There isn’t a day goes by now without us hearing about the UK housing crisis, on the radio, TV, Social Media and other online streams. But who are we to blame for the lack of… More
With the publication of properties registered ‘offshore’, courtesy of Shepwayvox, it is now clear to all our readers that Cozumel Estates own the following five plots: Folkestone Racecourse, Land at Folkestone Racecourse, ‘Killymoon’, Ashford Road, Newingreen, Farm Cottage at Folkestone Racecourse and Land at the East side of Brook Lane, Sellindge: Details of the publication can be viewed here: https://shepwayvox.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/shepway-own1.pdf
Further revelations include:
21 Harman Avenue, Lympne. https://shepwayvox.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/shepway-own-2.pdf
13, Surrenden Road, Folkestone. https://shepwayvox.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/shepway-own-3.pdf
Horton Priory, Monks Horton. https://shepwayvox.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/shepway-own-4.pdf
Guinea Hall, Sellindge. https://shepwayvox.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/shepway-own-5.pdf
Our interest is purely concerned with the Reuben Brothers affairs and the injustice of those two individuals receiving central Government grants to develop our countryside purely for profit, then squirrelling that profit away from these shores via the British Virgin Islands. However, the publication of many other registered properties could be described as, err, interesting.
So, do you have a neighbour or know of someone whose property appears on the lists above?
The policy of S&DRA is that we are an information sharing vehicle for the Residents of Shepway and environs. Unlike our District Council, we are totally transparent and look to serve the interests of our Residents. Given that, we would like to hear from you if you suspect a conflict of interest is staring you in the face, or even if you have a ‘gut’ feeling about anything that needs investigating relating to the development issues that are facing us today.
At this juncture, it should be stated that registering a property ‘offshore’ is not illegal.
So, in the words of a well known Telecommunications company and supermarket: It’s good to talk, and every little helps. Drop us an email at email@example.com
We are constantly asked ‘Why is central Government funding the SDC project called Otterpool Park, when our communities haven’t even been asked whether we want it or not’.
The answer, to all our Residents is simple. Shepway District Council have been economical with the truth when they expressed their interest in creating a Garden Town within our area. The criteria for securing funding and support from central Government is that it be ‘Community led’. Previous posts on this website have shown that less than 3% of Residents are in support of the scheme, with the latest vote taken at the Hythe Civic Society meeting just 4 weeks ago, being just 1%.
The total funding to SDC from central Government to date amounts to £1,250,000. Paid over three tranches: £750,000, £345,000 and £155,000. Apparently, the third payment received was somewhat short of the amount of £1.068m applied for by £913,000.
Commenting on the amount of £155,000 received, Council Leader David Monk said it was ‘wonderful news’. Hmmm. being over 85% short of the amount asked for, we at S&DRA hardly think that it’s wonderful news at all, but would we expect anything else from Leader Monk whose track record on being ‘up front’ and honest is less than solid.
So where will the funding come from if it doesn’t come from central Government? At a recent SDC cabinet meeting we heard how Councillor Mary Lawes (UKIP) expressed concern that funding would be cut from services in her Folkestone Ward to fund the Otterpool Town project, only to be met by a torrent of abuse from Councillor Susan Carey (Conservative) , supported by Councillor Stuart Peall (Conservative) saying that Councillor Lawes was speaking out the back of her head.
Councillors Monk, Peall and Carey
It just so happens that Leader Monk recently made the statement that services would be cut from other areas of Shepway to fund the Otterpool project if the right amount of funding wasn’t realised.
So how do the Reuben Brothers (Cozumel Estates) figure in all of this? Cozumel Estates, the bedfellows of SDC, owners of the defunct Folkestone racecourse, is registered ‘offshore’ in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).
The Reuben Brothers, Cozumel Estates.
To our knowledge and our belief, Cozumel have contributed nothing to the consultant’s fees or anything else relating to the Otterpool project apart from the donations made to the Conservative party prior to the announcement of the proposed building of a garden town. So, lets get this straight: Cozumel own the race course and plan to benefit from Government grants in developing the area, which incidentally is our money, taxpayers money, then any profit made by them will be squirreled away to the BVI, thereby not paying tax on any profit at the UK rate. Is this a scandal? A Robin Hood tax in reverse: The morally compassed poor, subsidising the mega rich. Should we be forgiven if we express the opinion that both SDC and Cozumel fall short of being regarded as Patriots?
We’ll leave you to decide that.
The so called Otterpool-Park-Stage-2-Consultation-Report and Otterpool-Stage-2-Appendix have now been published. A third document: Community-Engagement-Report, has also been released. Please click to view on any of the above.
For the majority of us, it is neither engagement or a document that addresses our real concerns over a proposal to build a commuter town within the area of our villages, thereby destroying our rural lifestyles.
So far, two ‘Community Engagements’ have been carried out to try to win over the hearts and minds of local residents; December 2016 and June of this year. Last June, our entry/exit poll showed that just a handful of residents (1.5%) were in favour of a new town being built, whilst the June Community Engagement showed an increase of a further 1.5% to 3%.
Hardly an endorsement of a project that carries the criteria of being community led. It is clear that SDC have been economical with the truth when they submitted their ‘expression of interest‘ to central government. Indeed, they didn’t even consult with local people on whether we thought it was a good idea. So have SDC been taking money from the public purse under false pretenses to kick start the project, already to the tune of well over a million pounds. And what have their billionaire partners, Cozumel, contributed so far?
The question we should be asking is; why are SDC bothering to engage with our communities when it appears that they couldn’t really care less what we think. Moreover, the Leader, Councillor David Monk, Deputy Leader, Jenny Hollingsbee and Councillor Susan Carey are now refusing to meet residents publicly, aware of the deepening rancor and opprobrium among Residents. The mindset of these three individuals is clear; They’re in the driving seat of the Otterpool steam roller and nothing will stop them, and it’s now clear that if they don’t get the answer they want the first, or second time, they will try, try again. They are devious in the extreme.
The questions posed to residents attending those ‘engagements’ are designed to ‘draw’ you in. For example: How tall do you think the buildings should be, Are play areas important to you for your children or grandchildren etc etc. The answers to these types of questions are being formulated and kept in reserve to be used against us. It gives SDC the evidence to produce at a later date, to DCLG or a planning inspector that ‘consultation’ has taken place and here’s the evidence.
We are all aware on the infrastructure issues that already confront us here in Shepway and beyond: Water, NHS, Sewage, Roads, Air pollution. The threat of a Lorry Park, Waste site, CHP plant, Customs holding area at Stop 24. These are just a few. Then there’s the issue of affordable homes for our young families. SDC use the term ‘affordable’, but affordable for who? Certainly not Shepway residents.
In March 2018, David Monk and one other SDC Councillor or member will be attending MIPIM; tagged as the Worlds biggest property market. Being held in Cannes, Cllr Monk and Co will be hoping to attract developers to invest in Otterpool Park. Investors being investors will say ‘What’s in it for us’, which is fair enough, but what premium will their ‘take’ put on the price of the average house, along with the builders, architect and so forth taking their profit. Would we be naive enough to think that an investor would be looking to invest in affordable or social housing. Would he or she have any idea about the Shepway family struggling on the average salary of a little over £22,000 pa.
The Otterpool project is about money, no more, no less. It’s not the way to build a community and will only serve to destroy the existing and well established communities that we already have and enjoy.
Shepway District Council have published a document titled ‘A Charter for Otterpool Park‘. On the cover page it describes itself as a “Consultation Draft”.
This is the first document emanating from the Otterpool Park stable that actually uses the word ‘consultation’. It just doesn’t seem to have been put out into the public domain to allow for it to be responded to in a convenient or conventional manner. But, as a document, it does look as if in the future it will be lent on heavily as evidence of the authorities seeking community input.
As a document, it falls somewhere between a promotional brochure filled with estate agent wording, alongside some oddly detailed references to very specific and current legislative requirements for disabled access and the like.
The document promotes “good design”, “flexibility”, and several other issues that are just screamingly obvious. These things are givens, nobody would promote bad design. There are of course aspects that can be supported. Opening up vistas to Westenhanger Castle and taking a very positive approach to managing and enhancing the landscape would be very hard to argue against. Improving and building in bridleways, cycleways and footpaths, in preference to roadside pavements, might be seen in the same way. But, the document also talks of a Combined Heat & Power plant supplying the development; would this presage a resurgence of the application for the Biomass plant at Link Park, and all that that would entail?
What has the document omitted as things that should be provided in this new idyllic place to live and work?
The scale of shopping and public transport facilities is shaded; perhaps this is where new sports facilities should be located, rather than on Princes Parade? You have an opportunity here to make your own suggestions and you should take this chance firmly in both hands and tell Shepway what your vision is of a development at Otterpool Park, much of it on our land.
The purpose of the document, and its future use by Shepway, is not explained, but we do recommend that you should read it, and then comment on it. You should send your observations very quickly to Shepway.
There is no specific procedure or form provided for this so we suggest that you should email your District Councillors:
- North Downs district that would be Jenny Hollingsbee, who will be attending the cabinet meeting or email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and copy it to email@example.com
- or to your favourite District Councillor.
If you are commenting, you might want to begin by saying whether you are in favour of developing Otterpool Park or against it in principle. If you are against, even if the juggernaut will not be stopped, you still have the right to say what you would expect to see within any development. Whatever you have to say to them, please copy us in with your submissions because we genuinely want to know what as many people as possible across Shepway think of this proposal.
The document can be viewed here – A_Charter_for_Otterpool_Park_Consultation Draft
Furthermore, On Thursday, 5 October 2017 Shepway District & Parish Council’s Joint Committee met and received a presentation of the document. This meeting was attended by a small number of parish councillors from the parishes directly contained within multiple park or abutting it. A minute of that meeting has been published by Shepway.
On Tuesday 10 October 2017, the overview and scrutiny committee of Shepway District Council met and heard much the same presentation.
We haven’t seen much publicity attached to this ‘consultation’ and do wonder if they have simply forgotten to mention it to anyone.
Shepway Vox were in the public gallery and have posted their note of that meeting. These few lines summarise their conclusion, which S&DRA endorse.
“…most importantly there is currently a consultation underway, where you, the public, can offer up your suggestions on how Otterpool ought to be developed. The consultation ends on the 17th Oct 2017 and all comments should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no guarantee Otterpool will go ahead. However, in the event that it does, we believe your voices in shaping the community which may be built there, will help shape the community for generations to come. Therefore, we urge you to read the Charter Consultation and email Shepway DC with your thoughts.”
On Wednesday 18 October Shepway are holding a Special Cabinet Meeting when the document, possibly with some amendments, will be put to the cabinet for agreement.
The meeting at 5:00pm in the Council Chamber will be open to the press and public, it would be great to see as many of you there as possible.
The Hythe Sponsored walk is taking place on Sunday, 29th October and is a chance for ALL Shepway residents to participate in, whether they be from the main groups of SOS Kent -Lorry Park, Fishermans Beach Association, Save Princes Parade, No Otterpool Town or any other action group across our region. This is a gathering of like minded people who are sick and tired of being bullied by our rotten Council and its glorious Leader, David Monk. Although the route is about 5 miles, we don’t expect everyone to walk the full the distance. Stop off for a coffee just a few hundred yards from the start and wait for us to return; the choice is yours. But what this event is really about, is raising funds to challenge the lies and hidden agendas that are now common place within SDC. There’s a free raffle with great prizes to all who the pay the minimum sponsorship fee of £5.00. Click here to download and print your sponsorship form. Various speakers will be present to end the day, so bring your family, friends and neighbours. In a wheelchair, mobility scooter? No problem. The route is wheel friendly with not an incline in sight. Enjoy the beauty and open vista of Princes Parade alongside our open coast line. Bring your banners, whistles, flutes and drums. Let’s band together and walk the walk, along our promenade.
We plan to have a great day with all of our friends. See you all on the 29th, 10.30am.
The recent publication of the KM Folkestone & Hythe featured, on page I and 2, an article put out by Councillor Monk stating events from his perspective of just how the public meeting at Hythe Bay School, 12th September, ran its course when some 300 people turned up to hear how Otterpool New Town would affect the Residents of Hythe.
According to the article, Councillor Monk said ” Someone even shouted out calling me a liar. I’m not a liar, and I went there in good faith”.
“I’m not a liar”
We have strong evidence to show that that statement from Councillor Monk could be incorrect.
Our own independent research has shown that Councillor Monk did tell a great untruth on Radio Kent last year. Thanks to the honesty and transparency of Monks Horton Parish Councillor Les Barratt, details of (what we are calling) the Great Untruth, have been disclosed to the S&DRA team.
Please take the time to read the following thread of emails. (It should be noted that this is not the email thread in its entirety, but relates to the most pertinent points). It only confirms what we have already stated; Councillor Monk is not fit to hold Public Office of any kind.
12th August 2106.
Dear Councillor Monk,
My name is Leslie Barratt. I am Vice Chairman of Monks Horton Parish Meeting and reflect the views of Monks Horton residents on all issues. The issue in question here is the Shepway District Councils’ proposal to build a new town of 12,000 dwellings in and around the villages of Westenhanger, Lympne, Newingreen and Sellindge.
You will recall that you invited me along with our Parish Chairman to attend a ‘Parish Councillors meeting’ on the 7th June 2016. You will also recall the general negative response that you received from all 27 Parish Councillors in attendance towards the development of a New Town which you are calling ‘Otterpool Park’.
At that meeting I listened intently to all comments from across the chamber and finally raised my hand to speak. I politely asked if, through the chair, we could have a show of hands of how many Parish Councillors thought it would be a good idea to build a Garden Town as proposed by your Council. You flatly refused. I asked again. You flatly refused. You then raised your voice as if to dismiss my request. My initial thought was ‘where is the democracy here’? I then raised my voice and put the question to the 27 Parish Councillors in the chamber: ‘Can we have a show of hands please: Who here, thinks it’s a good idea to build a New Town in Otterpool’.Not one hand was raised. I recall you remained vocal after the vote was taken. You certainly appeared disgruntled.
I now refer to your recent interview on the 8th August alongside David Plumstead on Radio Kent.
I was astonished to hear you refer to me as an ‘anti campaigner’ whatever that is? To be honest, you sounded somewhat muddled: I believe you meant to say that I was a campaigner. If that is what you meant, then you are quite correct; I do campaign for the people of Monks Horton. As a democratically elected Parish Councillor, I campaign on their behalf, as do the other democratically elected Parish Councillors that were present.
You then stated, on BBC radio, that I asked the 27 Parish Councillors at the 7th June meeting ‘Who is against the proposal’ (to build a new town).
I believe that when you said ‘Who is against the proposal’ on Radio Kent, you knew it to be untrue. You deliberately misled the people of Shepway, using a BBC radio station to broadcast that across Kent.
In an effort to deceive the electorate into thinking that there is a high level support for the proposed OtterpoolTown you have only confirmed to the listeners that you are not fit to hold any position of public office. Moreover, your plea for residents to contact you is disingenuous. We have evidence that you never returned your calls or emails to those that have tried to contact you.
Mr. Monk; from conversations I have had with residents over the years, it is clear that your standing in the district could at best be described as ‘waning’. From the conversations I have had with residents in the past four days I am sure that there would be thousands of Shepway residents requesting that you now consider your position.
I look forward to your reply at your earliest convenience.
18th August 2016
Dear Mr. Monk,
It has been six days since I sent my email to you. Please inform me when I can expect a reply.
18th August 2016
Dear Mr Barratt
You and I are not going to agree, I see little point in continuing this conversation.
Councillor David Monk
Leader of the Council
29th August. 2016
Dear Councillor Monk,
Thank you for your email of the 18th August.
Although your response is dismissive, I feel that a response is needed to clarify my position along with the parishioners that I represent.
You have taken a position which I find somewhat baffling. You state that we are not going to agree when there is nothing to agree on. A clear statement was made by me on the 7th June at the Civic Centre when you did your utmost to silence me.
You clearly heard what I said and you saw the response from 27 Parish Councillors. You then told an untruth on BBC radio knowing full well that it was inaccurate in a feeble attempt to extinguish total dissent for a proposed new town.
This is not the conduct that we would expect from a District Council leader and certainly not a servant of the people of Shepway.
Given the seriousness of your conduct, I would expect a full apology to be made, not only to Mr. Plumstead and me, but also to the people of Kent,
Please arrange for your apology to be made, on air, via the BBC stating that you was incorrect in a statement previously made. Please make it very clear that the fact of the matter is: 27 Parish Councillors present at the said meeting showed absolutely no support for the development of a new town that you and your council are calling Otterpool Park.
A speedy reply would be appreciated.
4th September 2016
Dear Councillor Monk,
Once again, it’s been 6 days since I emailed you. When can I expect a reply?
6th September 2016.
Dear Mr Barratt,
To confirm that you and I are not going to agree on this matter, therefore, I see little point in continuing this conversation.
Councillor David Monk
Leader of the Council
We will leave it you, the Residents of Shepway, to decide on whether Councillor Monk is a liar or not, or whether he is fit to hold Public Office.
Please click on the link below to reveal all:
Princes Parade development revealed for Hythe seafront as plans submitted for leisure centre and homes
Update, Membership and Donations
Our friends in Hythe are spreading the word on the following:
Dear Friends of Prince’s Parade,
Update, Membership and Donations
The planning application to move Prince’s Parade, develop at least 150 luxury beachside appartments, a leisure centre and car park, is now imminent, indeed we think that Shepway have already submitted it, but it could not be validated by Shepway Planning Department because Shepway had not paid the correct fee! So the “phoney war” is over and we must now begin to deal with the specifics of the planning application. I will keep you fully updated once Shepway manage to submit the forms correctly, validate their own planning application and it moves into the public realm.
Until now, we have run the Save Princes Parade Group on an informal basis. However, with the imminent submission of the planning application as well as the Examination in Public of the local plan due at the end of the year we feel that now is the time to formalise the group with a constitution and definitive member list. This will give us a mandate to represent the group at meetings and also allow us to raise funds for legal action should that become necessary.
There is no fee to become a member (although pledges towards the cost of legal action would be very welcome.)
You can read the constitution here:
If you would like to become a member please sign up flowing this link:
By signing up as a member you are confirming that you support our aims and are willing to abide by the constitution. You are also agreeing that we can contact you by email. You can cancel your membership at any time by emailing:
Thank you for signing the petition No Development on Prince’s Parade, can you help spread the word by forwarding the link below to your friends?