Monk and his Otterpool towing cabinet members is venomous. Our exit polls at the Community engagements has shown overwhelming support against the Otterpool Park development, leaving SDC in no doubt that their task in convincing a planning inspector that a Locally Led Garden settlement is a contradiction from the start. Have no doubt that SDC will try to convince us to support their plan of rural decimation, sticking to the premise that if a lie is told enough times, people will believe it.
Are we saying no development at all? Of course not. We have already stated, on this website, that organic growth and housing built at a human scale for local people is to be welcomed, without it, any community would simply cease to exist. Our position is clear: Local housing for local people at commensurate rates of rent or mortgage payments is the way forward. A dormitory town for City overspill, to the cost of our rural lifestyle, is NOT acceptable.
Looking forward, according to SDC, a planning application will be with us by March 2018, with the likelihood, after consultation, ending up with the Planning Inspector by early 2109.
There are many hurdles to jump way before this application is approved, if it ever is, in the way of infrastructure and resources. We will refrain from commenting further on the infrastructure subject to guard against our position going forward.
There can be no doubt that SDC has lost the plot when it comes to serving the people of Shepway: The young, middle aged, elderly, infirm, the vulnerable, whether ‘politically engaged’ or not.
For many Residents, it is now a ‘given’ that SDC Leader David Monk is a liar, but could he be described as corrupt? According to Merriam-Webster the definition of corrupt is “to change from good to bad in morals, manners or actions”. We’ll leave you all to decide if David Monk fits that description. Given Councillor Monks’ track record, we would suggest that he is not fit to hold public office.
His total disregard for the concerns of Shepway Residents is contemptible. His blinkered view of his utopian Otterpool dream is bordering on insanity when it comes to infrastructure and the well being of existing East Kent Residents.
As we all know, the NHS in this part of Kent is in meltdown. Patients stuck on trolleys in corridors and ambulance’s because all the wards are full. Take a look at what Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield said in the House of Commons.
NHS Winter Crisis (10 Jan 2018)
Rosie Duffield: Does my hon. Friend agree that desperate patients should
never have to resort to smuggling out secretly filmed footage of
trolley-lined corridors with people sitting on the floors, such as the
footage I have received from my constituents visiting and working at
William Harvey Hospital in Ashford?
We know that the influenza epidemic is raging in East Kent but the William Harvey has been under the microscope in terms of bed and staff shortages for months. The rise in the Shepway population by some 50% alongside Ashfords’ ballooning population will undoubtedly see a third word scenario playing out if it’s not already.
The closure of GP Practices over our area is well documented, leaving Folkestone Residents without a local GP, leaving them to travel to Lyminge or other distanced Practices for treatment or consultation. The hardest hit is always the elderly, weak and vulnerable. With GP’s in short supply, due to the inequality of the Carr-Hill formula relating to funding, Shepway is in crisis. Where or when will it ever end?
Have our Councillors forgotten that they are our servants? Councillors Hollingsbee, Carey and Monk have already stated that they will not attend a public meeting to discuss Otterpool Park. Why? Cllr. and Deputy Leader Hollingsbee states that she is fearful of hostility.
Cllr Monk has described some 300 Hythe Residents that attended an open meeting in Hythe Primary school last year as ‘Rent-a–mob’. Have our Councillors completely lost the plot? We think they have.
2018 will be a testing time for us all in trying to preserve our way of life for all. Our young citizens are struggling to find an affordable home when all we hear is ‘were building homes for our children and grandchildren’ from Cllr’s Monk and Hollingsbee.
No doubt, an inheritance from either of these two would be gratefully received by their children and grandchildren, but not everyone is in their position, as private landlords, with 13 properties between them. The propaganda machine rolls on.
It just leaves us to thank all our Residents who have sent us messages of support over the Christmas period, thanking us for all we do. No doubt there will be further meetings and demonstrations in the offing to show our resistance against the crooked regime that exists within the Civic Centre, and who knows, come the 2019 District elections, a serious move may be made to change the landscape of political incumbents.
Next Thursday, 11th January, there will be a coming together of the Shepway District & Parish Councils’ Joint Committee. Items 7 and 8 will be of interest to us all: Otterpool and Lorry Park Update respectively. Much has passed under the bridge since Parish Councils met with the District Council, chaired by Leader Monk on 7th June, 2016. You may recall that this is where 27 Parish Councillors voted on whether it was a good idea to build a New Town in the Otterpool area. A resounding NO was the answer to the District Council, but still Leader Monk has pushed ahead with the utopian dream of a 12,000 dwelling commuter housing estate. Moreover, on the 8th August, Leader Monk lied on a BBC radio station stating that the opposite was true, intimating that all Parish Councillors were supportive of the New Town being built. It will be interesting to see how this item pans out on the night.
The Lorry Park was a victory for us all. Our beloved MP Damian Collins, along with his chum, Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke (still being investigated by Police) ended up with egg on their faces after being told that their insistence on pushing ahead at pace had cost them dearly in riding roughshod over EIA procedure. The Westenhanger Castle Judicial review was a godsend in stopping this hideous, unworkable scheme in its tracks. Well done Westenhanger Castle and its Legal Team. Let’s not forget the role of SOS Kent and Stanford Parish Council in orchestrating this achievement. We understand that a meeting will be taking place this Wednesday, 10th January to extend the Stop 24 Lorry Parking area. No doubt we will be updated the following evening.
The meeting will begin at 7pm in the Middleburg Room. Shepway District Council, Civic Centre. Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone. It has been confirmed by SDC that this is an open meeting, whereby the public may attend. Please click on the link below for further information.
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Printed on both sides, we’re sending a message to the District Council that we have already agreed, through the local plan, to almost 9,000 homes for local people, so building a town within our communities is an exercise in filling the pockets of developers and their associates.
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It wasn’t that long ago that our glorious MP Damian Collins was advocating using the M26 as a lorry park. We applauded dear Damian for speaking sense and saving the UK taxpayer a minimum of a quarter of a billion pounds. It now seems that dear Damian is still stuck, like a stuck record, still wiping the egg off his face, and still smarting from his arrogance and incompetence in pushing for a Lorry park at pace, thereby skipping procedure in terms of producing an Environmental Impact Assessment, blaming the DfT. Did we expect anything less? He then has the temerity to pass comment on GP services when he has done NOTHING to attract GP’s to the Shepway area. For the past 7 years, Damian has never considered lobbying the Heath Secretary for Carr-Hill formula parity with our neighbouring Districts, leaving funding at appallingly low levels in the Shepway area. The result: Very few GP’s with Practice’s closing.
Yesterday in the House of Commons dear Damian was still spouting the same old story, even though we’re £15,000.000 down, lost on Lorry Park developers and sham consultations, that incidentally could have gone towards attracting more GP’s, purely due to his arrogance. When will he ever learn?
Anyhow, this is what dear Damian had to say. Oh, and don’t overlook how Damian paved the way to get in the one about the Otterpool (drought stricken) Park Commuter Housing Estate.
I rise to speak in support of the Budget and, in particular, the key strategic priority it places on the housing market and increasing housing supply. The Chancellor was right to say that we should have a national target for new home completions of 300,000 a year, but that number should not be a mere aspiration; it is an absolute necessity.
For many people in this country, getting on the housing ladder is becoming increasingly difficult. The prices of new homes to buy are rising much faster than people’s earnings. That has been the case for a long time. It is therefore no surprise that the percentage of people who are able to own their own home has declined. We are not looking at investment in the housing market just for homes to purchase. We need to build a lot more units that are affordable to buy and to rent, and we need a much more active strategy to do that. I was pleased that the Government announced that as part of the Budget.
I have supported the proposed development of the Otterpool Park garden town in my constituency, which would create up to 12,000 new homes. Any planning decision involves a degree of difficulty and it is important that we get the local consultation right, but we do need to prioritise building a lot more homes.
Building creates not only new places for people to live, but a considerable number of jobs in the construction sector. Many people who work in construction say that even now, it is difficult to find the people to do the work that is available. Therefore, it was right that a strong priority was placed on training people to work in the construction sector.
I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of the £3 billion resilience fund to be spent over the next two years on preparations for Britain leaving the European Union. My constituency of Folkestone and Hythe contains the channel tunnel. Investing in preparedness to manage cross-border trade is a necessity. Anything that, for whatever reason, slows the progress of road freight in and out of the country will cause congestion and delay. That is bad for the economy and has a detrimental impact on people’s quality of life and the businesses in my constituency and elsewhere in Kent.
For me, a key priority in building the physical resilience we will need is not only to manage the electronic processing of freight as it passes in and out of the country, but to ensure that we have the physical infrastructure to hold lorries if they have to queue before leaving the country or if there is any requirement for customs checks as they arrive. The delivery of the lorry park on the M20 at Stanford West that was envisaged and proposed two years ago as a relief for Operation Stack is a vital piece of national infrastructure. I was disappointed that the Government had to withdraw their planning application to build it because of a judicial review, but I know that it is being looked at again. I see that the Financial Secretary is in his place. I raised this matter with him last week and welcome the letter he sent me to confirm that the ring-fenced budget of £250 million that the Government allocated for the delivery of that lorry park is still there. It is a vital piece of infrastructure and we need to ensure that it is delivered.
On the other spending commitments in the Budget, I welcome the additional £2 billion this year and into next year for the national health service. It is important that that reaches the places that need it most. The Health Secretaryis not here, but I believe that greater consideration needs to be given to GP services and primary care in coastal communities, where the often complex, unique and challenging requirements have led to the average number of patients per GP being much higher than the national average. We are struggling to recruit GPs in such areas. I have spoken to the Health Secretary about that issue on numerous occasions and know that it is a priority for him. However, we need to ensure that the extra money for the health service goes to the parts of the country where it will make the biggest difference.
There has been a lot of talk about increasing investment in research and development and about increasing the research and development credit. That is incredibly important for the future of the economy, and I want to touch on artificial intelligence, which will be an important driver of growth in the future, as the Secretary of State set out in his remarks. Effectively, artificial intelligence is the robotic harvesting of the data footprint that we leave as we increasingly conduct our lives online, and the designing of new products and technologies around that to meet people’s needs. That throws up a number of ethical issues.
Algorithms that run programmes are private property—they are copyrighted, they are not shared, and many platforms, such as Google and Facebook, fiercely guard the information—but we need to make sure that, when new services are designed based on our data footprint, companies behave ethically and responsibly and that we are able to check they are safeguarding the interests of the people they seek to serve through that technology. That is why the announcement of the creation of the centre for data ethics and innovation is incredibly important. The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which I chair, will be looking at the distribution of disinformation and how companies’ algorithms either support or could act against it. There is, however, an important ethical question about the right of third-party organisations to check the work being done. Innovation through AI can, then, transform the economy, but it throws up some ethical issues that we have to get right.
The Government have taken an interest in driverless cars, but driverless cars, though an exciting technology, do not work without a signal to allow them to receive the information they need, which is why the creation of the national 5G network is so important. Without a signal, a driverless car would suddenly stop in the middle of the road. The investment in the 5G network requires investment not just in poles and masts but in fibre infrastructure. A key part of the industrial strategy has to be the move to a full fibre economy as quickly as possible. We simply cannot deliver on massively important new technologies such as 5G for the whole nation without that infrastructure to support it.
As an adjunct to that, I know that the Minister for Digital, my right hon. Friend Matt Hancock, has talked about whether there should be a universal service obligation for 3G mobile signal. In many parts of the country, including Elham valley in my constituency, the 3G signal is weak. Ofcom will shortly be publishing a study on the real level of service delivery by mobile phone operators and whether it falls below the requirement stated in their licences. If it does, there will have to be some further inducement to act to make sure that basic coverage is better than it is. In the longer term, however, we need investment in a 5G network.
Finally, the joint working between the Government, the CBI and the TUC on retraining is crucial. Technology means that people’s jobs will change faster and faster throughout their lives, and people need the ability to retrain throughout their working careers to take advantage of this.