ARCHAEOLOGY DENIED

For many of us, Archaeology is a fascinating subject that tells us where we’ve been, what we’ve done, and to some extent, give direction to our future.

Last year’s archaeological digs in and around our communities unearthed an enormous amount of artifacts and even revealed a Roman Villa at Newingreen. Last October we were treated to a presentation by Kate Clover, Senior Archaeological Consultant at Arcadis about the areas archaeological importance, but the presentation was held in a small venue in the middle of Ashford.

It was never advertised thereby denying local people the chance to discover the archaeological finds of the Otterpool area. Please view the past links here:

https://wordpress.com/post/slurry.org.uk/1315

https://wordpress.com/post/slurry.org.uk/1323

Despite several attempts to arrange another presentation last year in Lympne, another email was sent last week in a last ditch attempt to arrange a presentation before the Otterpool Planning application is set before the Independent Inspector. Here’s the reply from Kate Clover:|

“I have had several requests to come to Lympne and give a talk about the archaeology of Otterpool and I understand why people are keen for this to happen. The focus is currently on preparing the planning application, and more detailed information regarding heritage (and other elements) will accompany the submission and will be publicly available. We will be holding some consultation events immediately after the submission has taken place which we would welcome your attendance at.

We will then schedule a heritage presentation once the formal consultation events have been completed and I will let you know when this is happening. I won’t be able to do separate presentations for each group/town, it will be one presentation that will be open invitation to all groups. We have not planned where this will be yet, but clearly Lympne would be an obvious choice”.

This is an example of sheer dominance over the local population by a small number of individuals set to profit (with much of the profit being transferred to an offshore domicile), from the ruination of our rural area. How can this be right?

Now, let’s not start venting our anger at Kate Clover; Kate is an employee of Arcadis, carrying out her work as set out by her employer, Arcadis. It is clear that Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC), Cozumel Estates and Arcadis are setting the agenda here to keep us all in the dark, playing down the historical significance of the area to build an unneeded 12,000 dwelling town, sliding the archaeological importance under the radar of the Planning Inspector.

If you would like to be enlightened about the local archaeology before it’s buried forever, please contact the following to demand your right to be informed:

Rebecca Kearney. Senior Development Manager. Arcadis

rebecca.kearney@arcadis.com

07990 088 321

Whilst you are contacting Rebecca Kearney, please copy in the following:

David Monk, Leader, FHDC.

Home address: 
23 Minter Avenue
Densole
Kent
CT18 7DS

Phone:  01303 891001email: 

david.monk@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Jenny Hollingsbee. FHDC Deputy Leader and cabinet Member for Communities.

‘Snowdrop’
Swan Lane
Sellindge, Ashford
TN25 6EB

Phone:  01303 812066

Mobile:  07887 918458

Bus. phone:  01797 364593

Bus. email:  jenny.hollingsbee@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Reuben Brothers – Cozumel estates.

Email: contact@reubros.com

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Kate Clover, Senior Archaeological Consultant, Arcadis.

kate.clover@arcadis.com

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S&DRA

 

OTTERPOOL TOWN AND REFUGEES

There are times when national issues spill over into local issues, with media outlet coverage filling our screens alongside radio air time; the migrant crisis is one that we can not ignore any longer in relation to Otterpool Town. The issues of overcrowding and a lack of infrastructure are well documented, but here we pull no punches, giving due consideration to HM Government documents and respected news outlets.

Since the announcement by Shepway District Council to build a 12,000 dwelling new town, there isn’t a week that goes by where local residents ask whether or not a proportion of the Town is to accommodate migrants. The fact of the matter is that we simply don’t know.

The United Kingdom has always had a long tradition of welcoming both law abiding migrants and people in need of help: refugees, fleeing with their families in fear of persecution or even losing their lives, whether due to war or tyrannical dictators. In that respect, we should be proud of showing friendship and compassion to genuine refugees, encouraging them to assimilate into our culture and way of life, showing deference to their own religion, whatever it may be. In return, we expect the same.

The recent reports of dinghies on beaches spanning from Dungeness to Deal, highlights the illegality of peoples entering the United Kingdom. More often than not, stowaways on lorries seem to be the preferred access route in. In other reports, migrants walking through the channel tunnel have been spotted with some losing their lives.

Image result for migrant dinghy

Any life lost is a tragedy regardless of race or religion. The fact that migrants have come from countries that are not war torn or ruled by an evil despotic dictator, but are simply cultural backwaters, traversing safe countries, choosing not to claim asylum in those safe countries, indicates that these people are economic migrants, giving real cause for concern among local residents.

Image result for migrant boats channel

Moreover, illegal traffickers, even Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s), are putting migrants lives at risk by assisting them in their quest to come to the UK.

Stories of migrants tenanted in lavish homes, being given cars and luxury goods, on the back of the UK taxpayer are tabloid headlines that can usually never be proven. The task of researching and getting to grips with the state benefits received by asylum seekers is somewhat labyrinthian, but a simple UK Government document setting out the benefits given to asylum seekers, whether they be genuine or not, is shown here: https://www.gov.uk/asylum-support/what-youll-get

Affordable housing is an issue that constantly rears its head, with the majority of young families within our district desperately struggling to meet high rents with little chance of saving a deposit to purchase a home to call their own. Another concern of many residents is the claim that our Government is building homes for migrants, taking priority over our own indigenous population. Our research has uncovered a document from Reuters New Agency whereby on the 8th January, 2019  Serco and Mears were awarded contracts totalling 2.9 billion pounds from the British Government to provide accommodation and support for migrants  purporting to be asylum seekers. The document goes on to state that a total of 4 billion pounds will be spent on this type of construction, with 1.9 billion being awarded to Serco, headed by Rupert Soames, whose brother is Sir Nicholas Soames, Conservative Member of Parliament for Mid Sussex, whose political interests, among many, is International relations. Please click on the link to read the document: https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-serco-group-contract/serco-mears-win-2-9-billion-refugee-housing-contracts-in-britain-idUKKCN1P216Z

 

We have only touched upon the migrant issue here to dispel any rumour, hearsay or myths surrounding the migrant issue locally.  We will leave others to debate the national issues surrounding the migrant crisis, hoping that the issue isn’t weaponised any further than it already is by political groups for their own ends, whatever political group or bodies they may be.

Should you wish to contact your Member of Parliament Damian Collins, the leader of Folkestone and Hythe District Council David Monk or Rupert Soames of Serco to enquire about any points relating to our post, here’s a list below.

Damian Collins MP. House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA. Tel: 020 7219 7072. Email: damian.collins.mp@parliament.uk

David Monk, 23 Minter Avenue, Densole, Kent, CT18 7DS.  01303 891001. Email:  david.monk@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk.

Rupert Soames. Email: rupert.soames@serco.com 01256 745900. https://www.serco.com

On reflection, it is clear that our generosity and tolerance is being perceived as weakness by others from outside of these shores; it would be a grave mistake to conflate the two. It would also be a grave mistake for our own District Council to ignore the evolving rancor and opprobrium among residents against a Stasi style Cabal operating within the Civic Centre.

No doubt there will many comments forthcoming to this website. That’s what free speech and democracy is all about. And let’s not forget, that dissent is not a crime (yet). Your views are always appreciated.

May your God go with you.

S&DRA

 

 

 

THE LUNATICS ARE STILL RUNNING THE ASYLUM

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past week, you all would have heard about the Manston Lorry Park dry run, experiment, call it what you will, debacle. Apparently, Government requested 150 lorries to run from Manston Airport to Dover but only 89 turned up. It must have been an exceptional money making day, work-wise for the industry because the 61 truckers that stayed away (obviously making more money) were missing out on £550 for simply driving about on relatively uncongested local roads. Why were the roads empty? It was so well advertised that other drivers stayed well away, fearing that traffic jams would surely ensue. As it happens, the roads were relatively empty.

Hailed as a complete farce by ‘thinking’ people and the majority of politicians (yes – politicians) for various reason which we will come onto in a moment, but there was one local minor politician that endorsed the views of certain individuals that described the day as a great success. We know it’s difficult to believe, or is it?

Here she be:

Carey in White hat
Susan Carey. Conservative Councillor

Yes, our beloved Susan; supporter of the 3,600 vehicle Stanford West Lorry park that would have decimated the lives of hundreds of villagers. Did we mention that dear Susan is up for election in May in the North Downs West ward (that includes Stanford). Moving on:

Manston is a completely unsuitable location as the road network in that part of Kent is not geared up to accommodating hundreds of HGVs, yet the Government is spending £12,000 each day to keep it available when it should be investing in multiple parking facilities together with ‘smart’ signage across the whole of the UK motorway network.

Taxpayers money is being squandered by inept and frankly moronic Government officials who are clueless about the logistics involved here. We need secure lorry parks, not more sticking plasters and punitive measures: it’s not rocket science; look across to France with their parking facilities, on-site restaurants and service areas. Moreover, the opening of more ports would ease congestion at Dover and the Channel Tunnel. Why hasn’t it been instigated?

So why was Tuesdays ‘dry run’ a farce? Each day almost 6000 lorries head towards Dover to cross the channel. In the summer of 2015, 9000 lorries were stacked on the M20; a far superior route to the roads to and from Manston. We have already calculated that a single lorry park would make the road network around Stanford et environs even more congested if this crazy scheme had come to fruition. For example, junction 11 would be closed due to the 2km rule of having two slip roads within the motorway route. We also calculated that even if Highways England could fill the biggest lorry park in the world at Stanford, there would still be 5,400 lorries stacked on the M20.

WHEN WILL THE IDIOTS IN GOVERNMENT EVER LEARN.

Our very own MP Damian Collins is still banging on about building a single lorry park. Mr. Collins. Are you completely stupid?

collins open shirt
Damian Collins MP.

Let’s not forget that the idea of a lorry park was pre-referendum and was only meant to be a lorry holding area for when operation stack was called due to inclement weather, striking ferrymen and migrant incursion. It was never meant to be a customs area or anything related to Brexit. Our Government has had two and a half years to put in place lorry parks throughout the UK. Instead they have already wasted £15,000,000 on consultants fees at Stanford, £12,000 per day to keep Manston open and a one off payment of £48.950.00 to send a few lorries along a few local roads, which included two removal lorries and a dust cart.

Any ideas what we could use those three vehicles for?

To end a much lighter note, Monsieur Jean-Marc Puissesseau, Port of Calais Chief has stated that incoming lorries will not be impeded entering France after 29th March 2019.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/port-of-calais-chief-slams-chris-grayling-as-disrespectful-over-ferries-debacle_uk_5c35d352e4b0dbd06601ee83

There, it took a French man to cut to the chase and shame our spineless political class.

Keep on truckin.

S&DRA.

SELLINDGE JUMBLE SALE

Saturday 9th February, 2019.

Sellindge Village Hall – Doors open at 11am.

HELPERS WANTED PLEASE

JUMBLE WANTED PLEASE

RAFFLE PRIZES DONATIONS PLEASE.

All enquiries to Carole on:

07581 388987

(Please leave message if unanswered)

Supporting Sellindge & District Residents Association

FIGHTING TO KEEP OUR COMMUNITIES FREE FROM UNWANTED AND UNNEEDED DEVELOPMENTS.

LOCAL BANKSY PAINTS THE TOWN RED.

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.

                           otterpool sign 3

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.

S&DRA.

There’s a new Political Party on the block.

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:

http://www.foundationparty.uk/

Other Parties are available.

S&DRA.

Remembering the fallen – Lest we forget.

Poppys

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!

SHEPWAY IN RUINS

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.         

Yours sincerely,

David Plumstead

Shepway Environment and Community Network (SECN)

———————————————————————————————————————————-

23rd October 2018

Dear David

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

Kind Regards

Kate

—————————————————————————————————————————————–

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.

Yours sincerely,

David Plumstead

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 Leader:

david.monk@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk

FHDC Deputy Leader and cabinet Member for Communities.

jenny.hollingsbee@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk,

Rebecca Kearney. Associate Director at Arcadis.

rebecca.kearney@arcadis.com

ROMAN VILLA DISCOVERED IN ASHFORD? NO, SHEPWAY. ????

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:

Kate Clover
Kate Clover, Arcadis.

“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.

S&DRA

OUT ON A LYMPNE – Lease or no lease.

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.