Last night (12.9.17), we were all treated to the usual display of ineptitude and grumblings of Councillor Monk and two of his Planning Officer’s; Chris Lewis and Julia Wallace at the Hythe Bay Primary School, courtesy of the Hythe Civic Society.
Council Leader David Monk
The evening kicked off with Councillor Monk telling us that he didn’t realise that it was a public meeting “so hey ho”. We wonder if he would have turned up if he was aware of that. It really does pay to check out our website.
The usual old rhetoric ensued for about 7 minutes when he then turned to Julia Wallace to present a slide show on how wonderful Otterpool Park would be and how we should all be embracing this chance to develop a town with their collaborative, bed fellow partners, Cozumel (BVI Offshore, tax haven) Estates.
The Reuben Brothers. Cozumel Estates, based in the British Virgin Islands.
Next up was Chris Lewis; speaking in quiet mode, at nineteen to the dozen, any points made seem to melt into a stream of meaningless jargon. It was at this this point, after an hour, that a lady member of the audience stood to remonstrate against the endless form of fillibustering, quoting the chairman as saying the presentation would be 45 minutes with the same amount of time for Q & A. It was only then that the Q & A commenced.
The audience wasn’t happy, in fact, it appeared that the presentation strengthened their resolve to ask the most probing and direct questions of Councillor Monk, which in most cases he couldn’t answer or dismissed the Resident’s points out of hand with a wave of his hand: No change there then.
One of the points made by a Hythe Resident was the availability of water to the new town. Councillor Monk retorted; “We’ve been in talks with Affinity Water and if they need money to deliver water we’ll help them out” What does that mean was the cry from the audience. Councillor Monk then admitted that a desalination plant could be a possibility. Readers of this website would know that we posted a spoof article just five weeks ago on the building of a desalination plant in or around Hythe. It seems that we weren’t far off the mark. So should Hythe Residents be concerned? They should be very concerned indeed.
To date, we know that the Environment Agency, through a FOI request, have not been in discussion with Affinity Water pertaining to the proposed Otterpool Park new town and the consequences of groundwater depletion in the Dour (Shepway) region.
We were also told, via Adam.Warner@affinitywater.co.uk; “We are not planning to build a desalination plan in the South East”.
So, there we have it: Affinity are not planning a desalination plant, but that doesn’t mean they won’t build one in the future.
SDC, if Councillor Monk is to be believed, have already had a discussion with Affinity on the lack of water in the Dour region and the possibility, going forward, to meet demand from the New Town.
Now, here’s the thing. SDC are offering capital, Council Tax payers money, to a water company whose shareholders receive a very healthy dividend, offering to build a power hungry, saline polluting industrial unit in our coastal area, just because Councillor Monk didn’t realise that getting blood from a stone was impossible, or in this case, getting water from a severely depleted aquifer would be impossible without causing major detriment to the environment.
If you would like to make your own representations on why a severely water stressed area is about to become a suburb of London, or as CPRE put it: London-on-sea, why not write to the CEO of Affinity Water, Simon Cocks, and ask why he hasn’t lobbied central Government against the urban sprawl of Shepway knowing full well that at least 90% of our water is pumped from the ground with no substantial emergency measures in place to meet the needs of existing Residents during dry winters. We are sure he’d love to hear from you.
While you’re at it, CC in Roy Burvill, based in Folkestone. Working only two days a week now, but still a very helpful point of contact. email@example.com
Now, getting back to the meeting. Was the evening a success for Councillor Monk and his Officer’s?
We’re sure that they were hoping to have this one in the bag, in terms of support for London-on-sea, but alas. it wasn’t to be. The audience, by this stage, had had enough of Councillor Monk and his bully boy tactics. It was time for a vote on who was in favour of building a new town. Although a member of the audience discreetly asked the Chairman to ask for a show of hands towards the end of the evening, the Chairman chose not to carry out the request. Just as Residents were leaving their seats, a local Parish Councillor sprang to his feet and posed the question. “Let’s have a show of hands on who thinks it’s a good idea to build a new town just up the road from here”. Two people raised their hands. Just to ensure fair play, the question was posed “Who thinks it a bad idea to build a new town”. Well, it was unanimous. Together with a mighty cheer, all (except for two) raised their hands. So what was Councillor Monk doing whilst all this was taking place. Wildly gesticulating, pleading NO NO NO.
Thank goodness for democracy.
The evening concluded peacefully, with good grace.