Dear Very Angry Residents,
Dear Angry Residents,
We at S&DRA think that Leader of SDC, David Monk and Deputy Leader, Jenny Hollingsbee are actually telling the truth when they say that building a new town in and around our communities would ensure that houses would be available for their Grandchildren.
Of course they would.
If most working class people had a property and/or Land portfolio like our Council leaders to pass on as inheritance, their Grandchildren would be ‘sitting pretty’ and would be able to afford the outrageous South East prices that’s so detrimental to our young families and lowest earners in securing a home.
If we are to accept that ‘Everything is relative’ we have no argument against the likes of Monk and Hollingsbee given that a fiscal helping hand would be available to the few. But if we were to adopt the same principle of ‘Everything is relative’ to our lowest paid workers and residents whose chances of an inheritance windfall is zero, the average price of a mid terrace house is way out of reach.
So when we hear the term ‘affordable homes’ should we laugh, cry or despair?
So far, we have heard nothing from our Council that would convince us that the majority of our children or grandchildren would ever enjoy setting up a home that they could call their own, either being rented or purchased.
There are many options available to Councils when considering homes for our lowest paid residents. One of them is CLT’s: Community Land Trusts are being initiated and developed globally and provide the alternative to the mainstream PLC developers, like Taylor Wimpey (TW), whose only raison d’etre is to accumulate profit for themselves and their shareholders (according to Digital look, the prospective end of year yield or dividend for TW is 7.5%).
For a simple explanation of how a Community Land Trust operates, please click here.
Having heard and seen the sham Consultations last December and June, 2017, it is obvious that between Shepway District Council and Cozumel Estates (based in the Offshore, British Virgin Islands), the overriding reason for foisting a 12,000 dwelling Commuter Town upon us is MONEY.
Money for Cozumel and SDC.
If the 12,000 dwelling Commuter Town gets the go-ahead, investment would be drawn away from all of the other Shepway areas to the detriment of non Otterpool Residents, leading to services in their own areas being drastically reduced. Moreover, services would be concentrated in one area area of Shepway, leading to massive congestion in and around the villages of Lympne, Newington, Sellindge Stanford, Westenhanger.
So if you’re living in an area where you think a 12,000 dwelling commuter Town won’t affect you, think again. This isn’t a case of ‘Not in my backyard’. Given that the Shepway population increase would be over 40% (8,000 homes in the Local plan, plus 12,000 dwelling Commuter Town), we should ALL be saying NOT IN EAST KENT.
The second round of so-called Community Engagements are now behind us. So what have we learnt from them? Of course, we all know that the only Consultation/Engagement that would have any legitimacy would have been for SDC to ask the question: Do you want a Garden Town in and around your Rural Communities?
Shepway District Council, being what they are, have not sincerely engaged with local Parishes, and when they did, (7th June, 2016) we all told them that there is no local support for such a monstrous development.
Within 24 hours, (8th June, 2016) the SDC Cabinet then took a vote to go ahead with the ‘Expression of Interest’ to Central Government for their support of the New Town (12,000 dwellings) along with a £750,000 grant.
There are many Residents who think that what SDC did was illegal and/or corrupt. We have listened to all their comments and will post more on this issue as times goes on.
In the meantime, we are attending and listening to Kevin Murray and Cozumel Estates at the so-called Community Engagements. The first round of these engagements produced a stream of negative comments, based on real concerns for the environment which SDC have chosen to ignore.
On the issue of the public relations company; Kevin Murray, S&DRA’s view is more or less in line with David Plumsteads’ comments set out below, but let us not forget that many of the ‘experts’ employed by Kevin Murray are not experts at all as highlighted and exposed at the Lympne Village event when their Water ‘expert’ appeared clueless when questioned on Affinity’s Water projected figures and the water usage of an additional 12,000 plus homes. The problem is, individuals, on a one to one basis are believing what these so-called experts are saying.
David Plumsteads’ view:
Kevin Murray is in my view genuinely working to record people’s views and concerns. His small company of associates is expected to comply with his professional ethos of objectivity, accuracy and impartiality.
We are not fighting Kevin Murray and his staff. Most of the heat generated in the Q&A session in the Sports and Social Club arose from general public mistrust and detestation of Leader of SDC, David Monk & Co. It came close to a question of shooting the messenger.
Kevin Murray is broad shouldered and used to it, but I did notice that consistent shouting tended to confuse/deafen his staff, getting in the way of their writing down what was being said.
I believe we are winning the ‘Consultations’ with hard unarguable evidence. We descend into rowdy name calling against the wrong people at our peril.
Please keep an eye out for more posts on the lies and deception that we have now come to expect from our District Cabal.
These two pieces are a summation of what is wrong with the Otterpool Consultation process. At root the biggest unanswered issue is why is this being proposed.
If it is because of an “objective assessment” of housing need then publish that in a form that is comprehensible to everyone in Shepway. And explain at the same time why these numbers have increased so dramatically compared to the numbers that have been presented with the same confidence over the past fifteen to twenty years of District-wide masterplanning. Just why should we swallow these new numbers?
The questions remain “WHY THIS? WHY NOW? and WHY HERE?”
These questions were asked all through last year, and since. They are still unanswered.
Read on for some indication of the attitude of the leading protagonists.
This statement is copied from the Otterpool Park website, buried deep, as a precursor to the public enragement meetings today, tomorrow and Saturday.
” 500 people attended the first engagement sessions last year, sharing their views and concerns about Otterpool Park.
Andy Jarrett, spokesman for Otterpool Park, said: “We were pleased to see so many local people attend the sessions last year, and the feedback we’ve received will help to shape the proposed garden town. We hope to see even more people at the next events. Residents and other members of the community can see how their contributions so far have informed ideas, and importantly, can find out more about how we are addressing areas of concern for infrastructure, housing type and green space.”
Andy Jarratt, Head of Strategic Development Projects at Shepway district Council was interviewed on Radio Kent, broadcast 15 June 2017.
It went like this:-
Who the homes will be for?
It will be drawing people from the local area. It will have a particular emphasis on trying to ensure that affordable homes meet the requirements of those that are unable to afford homes at the moment.
But also that we are trying to introduce a new demographic to the area and to increase the economically active population.
You are actively looking for people to move in from outside of the area then
We are looking to business to see what business requires and for new facilities we think that will drive a new skill base so it will be a mix of local people benefiting from that but yes and it will be open to people with skills from elsewhere to come to the area.
Do you know where house prices might start from?
We don’t I think it’s worth recognising that this is a long-term project. we hope to be on site 2020 but even then you can appreciate that things will change a lot. It will be important that affordability of homes is taken account of so there will be starter homes within the mix of that I’m quite sure I think it’s likely there will be key worker homes available to the people with particular skill sets that we are trying to encourage. I mean affordability is very much in our mind.
Roughly then how much would a starter home cost do you think?
I just don’t know I don’t think we know how much any home will cost into a three years time. It’s got to be valuable it’s got to meet the market it will be governed by the market conditions at the time.
There has obviously been lots of protest about this development you know we had hundreds of people marching on the streets not too long ago. How are you trying to get those people on board and the concerns that they have.
Well I think what we’re trying to do through our own engagement really is to help people shape the settlement and it’s not a question… You appreciate we are promoting the project our role in life is to make it work for as many people as we can. And I think we will have to assume that there will be some people who object to this proposal as people object to any significant proposal. Ummm what we’re trying to do essentially is to work with those who will work with us and to meet as many needs as possible.
What would you say to those people who so far have felt a bit ignored in this process.?
… If there are people out there who feel ignored …. I think we need to draw attention to what we are doing and we have an open dialogue with all good will talk to us. I don’t pretend for a minute that we will be able to meet everybody’s requirements because some people don’t want to see this scheme happen at all. Some people don’t want to see development happen at all. But what is driving this is a need to meet the needs of the many, and this is based on an objective assessment of what future housing need is is required in the area and we have a responsibility I think to meet that need.
Those people that aren’t happy with the plan, they just have to put up with it then?
(Even bigger sigh)
While they have to…they have to put up with it, or they have to try and work with us to shape it.
What we are not entering into is a dialogue about it not happening.
And that consultation on going of course……
Do you think your council tax is being spent on worthwhile and essential services: Ones’ that you feel you’ve have had a say in. Ones’ that have followed the path of democracy?
Think again. Our friends at Shepwayvox have highlighted 4 payments to the proposed New Town Master planner’s, Arcadis.
The ‘eye opener’ is here
Today, Thursday, 6th April, 5 candidates attended the Hustings at the Civic Centre:
Stephen Priestley, UKIP. Tim Prater, Lib Dem. Martin Whybrow, Green. Aaran Harvey, Labour.
Bryan Rylands, Independant.
Unfortunately, Councillor and Leader of Shepway District Coucil, David Monk was scheduled to attend but pulled out due to: Your guess is as good as mine. We would have loved for our leader to attend so he could justify his actions over Otterpool, The Lorry Park, Princes Parade and the partnership between SDC and the Reuben (offshore, thank you very much) Brothers, but alas, it wasn’t to be.
To be honest, there wasn’t a lot to choose from between the candidates, with the main theme being concentrated on the NHS, Ward closures and lack of funding. With members of the audience being paid up members of the Fifty Plus group, it was hardly surprising that the NHS took centre stage.
The issues surrounding Otterpool New Town, Princes Parade and the Lorry Park were obviously raised with all candidates speaking with one voice. (Perhaps Cllr. Monk felt too embarrassed to attend on those issues alone). Lack of transparency within the Council cabal was mooted with one candidate likening our area to a police state. An abuse of power, indeed.
The mood in the hall was most definitely anti SDC with the audience fully aware of the shenanigans of Monk and his Cabinet Cronies. It wasn’t just the audience that voiced their dissent: At the candidates top table, speeches were interspersed with the words Corruption, Lies, Dodgy dealings, Closed door meetings and more. It’s clear that more and more residents are becoming familiar with the authoritarian regime that exists at Castle Hill Avenue. It’s also clear that the Civic Centre swamp needs to be drained, sooner, rather than later.
We can start on the 4th May by casting your vote for a candidate that will actually serve you. In other words, anyone rather than an incumbent Shepway Tory.