Archaeology date for your diary

On the 17th November 2021 there is a presentation on the findings of the archaeology survey undertaken across the proposed Otterpool Park Town area. This survey was part of the planning process for the development. The presentation is being given by Kate Clover, the Senior Archaeological Consultant from Arcadis. The presentation will be at Lympne Castle and places need to be booked by emailing stanfordhistorykent@gmail.com with name and number of places. Entry £3 single & £5 for a couple. Doors open at 6pm presentation starts at 7pm. Bar opens at 6pm. Presentation will cover numerous significant findings.

SITE VALUATION TAX

SITE VALUATION TAX

Ronald Lello

A founder of Sellindge and District Residents Association 

My father would never have believed it. I am now an old man but when I was young and my father, who was an old man, told me he could remember young boys coming to school hungry and without shoes. He could even remember boys laying hessian sacks onto piles of City of London horse manure to make a kind of bed so as to keep warm at night as they breathed in the ammonia fumes that would kill them. My father, when a young boy, lived in Redmans Row, (subsequently bombed out of existence), near London’s Whitechapel in a small house with a few square yards of soil at the rear called a garden and on which he and his siblings made mud pies: my father thought that such poverty would never return. His Grandfather had lived in middle class luxury on the Welsh English Border but he fell in love with one of the maids from the house and ran off with her, was cut out of the Will and fell on hard times in London’s East End.

“Never again will people put up with such suffering” my Father would say. Yet here we are again. Those former conditions appear to be returning. A significant number of children who go to school hungry and poorly clothed are facing exactly the same kind of poverty. It is hard to find a supermarket in East Kent that hasn’t had some good person outside collecting for the foodless, shoeless starving. Heavens above, we are supposed to be the fifth or sixth  richest nation on Earth!. Something has gone terribly wrong. Our economic legacy to our grandchildren is grim –‘not fit for purpose’ as they say.

I had just finished writing this when the government decided to publicise their proposals for Health and Social Care which raises issues central to what I want to communicate. Of course it all comes down to money and taxation! The Prime Minister has made certain undertakings both in the past and recently that appear to ‘put things right’ without it seems letting anyone know how much ‘putting things right’ will cost and who will be meeting the cost.  Virtually every source of taxation has been suggested and most have been rejected. Every source, except the source of money that I am writing about, has been inspected for plunder.

Now poverty in my view links up with all kinds of injustice. So in this piece I hope to show there is a direct link between the kind of poverty described above and our system of land ownership and tenure. There are all manner of statistics about who owns land and I would be very grateful if someone would offer help by doing some reliable research for us. For the time being I would say that research made available last year, showed that over 50 % of British land is owned by a mere 1% of the population! Elsewhere it has been suggested that less than 10% of the population owns 90% of the land. I hesitate a little over these statistics which may well be accurate, but I have no means of verifying them. I shall try and continue to identify reliably accurate data.  

These depressing statistics are confirmation that when it comes to enlightened and principled financial policies, all British political parties are clueless. To my mind they are all choosing policies that perpetuate poverty rather than removing it. It is time for a fresh approach. Soon in part 2 of this Contribution I will show the scandal of a few individuals, families or corporations luxuriating in the wealth that has been created  and produced by the whole population and how those who lead the so called working classes lead everyone into greater poverty. For the sake of the whole community we need to look closely at how wealth arises. Has the process anything to do with what we call, ‘right’, ‘left’, ‘centre or is it not time we moved away from these old loyalties and outdated classifications. 

However to understand and explain the much needed improvements to our system I have found it necessary to keep to simple principles to begin with – otherwise I fear we shall all get confused  or totally lost.  Once we all have the feel for the subject we can explore the complications in Part 2  at a later date 

We all know that the price of land varies. Out here in rural Kent one can pay a few thousand pounds per square acre for good agricultural land – even less for scrubland. But if someone in Shepway decides to allocate that scrubland to a housing project the price rises rapidly. The same land which is still growing grass and weeds is now worth let us say 20 times or maybe even 40 times as much. But hold on a  minute. If we travel to London say to the charming small churchyard at the back of St Brides in Fleet Street it might well sell for £70  million. Why pay £70 million for a smallish churchyard site in Fleet Street when we could buy an acre of scrubland for £7,000 in rural Kent? “Because I am worth it,” says the clay and the scrub, “Because I am worth it, people will pay it.” And they do.

But it is only worth it when the community is round and about it. If everyone in the City of London decided to ‘up sticks’ and move to or near to that acre of Kentish clay  the price of the London land would collapse – who would want it? Yet the price of Kent scrubland would rise spectacularly – everyone would want it. Remember I am writing about the dry surface of undeveloped and unimproved land. It is the whole community that creates land value – from those who work on a given site to those who support such work and are, in turn, supported by everything and everyone from transportation to the street newspaper seller – the whole conglomeration of goods and services that makes a large community thrive. The story of the London Jubilee Line referred to below is a graphic illustration of how it all works

In a thriving community, whoever owns the dry surface of land, potentially enjoys great wealth. Such land owning families, enterprises, and individuals can stay in bed all day long  while the whole community works creating  the wealth from which they benefit.  It is this huge fund of wealth that exists not just in central London but in any city – or should one say any ‘community’? It exists in any community where numbers of people live and work together. Vast amounts of money accrue to the private pockets of owners who have no need to do anything to improve the land or create wealth in any way what-so-ever. Yet this economic rent is money that should fund the community, or put  another way returned to the community while at the same time taxes like income tax, sales and VAT taxes and all the rest can be substantially cut and perhaps even removed altogether. 

A good friend, Emile Woolf (emilewoolfwrites.co.uk) an accountant  and economist who writes a successful and widely read blog and articles on economics for a variety of international magazines, has expressed the ideas with typical clarity that I have touched upon:

‘This is a tax on land values, based on the value of the land alone – not on buildings or other improvements. Under this system, development is encouraged because it has absolutely no effect on the amount of tax payable. 

It is stressed that the amount on which tax is assessed relates only to the unimproved value of the land: buildings and other structures on the land are simply ignored. There is thus a huge incentive to improve properties in order to realise their full rental potential and refurbishing or adding structures has no effect on the amount of tax payable each year. And being based on land it cannot be hidden, dodged or shifted. 

To highlight the importance of these features just consider, by way of contrast, what is happening closer to home, where hundreds of thousands of homes across the UK are unoccupied despite widespread concern over the housing shortage. Why on Earth would someone own a property and leave it vacant.    

Islington Council complains that a high percentage of its housing units have no registered voters living in them. The authority blames a phenomenon known as ‘buy to leave’ whereby investors, often from abroad, buy property and leave it empty, thus exacerbating the capital’s housing shortage. This is undoubtedly a significant factor behind the travesty of having over 200,000 homes in England empty for more than six months. Their owners don’t have to do anything – they just watch and wait. The shortage they have helped to create guarantees higher property values, providing them with a source of wealth they have done nothing to earn but which they can access if and whenever they choose.

London’s Jubilee Line cost £3.5 billion to construct yet added £13 billion to land values along its route. The £10 billion bonus went into the private hands that contributed nothing to the cost.  Even a modest land value tax would cure this aberration at a stroke. The tax would be met out of the surplus value created by the community.’

Site Value Contribution is not a new idea. In the early part of the 20th century in 1909, the system almost became law of the land but was blocked by  the land-owning House of Lords. (for further information Google ‘Lloyd George and Site Value Taxation.) Site Value Contribution had been enthusiastically supported by Campbell-Bannerman, Lloyd-George, Hugh Dalton, George Lansbury, Aneurin Bevan, Arthur Henderson, Winston Churchill, Colonel Josiah Wedgewood, Stanley Baldwin  and Ramsay Macdonald who, with Andrew Maclaren in 1931 once more began to formulate legislation. But again the fierce opposition of landed gentry and other vested interests guaranteed it would fail.The American economist Henry George was a great popular advocate. He wrote a best seller called, Progress and Poverty  first published in 1879 and it still sells widely today. But again while Henry George was very popular in the community, land owning vested interests made sure his ideas were politically neutralized. While it is true that that much support for Site Value Contributions was from the left during the late 19th  and early 20th   centuries it should be stressed that ‘Site Value’ is not a system of Land Nationalisation – very far from it. Land owning individuals are free to use the land as they wish being subject only to planning laws etc. So surely it is time now to obtain for the whole community the wealth that the whole community has created.

SHE’S DONE IT AGAIN. WHAT A STUNT.

This coming Thursday, 17th June, we will have the chance to vote for our Elham Valley KCC Councillor – A chance not to be missed.

Delayed because of the sudden death of a candidate, Christopher Dean. He was well known to our Association and a supporter of our campaign to stop FHDC’s vanity project, Otterpool Park. He will be sorely missed.

There are just 4 candidates:

Joe Egerton (Ind). Gordon Cowan (Lab) Doug Wade (Green Party) Susan Carey (Conservative)

Many of you would have not heard of Joe Egerton or Gordon Cowan, in fact, we have never come across them in our dealings with FHDC or any of our campaigns. Conversely, Doug Wade and Susan Carey would be more familiar to most as being more local to the area.

So what do we know about the 4 candidates? Very little about Joe or Gordon, except to say that Joe lives in Canterbury and Gordon lives in Capel. We’ve never seen them supporting any local issues, and never seen them commenting or having any input into the recent Core Strategy Review to determine how our district is shaped in years to come.

Moving on to Doug (Green Party). In his flyer, (which has been distributed widely) he tells us that he is a local man and is passionate about saving our green spaces. All very laudable and probably worth voting for.

But casting our minds back, wasn’t it a Green Party Councillor and video host that threw our Otterpool campaign under a bus when the comment was made in a SPP video, that Otterpool was going ahead. This was an attempt to save Princes Parade from the hideous development which was under review at the time. Perhaps that wasn’t Doug’s position, but why is the email address to contact him channelled through the Green Party HQ ? And, why wasn’t Doug involved in the local Core Strategy Review?

Lastly, the most well known of all: Susan Carey (Conservative). Probably the most experienced politician of all candidates. Her position within FHDC is well known among the politically informed.

In her widey distibuted flyer there is much to consider – all positive, of course. Representing the people on a whole host of issues – Social care for older people, Child protection, New Schools, Tree planting, Installation of Heat pumps and Solar Panels on schools and Public buildings. All positive and wonderful, but hang on a minute, where can we find Susan’s position on Otterpool Park; the 10-12,000 housing development that will obliterate farmland? Convenviently forgotten to add it to the flyer? It must have been the fault of the printers. This isn’t the first time that this stunt has been pulled by our dear Susan, having forgotten to mention her support for Otterpool Park, and it probably won’t be the last.

The choice is yours.

S&DRA

Another box ticker from FHDC.

The 26th March 2021 was webinar day; the day when the public had the opportunity to pose questions to a group of FHDC’s experts about the proposed housing estate known as Otterpool Park. Treading carefully not to upset the apple cart, FHDC’s host Phil Laycock presented us with the positive effect that Otterpool would have on our lives and invited written comments to be put to the panel of experts, including Andy Jarrett from FHDC. Not all the questions or statements made were delivered due to the time factor. At some point Mr. Laycock assures us that we will all be able to view all the questions/statements made on his website. Where that is, we don’t know. Perhaps will get to hear about it soon, who knows?

We still have the opportunity to contact Mr. Laycock and make our views known by emailing:

phil.laycock@built-environment-networking.com

Why not copy us in with your comment. We’d be happy to hear from you.

Anyhow, we are publishing some of the comments on our website just in case they are mislaid or end up on the cutting room floor, so to speak. Here they be:

Heritage

Great that they are celebrating the heritage, such as the castle and… that’s about all they’re saying.  The barn has a hammerbeam roof – one of a handful (six?) in the country.  They forgot to mention that.  It isn’t suitable for a museum unless you’re putting doors on it and lighting and… ugh.  And the Roman villa – nothing said about that this time.
I asked at the last ‘consultation’ where the museum was going.  I got a sheepish look and admission there wasn’t one.  I asked about the Roman villa and suggested a Roman Painted House style museum over the top.  They said it’s likely going to be covered over (and built upon?).  So I’m glad to hear they’re ‘considering’ an alternative.  There’s more to be discovered there – discover it, assess what you truly have and perhaps get the likes of English Heritage or the National Trust involved.


Cars

Well, that’s all a shambles, isn’t it?  It’s a real shame that KCC are intent on reducing parking spaces per the Kent Design Guide, and FHDC absorbed it verbatim into the PPLP (see Transport section including Policy T2 and tables 13.1 and 13.2).  It’s a shame they adopted it a couple of weeks after the Use Classes changed, as that leaves its effectiveness up in the air for commercial parking standards.
Where’s the encouragement of greener fuel sources?  Why discourage cars altogether?  That is impractical – firstly for the elderly and disabled, but also for anyone who needs to go out in the rain shopping, or bring a lot of shopping home.  I don’t know about you, but I find the whole process of online grocery shopping poor, especially not being able to choose your own cut of meat, vegetables etc.  And getting skimmed milk when you asked for whole, or some bizarre replacement!
Public transport is poor.  Bus travel times have greatly increased – the bus from Folkestone to Ashford takes over 90 minutes now (it was around an hour a few years back) AND that’s because it goes around the houses in Lympne!!  To Maidstone, it’s 3 hours!  The alternative is a very expensive train (I think it’s about £20 to Maidstone)… or drive.  Likewise, if you’re a Mum in Cheriton or Hythe, it’s cheaper to drive to Ashford and park (let alone Folkestone) than get two kids on the bus to go shopping for a couple of hours in Folkestone on the bus.  And the retail offering is better in Ashford (or was).  MAYBE the silver lining could be their focus on essential shopping only, which could see people come to Folkestone if the Place Plan gets its act together.  I think that’s a weird focus for… isn’t it 10,000 homes in the end – so about 25,000 people?  
Buses need a local loop and interconnecting out-of-town buses that don’t fart about around the houses.  They DO know that there’s only one bus to Folkestone from Westenhanger per hour, and it takes exactly an hour, right?  Ashford is about 15 minutes more!  And those are direct buses without changing!
The speed limits sound pretty restrictive – 30 mph on the A20?!  That’s going to cause chaos.  And I wasn’t impressed with that shared space layout – it just looked confusing.  You just have to look at Ashford to see that it is a stupid idea that doesn’t work.  But don’t worry, “Operation Stack is not a regular event” – Andy Jarrett.


Affordability

It’s a joke that the Council set a 30% affordable housing target, yet they come up with 22% for the largest scheme in the district.  What message does that give other developers?  It’s OK to submit a shonky viability assessment to excuse the need to provide more?  Or will they put extra pressure on other developers to make up their huge (what, 800?) shortfall by reducing it to 22%?  And, of course, they won’t be truly affordable. 


Initial Provisions

Someone mentioned a GP surgery.  Interesting, but isn’t there a shortage of Doctors?  I wonder if the CCG will test their ludicrous idea for a ‘super surgery’ for Folkestone at Otterpool?  Hopefully they do and realise it doesn’t work.  Someone mentioned frequent traffic jams on the A20 (that’ll be worse at 30 mph) and how they affect the ability to get to William Harvey hospital.  Does that mean Mark Quinn isn’t building his super hospital in Canterbury, or that Ashford will remain open now, anyway?  Because WHH is 14 minutes from Westenhanger by car and KCH is 24 minutes.  That 10 minutes could be life or death.  Well, you’d have to get an ambulance, of course – it’ll be a longer difference on your bike!!
So the housing provision is going to be for the key workers in the area.  They’re all welcome, so long as they’re fit to walk / cycle and don’t have kids older than 10.  Well, they could go to Brockhill, but how many more can they take?  Oh, and they probably shouldn’t be religious, unless they don’t mind cycling to Stanford.  Except that’s C of E.  There’s a Methodist church in Sellindge, a Baptist church in Brabourne and err… is the nearest Catholic church in Hythe?!  Does this mean the Otterpool team are antisemitic?!?

It’s a joke that the Council set a 30% affordable housing target, yet they come up with 22% for the largest scheme in the district.  What message does that give other developers?  It’s OK to submit a shonky viability assessment to excuse the need to provide more?  Or will they put extra pressure on other developers to make up their huge (what, 800?) shortfall by reducing it to 22%?  And, of course, they won’t be truly affordable.  

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Q: This area has the designation of having WATER SCARCITY STATUS. The population of the Dour region, as set out by Affinity Water is 160,000 or thereabouts. The proposed increase in the population will have a detrimental effect on Groundwater resource, which can not be denied. If the population increase is allowed to go ahead, this decade will see the onset of a desalination plant somewhere along our coastline. This has been documented in Hansard (July 2006). How can this be squared against the current governments policy of all development to have an environmental gain?

Q: we often hear about stakeholders having an input into the consultation process of building a new town. The only ones that we seem to hear about are the ones that plan to make a profit out of it. The most important stakeholder of them all is the local resident. Where are those voices? In a number of polls, support for a new town was less than 3% across the area. Where is there mention of all the demonstrations that have taken place showing residents opprobrium against an unwanted town within a rural setting.

Q: DCLG Criteria for a new town was to have local support – there is none, abeit 3% as stated. It also states that new towns should not be dormitory towns. It would appear that that is not the case, emphasising main transport links to London.There should also be a local housing need. The town is over and above the local plan. Will there be migration into the area, possibly from London or overseas?

Q: Isn’t this soi-disant consultation a case of the cart before the horse. We still have to hear back from the Inspector on adopting the Local Plan and also the Planning Application for Otterpool. I would suggest that this is just another box ticking exercise by FHDC to help the application along the way.

Q: Paddleswoth (which is the proposed reservoir for Otterpool) is only 13 megalitres, and is literally a transfer pool, from groundwater sources. The pipeline of 11Km has not been accounted for in the £30m Utilities budget. At what point does this Otterpool scheme become unviable, given that the £30 million budget will be far in excess of that cost. Will it be the Affinity Water customer paying for Otterpool Town via their water bills.

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Dear Mr Laycock,
Thank you for the opportunity to take part in the webinar. The presentations were clear and it was useful to learn more about the plans for Otterpool Park. I was rather disappointed in the Q & A part of the session. It would have been interesting to hear more questions from local people and to give them a chance to comment on the answers given by ‘the Team’, as in “Question Time”. 
I have some questions that I would appreciate having answers to, please:

  • Will it be possible to view all of the questions and comments raised in the webinar and subsequently, and by whom, for the sake of transparency? If not, there is a risk that interested parties will we be left with the impression that negative or difficult issues may have been excluded from the public consultation. 
  • It is documented that FHDC failed to receive the £281,000,000 Government grant for the new Garden Town infrastructure. What impact will that failure have on FHDC’s ability to achieve its ambition to create a high quality development with excellent design and construction, wonderful facilities and well maintained public spaces? Cozumel Estates Ltd was to have been the major co-developer of the project. Cozumel has withdrawn from the project, making approximately £20,000,000 profit from the sale of the Racecourse land to the project, even though that land does not currently have planning permission for development. FHDC Councillors have told me that the money needed for infrastructure could always be borrowed. As a local council tax payer I am concerned about how the costs for the project are mounting (£50,000,000+) and the fact that the Otterpool Park project is still under consideration for approval in the local Core Strategy. Will local council tax payers end up having to pay for this project despite it being of little or no benefit to the surrounding communities?
  • Are the statements in the webinar presentation about Otterpool Park being well connected based on the assumption that Westenhanger Railway Station will be a stop on HS1? Why would HS trains stop at Otterpool Park when they stop already at Folkestone and Ashford, and the residents of Otterpool Park are not expected to be commuters to London? Is the reality that Otterpool Park will become a dormitory town?
  • How is it intended to provide 8,500 new homes with a sustainable water supply when Affinity Water has stated that it can provide only potable water to 1,500 of the proposed homes at Otterpool Park? Is Council Leader Mr Monk’s suggestion of a desalination plant at Hythe or Folkestone still on the table? What would happen if the new residents at Otterpool Park exceed the projected unrealistic allowance of 90 litres of water per person per day?
  • What new medical facilities will be available at Otterpool Park to coincide with the first new residents moving in, given that the local hospital and surgeries are at full capacity already?
  • The consultation was for Phase One. This is for 8,500 homes. How many homes are proposed for subsequent phases? The website master plan shows 10,000 homes and the original proposal to Government for Garden Town status was 12,000 homes. 

I look forward to receiving your responses to the above questions.

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I wish to object to Otterpool Town Y19/0257/FH for multiple reasons. The proposal of such a large development is not sustainable and will be ecologically detrimental to our locality, adversely affecting wildlife, putting a dangerously high demand on water usage, increasing traffic on the motorway and A20 and putting extra strain on schools, hospitals and surgeries which are already at capacity. 1. The supply of water to the proposed new homes is of huge concern and the suggested water usage figures are far too low to be taken seriously. 2. The massive housing development is not ecologically sensitive and is outdated. Far better to allow local villages to plan for themselves. 3. Following Brexit and Covid-19 we should be ensuring that our farms are protected and that we are able to buy food grown locally as much as possible. 4. This development appears to be designed as a dormitory town because all the indications are that London commuters are the target residents – rail link and house prices, reduced % of affordable housing, little local transport infastructure. Making a high speed stop at Westenhanger will slow down the line for everyone further along! 5. Local hospitals and surgeries are at breaking point. Local schools are full. Planners seem not to be aware of how hard it is to recruit doctors, nurses and teachers let alone the pressure on existing services. 6. Local opinion and concerns have not been taken into account. The council are being disingenuous if they are saying this is a community led project – it is not. They have ignored the very many objections.

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Dear Mr.LaycockI
I have responded to the feedback request following the recent attempt to justify Otterpool
and ticked the box asking to receive a reply.Some time has elapsed and nothing has appeared.In the feedback I raised questions as to why Otterpool is being proceeded with in spite of the lack of public support when this was highlighted as a primary requirement.In fact,as you may not know,there were many public gatherings to highlight their opposition to Otterpool.Also the council presentations were largely shown by any public attending to be overwhelming against Otterpool.Why The has this not been taken into account?
There are other reasons why there is no support for this unwanted scheme such as the fact that this area is in a water deficiency zone together with the fact that valuable agricultural land is being sacrificed.The infrastructure will not support the building of such a vast number of houses as evidenced by the build up of traffic on the roads even at today’s level of population.Not to mention the overstretched medical services which is apparent today without the population of 10,000 further houses adding to it.
After all is said and done were Otterpool to go ahead it would lead to a total disaster to our present green and pleasant land.

I await the response the Otterpool justifying website promised but fear it will only further be the whitewash of public concern already exhibited by those seeking to foist this desecratory scheme on those who pay their council taxes with gritted teeth.
Colin Abbott
Lympne

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Looking forward to seeing your comments.

S&DRA.


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MORE HOLLOW CONSULTATION – BOX TICKING

This coming Friday, 26th March, we are all invited to have our say on shaping the first phase of the massive housing estate being tagged by FHDC as Otterpool Park.

This is another case of putting the cart before the horse as the CSR inspector has yet to report back on the Districts plans. Moreover, the Otterpool Planning application has yet to be aired.

Here be the message from FHDC’s PR people:

Hello, 

We are at an exciting stage of planning Otterpool Park – we are designing the first phase, which includes the town centre. Together with our project consultants, we are holding two virtual public information and consultation events about phase one at Otterpool Park on Friday 26 March

Attendees will be able to watch a presentation and get their questions about phase one answered live by panellists. The event will also provide an opportunity for attendees to share their thoughts on the plans, which will be considered ahead of final proposals.  

There will be an online afternoon session running from 1pm until 2.30pm and an evening session from 5.30pm until 7pm, all open to the public who can register to attend here https://phaseone.otterpoolpark.org/.  

The engagements will be recorded and published on the Otterpool Park website, so that those that are unable to attend can watch it at a later date and provide their feedback.  

I do hope that you are able to register and attend. We are promoting these events in the local media, on social media and through other routes however we would be grateful if you could let others in your local networks know about the opportunity to attend. 

Kind regards, 

Zoe at Pillory BarnOn behalf of Otterpool Park LLP

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Casting our minds back to the beginning of the Otterpool debacle, a document was produced by The Department for Communities and Local Government entitled Garden towns and cities – Criteria for support. In it, six paragraphs jumped out at us:

4. We want to encourage more local areas to come forward with ambitious locally led proposals for new communities that work as self sustaining places, not dormitory suburbs. They should have high quality and good design hard wired in from the outset – a new generation of garden villages, towns and cities.

11, Equally, we are clear that this prospectus in not looking to support places which merely use ‘garden’ as a convenient label. Rather, we will support local areas that embed key garden city principles to develop communities that stand out from the ordinary. We do not want to impose a set of development principles on local areas , and will support local areas in developing their own vision for their communities. But, we will want to see evidence of attractive, well designed places with local support.

Local Leadership and community support.

17. New garden villages should have the backing of the local authorities in which they are situated. We expect expressions of interest to demonstrate a strong local commitment to delivery. They should also set out how the local community is being, or will be, engaged at an early stage, and strategies for community involvement to help ensure local support.

56. Expressions of Interest should set out how the local community is being, or will be, engaged at an early stage, and strategies for community involvement to help win local support.

67. We would like to ensure that, where possible, infrastructure needs are clearly assessed and met as any part of a proposal.

Local demand.

21. It is important that new garden villages are built as a response to meeting housing needs locally. We expect expressions of interest to demonstate how the new settlement is part of a wider strategy to secure the delivery of new homes to meet assessed need.

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This soi-disant presentation is another box ticker just to demonstrate that protocol has been followed to erect an unwanted urbanisation of our rural areas. Engaging with FHDC to shape a town that is not required or wanted will only add weight to their fake box ticking exercise. We have already shown, through numerous meetings and polls that support for such a town is less than 3% of the residents.

It is clear from the 6 pargraphs above that this money making bandwagon should have been halted at the first hurdle. Yes, sign up if you wish to their presentation, but please make it known that you will not engage in something that will change our lives forever, and not for the better. Please use the pargraphs above to argue the case that Otterpool is not required and does not fulfill the critera as set out by central government – DLG.

S&DRA.

H2 WOE.

If you had just moved to Folkestone and Hythe in the past two years, you may well be thinking how wet our Winters are. The fact of the matter is that we have experienced two of the wettest winters that I can remember.

Our area has the status of Water Stressed with good reason. During the mid nineties, amid drought conditions, a scheme was in place to transport water across the North Sea from Scandinavia to supply our region due to very low Groundwater levels to supplement dwindling supplies. Another plan was to import water through the Fire Hydrant system of the Channel Tunnel, once again, to top up potable water supplies. With very little headroom in the Dour Region (Folkestone, Hythe and Dover) we are now at a critical stage of water supply to the near 160,000 homes and commercial/Industrial units within Affinity Water’s (AW) catchment area. There have been countless occasions where the threat of water restrictions, in one form or another, has been on the cards with the Tanker Drought probably being the most memorable: https://historicdroughts.ceh.ac.uk/content/tanker-drought-1995-1998

The plan to build almost 15,000 more homes, including the Otterpool New Town scheme is quite frankly unbelievable. Add to that, the ever expanding housing schemes in the Dover District, especially at Whitfield, and you have a pending environmental problem. Low river flows, Groundwater levels plummeting, Water courses running dry, Wildlife destroyed. The threat of Groundwaters becoming brackish,

Compounding the problem is that of Climate change. Whether you think it’s man-made or cyclical, the fact remains that our weather is changing; getting warmer. According to the Met Office, nine of the warmest years ever recorded in the UK have occured since 2002. Thames Water forecasts that, by 2050, our Summers may be an average of 3 degrees hotter and 18% drier.

So, how do we plan to mitigate for water shortages, and who pays?

We are constantly being advised to use less water. Why? – Because there is little to spare. We are being offered freebies from Affinity Water; devices to save water (aerated shower heads and the like) Why? Once again, there’s little to spare. WE ARE THE DRIEST AREA IN THE UK.

The recent Core Strategy Review (CSR) was enlightening in the respect that mitigation measures were exposed as a box ticking exercise to placate both the planning Inspectors and the public. Let’s take the proposed housing estate being tagged as Otterpool Park. Our Council, FHDC, say that water usage per person (per capita consumption – PCC) will be 90 litres per person per day. The planning Inspectors thought this figure to be too low and has settled on a figure of 110 PCC as outlined in the Building regulations. This is, of course, still aspirational. At the moment, the average Briton uses 142 litres per day. So the aspirational figure of 110 PCC is a reduction of 32 litres. Affinity Water tells us that we use 155 litres, Given the above reduction, that would bring down the PCC to 123 litres.Still very much, aspirational.

We are then told by FHDC that a team of plumbers will visit homes within the district and replace old cisterns for new ones, reducing the flush by 3 litres (full flush) and 6 litres (half flush) How are these homes chosen and who pays for this work to be carried out? In any event, modern cisterns will never be compatible with older type pans due to the profile and litreage in the bowl. All of this is complete tosh and will never happen.

The CSR also threw up the discrepancies in funding for the utilties across Otterpool Park. FHDC’s consultants say that £30 million will be enough to install all utilities, including water mains, across the site. When questioned whether it will include the upgrade in the services to and from Paddlesworth reservoir (which isn’t really a reservoir – merely, a transfer pool) and associated 500mm trunk mains ancillary pipework and booster stations, he didn’t know. In a meeting between FHDC (then SDC), KCC and AW 30th September 2016, Ian Macathy (AW) said. ‘In terms of funding, AW advised that costs associated with water abstraction and high level plant are likely to be costs that all AW customers would have to meet.‘ Funding for reservoirs, booster staions and trunking mains would be a matter for agreement with developers while local level mains pipes and connections into new homes would be fully developer funded’. It would appear that no agreement has been settled between AW and FHDC on booster stations and trunking mains, as underlined above. Moreover, further abstraction and high level plant costs would have to be met by AW customers – You and Me.

Talk of building a desalination plant has been mooted on several occasions. AW said they would never build one, Leader of FHDC, David Monk said the Council could part fund the building of such a plant. Where would the money come from? Beckton (London) desalination plant cost £250 million over ten years ago. Where would it be sited? Hythe?, Folkestone?

There is no doubt that the further development of our already water stressed area is a ‘bridge too far’ in terms of development overload.

Our Association will be opposing this scale of unwarranted development, leading to the ruination of our way of life and desecration of our countryside. Please let us know what you think in our comments section or feedback.

S&DRA.

MORE ON QUINN IN SELLINDGE.

Dear Residents,

Quinn Estates have just submitted their ‘Reserved Matters’ application for the Bucknall land behind Rhodes House.You can find the detail on the FHDC website, the planning application reference is 21/0279/FH.https://folkestonehythedc.force.com/pr/s/planning-application/a1n2o000003HbNUAA0/210279fh?tabset-185b1=2This plan shows the extent that they are giving details for now, where they plan to build first….REMEMBER!  They already have outline planning consent for this, including the access point of the A20.
Take a look at all of the information that’s been published, and if you want to say anything about it, now is the time! 
…and it’s something else to amuse yourself with while ‘not going out’ is the order of the day…..

Westenhanger Castle Towers over Otterpool. Or does it?

How often have we heard our beloved Council leader, David Monk, tell us that Westenhanger Castle will be the ‘Jewel in the Crown‘ of the Otterpool Town development. We’ve lost count !

Our Council tell us that:

Westenhanger Castle is a Scheduled Monument and grade 1 listed building in a significant location with the opportunity to contribute distinctive identity for the key open space of the
garden town’.

It now turns out that Westenhanger Castle isn’t even within the boundary of the Otterpool development, but we now hear that the red boundaty line will be changed to include Westenhanger Castle, with the Local Planning Authority and the applicant amending the application to allow a consultation period at that stage. FHDC hope it will be later in the year, but bearing in mind the Core Strategy Review needing to run its course, it could even be early next year.

So why wasn’t the Castle included within the boundary line the moment the purchase was completed by FHDC? How does this affect the Otterpool application in terms of resubmission and, moreover, the recently concluded Core Strategy Review. Was the Castle left outside of the boundary for reasons other than an oversight?

We simply ask the question.

Let’s see the response.

S&DRA


DON’T DELAY – Have your say.

The Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee has launched an online survey asking for members of the public to give their views on the planning system, which it says will inform its ongoing inquiry into the government’s white paper proposals. 

Parliament: committee probing latest planning changes (pic: Getty)

Here’s the online survey:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=nt3mHDeziEC-Xo277ASzSsBc9hscYRNFrbfHBkcg0ANUOE0xVzEzWkU5MDVWTE1OVFNJSzFSOFlNTy4u

Please pass it on to friends, family and neighbours.

Thank you.

S&DRA