The so called Otterpool-Park-Stage-2-Consultation-Report and Otterpool-Stage-2-Appendix have now been published. A third document: Community-Engagement-Report, has also been released. Please click to view on any of the above.
For the majority of us, it is neither engagement or a document that addresses our real concerns over a proposal to build a commuter town within the area of our villages, thereby destroying our rural lifestyles.
So far, two ‘Community Engagements’ have been carried out to try to win over the hearts and minds of local residents; December 2016 and June of this year. Last June, our entry/exit poll showed that just a handful of residents (1.5%) were in favour of a new town being built, whilst the June Community Engagement showed an increase of a further 1.5% to 3%.
Hardly an endorsement of a project that carries the criteria of being community led. It is clear that SDC have been economical with the truth when they submitted their ‘expression of interest‘ to central government. Indeed, they didn’t even consult with local people on whether we thought it was a good idea. So have SDC been taking money from the public purse under false pretenses to kick start the project, already to the tune of well over a million pounds. And what have their billionaire partners, Cozumel, contributed so far?
The question we should be asking is; why are SDC bothering to engage with our communities when it appears that they couldn’t really care less what we think. Moreover, the Leader, Councillor David Monk, Deputy Leader, Jenny Hollingsbee and Councillor Susan Carey are now refusing to meet residents publicly, aware of the deepening rancor and opprobrium among Residents. The mindset of these three individuals is clear; They’re in the driving seat of the Otterpool steam roller and nothing will stop them, and it’s now clear that if they don’t get the answer they want the first, or second time, they will try, try again. They are devious in the extreme.
The questions posed to residents attending those ‘engagements’ are designed to ‘draw’ you in. For example: How tall do you think the buildings should be, Are play areas important to you for your children or grandchildren etc etc. The answers to these types of questions are being formulated and kept in reserve to be used against us. It gives SDC the evidence to produce at a later date, to DCLG or a planning inspector that ‘consultation’ has taken place and here’s the evidence.
We are all aware on the infrastructure issues that already confront us here in Shepway and beyond: Water, NHS, Sewage, Roads, Air pollution. The threat of a Lorry Park, Waste site, CHP plant, Customs holding area at Stop 24. These are just a few. Then there’s the issue of affordable homes for our young families. SDC use the term ‘affordable’, but affordable for who? Certainly not Shepway residents.
In March 2018, David Monk and one other SDC Councillor or member will be attending MIPIM; tagged as the Worlds biggest property market. Being held in Cannes, Cllr Monk and Co will be hoping to attract developers to invest in Otterpool Park. Investors being investors will say ‘What’s in it for us’, which is fair enough, but what premium will their ‘take’ put on the price of the average house, along with the builders, architect and so forth taking their profit. Would we be naive enough to think that an investor would be looking to invest in affordable or social housing. Would he or she have any idea about the Shepway family struggling on the average salary of a little over £22,000 pa.
The Otterpool project is about money, no more, no less. It’s not the way to build a community and will only serve to destroy the existing and well established communities that we already have and enjoy.
Shepway District Council have published a document titled ‘A Charter for Otterpool Park‘. On the cover page it describes itself as a “Consultation Draft”.
This is the first document emanating from the Otterpool Park stable that actually uses the word ‘consultation’. It just doesn’t seem to have been put out into the public domain to allow for it to be responded to in a convenient or conventional manner. But, as a document, it does look as if in the future it will be lent on heavily as evidence of the authorities seeking community input.
As a document, it falls somewhere between a promotional brochure filled with estate agent wording, alongside some oddly detailed references to very specific and current legislative requirements for disabled access and the like.
The document promotes “good design”, “flexibility”, and several other issues that are just screamingly obvious. These things are givens, nobody would promote bad design. There are of course aspects that can be supported. Opening up vistas to Westenhanger Castle and taking a very positive approach to managing and enhancing the landscape would be very hard to argue against. Improving and building in bridleways, cycleways and footpaths, in preference to roadside pavements, might be seen in the same way. But, the document also talks of a Combined Heat & Power plant supplying the development; would this presage a resurgence of the application for the Biomass plant at Link Park, and all that that would entail?
What has the document omitted as things that should be provided in this new idyllic place to live and work?
The scale of shopping and public transport facilities is shaded; perhaps this is where new sports facilities should be located, rather than on Princes Parade? You have an opportunity here to make your own suggestions and you should take this chance firmly in both hands and tell Shepway what your vision is of a development at Otterpool Park, much of it on our land.
The purpose of the document, and its future use by Shepway, is not explained, but we do recommend that you should read it, and then comment on it. You should send your observations very quickly to Shepway.
There is no specific procedure or form provided for this so we suggest that you should email your District Councillors:
- North Downs district that would be Jenny Hollingsbee, who will be attending the cabinet meeting or email to email@example.com, and copy it to firstname.lastname@example.org
- or to your favourite District Councillor.
If you are commenting, you might want to begin by saying whether you are in favour of developing Otterpool Park or against it in principle. If you are against, even if the juggernaut will not be stopped, you still have the right to say what you would expect to see within any development. Whatever you have to say to them, please copy us in with your submissions because we genuinely want to know what as many people as possible across Shepway think of this proposal.
The document can be viewed here – A_Charter_for_Otterpool_Park_Consultation Draft
Furthermore, On Thursday, 5 October 2017 Shepway District & Parish Council’s Joint Committee met and received a presentation of the document. This meeting was attended by a small number of parish councillors from the parishes directly contained within multiple park or abutting it. A minute of that meeting has been published by Shepway.
On Tuesday 10 October 2017, the overview and scrutiny committee of Shepway District Council met and heard much the same presentation.
We haven’t seen much publicity attached to this ‘consultation’ and do wonder if they have simply forgotten to mention it to anyone.
Shepway Vox were in the public gallery and have posted their note of that meeting. These few lines summarise their conclusion, which S&DRA endorse.
“…most importantly there is currently a consultation underway, where you, the public, can offer up your suggestions on how Otterpool ought to be developed. The consultation ends on the 17th Oct 2017 and all comments should be sent to: email@example.com
There is no guarantee Otterpool will go ahead. However, in the event that it does, we believe your voices in shaping the community which may be built there, will help shape the community for generations to come. Therefore, we urge you to read the Charter Consultation and email Shepway DC with your thoughts.”
On Wednesday 18 October Shepway are holding a Special Cabinet Meeting when the document, possibly with some amendments, will be put to the cabinet for agreement.
The meeting at 5:00pm in the Council Chamber will be open to the press and public, it would be great to see as many of you there as possible.
The Hythe Sponsored walk is taking place on Sunday, 29th October and is a chance for ALL Shepway residents to participate in, whether they be from the main groups of SOS Kent -Lorry Park, Fishermans Beach Association, Save Princes Parade, No Otterpool Town or any other action group across our region. This is a gathering of like minded people who are sick and tired of being bullied by our rotten Council and its glorious Leader, David Monk. Although the route is about 5 miles, we don’t expect everyone to walk the full the distance. Stop off for a coffee just a few hundred yards from the start and wait for us to return; the choice is yours. But what this event is really about, is raising funds to challenge the lies and hidden agendas that are now common place within SDC. There’s a free raffle with great prizes to all who the pay the minimum sponsorship fee of £5.00. Click here to download and print your sponsorship form. Various speakers will be present to end the day, so bring your family, friends and neighbours. In a wheelchair, mobility scooter? No problem. The route is wheel friendly with not an incline in sight. Enjoy the beauty and open vista of Princes Parade alongside our open coast line. Bring your banners, whistles, flutes and drums. Let’s band together and walk the walk, along our promenade.
We plan to have a great day with all of our friends. See you all on the 29th, 10.30am.
The recent publication of the KM Folkestone & Hythe featured, on page I and 2, an article put out by Councillor Monk stating events from his perspective of just how the public meeting at Hythe Bay School, 12th September, ran its course when some 300 people turned up to hear how Otterpool New Town would affect the Residents of Hythe.
According to the article, Councillor Monk said ” Someone even shouted out calling me a liar. I’m not a liar, and I went there in good faith”.
“I’m not a liar”
We have strong evidence to show that that statement from Councillor Monk could be incorrect.
Our own independent research has shown that Councillor Monk did tell a great untruth on Radio Kent last year. Thanks to the honesty and transparency of Monks Horton Parish Councillor Les Barratt, details of (what we are calling) the Great Untruth, have been disclosed to the S&DRA team.
Please take the time to read the following thread of emails. (It should be noted that this is not the email thread in its entirety, but relates to the most pertinent points). It only confirms what we have already stated; Councillor Monk is not fit to hold Public Office of any kind.
12th August 2106.
Dear Councillor Monk,
My name is Leslie Barratt. I am Vice Chairman of Monks Horton Parish Meeting and reflect the views of Monks Horton residents on all issues. The issue in question here is the Shepway District Councils’ proposal to build a new town of 12,000 dwellings in and around the villages of Westenhanger, Lympne, Newingreen and Sellindge.
You will recall that you invited me along with our Parish Chairman to attend a ‘Parish Councillors meeting’ on the 7th June 2016. You will also recall the general negative response that you received from all 27 Parish Councillors in attendance towards the development of a New Town which you are calling ‘Otterpool Park’.
At that meeting I listened intently to all comments from across the chamber and finally raised my hand to speak. I politely asked if, through the chair, we could have a show of hands of how many Parish Councillors thought it would be a good idea to build a Garden Town as proposed by your Council. You flatly refused. I asked again. You flatly refused. You then raised your voice as if to dismiss my request. My initial thought was ‘where is the democracy here’? I then raised my voice and put the question to the 27 Parish Councillors in the chamber: ‘Can we have a show of hands please: Who here, thinks it’s a good idea to build a New Town in Otterpool’.Not one hand was raised. I recall you remained vocal after the vote was taken. You certainly appeared disgruntled.
I now refer to your recent interview on the 8th August alongside David Plumstead on Radio Kent.
I was astonished to hear you refer to me as an ‘anti campaigner’ whatever that is? To be honest, you sounded somewhat muddled: I believe you meant to say that I was a campaigner. If that is what you meant, then you are quite correct; I do campaign for the people of Monks Horton. As a democratically elected Parish Councillor, I campaign on their behalf, as do the other democratically elected Parish Councillors that were present.
You then stated, on BBC radio, that I asked the 27 Parish Councillors at the 7th June meeting ‘Who is against the proposal’ (to build a new town).
I believe that when you said ‘Who is against the proposal’ on Radio Kent, you knew it to be untrue. You deliberately misled the people of Shepway, using a BBC radio station to broadcast that across Kent.
In an effort to deceive the electorate into thinking that there is a high level support for the proposed OtterpoolTown you have only confirmed to the listeners that you are not fit to hold any position of public office. Moreover, your plea for residents to contact you is disingenuous. We have evidence that you never returned your calls or emails to those that have tried to contact you.
Mr. Monk; from conversations I have had with residents over the years, it is clear that your standing in the district could at best be described as ‘waning’. From the conversations I have had with residents in the past four days I am sure that there would be thousands of Shepway residents requesting that you now consider your position.
I look forward to your reply at your earliest convenience.
18th August 2016
Dear Mr. Monk,
It has been six days since I sent my email to you. Please inform me when I can expect a reply.
18th August 2016
Dear Mr Barratt
You and I are not going to agree, I see little point in continuing this conversation.
Councillor David Monk
Leader of the Council
29th August. 2016
Dear Councillor Monk,
Thank you for your email of the 18th August.
Although your response is dismissive, I feel that a response is needed to clarify my position along with the parishioners that I represent.
You have taken a position which I find somewhat baffling. You state that we are not going to agree when there is nothing to agree on. A clear statement was made by me on the 7th June at the Civic Centre when you did your utmost to silence me.
You clearly heard what I said and you saw the response from 27 Parish Councillors. You then told an untruth on BBC radio knowing full well that it was inaccurate in a feeble attempt to extinguish total dissent for a proposed new town.
This is not the conduct that we would expect from a District Council leader and certainly not a servant of the people of Shepway.
Given the seriousness of your conduct, I would expect a full apology to be made, not only to Mr. Plumstead and me, but also to the people of Kent,
Please arrange for your apology to be made, on air, via the BBC stating that you was incorrect in a statement previously made. Please make it very clear that the fact of the matter is: 27 Parish Councillors present at the said meeting showed absolutely no support for the development of a new town that you and your council are calling Otterpool Park.
A speedy reply would be appreciated.
4th September 2016
Dear Councillor Monk,
Once again, it’s been 6 days since I emailed you. When can I expect a reply?
6th September 2016.
Dear Mr Barratt,
To confirm that you and I are not going to agree on this matter, therefore, I see little point in continuing this conversation.
Councillor David Monk
Leader of the Council
We will leave it you, the Residents of Shepway, to decide on whether Councillor Monk is a liar or not, or whether he is fit to hold Public Office.
Please click on the link below to reveal all:
Princes Parade development revealed for Hythe seafront as plans submitted for leisure centre and homes
Update, Membership and Donations
Our friends in Hythe are spreading the word on the following:
Dear Friends of Prince’s Parade,
Update, Membership and Donations
The planning application to move Prince’s Parade, develop at least 150 luxury beachside appartments, a leisure centre and car park, is now imminent, indeed we think that Shepway have already submitted it, but it could not be validated by Shepway Planning Department because Shepway had not paid the correct fee! So the “phoney war” is over and we must now begin to deal with the specifics of the planning application. I will keep you fully updated once Shepway manage to submit the forms correctly, validate their own planning application and it moves into the public realm.
Until now, we have run the Save Princes Parade Group on an informal basis. However, with the imminent submission of the planning application as well as the Examination in Public of the local plan due at the end of the year we feel that now is the time to formalise the group with a constitution and definitive member list. This will give us a mandate to represent the group at meetings and also allow us to raise funds for legal action should that become necessary.
There is no fee to become a member (although pledges towards the cost of legal action would be very welcome.)
You can read the constitution here:
If you would like to become a member please sign up flowing this link:
By signing up as a member you are confirming that you support our aims and are willing to abide by the constitution. You are also agreeing that we can contact you by email. You can cancel your membership at any time by emailing:
Thank you for signing the petition No Development on Prince’s Parade, can you help spread the word by forwarding the link below to your friends?
Last night (12.9.17), we were all treated to the usual display of ineptitude and grumblings of Councillor Monk and two of his Planning Officer’s; Chris Lewis and Julia Wallace at the Hythe Bay Primary School, courtesy of the Hythe Civic Society.
Council Leader David Monk
The evening kicked off with Councillor Monk telling us that he didn’t realise that it was a public meeting “so hey ho”. We wonder if he would have turned up if he was aware of that. It really does pay to check out our website.
The usual old rhetoric ensued for about 7 minutes when he then turned to Julia Wallace to present a slide show on how wonderful Otterpool Park would be and how we should all be embracing this chance to develop a town with their collaborative, bed fellow partners, Cozumel (BVI Offshore, tax haven) Estates.
The Reuben Brothers. Cozumel Estates, based in the British Virgin Islands.
Next up was Chris Lewis; speaking in quiet mode, at nineteen to the dozen, any points made seem to melt into a stream of meaningless jargon. It was at this this point, after an hour, that a lady member of the audience stood to remonstrate against the endless form of fillibustering, quoting the chairman as saying the presentation would be 45 minutes with the same amount of time for Q & A. It was only then that the Q & A commenced.
The audience wasn’t happy, in fact, it appeared that the presentation strengthened their resolve to ask the most probing and direct questions of Councillor Monk, which in most cases he couldn’t answer or dismissed the Resident’s points out of hand with a wave of his hand: No change there then.
One of the points made by a Hythe Resident was the availability of water to the new town. Councillor Monk retorted; “We’ve been in talks with Affinity Water and if they need money to deliver water we’ll help them out” What does that mean was the cry from the audience. Councillor Monk then admitted that a desalination plant could be a possibility. Readers of this website would know that we posted a spoof article just five weeks ago on the building of a desalination plant in or around Hythe. It seems that we weren’t far off the mark. So should Hythe Residents be concerned? They should be very concerned indeed.
To date, we know that the Environment Agency, through a FOI request, have not been in discussion with Affinity Water pertaining to the proposed Otterpool Park new town and the consequences of groundwater depletion in the Dour (Shepway) region.
We were also told, via Adam.Warner@affinitywater.co.uk; “We are not planning to build a desalination plan in the South East”.
So, there we have it: Affinity are not planning a desalination plant, but that doesn’t mean they won’t build one in the future.
SDC, if Councillor Monk is to be believed, have already had a discussion with Affinity on the lack of water in the Dour region and the possibility, going forward, to meet demand from the New Town.
Now, here’s the thing. SDC are offering capital, Council Tax payers money, to a water company whose shareholders receive a very healthy dividend, offering to build a power hungry, saline polluting industrial unit in our coastal area, just because Councillor Monk didn’t realise that getting blood from a stone was impossible, or in this case, getting water from a severely depleted aquifer would be impossible without causing major detriment to the environment.
If you would like to make your own representations on why a severely water stressed area is about to become a suburb of London, or as CPRE put it: London-on-sea, why not write to the CEO of Affinity Water, Simon Cocks, and ask why he hasn’t lobbied central Government against the urban sprawl of Shepway knowing full well that at least 90% of our water is pumped from the ground with no substantial emergency measures in place to meet the needs of existing Residents during dry winters. We are sure he’d love to hear from you.
While you’re at it, CC in Roy Burvill, based in Folkestone. Working only two days a week now, but still a very helpful point of contact. firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, getting back to the meeting. Was the evening a success for Councillor Monk and his Officer’s?
We’re sure that they were hoping to have this one in the bag, in terms of support for London-on-sea, but alas. it wasn’t to be. The audience, by this stage, had had enough of Councillor Monk and his bully boy tactics. It was time for a vote on who was in favour of building a new town. Although a member of the audience discreetly asked the Chairman to ask for a show of hands towards the end of the evening, the Chairman chose not to carry out the request. Just as Residents were leaving their seats, a local Parish Councillor sprang to his feet and posed the question. “Let’s have a show of hands on who thinks it’s a good idea to build a new town just up the road from here”. Two people raised their hands. Just to ensure fair play, the question was posed “Who thinks it a bad idea to build a new town”. Well, it was unanimous. Together with a mighty cheer, all (except for two) raised their hands. So what was Councillor Monk doing whilst all this was taking place. Wildly gesticulating, pleading NO NO NO.
Thank goodness for democracy.
The evening concluded peacefully, with good grace.