Last Tuesday, 17th April it was mooted that the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) would not be finding its way into the hands of Leader Monk and his cohorts at Folkestone & Hythe District Council (FHDC) to fund the infrastructure to support the proposed Otterpool Park New Town. Today, 19th April, it was confirmed that that was the case:
“Kent County Council’s application for Forward Funding to support the delivery of necessary infrastructure at Otterpool Park, Shepway, will not be taken forward”.
Some residents have suggested that campaigning by our Association and other allied local groups has not gone unnoticed by Government Ministers or the fact that water scarcity in the Shepway region (Dour) could have been a factor, hinting from Central Government that a Town of this size is really a non starter.
On the 31st March a four page letter was sent to Prime Minister May and The Rt Hon Sajid Javid from a local Parish Councillor stating, among other points, that:
There is overwhelming opposition from Residents against the Otterpool Town project.
There is distrust from Parishes and Parishioners against FHDC. The District Council has a track record of alleged corruption which is still being investigated by Kent Police (case ref: ZY/035502/14).
Water Scarcity is a serious issue, compounding the situation with what is, in effect, a New Town being built in Ashford.
FHDC has a close association, via a collaboration agreement, with an offshore headquartered company, Cozumel Estates (Reuben Brothers), which would benefit from the HIF and bring nothing to the UK economy.
A copy of that letter will be released in due course, but for the time being will not be fully disclosed. We believe that that letter may have had an influence in the decision not to release the HIF to FHDC via KCC. If that is the case, we owe our local Parish Councillor, and all those who endorsed the letter a very great debt of gratitude.
Finally, for those of you who missed the Core Strategy review in Sellindge, another event is being held in Hythe next Tuesday 24 April, 3-7pm- Hythe Sports Pavilion, South Road.
And if you’re hoping to get a reasoned argument out of any of the hosts, think again. The box ticking exercise is in full swing.
Go there and make your comments heard (you may have to register. Don’t let that put you off!) In the meantime, you will have the opportunity to talk to the Planning Officers at the following venues:
Monday 16 April, 3-7pm – Folkestone, Civic Centre.
Tuesday 17 April, 3-7pm – Hawkinge Community Centre
Thursday 19 April, 3-7pm- Sellindge Village Hall
Tuesday 24 April, 3-7pm- Hythe Sports Pavilion, South Road
Wednesday 25 April 3-7pm – 1St New Romney Scout Group HQ, Church Lane
It is vital that as many of us as possible attend these events and attempt to comment on the consultation documents.
STOP PRESS. It has come to our attention, via a local Resident, that vital documentation is not being released within the Core strategy document: The following email (edited) is now with us.
I was shocked to discover that many of the documents that are necessary to inform the revised Core Strategy have yet to be prepared. This includes important documents such as:
Duty to Co-operate Statement
Shepway Green Infrastructure Report
Shepway Water Cycle Report
Infrastructure Delivery Plan / Infrastructure Table
Shepway Playing Pitch Strategy and Sports Facilities Report
Whole Plan Viability Assessment
We are the tax payers and we expect our Council to act in our best interests – to provide impartial evidence for the Core Strategy to at least allow us to make informed responses to help shape this politically informed document.
The Core Strategy consultation needs to be postponed until all outstanding documentation is available.
Affinity Water are inviting Customers to attend a consultation on their draft Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) to address the challenges that face the Shepway area over the coming years. Our Association has already highlighted the prospect of a desalination plant being built in Hythe to supplement the shortfall in groundwater reserves due to the proposed Otterpool Town project.
So, if you’re a customer of Affinity Water and would like to comment on the WRMP, all you have to do is email Olivia.email@example.com to reserve a place at the following venue:
The recent announcement by Homes England to purchase 60 hectares of land in Lympne has prompted a backlash by local Residents against the purchase. Here’s what veteran campaigner David Plumstead has to say:
Our airfield has been sold to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government under the name of ‘Homes England’ for housing as part of its drive to bury us under 12,000 houses a.k.a. Otterpool New Town.
We have fought off threats to the Airfield five times in the last twenty five years as the succession of Planning Inspectors and High Court have supported us.
We will fight this threat as a grass roots community as before and directly challenge the Government’s own officially stated reason for the creation of the Minstry of Housing quoted here from its own website:
“The Ministry of Housing, formerly the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has been formed to create great places to live and work and to give more power to local people to shape what happens in their area.”
‘Homes England’ (The Ministry) has various powers of its own (e.g. compulsory purchase), but in the main, it has to work through the planning system. Just like any other developer, it needs to seek planning permission from the local planning authority and, where it wants to influence the local plan, it has to make representations like any other objector.
We have registered our objection to the Airfields’ inclusion in the Local Plan which will be debated with the Planning Inspector at the Public Inquiry later this year.
To launch a successful campaign we need to hold a public meeting at Lympne Castle on Tuesday, 3rd April at 7.30pm to explain what we have to do and answer your questions.
David Plumstead. The Friends of Lympne Airfield Association. 01303 265737. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Chance Saloon – for Places and Policies Local Plan representations.
PPLP Programme Officer Pat Yiga has generously agreed to accept submissions up to midnight tonight via her email address: email@example.com she can be contacted by those having difficulty putting their representations on the SDC ‘Portal’ and there are many of us!
That will enable late submission of representations about the PPLP which are essential if the Planning Inspector is to include them in his/her judgement and recommendations to the Secretary of State following the Local Plan Public Inquiry due to take place in a few months’ time.
Do not forget to to state whether you think:
The Plan is ‘legally compliant’
Whether it is ‘sound’ ie Positively Prepared and Justified
Effective and/or consistent with national policy –
and the Duty of adjacent LA’s to Cooperate
– here are some notes to help you:
The Plan is not legally compliant as it fails to address the serious issue of air pollution from road traffic. The Government has recently lost a third appeal in the High Court against successful prosecution for failing to implement its own regulations.
For the same reason the Plan is not ‘sound’ and has also been prepared with a view to encouraging the building of insupportable numbers of houses in inappropriate locations – eg the Otterpool Newtown development in an officially designated area of water scarcity where the supplier – Affinity Water – has raised serious doubt about its ability to comply with its statutory duty to supply sufficient potable water.
The Plan fails to comply with national policy wherein at Annex 1 Paragraph 2.5.2 the East Kent Audit Report of 7th March highlights an unmet requirement stating:
The Council needs to set up a public register for contaminated land and for environmental permitting in order to fully satisfy legislative requirements.
That being the case the proposed development at Princes parade PPLP ref. UA18 is unlawful.
We understand that cooperation has been agreed with the adjacent LAs of Ashford and Dover but we have not been consulted or informed of the nature of the agreement.
Note also the need to answer the following:
Does your representation relate to a new site that has not previously been submitted as part of Local Plan process?
Yes – large parts of proposed Otterpool Newtown
If your representation is seeking a modification, do you consider it necessary to participate at the oral part of the Examination?
Definitely ‘Yes’ I wish to participate in the oral Examination
If you would like to participate at the oral part of the examination, please outline why you consider this to be necessary
To clarify and highlight vital local issues for the Inquiry Inspector’s better appreciation of the very serious concerns of thousands of Shepway residents, notably those arising from proposed housing development on Lympne Airfield, the Otterpool Newtown Plan for 12,000 houses, the proposed development of Prince’s Parade and the ongoing despoliation of Fisherman’s Beach at Hythe.
And generally for the sake of information sharing and upholding the principle of democratic local governance.
This will also appear on our website: www.slurry.org.uk
This is an urgent notice for all residents, especially those living in Lympne, concerning a major Housing Development on Lympne Airfield.
The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has set up a quango/business which it has called ‘Homes England’ complete with Government money – our money – to buy Lympne Airfield from off-shore (Jersey) registered owners Phides/Somerston Estates as part of its drive to force through Otterpool Newtown.
It was hatched up without public consultation by the DCLG last September and is now being presented as a ‘fait a complis’
Our best chance of stopping this twin curse of the loss of our Airfield and our village is by immediately registering an objection with Shepway District Council (SDC) to any and all housing development on the Airfield referred to in the Places and Policies Local Plan (PPLP) and stating that you wish to give evidence to the Public Inquiry into the PPLP in due course.
But representations to the PPLP have to be registered with SDC before the end of this Monday – 19th -. This can be done by email to firstname.lastname@example.org – and it is very important that you ask for confirmation of receipt of your objection by SDC.
For more information about this, contact:
David Plumstead, Shepway Environment and Community Network (SECN) at this email address: email@example.com or telephone 01303 265737
According to Shepway District Council’s (SDC) Collaboration Board, we may soon be having a new water company to supply water to 12,000 commuter homes.
So what’s the problem with the water company, Affinity Water (AW), that we already have?
As of yet, we don’t know. But what we do know is that AW have reservations about supplying the proposed Otterpool Park new town, that Councillor Monk is determined to foist upon Shepway Residents irrespective of the fact that Water Scarcity is a major issue in our region. In a ‘Strategic Planning – Duty to co-operate’ meeting on the 30th September 2016, Affinity Water made it abundantly clear that
“There is neither the water resource, or the main transfer capacity, to serve 12,000 new homes and therefore an alternative solution will need to be sought”.
In a previous S&DRA post dated 4th August 2017, we outlined the consequences of the development of a desalination plant. Could this be the “alternative solution”:
In another meeting, The ‘Affinity Water Liaison Meeting’ was held, at County Hall on the 11th August, 2017 where AW’s Production and Network Manager stated:
“The Affinity WRZ 7 had the largest gap between forecast demand and planned supply”.
(WRZ 7 – Shepway area).
At that meeting, there were also concerns raised on commercial developments, which are more difficult to assess in terms of water supply requirement, together with further demand from Dungeness.
So how does Albion Water fit into the equation? We too are perplexed. Perhaps Albion have agreed to ‘tanker in’ water via a stream of bowser’s, or do they have a secret aquifer that AW know nothing about? Ridiculous we know, but the idea of increasing Shepway’s population by 50% is even more ridiculous.
Perhaps there has always been a secret plan to install a Desalination Plant in Hythe. Is Albion in on ‘it’? It’s not beyond the realms of fantasy. Just take a look at this Hansard post from 13th July, 2006:
Water Desalination Plants
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many water desalination plants are (a) in operation, (b) under construction and (c) planned; what the location is of each; and which company is involved in each case. 
Ian Pearson: The water companies’ proposals for resource developments, including proposed desalination plants, were set out in their 25 year water resources plans, prepared in 2004. The Environment Agency reported on the appropriateness of those plans in ‘Maintaining Water Supply’, which is available from its website:
Currently, no water company has a desalination plant in operation. South East Water has been testing a pilot plant at Newhaven, although no water from this pilot project has gone into supply. The company is preparing the documentation to support a planning 13 July 2006 : Column 1960W application for a plant at this site. Thames Water is appealing against the refusal of planning permission for a plant at Beckton in the Thames estuary. The company’s water resources plan also identifies provision for a second plant in the 2020s.Folkestone and Dover Water plan a small desalination plant at Hythe in 2019 and Southern Water propose the development of a desalination plant in the 2020s.
Once again ,we have brought to your attention why it’s not just the Residents of Sellindge, Stanford, Newingreen and Lympne that should be concerned about our region being decimated by greedy developers and unneeded building programmes. It spreads much, much further afield. Moreover, and going on the old adage of ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’: Water bills WILL rise.
One good reason NOT to go with the Otterpool flow.
Viewers of BBC2 probably watched a programme called ‘The New Builds are Coming’ last week, where South Oxfordshire District Council revealed plans to build 3,500 new houses over Green belt land in the tiny village of Culham, home for just 450 residents. Please click on the link below to watch the programme.
If like us, you experienced the unsettling notion of deja vu, you wouldn’t be alone. Dozens of Residents have contacted us to vent their anger at, not only to what’s happening to us here in Shepway, but also to what’s going on all over the country. Quelle surprise.
Unlike Oxfordshire that has the designation of being in a housing crisis, Shepway is not. With 8.800 homes already in the local plan, our District Council has exceeded the housing requirement as set out by Central Government via a democratic process, whereby local residents all over Shepway, has a ‘say’ in how many homes are built and where. These are being built for local people as calculated by local Government.
ENTER: Otterpool New Town – 12,000 dwelling Housing Estate. – Undemocratic, Unnecessary and Unwanted by local Residents. The similarities between Culham and Lympne/Sellindge in the way to which procedure and attitude has manifest itself is startling. Residents had no knowledge of landowners being consulted prior to disclosure of the plan, bullying tactics, (although denied), less informed Residents held up as the ‘silent majority’, prospective house purchasers struggling to save a deposit or borrow money, the list is endless. With the average house price here in Shepway at £250,000 and the average salary at £22,000, what chance do our Children or Grandchildren have of ever being a property owner?
Please take the time to watch the programme and draw your own conclusions.
S&DRA say: Affordable homes we need. A 12,000 Commuter Housing Estate, we do not.
Please spread the word and ask your friends and family to join our campaign for a fairer Shepway and sign up to our website
We are now almost two weeks into the New Year and as we look behind us much has been achieved in terms of people power, affecting the direction in the way that Local and Central Governments would like to take us. But let’s not be complacent; the institutions are still in place that are hell bent on the ruination of our countryside and communities. Our individual groups are stronger than ever, with a communication thread that can inform and mobilise in seconds.
So let us briefly take a look back at what people power has achieved along with a look into the future.
THE LORRY PARK.
It was Damian Collins MP that lobbied Central Government in 2015 for funds to build a lorry park to counter operation stack. Bearing in mind that Mr. Collins has had no logistical highways training or any other civil engineering skill, he made a case to build a lorry park at Stanford West, even though previously he was an advocate of using the M26 as a solution to M20 congestion at a time of the Port and Tunnel being closed.
Moving on, we can distinctly remember the first Highways England (HE) consultation in Sellindge where our representatives, Cllr’s Carey and Hollingsbee told us all that it’s no good trying to oppose it because it’s of national importance, just like the channel tunnel. It was clear that both Councillor’s were in the same camp as Collins, towing the line: apparatchiks. Thinking outside of the political box was clearly not an option for all three, to the detriment of local residents.
Together with all of our group’s efforts, and that of, principally, Stanford Parish Council, SOS Kent and Westenhanger Castle and their legal team, a judicial review was launched which HE could never realistically defend due to their own ineptitude, leaving our so called representatives smarting from a people power hammering. The proposal for a lorry Park at Stanford West was abandoned on the 15th November, 2017.
And no, this isn’t a case of nimbyism. It’s a case of tackling a problem with foresight and skill, both in terms of practical and technological solutions. Something that ‘the powers that be’ clearly lack.
As for the future: Collins is still pushing to build a lorry park, even though Highways England has admitted that it will NOT solve operation stack. We have also learned that Highways England will not be consulting on any form of Lorry Park until March 2019; so much for the espousing by Collins at building at pace to cope with Brexit and ridding East Kent of congestion. In the interim, HE has now decided to use the moveable barrier system should operation stack ever occur. To conclude, a quarter of a billion pounds is still in place with DfT to build a lorry park, irrespective of £15,000,000 already spent on Consultations and Balfour Beatty fees.
We should all be very proud of all our efforts by countering this ridiculous scheme with clear, concise, technical and legal expertise.
We should all be used to the shenanigans of Shepway District Council (SDC) by now but once again, we are angered by the cavalier attitude of Leader Monk and his band of followers in his cabinet, riding roughshod over the views of the majority of residents in Hythe and its environs. As with other unwanted proposals in the area, ‘Save Princes Parade’ (SPP) is being supported by other members of our alliance in opposing the exclusive development proposed for the Hythe seafront. This a beautiful area enjoyed by many, near and far, famed for its sense of open space, encouraging residents to walk the promenade, taking the sea air, individuals and families alike. This proposal has been in the offing for a decade at great cost to Council Tax payers, so by now should have been scrapped due to the overwhelming opposition.
Dressed up by the promise of a Leisure Centre on the seafront, the proposal is out of scale and out of touch with the wishes of the majority. Moreover, a Leisure Centre had been allocated for the Martello Lakes development, supported by Sport England, which would have better served the people of Hythe AND the Marsh areas.
The viability factor for the Princes Parade has never been considered, but are we surprised by that? We are talking about SDC here.
And what of the flood risk in the Princes Parade area. The Environment Agency has designated the area as flood risk level 3. The Martello Lakes area has the same designation, but the difference is, a flood risk defence is in place at Martello Lakes.
Despite protestations from local residents as well as the respected ‘Historic England’, SDC are pushing ahead, leaving SPP with no alternative than to have the application ‘called in’.
Where do we start with the 12,000 dwelling housing estate that SDC is foisting upon us. We will try and keep it succinct.
Despite Community Engagements, SDC has failed to convince Parishes and Residents that ‘Otterpool Park’ is a wonderful development for ALL. Strength of feeling and deep rancour is unwavering against this development that SDC, along with their offshore bedfellows, Reuben Brothers, are hell bent on dumping upon us.
Our demonstrations over the past year and continuing support has clearly shown that the anger directed towards Leader Monk and his Otterpool towing cabinet members is venomous. Our exit polls at the Community engagements has shown overwhelming support against the Otterpool Park development, leaving SDC in no doubt that their task in convincing a planning inspector that a Locally Led Garden settlement is a contradiction from the start. Have no doubt that SDC will try to convince us to support their plan of rural decimation, sticking to the premise that if a lie is told enough times, people will believe it.
Are we saying no development at all? Of course not. We have already stated, on this website, that organic growth and housing built at a human scale for local people is to be welcomed, without it, any community would simply cease to exist. Our position is clear: Local housing for local people at commensurate rates of rent or mortgage payments is the way forward. A dormitory town for City overspill, to the cost of our rural lifestyle, is NOT acceptable.
Looking forward, according to SDC, a planning application will be with us by March 2018, with the likelihood, after consultation, ending up with the Planning Inspector by early 2109.
There are many hurdles to jump way before this application is approved, if it ever is, in the way of infrastructure and resources. We will refrain from commenting further on the infrastructure subject to guard against our position going forward.
There can be no doubt that SDC has lost the plot when it comes to serving the people of Shepway: The young, middle aged, elderly, infirm, the vulnerable, whether ‘politically engaged’ or not.
For many Residents, it is now a ‘given’ that SDC Leader David Monk is a liar, but could he be described as corrupt? According to Merriam-Webster the definition of corrupt is “to change fromgood to bad in morals, manners or actions”. We’ll leave you all to decide if David Monk fits that description. Given Councillor Monks’ track record, we would suggest that he is not fit to hold public office.
His total disregard for the concerns of Shepway Residents is contemptible. His blinkered view of his utopian Otterpool dream is bordering on insanity when it comes to infrastructure and the well being of existing East Kent Residents.
As we all know, the NHS in this part of Kent is in meltdown. Patients stuck on trolleys in corridors and ambulance’s because all the wards are full. Take a look at what Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield said in the House of Commons.
NHS Winter Crisis (10 Jan 2018)
Rosie Duffield: Does my hon. Friend agree that desperate patients should
never have to resort to smuggling out secretly filmed footage of
trolley-lined corridors with people sitting on the floors, such as the
footage I have received from my constituents visiting and working at
William Harvey Hospital in Ashford?
We know that the influenza epidemic is raging in East Kent but the William Harvey has been under the microscope in terms of bed and staff shortages for months. The rise in the Shepway population by some 50% alongside Ashfords’ ballooning population will undoubtedly see a third word scenario playing out if it’s not already.
The closure of GP Practices over our area is well documented, leaving Folkestone Residents without a local GP, leaving them to travel to Lyminge or other distanced Practices for treatment or consultation. The hardest hit is always the elderly, weak and vulnerable. With GP’s in short supply, due to the inequality of the Carr-Hill formula relating to funding, Shepway is in crisis. Where or when will it ever end?
Have our Councillors forgotten that they are our servants? Councillors Hollingsbee, Carey and Monk have already stated that they will not attend a public meeting to discuss Otterpool Park. Why? Cllr. and Deputy Leader Hollingsbee states that she is fearful of hostility.
Cllr Monk has described some 300 Hythe Residents that attended an open meeting in Hythe Primary school last year as ‘Rent-a–mob’. Have our Councillors completely lost the plot? We think they have.
2018 will be a testing time for us all in trying to preserve our way of life for all. Our young citizens are struggling to find an affordable home when all we hear is ‘were building homes for our children and grandchildren’ from Cllr’s Monk and Hollingsbee.
No doubt, an inheritance from either of these two would be gratefully received by their children and grandchildren, but not everyone is in their position, as private landlords, with 13 properties between them. The propaganda machine rolls on.
It just leaves us to thank all our Residents who have sent us messages of support over the Christmas period, thanking us for all we do. No doubt there will be further meetings and demonstrations in the offing to show our resistance against the crooked regime that exists within the Civic Centre, and who knows, come the 2019 District elections, a serious move may be made to change the landscape of political incumbents.