Otterpool Charter – your thoughts count. We need your help!

We need your help, urgently! 
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. The consultation ends on the 17th Oct 2017. Please read below for details.

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 otterpool@shepway.gov.uk, and copy it to jenny.hollingsbee@shepway.gov.uk
  • 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: otterpool@shepway.gov.uk

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.

9 thoughts on “Otterpool Charter – your thoughts count. We need your help!

  1. Shepway council should leave the beautiful areas that they are hell bent on ruining and be content with all the building in Ashford, Canterbury, Dover and Folkestone and leave the green villages and north downs for everyone to enjoy. There are many protected species living in these unspoilt area which unfortunately David Monk does not appreciate. Are there any underhand deals being dealt to certain people along the line ?

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    1. Hello Margaret,

      We appreciate you finding the time to contact us and look forward to more of your comments. You are correct in thinking that our wildlife is sacred and important in the scheme of things. Moreover, the mindset of rural dwellers is completely different from those that choose to live in an urban setting. The problem is, SDC haven’t really grasped that yet. As for underhand deals, we couldn’t possibly comment, but would ask you to look at the history of our blogs along with our friends at Shepwayvox and come to your own conclusions. I’m sure we will hear from you in the future. Regards, S&DRA.

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  2. Hello,

    The reply I would give to SDC is a definite “No”(full stop). Please do NOT build along Princes Parade. There are so many reasons why it should not be built on. It is a former rubbish tip, so in order to build there would need to be excavation first. Japanese knotweed abounds there. The canal is a sacred monument which would probably be interfered with should SDC build there. The swimming pool will be situated on the tip, and may in time have problems, it may possibly sink because of the weight of the water, let alone the building thereon. The building would definitely interfere with the wildlife that live there. Many different species are there. The houses would spoil views from different places in Hythe. There is presently a nice play area for children plus picnic area. So why would the houses SDC wish to build are town houses ? No why don’t SDC clean up the area to make it more attractive ? The houses SDC wish to build are between the canal and sea ? House insurance ? You must not forget that the canal served as our fortification during the war. As for the swimming pool, Martello Lakes would seem an ideal place to build one. It would attract people from the Romney Marsh area, who do not have a swimming pool. Should the Hythe pool be refurbished and extended perhaps that too would prove suitable and would not cost so much perhaps.

    I think David Monk is building in any spot where there is space. How about the tiny space he is building on in Cheriton again next to another housing development ?

    He is just ruining Hythe and surrounding towns and villages and many people visit for Hythe for a nice quiet seaside walk and not yet another housing development.

    Mr. Monk please stop building so many houses. I do know there is a shortage, but what about the 200 or so council houses in Folkestone unoccupied ?

    In closing I would say there are many other reasons why building should not be considered.

    Yours,

    Carole Abbott.

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  3. The Otterpool charter is a load of pie in sky nonsense. It paints idyllic surroundings but does nothing to tackle the most important issues such as water, where will it come from, how will health services cope when they cant cope now, transport infrastructure cant cope now, the green space they have in mind is a football pitch or small area for dog walking ect not the open countryside as we have now. Mr Monk said it’s only farmland so where on earth does he think his food comes from, he also says that we are selfish for not wanting to share our countryside with others. Maybe we like it just as it is and that is why so many of us are against these ill judged plans.

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    1. Hello Martin,

      Thank you for your reply. We hope that you made your thoughts known to Deputy Leader Hollingsbee as well as SDC. Our infrastucture is already under great pressure across all levels. You mention water, If we lived in Cumbria, it wouldn’t be an issue, but we live in the driest area in the UK. 90% of our water is lifted from the ground but during times of drought, there is no recharge to the aquifer, leaving the water table at dangerously low levels. So, if SDC build all they would like to build, a further ten million litres of water would have to be found EVERY DAY. Affinity have a statutory duty to provide water so they can’t say no to further development. That has to change. Please spread the word to sign up friends, family and neighbours

      S&DRA

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      1. I have had a reply from Jennie hollingsbee saying we could meet at the civic centre to discuss the charter but what’s the point as we know what the council think and it is not common sense. Have also sent to shepway. Am already spreading the word

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      2. Martin,
        As you say, it is pointless in meeting with these Councillors, if I may describe them as that.

        They should be attending meetings with the public, but alas, they have already stated, Monk, Carey and Hollingsbee, that they refuse to. This is disgraceful behaviour from elected representatives.

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  4. I quite agree with the comments made by Margaret and Martin. Afraid I typed in the Princes Parade protest instead of Otterpool above.
    When will SDC and Mr Monk start stopping all they are doing and leave this area alone. We know there are about 200 empty Council houses in Folkestone needing refurbishment by SDC. We buy our houses to live in the lovely countryside we now have – green, farmers fields etc.

    Carole.

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