RURAL KENT – RIP.

Last Thursday, 26th April, 6 Parish Councillors met with Andy Jarrett, Head of Strategic Developments Projects, to hear about the latest update and presentation on the proposed New Town development being called Otterpool Park. According to our sources, it was pretty much the same old rhetoric promoting the advantages of a non piecemeal build with riverside walks and state of the art ‘green’ living.

The Questions and Answers session revealed cracks in the facade with many points put to Mr. Jarrett being deflected or responding with: ‘I’m no expert’.Ā Pressed on the water issues, or lack of, the very best that Mr. Jarrett could come up with was: I am told by Affinity Water that they can supply water to Otterpool Park Town. When questioned on homes for local people, once again, obfuscation was the order of the day.

In a recent FHDC document, Healthier Housing Strategy 2018-2023 (Draft), it clearly states at 4.11:

It is vital that new housing provision within the district meets the needs of the local community and also contributes toward
enabling the district to fully meet its economic and regeneration objectives. The Core Strategy Local Plan (adopted 2013) has committed the Council to the development of a target 8,000 additional homes in the district over the period 2006 to 2031. The Council is now in the process of reviewing the Core Strategy. The evidence base document, the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), has indicated that there is an Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) of 14,560 dwellings over the period from 2014 to 2037. This is an additional 6,560 homes over the 2013 Plan. The majority of the 633 homes required each year will be market homes provided through private developers, with the SHMA also identifying a need for an additional 139 affordable dwellings per year.

We make no apologies for repeating our stance on Housing for local needs. The above statement clearly defines, after the Core strategy review, that 14,560 dwellings are required up to 2037. The expression of Interest to build a Town came purely from Shepway District Council (now FHDC). Otterpool is not intended for local people, evidenced by the proposed development of Westenhanger Station, but an empire building, venture capital exercise that will see our Residents, notably young citizens, pushed even further away from the Housing ladder.

With our Leader Monk and Deputy Leader Hollingsbee instrumental in this venture, refusing to attend any public debate, is it any wonder that Residents opprobrium towards our so-called representatives is at boiling point.

We also learn of another Public Consultation being planned for June. Bearing in mind that we have already had two consultations that revealed less than 2% support for the Otterpool development, this will be another box ticking exercise where the results are never released. But FHDC will be able to tell the Planning Inspector that 3 public consultations have taken place and stakeholders are on board.

So, if you’re off on your hol’s and fancy a novel full of lies and deception, pick up a copy of Otterpool Town – The death of Rural Kent. To be found nowhere in your local bookshops.

Have a nice weekend.

S&DRA.

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