Deja Vu

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.

The Save Culham Green Belt committee hold a rally against plans to build new homes on the green belt.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09qmrsj/the-new-builds-are-coming-battle-in-the-countryside-series-1-episode-1

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

S&DRA

 

 

 

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR? The Long Read.

HomepageWe 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.

Truckers

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.

PRINCES PARADE.

Hythe Beach

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’.

OTTERPOOL PARK

building site

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.

DISTRUST

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.

Monk devious look
Council Leader David Monk.

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 from good 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-620970[1]

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.

protest hythe
Some of the members of ‘Rent-a-mob’.

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.

Hollingsbee laughing
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities, Jenny 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.

Peace.

S&DRA.

Lorry Park and Otterpool Update

Next Thursday, 11th January, there will be a coming together of the Shepway District & Parish Councils’ Joint Committee. Items 7 and 8 will be of interest to us all: Otterpool and Lorry Park Update respectively. Much has passed under the bridge since Parish Councils met with the District Council, chaired by Leader Monk on 7th June, 2016. You may recall that this is where 27 Parish Councillors voted on whether it was a good idea to build a New Town in the Otterpool area. A resounding NO was the answer to the District Council, but still Leader Monk has pushed ahead with the utopian dream of a 12,000 dwelling commuter housing estate. Moreover, on the 8th August, Leader Monk lied on a BBC radio station stating that the opposite was true, intimating that all Parish Councillors were supportive of the New Town being built.  It will be interesting to see how this item pans out on the night.

The Lorry Park was a victory for us all. Our beloved MP Damian Collins, along with his chum, Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke (still being investigated by Police) ended up with egg on their faces after being told that their insistence on pushing ahead at pace had cost them dearly in riding roughshod over EIA procedure. The Westenhanger Castle Judicial review was a godsend in stopping this hideous, unworkable scheme in its tracks. Well done Westenhanger Castle and its Legal Team. Let’s not forget the role of SOS Kent and Stanford Parish Council in orchestrating this achievement. We understand that a meeting will be taking place this Wednesday, 10th January to extend the Stop 24 Lorry Parking area. No doubt we will be updated the following evening.

The meeting will begin at 7pm in the Middleburg Room. Shepway District Council, Civic Centre. Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone. It has been confirmed by SDC that this is an open meeting, whereby the public may attend. Please click on the link below for further information. 

http://www.shepway.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=143&MId=3257

S&DRA.

A SUPER ANY TIME OF YEAR GIFT.

A quality T shirt, available in L, XL, XXL and XXXL. If you need a size bigger, lay off the booze and puddings and call us for a slimming package. Smaller sizes are available as a special order. Details on request.

Printed on both sides, we’re sending a message to the District Council that we have already agreed, through the local plan, to almost 9,000 homes for local people, so building a town within our communities is an exercise in filling the pockets of developers and their associates. Otterpool T Shirt 2B1

At £15 each or £25.00 for two (any size) with free delivery, all profit generated is added to the fighting fund of our group.

Simply email: sellindgeresidents@gmail.com with your orders.

Free delivery anywhere in East Kent

S&DRA.

 

 

Collins still pushing to decimate East Kent.

It wasn’t that long ago that our glorious MP Damian Collins was advocating using the M26 as a lorry park. We applauded dear Damian for speaking sense and saving the UK taxpayer a minimum of a quarter of a billion pounds. It now seems that dear Damian is still stuck, like a stuck record, still wiping the egg off his face, and still smarting from his arrogance and incompetence in pushing for a Lorry park at pace, thereby skipping procedure in terms of producing an Environmental Impact Assessment, blaming the DfT. Did we expect anything less? He then has the temerity to pass comment on GP services when he has done NOTHING to attract GP’s to the Shepway area. For the past 7 years, Damian has never considered lobbying the Heath Secretary for Carr-Hill formula parity with our neighbouring Districts, leaving funding at appallingly low levels in the Shepway area. The result: Very few GP’s with Practice’s closing.

Yesterday in the House of Commons dear Damian was still spouting the same old story, even though we’re £15,000.000 down, lost on Lorry Park developers and sham consultations, that incidentally could have gone towards attracting more GP’s, purely due to his arrogance. When will he ever learn?

Anyhow, this is what dear Damian had to say. Oh, and don’t overlook how Damian paved the way to get in the one about the Otterpool (drought stricken) Park Commuter Housing Estate.

Photo of Damian CollinsDamian Collins Chair, Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee  3:49 pm, 28th November 2017

I rise to speak in support of the Budget and, in particular, the key strategic priority it places on the housing market and increasing housing supply. The Chancellor was right to say that we should have a national target for new home completions of 300,000 a year, but that number should not be a mere aspiration; it is an absolute necessity.

For many people in this country, getting on the housing ladder is becoming increasingly difficult. The prices of new homes to buy are rising much faster than people’s earnings. That has been the case for a long time. It is therefore no surprise that the percentage of people who are able to own their own home has declined. We are not looking at investment in the housing market just for homes to purchase. We need to build a lot more units that are affordable to buy and to rent, and we need a much more active strategy to do that. I was pleased that the Government announced that as part of the Budget.

I have supported the proposed development of the Otterpool Park garden town in my constituency, which would create up to 12,000 new homes. Any planning decision involves a degree of difficulty and it is important that we get the local consultation right, but we do need to prioritise building a lot more homes.

Building creates not only new places for people to live, but a considerable number of jobs in the construction sector. Many people who work in construction say that even now, it is difficult to find the people to do the work that is available. Therefore, it was right that a strong priority was placed on training people to work in the construction sector.

I welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of the £3 billion resilience fund to be spent over the next two years on preparations for Britain leaving the European Union. My constituency of Folkestone and Hythe contains the channel tunnel. Investing in preparedness to manage cross-border trade is a necessity. Anything that, for whatever reason, slows the progress of road freight in and out of the country will cause congestion and delay. That is bad for the economy and has a detrimental impact on people’s quality of life and the businesses in my constituency and elsewhere in Kent.

For me, a key priority in building the physical resilience we will need is not only to manage the electronic processing of freight as it passes in and out of the country, but to ensure that we have the physical infrastructure to hold lorries if they have to queue before leaving the country or if there is any requirement for customs checks as they arrive. The delivery of the lorry park on the M20 at Stanford West that was envisaged and proposed two years ago as a relief for Operation Stack is a vital piece of national infrastructure. I was disappointed that the Government had to withdraw their planning application to build it because of a judicial review, but I know that it is being looked at again. I see that the Financial Secretary is in his place. I raised this matter with him last week and welcome the letter he sent me to confirm that the ring-fenced budget of £250 million that the Government allocated for the delivery of that lorry park is still there. It is a vital piece of infrastructure and we need to ensure that it is delivered.

On the other spending commitments in the Budget, I welcome the additional £2 billion this year and into next year for the national health service. It is important that that reaches the places that need it most. The Health Secretaryis not here, but I believe that greater consideration needs to be given to GP services and primary care in coastal communities, where the often complex, unique and challenging requirements have led to the average number of patients per GP being much higher than the national average. We are struggling to recruit GPs in such areas. I have spoken to the Health Secretary about that issue on numerous occasions and know that it is a priority for him. However, we need to ensure that the extra money for the health service goes to the parts of the country where it will make the biggest difference.

There has been a lot of talk about increasing investment in research and development and about increasing the research and development credit. That is incredibly important for the future of the economy, and I want to touch on artificial intelligence, which will be an important driver of growth in the future, as the Secretary of State set out in his remarks. Effectively, artificial intelligence is the robotic harvesting of the data footprint that we leave as we increasingly conduct our lives online, and the designing of new products and technologies around that to meet people’s needs. That throws up a number of ethical issues.

Algorithms that run programmes are private property—they are copyrighted, they are not shared, and many platforms, such as Google and Facebook, fiercely guard the information—but we need to make sure that, when new services are designed based on our data footprint, companies behave ethically and responsibly and that we are able to check they are safeguarding the interests of the people they seek to serve through that technology. That is why the announcement of the creation of the centre for data ethics and innovation is incredibly important. The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which I chair, will be looking at the distribution of disinformation and how companies’ algorithms either support or could act against it. There is, however, an important ethical question about the right of third-party organisations to check the work being done. Innovation through AI can, then, transform the economy, but it throws up some ethical issues that we have to get right.

The Government have taken an interest in driverless cars, but driverless cars, though an exciting technology, do not work without a signal to allow them to receive the information they need, which is why the creation of the national 5G network is so important. Without a signal, a driverless car would suddenly stop in the middle of the road. The investment in the 5G network requires investment not just in poles and masts but in fibre infrastructure. A key part of the industrial strategy has to be the move to a full fibre economy as quickly as possible. We simply cannot deliver on massively important new technologies such as 5G for the whole nation without that infrastructure to support it.

As an adjunct to that, I know that the Minister for Digital, my right hon. Friend Matt Hancock, has talked about whether there should be a universal service obligation for 3G mobile signal. In many parts of the country, including Elham valley in my constituency, the 3G signal is weak. Ofcom will shortly be publishing a study on the real level of service delivery by mobile phone operators and whether it falls below the requirement stated in their licences. If it does, there will have to be some further inducement to act to make sure that basic coverage is better than it is. In the longer term, however, we need investment in a 5G network.

Finally, the joint working between the Government, the CBI and the TUC on retraining is crucial. Technology means that people’s jobs will change faster and faster throughout their lives, and people need the ability to retrain throughout their working careers to take advantage of this.

 

Shepway District Council – A new brand of Democracy?

Ask anyone which way they vote and they will usually tell you. But, for the most part, the answer they give would be one without reason or logic.

Our electoral system leaves much to be desired in terms of proportional representation but leaving that to one side, confusion seems to reign between a General and District election; conflating the two is a mistake that many make and can generally benefit the candidates that stand as party members attracting the default vote. Step in: Shepway District Council.

Historically, Shepway has been, and still is, a Conservative area. Based on national policies, everyone has the right to choose their own areas representative in terms of political party at General level, and rightly so. The only conundrum that we all have is balancing the qualities of a local MP against that of towing the party line on national issues. An example of this was personified by Michael Howard, who was an excellent local MP, but left the electorate, other than staunch Conservative voters, in a quandary when voting in a General election.

But are the local electorate missing a trick when it comes to voting in a District election with a population of 108,000 people, against circa 67,000,000 in a General election? Moreover, the policies of the local District Council, in this case, Shepway, will impact lives much closer to home, and depending on the Leader, CEO and Cabinet members, this could be a disaster for many Residents if their views or wishes are totally disregarded. Ring any bells?

For the moment, let’s look at the Lorry Park situation: Here we had our MP, Damian Collins, calling for 250 acres to be concreted over to build a pointless Lorry Park, supported by District Councillors Monk, Hollingsbee and Carey, followed by many other cabinet members – all Conservatives: Tribes people, Apparatchiks. Here they be below.

collins fat faceMonk devious lookHollingsbee laughing48fb5-image-765230

We now have the misfortune of ending up with the above, alongside their chums. This is the result of voting ‘Tribal’ as opposed to recognising the merits of individuals. These individuals have simply jumped on board the default vote to secure power as career politicians, feathering their nests. Had these individuals stood as ‘independent’ candidates their faces wouldn’t be featured here. In fact, we would suggest that as politicians, representing electorate’s views, they wouldn’t be seen anywhere.  So could we be accused of being unfair if we described these individuals as a waste of space or devious?

Getting back to the Lorry Park, we were told it’s useless to fight it, it’s going ahead. A political knee jerk reaction which has already been detailed on our website. If we had a District Council that represented Residents views, and also had a modicum of Highways logistical knowledge, they would have supported the views of local people. It’s called doing the right thing. Evidence, as if evidence was needed, that we are ruled by our inferiors as a consequence of tribalism. So, could the quote below from the Greek philosopher, Plato (c.428-347 B.C.) bear witness to the state that we find ourselves in today?

One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” Plato

Thanks to numerous groups here in Shepway; Shepwayvox, Save Princes Parade, SOS Kent, SECN (David Plumstead), No Otterpool Town and  Numerous Parish Councils, notably, Monks Horton, Lympne, Stanford and Saltwood, Residents voices are being heard, loud and clear. We are just one of many conduits where opinions are scribed.

Damain Collins with 'make-up'Damian Collins Poster improvedprotest

The tide is gradually turning with more and more Residents showing their heads above the parapet, but more needs to be done. Should we keep reminding ourselves of the words of Edmund Burke (apologies to Women):

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” — Edmund Burke

It would be right to question, what’s the alternative for ridding our area of  uncaring ‘so-called’ Councillors or MP that couldn’t care less about Resident’s feelings or concerns. It’s clear that their hidden agendas are more important to them than the majority view.

Earlier in the year it was revealed, at a local Hustings. that all political parties, except Conservative, we’re against the developments at the Stanford West Lorry Park, Otterpool New Town and Princes Parade. so there are alternatives to the crooked Council that we have at the moment. Residents only have to ‘wise up’ to the shenanigans of the incumbents.

S&DRA’s mantra has always been: There is no place for politics at District level. The system that we have at the moment, like it or not, is one that we are stuck with. So forget politics and speak to the opposition, speak to Candidates at election time, speak with all the groups already mentioned. There are good people locally among Lib Dem’s, The Green Party, Labour and UKIP (The new Leader, Henry Bolton lives in Folkestone and will be on Question Time this Thursday, 30th Nov at 10.45 BBC1). Independent candidates are usually in touch with the ‘grass roots’ with a wealth of knowledge and should always be seriously considered. There are also Conservative voters that are embarrassed by Leader Monk and his SDC cronies, creating an atmosphere of corruption and hidden agenda’s. Is there a Conservative Councillor that actually disagrees with the en bloc voting system that exists at SDC?

We only have to look across the border in Canterbury to see that the default vote was kicked into the long grass in favour of Rosie Duffield (Labour). If it can happen there, it can happen here.

Spreading the message is up to you as individuals, whether you been down the pub, at a coffee shop, wherever, strike up a conversation on local politics with friends and family, enlighten them to the dodgy dealings here in Shepway, but whatever you do, don’t go ‘Tribal’.

S&DRA.

 

 

HOUSING SHORTAGE – WHO’S TO BLAME.

There isn’t a day goes by now without us hearing about the UK housing crisis, on the radio, TV, Social Media and other online streams.

But who are we to blame for the lack of housing in the UK? Even if our young citizens  can just about afford a property, they are becoming burdened with spiralling debt with a huge mortgage, fearing any hike in interest rates.

Schemes to: ‘Part buy’, ‘Parents as Guarantors’, ‘Help to buy’ are all schemes to allegedly help our children onto the housing ladder, when they are, in fact, doing the most harm by shoring up property prices, not only for this generation but the next generation too. This can be evidenced by spiralling market values of the Corporate house builders: Persimmon, Bovis, Redrow, Barratt, leaving their shareholders to cream off the notoriously high dividends or realising the rise in the share price; profit taking.

Nationally, other contributing factor’s that can’t be ignored is nett migration, irrespective of who they are, running up to a third of a million each year. People will need somewhere to live.

House builders, alongside their consultants, often show that they can’t afford to build affordable housing by massaging viability assessment figures, thereby selling fewer homes to Housing Associations or to the local Council via a Section 106 agreement. This in turn pushes up land values, and as a consequence, property values.

Land banking is commonplace, whereby builders acquire land and sit on it; rising in value, there is no incentive to build if the land value is rising. This could be halted by introducing a Land Value Tax. It does what it say’s on the tin. This would stop, or at least reduce this practice overnight, releasing land for homes.

Private landlords have been accused of pushing up house prices by hoarding property, other than their own residence, simply to realise an income from letting. This reduces homes available, once again, pushing up house prices. In a recent article, Councillors are accused of being the biggest culprits of property hoarding:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/nov/20/one-in-seven-councillors-in-english-rental-hotspots-are-landlords

Looking closer to home, a simple search on the Shepway District Council (SDC) website has revealed that our Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities, Jenny Hollingsbee has a portfolio of nine Shepway properties, including her own residence in Sellindge. Similarly, Paul Carter, Leader of KCC has a similar number of Kent properties. SDC Leader, David Monk has 2 properties in Shepway and 2 in Canterbury.

Hollingsbee aloneCarterSlide1

Jenny Hollingsbee, Paul Carter and David Monk. Between them, according to their ‘Register of Interests’, they own 22 properties.

Let’s not forget that Monk and Hollingsbee are supporters (as well as the Rebeun Brothers), of building a new town within our communities under the pretence that they are securing homes for future generations. Do they mean future generations with a hefty inheritance windfall coming their way, or for the ‘well off’ to purchase homes to rent out to the less fortunate, at sky high rates.

S&DRA is not opposed to housing being developed in and around our communities. SDC  has already purchased land with Council tax payers money at arable rates, and can therefore go forward with developing real affordable homes, cutting out the corporate developers and their shareholders and using local builders. Council homes could easily be sympathetically built alongside land given over to Community Land Trust’s for development. Thinking outside of the box IS an option for all our communities. A town for the greedy instead of the needy is a catastrophic failing that SDC would never be forgiven for.

All our communities can work together, if we are allowed to, to make it local, make it affordable, making it, if we may coin a phrase: ‘For the many, not the (fortunate) few’.

S&DRA.

Government egged on to scrap Lorry Park.

Almost two weeks ago we were told by our contacts that the proposed Stanford West Lorry Park would be abandoned, but less than a week ago dear old Charlie and Damian were still drivelling on about building a lorry park at pace. Didn’t their seniors tell them that they were wasting their breath!! Not being ones for counting our chickens eggs before they hatched, we kept shtum, albeit sharing with our with our friends at SOS Kent and allied groups.

You may remember that the idea of building the worlds biggest lorry park in Stanford was purely a political knee jerk reaction to the 32 days of operation stack in the Summer of 2015, caused by a Ferry worker’s strike in France, and compounded by Migrant incursions. Since then, the M20 hasn’t seen one day of stack. Our glorious, so called, MP Damian Collins lobbied the then Chancellor, George Osborne to cough up £250,000,000 to build a super sized Lorry Park without even carrying out a feasibility study. Well, Highways England (HE) went along with the charade and carried out community Consultations as a tick-a-box exercise to demonstrate that democracy is in play. It wasn’t  long after that that HE realised that the worlds biggest lorry park would never, ever solve stack, but our MP Damian Collins, along with Dover and Deal MP Charlie Elphicke (aka Halfwit) insisted that the Lorry Park must be built at pace to keep traffic moving. S&DRA, SOS Kent, SECN and ‘Save Princes Parade’ pointed out that Stack could not, and would not be solved by a super sized Lorry Park. for the following reasons, in language that the above mentioned MP’s will understand:

  1. Too many Lorries using the road. The Lorry Park would fill up in less than 16 hours at the current freight flow rate.
  2. Junction 11 will be closed, blocking local traffic journeys. This is in response to the 2km rule between slip roads.
  3. A 40 mph speed limit would cause tailbacks to Maidstone and beyond.
  4. The nearside lane would be blocked with queuing lorries to enter the lorry park.
  5. The fact that lorries would have to enter the lorry park to stop queue jumping when the Lorry park is being emptied, means that the Lorry park would never empty given that almost 6,000 Lorries each day travel coast bound.
  6. A foul drainage system to serve the site would be out of the question because sewer capacity downstream is limited. Portaloo’s would have to be installed and serviced for circa 5000 people.
  7. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency will not allow drivers to sleep in their cabs. There were no plans for a Motel/Hotel on the site to accommodate up to 5000 people.
  8. HE finally admitted that a Lorry Park would not be the right solution to deal with Port closures.

The list is almost endless but we’re sure that that would be enough for you, Damian and Charlie, to be going on with.

So there you have it Damian and Charlie. If the lorry park had been built and found to be an almighty cock up, which undoubtedly it would have been, just imagine the embarrassment that you would have felt. Isn’t it better to admit at this stage that you both have egg on your faces and move on.

egg Damian Collinsegg Charlie Elphicke

Charlie and Damian: Shelling out for a Lorry Park would have been a complete waste of taxpayers money. Would that have worried you? Or is that a sacrifice that you would have gladly shouldered as apparatchiks, to climb the political ladder. Moreover, the Residents lives living adjacent to the lorry Park would have been turned upside down, not to mention the pollution: Air, Noise, Light.

Knowing the self serving individuals above, they will have further plans to screw this part of Kent. We, our band of Brothers and Sisters, will be ready for them. In the meantime, we would respectfully ask that they go back to from whence they came and never show their smarmy faces here again in East Kent.

No apologies for the chicken and egg puns, or the anger felt by us all.

S&DRA