These two pieces are a summation of what is wrong with the Otterpool Consultation process. At root the biggest unanswered issue is why is this being proposed.
If it is because of an “objective assessment” of housing need then publish that in a form that is comprehensible to everyone in Shepway. And explain at the same time why these numbers have increased so dramatically compared to the numbers that have been presented with the same confidence over the past fifteen to twenty years of District-wide masterplanning. Just why should we swallow these new numbers?
The questions remain “WHY THIS? WHY NOW? and WHY HERE?”
These questions were asked all through last year, and since. They are still unanswered.
Read on for some indication of the attitude of the leading protagonists.
This statement is copied from the Otterpool Park website, buried deep, as a precursor to the public enragement meetings today, tomorrow and Saturday.
” 500 people attended the first engagement sessions last year, sharing their views and concerns about Otterpool Park.
Andy Jarrett, spokesman for Otterpool Park, said: “We were pleased to see so many local people attend the sessions last year, and the feedback we’ve received will help to shape the proposed garden town. We hope to see even more people at the next events. Residents and other members of the community can see how their contributions so far have informed ideas, and importantly, can find out more about how we are addressing areas of concern for infrastructure, housing type and green space.”
Andy Jarratt, Head of Strategic Development Projects at Shepway district Council was interviewed on Radio Kent, broadcast 15 June 2017.
It went like this:-
Who the homes will be for?
It will be drawing people from the local area. It will have a particular emphasis on trying to ensure that affordable homes meet the requirements of those that are unable to afford homes at the moment.
But also that we are trying to introduce a new demographic to the area and to increase the economically active population.
You are actively looking for people to move in from outside of the area then
We are looking to business to see what business requires and for new facilities we think that will drive a new skill base so it will be a mix of local people benefiting from that but yes and it will be open to people with skills from elsewhere to come to the area.
Do you know where house prices might start from?
We don’t I think it’s worth recognising that this is a long-term project. we hope to be on site 2020 but even then you can appreciate that things will change a lot. It will be important that affordability of homes is taken account of so there will be starter homes within the mix of that I’m quite sure I think it’s likely there will be key worker homes available to the people with particular skill sets that we are trying to encourage. I mean affordability is very much in our mind.
Roughly then how much would a starter home cost do you think?
I just don’t know I don’t think we know how much any home will cost into a three years time. It’s got to be valuable it’s got to meet the market it will be governed by the market conditions at the time.
There has obviously been lots of protest about this development you know we had hundreds of people marching on the streets not too long ago. How are you trying to get those people on board and the concerns that they have.
Well I think what we’re trying to do through our own engagement really is to help people shape the settlement and it’s not a question… You appreciate we are promoting the project our role in life is to make it work for as many people as we can. And I think we will have to assume that there will be some people who object to this proposal as people object to any significant proposal. Ummm what we’re trying to do essentially is to work with those who will work with us and to meet as many needs as possible.
What would you say to those people who so far have felt a bit ignored in this process.?
… If there are people out there who feel ignored …. I think we need to draw attention to what we are doing and we have an open dialogue with all good will talk to us. I don’t pretend for a minute that we will be able to meet everybody’s requirements because some people don’t want to see this scheme happen at all. Some people don’t want to see development happen at all. But what is driving this is a need to meet the needs of the many, and this is based on an objective assessment of what future housing need is is required in the area and we have a responsibility I think to meet that need.
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.
And that consultation on going of course……