That’s the impression that our beloved Folkestone & Hythe District Council, along with their development bedfellows and apparatchik consultants and PR sidekicks would want us all to believe.
The fact of the matter is, there’s not enough water to support major development in the Folkestone and Hythe area over the coming years.
These are the facts: Affinity Water (AW) our local water company, the experts in delivering water to our taps, are concerned, very concerned that the existing infrastructure will not be able to deliver anything near the amount of water to supply a new town of 12,000 homes. In fact a figure of 1000 homes from AW has already been quoted. (Please see the link below if you think that upgrading the infrastructure is the solution).
AW supply water to 160,000 people in the Folkestone and Hythe area, known as the Dour region. The projected housing figure, excluding the proposed Otterpool New Town, for the area is a further 24,000 homes. This equates to an additional 57,600 people, given the average figure of 2.4 people per household, making 217,600 people. Moreover, no allowance has been made for industry or commercial enterprise. So you wouldn’t have to be a mathematical genius to calculate that with a limited supply of the wet stuff, blanket building in the area would be an environmental disaster.
So what has our Council and their blanket building chums said that will convince us that a 12,000 ( or is it 10,000, 8.500 or 5,500) New Town will have enough water to drink, bathe in and flush our loo’s. In a nutshell, this is what they are saying:
They will install the type of infrastructure that will supply water to Otterpool Town whereby, instead of each resident using the average of around 155 litres each day, they can get it down to 80 litres per person each day. How? They say that they will be using, through their preferred infrastructure developer; Albion water, a system of ‘re-use’. This could be a combination of grey water (basin, sink, bath shower) and/or rainwater being redirected via a treatment unit, to serve the flushing of WC’s. This would require ‘over and above’ the usual amount of water infrastructure, adding to the cost of each house. Let us not forget that the infrastructure housing fund that was in the offing for Otterpool has been pulled by central Government. And let us also not forget that there is a cost in operating a re-use system that some local residents may well not be able to afford. And what of rainwater use? If the holding reservoir becomes depleted due to a lack of rain, potable water WILL be used to serve the properties.
So, for the moment, let us all agree that residents will be using 80 litres of potable water each day. This would be a saving of 75 litres per person each day. Now, given that our Council can’t make up its mind that the New Town will be 12,000 or 5,500 houses, lets assume an average figure of 8,750 houses. AW have already stated that over the coming years they would be adding an additional 57,600 customers to their base, making a total water output to residential properties of 32.64 million litres of water each and every day.
The total saving of potable water usage at Otterpool New Town, if each house was fitted with a re-use’ facility, and if it rained enough to keep the bulk reservoirs filled, would be 1.575 million litres each and every day. Not to confuse matters, if Otterpool Town (of 8,750 houses) was included in the projected 24,000 homes this would add a further 1.68 million litres to the 32.64 million litres making a grand total of 34.32 million litres.
With developers and FHDC talking as if this scheme was the ‘be all and end all’ to conserve water, we can see that the scale of proposed water saving (if achieved) across the Dour region is minimal.
The proposal set out to conserve water on this scale is nonsensical and is another exercise in hoodwinking a planning inspector to approve a development that, in environmental terms, really is a ‘bridge too far’.
With our climate changing, we will have to ensure that development is appropriately managed and sited in areas more able to cope with population growth and migration.
To conclude, we are including a submission to the draft FHDC Core Strategy made by Parish Councillor Les Barratt that pretty much sums up the state of play regarding water issues and development in the Folkestone and Hythe area. It is a ‘long read’ but well worth a look.
If you’re interested in how the water savings will be made by Folkestone & Hythe District Council, please visit the site in 30 years time. If you’re not sure where the water recycling plant is, don’t worry, you cant miss it; it’s right next door to the Unicorn Farm.
Have a nice weekend.