FORTY TOWERS

In last weeks local KM newspaper a story hit the front page; Just a green dream that was termed as ‘exclusive’ about the promised 40% green space for the proposed commuter Town (Otterpool). The headline read: Emails reveal council and landowner agreed to scrap 40% green space Otterpool pledge.

To be clear, the KM are not talking about local landowners or farmers who may, or may not about to be compulsory purchased by FHDC. The land owner in question described above is Cozumel Estates, aka The Reuben Brothers, based in the ‘offshore’ British Virgin Islands.

Far from being an exclusive, this story was revealed by our friends at Shepwayvox back in April:

The green space is now just an ambition. It is known that Cozumel representatives wish to reduce or even eradicate the 40% green space. They went as far as asking FHDC to remove the figure of 40% of green space.

Are we surprised to learn of the deception surrounding open space? Is the Pope a Catholic? The point being, if they are prepared to deceive us on this, what else are they deceiving us on? We already know that the Leader of the Council will readily lie to further his dystopian dormitory Otterpool dream, not only in print, but also on BBC radio: a true votarist.

The “unrealistic target of up to 40%” evidence is set out below in an email dated 24th May, 2016 from Stephen Higgins to Susan Priest at SDC (FHDC). This document, described as Confidential, was obtained through a FOI request and is now in the public domain.

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=f3d29dce98&view=att&th=1631b2be670191c8&attid=0.1&disp=inline&realattid=f_jgnid49v0&safe=1&zw

Less than a week ago more than 50,000 homes received the FHDC publication, Spring/Summer edition of ‘YOUR DISTRICT TODAY, where on page 11 it clearly states that ‘outdoor space will make up over 40 per cent’.  Why is this figure still being bandied about? Could it be that low density housing will become flats or even towers to accommodate the outdoor green space to ‘emphasise healthy living and wellbeing’. For whatever reason, we would respectfully ask FHDC to desist from using such misleading information.

In the same magazine and on the same page we are told of another re-run of the public exhibition being held at Westenhanger Castle, 20th June, between 2pm and 6pm. A six hour window for us all to be told how wonderful the Otterpool dream is going to be for us all. 12,000?, 10,000?, 8,500?, 5,500? dwellings that all of our children and grandchildren will be able to afford, living healthy lives with  great transport links, cycling to heritage sites, riverside walks, medical centres, schools, multi-faith halls of worship. What is there not to like about Otterpool Offshore Park New Town? The list is endless.

We’ll see you all on the 20th June.

S&DRA.

GOING DOWN.

If you have ever questioned the intelligence of our Councillors or MP, your thoughts are justified. We recently witnessed the complete farce of attempting to build the worlds biggest lorry park at Stanford West, supported by Damian Collins MP, along with Monk, Hollingsbee and Carey, only to find that it thankfully fell at the first hurdle, purely because our MP and Councillors were too lazy and arrogant to work out that disregarding the Environmental impact and protocol is an avenue never to be explored. A Judicial Review was duly launched against Highways England and the rest, as they say, is history. Stanford West remains part of the arable landscape.

We now have a similar situation with a commuter town, planned to obliterate our villages, which our beloved Council are calling Otterpool Park. Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you would know that we live in the most water stressed area in the UK, so the very idea of building a town of 12,000 dwellings makes no sense at all. Moreover, with some 24,000 other dwellings planned for the area, you wouldn’t need to be a hydrologist or water industry expert to have an inkling that the development of a town may just be a bridge too far in terms of providing a potable water supply to each and every home. Enter Councillor Monk and his ‘Expression of Interest’ to build a town.

Monk devious look
Council Leader Monk.

The original intention was to build 12,000 dwellings, then it was 10,000. After a conversation with the local water company it’s now 5,500. We believe that it won’t stop there. Here’s the email dated 23rd January, 2018 sent from Chris Lewis at FHDC (SDC) to Affinity Water (AW):

“For clarification, the current position is that the policy requirement is for a minimum of 5,500 homes over the Core Strategy Local Plan period until 2037, with development capacity within the red line of 8000-10,000 homes (subject to detailed masterplanning) drawn from evidence base work providing opportunity for growth beyond the plan period.”

It should be noted that a meeting took place last December (2017) where AW announced that capacity exists for only 1000 dwellings, but after that, major infrastructure upgrades will be necessary. Let’s not forget that the Governments Housing Infrastructure Fund of £281,000,000 destined for FHDC amounted to nothing.

Have a nice weekend.

S&DRA.

 

 

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.

If you haven’t already made your views known on the latest Core Strategy Review, you only have until the 18th of this month to comment. We hear from Residents that it’s confusing and time consuming, not knowing where to find the document.

Remembering that your comments will go some way to shaping how our area develops over the coming years, it is vital that your comments are noted.

Within the Core strategy, there is also the opportunity to comment on the proposed New Town which our District Council is calling Otterpool Park, and do remember that when the Core Strategy document goes before a planning Inspector, your views will be taken into consideration.

The easiest way to comment is to simply click on the link

http://shepway-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/core_strategy/core_strategy_review/

Then click on Core Strategy Local Plan review, then: Read and Comment on document. It’s that easy.

If you have any problems in logging on or need further advice, please email us at sellingeresidents@gmail.com

S&DRA.

 

RURAL KENT – RIP.

Last Thursday, 26th April, 6 Parish Councillors met with Andy Jarrett, Head of Strategic Developments Projects, to hear about the latest update and presentation on the proposed New Town development being called Otterpool Park. According to our sources, it was pretty much the same old rhetoric promoting the advantages of a non piecemeal build with riverside walks and state of the art ‘green’ living.

The Questions and Answers session revealed cracks in the facade with many points put to Mr. Jarrett being deflected or responding with: ‘I’m no expert’. Pressed on the water issues, or lack of, the very best that Mr. Jarrett could come up with was: I am told by Affinity Water that they can supply water to Otterpool Park Town. When questioned on homes for local people, once again, obfuscation was the order of the day.

In a recent FHDC document, Healthier Housing Strategy 2018-2023 (Draft), it clearly states at 4.11:

It is vital that new housing provision within the district meets the needs of the local community and also contributes toward
enabling the district to fully meet its economic and regeneration objectives. The Core Strategy Local Plan (adopted 2013) has committed the Council to the development of a target 8,000 additional homes in the district over the period 2006 to 2031. The Council is now in the process of reviewing the Core Strategy. The evidence base document, the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), has indicated that there is an Objectively Assessed Need (OAN) of 14,560 dwellings over the period from 2014 to 2037. This is an additional 6,560 homes over the 2013 Plan. The majority of the 633 homes required each year will be market homes provided through private developers, with the SHMA also identifying a need for an additional 139 affordable dwellings per year.

We make no apologies for repeating our stance on Housing for local needs. The above statement clearly defines, after the Core strategy review, that 14,560 dwellings are required up to 2037. The expression of Interest to build a Town came purely from Shepway District Council (now FHDC). Otterpool is not intended for local people, evidenced by the proposed development of Westenhanger Station, but an empire building, venture capital exercise that will see our Residents, notably young citizens, pushed even further away from the Housing ladder.

With our Leader Monk and Deputy Leader Hollingsbee instrumental in this venture, refusing to attend any public debate, is it any wonder that Residents opprobrium towards our so-called representatives is at boiling point.

We also learn of another Public Consultation being planned for June. Bearing in mind that we have already had two consultations that revealed less than 2% support for the Otterpool development, this will be another box ticking exercise where the results are never released. But FHDC will be able to tell the Planning Inspector that 3 public consultations have taken place and stakeholders are on board.

So, if you’re off on your hol’s and fancy a novel full of lies and deception, pick up a copy of Otterpool Town – The death of Rural Kent. To be found nowhere in your local bookshops.

Have a nice weekend.

S&DRA.

Do we have a Roman Villa in Newingreen?

Over the past few weeks you may have noticed a digger in the field almost opposite Rose Cottage (the green bungalow) on the A20 at Newingreen.

Oxford Archaeology have been commissioned by land owners to carry out investigative work as to what lies beneath the surface of the site. One wouldn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to work out that somewhere in the district (so close to Stone Street), fortifications or dwellings would have been a feature on the landscape circa 43-410 AD.

For a local view, our friends at Shepwayvox have now posted on their site the following:  https://shepwayvox.org/2018/04/27/probable-roman-villa-discovered-at-otterpool-park/

We believe that this site should be a Scheduled Monument, affording protection against unauthorised change. Please take the time to tell us if you agree. The choice is: A rich history for us all to enjoy or an unaffordable property keeping local salaried Residents firmly off the housing ladder.

S&DRA.

 

 

£281,000,000 INFRASTRUCTURE PAYMENT KNOCKED BACK.

Last Tuesday, 17th April it was mooted that the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) would not be finding its way into the hands of Leader Monk and his cohorts at Folkestone & Hythe District Council (FHDC) to fund the infrastructure to support the proposed Otterpool Park New Town. Today, 19th April, it was confirmed that that was the case:

“Kent County Council’s application for Forward Funding to support the delivery of necessary infrastructure at Otterpool Park, Shepway, will not be taken forward”.

Some residents have suggested that campaigning by our Association and other allied local groups has not gone unnoticed by Government Ministers or the fact that water scarcity in the Shepway region (Dour) could have been a factor, hinting from Central Government that a Town of this size is really a non starter.

On the 31st March a four page letter was sent to Prime Minister May and The Rt Hon Sajid Javid from a local Parish Councillor stating, among other points, that:

There is overwhelming opposition from Residents against the Otterpool Town project.

There is distrust from Parishes and Parishioners against FHDC. The District Council  has a track record of alleged corruption which is still being investigated by  Kent Police (case ref: ZY/035502/14).

Water Scarcity is a serious issue, compounding the situation with what is, in effect,  a New Town being built in Ashford.

FHDC has a close association, via a collaboration agreement, with an offshore headquartered company, Cozumel Estates (Reuben Brothers), which would benefit from the HIF and bring nothing to the UK economy.

A copy of that letter will be released in due course, but for the time being will not be fully disclosed. We believe that that letter may have had an influence in the decision not to release the HIF to FHDC via KCC. If that is the case, we owe our local Parish Councillor, and all those who endorsed the letter a very great debt of gratitude.

Finally, for those of you who missed the Core Strategy review in Sellindge, another event is being held in Hythe next Tuesday 24 April, 3-7pm- Hythe Sports Pavilion, South Road.

And if you’re hoping to get a reasoned argument out of any of the hosts, think again. The box ticking exercise is in full swing.

S&DRA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CORE STRATEGY. URGENT. VIEW RESIDENTS EMAIL.

Shepway District Council has published its Core Strategy Local Plan Review for comment. This is the planning document which sets out the development strategy for the district to 2036/37.

What they have published is an update of the adopted 2013 Core Strategy Local Plan, but now it is pulling Otterpool New Town and developments in Sellindge into the main planning process.

The Plan can be viewed on the District Council’s web site at http://www.shepway.gov.uk/…/planning…/planning-consultations.

Go there and make your comments heard (you may have to register. Don’t let that put you off!) In the meantime, you will have the opportunity to talk to the Planning Officers at the following venues:

Monday 16 April, 3-7pm – Folkestone, Civic Centre.
Tuesday 17 April, 3-7pm – Hawkinge Community Centre
Thursday 19 April, 3-7pm- Sellindge Village Hall
Tuesday 24 April, 3-7pm- Hythe Sports Pavilion, South Road
Wednesday 25 April 3-7pm – 1St New Romney Scout Group HQ, Church Lane

It is vital that as many of us as possible attend these events and attempt to comment on the consultation documents.

STOP PRESS. It has come to our attention, via a local Resident, that vital documentation is not being released within the Core strategy document: The following email (edited) is now with us. 

Dear Dr Priest,

Core Strategy, incomplete evidence – consultation postponement required

 I was shocked to discover that many of the documents that are necessary to inform the revised Core Strategy have yet to be prepared. This includes important documents such as:

Duty to Co-operate Statement

Shepway Green Infrastructure Report

Shepway Water Cycle Report

Infrastructure Delivery Plan / Infrastructure Table

Shepway Playing Pitch Strategy and Sports Facilities Report

Whole Plan Viability Assessment

We are the tax payers and we expect our Council to act in our best interests – to provide impartial evidence for the Core Strategy to at least allow us to make informed responses to help shape this politically informed document.

The Core Strategy consultation needs to be postponed until all outstanding documentation is available.

 

S&DRA

 

 

HYTHE IN THE FIRING LINE AGAIN – THANKS TO OTTERPOOL.

Affinity Water are inviting Customers to attend a consultation on their draft Water Resources Management Plan (WRMP) to address the challenges that face the Shepway area over the coming years. Our Association has already highlighted the prospect of a desalination plant being built in Hythe to supplement the shortfall in groundwater reserves due to the proposed Otterpool Town project.

So, if you’re a customer of Affinity Water and would like to comment on the WRMP, all you have to do is email Olivia.jones@affinitywater.co.uk to reserve a place at the following venue:

Samphire Hoe Ed Shelter, Samphire Road, Dover CT17 9FL. 1st May. 10am – 3pm.

For full details please click on the link below.

https://stakeholder.affinitywater.co.uk/docs/Details%20of%20stakeholder%20forums.pdf

We’ll see you on the 1st May.