Saturday 9th February, 2019.
Sellindge Village Hall – Doors open at 11am.
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Supporting Sellindge & District Residents Association
FIGHTING TO KEEP OUR COMMUNITIES FREE FROM UNWANTED AND UNNEEDED DEVELOPMENTS.
Going out on the town and painting it red is a term that we are all familiar with, but here, we have a situation where someone has literally painted it red, obviously showing their disgust at the proposed 12,000 dwelling, commuter, housing estate, being dumped between our villages, even before it’s been set before an independent planning inspector.
Do Folkestone & Hythe District Council (FHDC) know something that we don’t? Do FHDC think it’s a done deal, a fait accomplis? And why is the only hoarding in the District on land where Cozumel Estates, aka Reuben Brothers, intend to build, taking their profit away from the UK to their offshore haven, even though FHDC have land of their own.
And why have FHDC set the application back to spring 2019? Is it because five planning officers, including two senior, have left the council over the past few months and now they’re struggling to cope with the workload? Why did they leave? Why didn’t central Government hand over the £281,000,000 Housing Infrastructure fund that FHDC thought that they had in the bag. How will they install the Infrastructure to serve even a thousand commuter homes?
Is it any wonder that residents are angered by the cavalier attitude that soi-disant Leader Monk and his cabinet have adopted in trying to steam roller through an unneeded and unwanted housing estate that we are barely equipped to deal with in terms of just two of the most essential items of infrastructure – Water supply and Sewerage. We already know that Affinity Water have stated that they will only be able to supply 1000 Otterpool homes with potable water (if the Aquifer allows), even though FHDC have lied about there being no problem in serving the town with water.
One only has to check out the fiasco at Shornecliffe Heights to realise that Southern Water has no capacity to cope with extra load on the sewerage system: https://shepwayvox.org/2018/11/25/the-long-read-horn-street-stench-part-2/
How on earth will the system cope with 12,000?
We make no apologies for banging on about the local election next May. We know who is supporting the building of the unneeded Otterpool development as well as other unneeded developments in the district. If these same Councillors had had their way, the hideous lorry park that would have decimated the village of Stanford West would have been almost built by now. And who are they? Here’s just three: Monk, Hollingsbee and Carey. Just by coincidence, all Conservatives.
This is your chance to give these give these self serving apparatchiks a bloody nose. Contact your District Councillor this week; ask them for their position statement on all developments within the District. If you don’t agree with them, don’t vote for them. It’s as simple as that.
Other Councillors are available.
BREAKING NEWS TODAY.
As an apolitical group, we will never subscribe to any political party or favour one over another. The fact that the leader of this Party, The Foundation Party, is headquartered in a neighbouring District and has one of our very own District Councillors, Mary Lawes (formerly Independent), as a founding member, gives us good reason to bring this to your attention.
Here’s what Councillor Mary Lawes had to say about being a member of The Foundation Party:
“Our communities are the back bone of this country and the Foundation Party will be the party for local communities. Our policy of devolving major powers to local authorities will give people greater choice on how they would like to see their communities evolve”.
With Local elections coming up next May, will this new party throw the cat among the pigeons and break the stranglehold of Conservatives, or will it dilute the vote against the Conservatives?
We will be looking into the policies surrounding local issues, as we do with all political parties, and bringing you news updates on policies surrounding issues affecting us all.
To find out more please click on:
Other Parties are available.
God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle-line,
Beneath whose awful Hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!
For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard,
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,
For frantic boast and foolish word—
Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!
Our previous post set out how our beloved Council and their Otterpool developers/consultants organised a presentation, in Ashford, on the unearthing of a Roman Villa and other archaeological finds throughout the whole of the Otterpool area. Why was the presentation held away from the District with no notification that it was even taking place? Set out below is an email thread between David Plumstead and Kate Clover which demonstrates the fact that FHDC and their development partners have no interest in revealing anything of significance to local residents that would delay or halt the building of a Commuter Town on our doorstep. Our aim is to enlighten local residents of the archaeological importance of the area by securing a LOCAL venue where the same meeting could be replicated before the FHDC Planning application is presented to an independent Planning Inspector in late November/early December.
As time is of the essence, we would urge you all to take the time to read all three emails.
17th October 2018
Dear Kate Clover,
Following our brief conversation on Monday evening I have provisionally secured three alternative dates for you to repeat your archaeological presentation at Lympne Castle, these are Mon. 29th Oct – Mon. 12th Nov. or Tues. 13th Nov.
There is great local interest from Lympne, Westenhanger, Sellindge, Stanford and West Hythe. The same applies to Hythe town itself but that would require separatel provision.
It would be helpful if you could let me have your response in principle asap as the Castle is a popular venue for a wide range of events. It can seat over 100, there is ample provision for projection screen equipment etc. and the evening would be professionally staffed with a well stocked bar.
If you are comfortable with the idea I will see if any of my archaeological and professional historical contacts are available to support the event.
In the meantime we have a number of thoughtful Network supporters who would be happy to lend a practical hand with future work on the site and you will probably have spoken to Vernon Morris who lives at Upper Otterpool and is keen to be involved, not least as it is his patch that is being dug.
SECN would handle the publicity and I would be very surprised if we didn’t get a full house.
Shepway Environment and Community Network (SECN)
23rd October 2018
It was good to talk to you last Monday evening. Thank-you for your email and for the offer of organising a venue for a talk in Lympne. I am happy in principle to come to Lympne at some point in the future and to give a talk. However, as I said, it is not really my decision and I can’t commit to anything without client approval. I have since discussed it with the client and project team and we would prefer to defer any future talks until we have the full results from the fieldwork to share with people, rather than simply doing a repeat of my talk from the week before last. I would not be able to come until next year I’m afraid so please could you put plans on hold for the moment.
Sorry not to be able to oblige at this time. We will be in touch regarding a talk in the near future.
Many thanks again
24th October 2018.
Dear Kate Clover,
Thankyou for responding to my email.
Nonetheless we are extremely disappointed and very concerned to learn that while affecting to be willing in principle to present the archaeological findings extant at Otterpool to the residents of Lympne in Lympne and for which a date early next month has been arranged with Lympne Castle, you and your client, presumably Cozumel Estates, have decided not to do so until next year. That places the many hundreds of residents living in the area of the proposed Otterpool ‘Park’ development and the thousands living in the development’s wider catchment area in Shepway District who oppose it at a distinct disadvantage in that we have been given to understand that the Council’s relevant planning application could be lodged as early as this December.
To that is added the effect of the transparently biased ploy adopted by Shepway Council and your client arising from holding your presentation in Ashford in a difficult-to-access and cramped venue leaving the unavoidable impression that collectively you were making access to the all important archaeological and historical evidence as unattractive and awkward as possible.
It is completely unsatisfactory and unacceptable that an issue of such importance to local people is being circumscribed by insufficient time and a deficiency of information available to those residents wishing to prepare objections to the Otterpool development, the majority of whom were unable, for whatever reason, to attend your Ashford presentation. The time table you and your client is proposing undermines the democratic process and we reject it.
There are two seminal matters arising from that situation that have yet to be addressed if the democratic process and the interests of the community are to be properly served, namely the provision of reasonable time for those wishing to make representations against the Otterpool ‘Park’ development in which to consider all the archaeological and social historical evidence extant and that potentially significant yet to be discovered as clearly suggested by the finds to date and emphasised by you in your commentary accompanying your maps and diagrams viz: ‘….I would like to investigate the fields under crop at the moment as given the finds already uncovered the likelihood of finding more etc etc ‘
The matter of the proposed Otterpool ‘Park’ development is far too important to our community for it not to be considered pari passu with the inevitable loss of unique historic artefacts and sites, social history and the environmental conditions that underpin the quality of life on which our community places great value.
You and your principals would be advised to reflect on the counterproductive effect the manner in which these issues are being handled is having on our community at the receiving end. Each failure on their part to act impartially, transparently and honestly alienates us further and further away from their central objective.
Shepway Environment and Community Network
If you are as disgusted, as we are, with the situation and feel that you would like an answer as to why we are all being ‘kept in the dark’, here are 3 email addresses for you to contact.
FHDC Deputy Leader and cabinet Member for Communities.
Rebecca Kearney. Associate Director at Arcadis.
Last Monday evening (15.10.18), the Quaker Meeting Rooms, Ashford held a presentation where Kate Clover, Senior Archaeological Consultant to Arcadis/Proposed Otterpool New Town set out her findings across the Lympne, Newingreen, Westenhanger and Sellindge sites. Unfortunately, just a handful of Shepway residents were in attendance: more on that later.
Apart from the amazing Roman Villa being unearthed at Newingreen, here’s what Kate had to say about the whole area:
“We’ve identified buildings, historic monuments and landscape features that make this area of Shepway distinctive, including churches, farms, military sites, parks, archaeological sites and cottages.
41 Listed Buildings have been identified within 1km of the development site, while the Kent Historic Environment Record (HER) identifies 17 monuments from the prehistoric period (30 000 BC to 600 BC) in the area – most are spots where artefacts such as pottery or tools have been found. Ongoing exploration could lead to more findings which will give us some clues to human activity in the area over 100,000 years ago”
From the slide presentation, we were surprised to discover that the whole of the proposed Otterpool site offered up significant archaeological importance. With a number of areas still being farmed, we are expecting even more discoveries as and when the land becomes open to archaeologist’s.
Not so interesting but baffling is the reason why Kate’s presentation was held in Ashford at a relatively small venue when the presentation would have been of more interest to Shepway residents? How did S&DRA hear about it – purely by chance through a friend of a friend. So what are our local beloved Council up to?
We have now become accustomed to the shenanigans of Leader David Monk in his attempt to push Otterpool Town through against any democratic process involving local residents. This event wasn’t advertised or memo’s sent to Parish Councils, and why didn’t Deputy Leader Hollingsbee and Cllr. Susan Carey (we are wonderful) mention it in the Sellindge propaganda Newsletter? This was another message to the Planning Inspector to say that protocol has been followed and another box ticked along the democratic process.
Our Association will be looking to organise the same presentation on home ground as soon as we can. We, unlike Shepway (F&H) Council will be advertising the event on this website, our friends, associate’s and Social Media.
This isn’t the first time that we have stated that democracy is dead in Shepway (F&H). LOCAL ELECTIONS ARE BEING HELD NEXT MAY. This will be your chance to rid the Civic Centre of Leader Monk and his lackeys.
We would, as always, love to hear your views. on any of our posts.
On the night of 17th September residents from in and around the Parish of Lympne met at Lympne Village Hall to discuss the offer, made recently by Homes England (HE) to the Parish Council, of the opportunity to lease out part of Lympne Airfield.
For those of you who don’t know the back story, HE, a Government quango set up with the express purpose of promoting house building within the UK, purchased the airfield in collusion with Folkestone and Hythe District Council (F&HDC), for £9 million of taxpayers’ money from former owners, Phides Estates (headquartered in Jersey). The purchase was conducted in stealth – not even Lympne Parish Council was aware that a purchase was in view until the deal was completed.
The Airfield is a site of national historic significance, both for its role during WWs 1 and 2, as well as its place in aviation history more generally. Several planning applications for the site have already been rejected, with one of those judgements being upheld in the High Court. Nevertheless, there are proposals for housing development on the site within the district’s Local Plan and it is also included within the area of search for the proposed Otterpool New Town, a development of 12,000 homes (or is it 8,000 or 5,500? – the plans are becoming increasingly vague!)
HE clearly want someone else to carry the cost of maintaining the Airfield while they decide what to do with it in the longer term. Tenancy of the site had already been offered to a local farmer, but HE have offered to lease a subsection of the land to Lympne residents in response to a request from the Parish Council that villagers might continue to have access to the field as they had done for many years whilst the airfield was under the ownership of Phides. However, whilst offered for a peppercorn rent, the cost of upkeep of the land would pass to the Parish and the length of the lease is only 3 years. Ominously, the parcel of land on offer almost exactly replicates the piece of the Airfield identified as the green “buffer zone” in F&HDC’s Otterpool proposals, an area laughably supposed to help Lympne retain its distinct village identity while urban sprawl is inexorably imposed on it at every other possible point.
The meeting in the village hall was, unsurprisingly, packed. Initially it seemed villagers had a straight choice between two options:
Accept the lease (although everyone agreed that the term of 3 years was a derisory offer and the lease could only be accepted if the Parish Council were able to negotiate a term nearer to 20 years) and its ongoing maintenance costs, and thereby retain access to the Airfield.
Let the local farmer tenant the entire site, and carry the costs of farming it, but lose any access.
The picture became rather more confused however, as there was conflicting information about the possibility of the farmer actually allowing villagers access around the borders of the entire site were he to take possession of all of it. Clarity on that point was needed to enable residents to finally make up their minds about their preferred option.
Perhaps inevitably, discussion of the needs and preferences of the local canine population, who regularly frequent the Airfield with their owners, took up some time, but the focused contribution of a few speakers encouraged those present to grasp the bull by the horns, rather than the dog by the lead, and to consider the strategic implications of either accepting, or rejecting, the lease in the wider context Otterpool New Town. Whilst willing to consider some development within Lympne, the overwhelming majority, if not all, of the villagers present at the meeting utterly opposed the overwhelming scale of the proposals for Otterpool and deplored the threat the development posed to the history and heritage of the village by the further destruction of the Airfield. Ultimately, what residents wanted conveyed HE (and F&HDC) was that they:
did not condone the arbitrary division of the Airfield and wanted access to as much of it as they could possibly have, ideally by the Parish Council negotiating with HE for the tenancy of the entire site, although it seemed very unlikely HE would agree to this.
would prefer to come to an agreement with the tenant farmer for continued access around the borders of the entire site, than accept a lease that enabled HE to pass off the cost of maintaining part of the land on to the village until they were ready (presumably) to build on it.
did not want a part in any dealings that could be misinterpreted as condoning HE’s stealth acquisition of the site, or being willing to accept “sweeteners” to help overcome their antipathy to the Otterpool proposals.
There will be further communications between villagers and Parish Council once the view of the local farmer has been accurately established, before a final decision is taken. The Council is due to meet again with HE in 2 weeks time.
Watch this space.
As the OTTERPOOL NEW TOWN junk sails along into the dystopian distance, another twist has raised an issue that we should all be extremely concerned about.
Following the purchase of The Lympne Airfield by Homes England from an offshore company, thereby saying goodbye to another wedge of taxpayer’s hard earned money to an offshore tax haven, an offer has been set out to the Residents of Lympne that, some would say, sticks the boot in even further. Even if you’re not a Lympne Resident, this concerns each and everyone of us in the Shepway area.
With the threat of 30,000 people moving into the area, in addition to the homes in the local plan (34,000 people), the crumbling infrastructure, including the NHS, will not be able to cope. It is vital that we all make the effort to attend this meeting.
Your communities, your future. Come along and have your say. Lympne village hall – 17th September at 7.30pm