Otterpool Charter – your thoughts count. We need your help!

We need your help, urgently! 
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. The consultation ends on the 17th Oct 2017. Please read below for details.

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 otterpool@shepway.gov.uk, and copy it to jenny.hollingsbee@shepway.gov.uk
  • 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: otterpool@shepway.gov.uk

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.

Thank You

Dear Residents,


Those residents who attended the Open Garden event last Sunday at Upper Otterpool, were treated to a beautiful venue with good company and a beautiful garden,
 
The Morris family put on a marvelous show for local residents to admire, set in a tranquil and relaxed atmosphere. Teas were served alongside home made cakes and local seasonal produce to purchase, which many residents donated – Thank you.
 
All in all, a fantastic day in the company of like minded people, intent on stopping the annihilation of our beautiful countryside by our rotten Council.
 
The T shirt campaign got off to a good start – NO TO OTTERPOOL NEW TOWNLOCAL HOMES FOR LOCAL PEOPLE catering for most sizes, even XXXL. 
 
Monies raised was much appreciated and added to our general S&DRA fund. 
 
It just leaves us to say a huge THANK YOU to the Morris family and their volunteers for all their hard work in putting on such a wonderful event. Bless you all.
 
S&DRA.

How long cannes Monk stay in office?

Dear Residents,

Our friends at Shepwayvox have outlined the problem with rising house prices and the affordability factor. Please take the time to read and decide for yourselves whether Leader Monk is a peddler of inaccurate detail or not.
Just to point you in the right direction, wasn’t part of the criteria to build a New Town supposed to have local support from Parishioners. Did Leader Monk tell a porky to Central Government? If he did, isn’t that deception?

Doing the Can-Can in Cannes

Dear Very Angry Residents,

Our friends at Shepwayvox have followed up on their recent article on the Riviera trip for our Council Leader Monk and chum. Are they ashamed that they are spending our money on such an unnecessary trip; probably not. Would they rather we knew nothing about it; of course.
This was evident when at a meeting at the Civic Centre last night. Andy Jarrett, head of strategic developments at SDC (You’re having the New Town, no question) said that SDC would be looking at international markets to promote / build the New Town at the MIPIM event. He was very careful not to mention that it was being held in Cannes. It wasn’t until Ian Meyers (UKIP) pointed out to all in the Chamber and in the public gallery that it was being held in the celeb’s playground of Cannes that Andy Jarrett conceded that, that was the case. So there we have it; not actually a lie, not in the league of a cunning stunt, more of being economical with all the facts. Are we surprised. It’s the same old story. Or as they say in sunny Cannes; C’est toujours la meme histoire.
S&DRA.

Leaders Monk and Hollingsbee are correct

Dear Residents,

We at S&DRA think that Leader of SDC, David Monk and Deputy Leader, Jenny Hollingsbee are actually telling the truth when they say that building a new town in and around our communities would ensure that houses would be available for their Grandchildren.
Of course they would.

If most working class people had a property and/or Land portfolio like our Council leaders to pass on as inheritance, their Grandchildren would be ‘sitting pretty’ and would be able to afford the outrageous South East prices that’s so detrimental to our young families and lowest earners in securing a home.

If we are to accept that ‘Everything is relative’ we have no argument against the likes of Monk and Hollingsbee given that a fiscal helping hand would be available to the few. But if we were to adopt the same principle of ‘Everything is relative’ to our lowest paid workers and residents whose chances of an inheritance windfall is zero, the average price of a mid terrace house is way out of reach.

So when we hear the term ‘affordable homes’ should we laugh, cry or despair?

So far, we have heard nothing from our Council that would convince us that the majority of our children or grandchildren would ever enjoy setting up a home that they could call their own, either being rented or purchased.

There are many options available to Councils when considering homes for our lowest paid residents. One of them is CLT’s: Community Land Trusts are being initiated and developed globally and provide the alternative to the mainstream PLC developers, like Taylor Wimpey (TW), whose only raison d’etre is to accumulate profit for themselves and their shareholders (according to Digital look, the prospective end of year yield or dividend for TW is 7.5%).

For a simple explanation of how a Community Land Trust operates, please click here.

Having heard and seen the sham Consultations last December and June, 2017, it is obvious that between Shepway District Council and Cozumel Estates (based in the Offshore, British Virgin Islands), the overriding reason for foisting a 12,000 dwelling Commuter Town upon us is MONEY.
Money for Cozumel and SDC.

If the 12,000 dwelling Commuter Town gets the go-ahead, investment would be drawn away from all of the other Shepway areas to the detriment of non Otterpool Residents, leading to services in their own areas being drastically reduced. Moreover, services would be concentrated in one area area of Shepway, leading to massive congestion in and around the villages of Lympne, Newington, Sellindge Stanford, Westenhanger.

So if you’re living in an area where you think a 12,000 dwelling commuter Town won’t affect you, think again. This isn’t a case of ‘Not in my backyard’. Given that the Shepway population increase would be over 40% (8,000 homes in the Local plan, plus 12,000 dwelling Commuter Town), we should ALL be saying NOT IN EAST KENT.

S&DRA.

Like it or not, you’re having it

Dear Residents,

These two pieces are a summation of what is wrong with the Otterpool Consultation process. At root the biggest unanswered issue is why is this being proposed.

If it is because of an “objective assessment” of housing need then publish that in a form that is comprehensible to everyone in Shepway. And explain at the same time why these numbers have increased so dramatically compared to the numbers that have been presented with the same confidence over the past fifteen to twenty years of District-wide masterplanning. Just why should we swallow these new numbers?

The questions remain “WHY THIS? WHY NOW? and WHY HERE?”

These questions were asked all through last year, and since. They are still unanswered.

 

Read on for some indication of the attitude of the leading protagonists.

This statement is copied from the Otterpool Park website, buried deep, as a precursor to the public enragement meetings today, tomorrow and Saturday.

” 500 people attended the first engagement sessions last year, sharing their views and concerns about Otterpool Park.

Andy Jarrett, spokesman for Otterpool Park, said: “We were pleased to see so many local people attend the sessions last year, and the feedback we’ve received will help to shape the proposed garden town. We hope to see even more people at the next events. Residents and other members of the community can see how their contributions so far have informed ideas, and importantly, can find out more about how we are addressing areas of concern for infrastructure, housing type and green space.”

Andy Jarratt

Andy Jarratt, Head of Strategic Development Projects at Shepway district Council was interviewed on Radio Kent, broadcast 15 June 2017.

It went like this:-

REPORTER.
Who the homes will be for?

ANDY JARRATT
It will be drawing people from the local area. It will have a particular emphasis on trying to ensure that affordable homes meet the requirements of those that are unable to afford homes at the moment.
But also that we are trying to introduce a new demographic to the area and to increase the economically active population.

REPORTER.
You are actively looking for people to move in from outside of the area then

ANDY JARRATT
We are looking to business to see what business requires and for new facilities we think that will drive a new skill base so it will be a mix of local people benefiting from that but yes and it will be open to people with skills from elsewhere to come to the area.

REPORTER.
Do you know where house prices might start from?

ANDY JARRATT
(Sigh)
We don’t I think it’s worth recognising that this is a long-term project. we hope to be on site 2020 but even then you can appreciate that things will change a lot. It will be important that affordability of homes is taken account of so there will be starter homes within the mix of that I’m quite sure I think it’s likely there will be key worker homes available to the people with particular skill sets that we are trying to encourage. I mean affordability is very much in our mind.

REPORTER.
Roughly then how much would a starter home cost do you think?

ANDY JARRATT
I just don’t know I don’t think we know how much any home will cost into a three years time. It’s got to be valuable it’s got to meet the market it will be governed by the market conditions at the time.

REPORTER.
There has obviously been lots of protest about this development you know we had hundreds of people marching on the streets not too long ago. How are you trying to get those people on board and the concerns that they have.

ANDY JARRATT
(Big sigh)
Well I think what we’re trying to do through our own engagement really is to help people shape the settlement and it’s not a question… You appreciate we are promoting the project our role in life is to make it work for as many people as we can. And I think we will have to assume that there will be some people who object to this proposal as people object to any significant proposal. Ummm what we’re trying to do essentially is to work with those who will work with us and to meet as many needs as possible.

 

REPORTER.
What would you say to those people who so far have felt a bit ignored in this process.?

ANDY JARRATT
(Bigger sigh)
… If there are people out there who feel ignored …. I think we need to draw attention to what we are doing and we have an open dialogue with all good will talk to us. I don’t pretend for a minute that we will be able to meet everybody’s requirements because some people don’t want to see this scheme happen at all. Some people don’t want to see development happen at all. But what is driving this is a need to meet the needs of the many, and this is based on an objective assessment of what future housing need is is required in the area and we have a responsibility I think to meet that need.

REPORTER.
Those people that aren’t happy with the plan, they just have to put up with it then?

ANDY JARRATT
(Even bigger sigh)
While they have to…they have to put up with it, or they have to try and work with us to shape it.
What we are not entering into is a dialogue about it not happening.

REPORTER.
And that consultation on going of course……

 

S&DRA

DEMOCRACY AT SHEPWAY IS DEAD. (again)

Dear Residents,

Do you think your council tax is being spent on worthwhile and essential services: Ones’ that you feel you’ve have had a say in. Ones’ that have followed the path of democracy?

Think again. Our friends at Shepwayvox have highlighted 4 payments to the proposed New Town Master planner’s, Arcadis.

The ‘eye opener’ is here

S&DRA

Cunning indeed

Dear Residents,

 
WOW  – WHAT A CUNNING STUNT.
 
Well, she pulled it off. Going on the old adage that you can fool some of the people, some of the time has most definitely worked for KCC Councillor, Susan Carey. She convinced one in five of the Elham Valley electorate to go along to the polling station and place a cross next to her name. But were they aware that Ms Carey was not, shall we say, putting the electorate totally in the picture. Did they vote for the smiling Susan that you see pictured below, stating that she would safeguard the environment, give young people the best possible start in life, campaigning for better broadband and mobile phone signals. Of course they did. They were also probably of the mindset that they had always voted Conservative so why would they want to change a habit of a lifetime when all appears so hunky dory. 
 
But hang on a minute; did they realise that there was another side to Ms Carey: one that she is actually ashamed of. Yes, ashamed of. If she wasn’t ashamed of her involvement in the urbanisation of our countryside or the fact that she voted to support the building of a lorry park, why didn’t she shout it from on high. Quite simply because it would probably have altered the voting pattern of the election and ensured that her KCC salary and expenses would be extinguished in one foul swoop. 
 
Pictured below is (also) the smiling Susan Carey that we have used on our spoof election material to keep the electorate completely in the picture. Obviously it didn’t reach 1 in 5 of the electorate that actually voted for Ms Carey, but it better reflects what Ms Carey is all about.
 
My name is Susan Carey. I support the urbanisation of our countryside in and around Lympne, Sellindge, Newingreen, Westenhanger and Court at Street.
I voted for the concreting over of 250 acres of good arable farmland to build a Lorry Park that would never actually solve the problems that Operation Stack brings to this part of Kent.
I voted for and support the building of 150 homes and a leisure centre at Princes Parade, Hythe.
I fiercely rebuffed any suggestion from Councillor Mary Lawes that existing homes should be upgraded before building a New town that would bring 30% open space (as opposed to 100%) to rural communities.
I, along with deputy Leader Hollingsbee, have always maintained my position (since the Lorry park and New Town announcements) regarding meeting the Shepway electorate: NO PUBLIC MEETINGS WHATSOEVER. If you would like to talk with me and Jenny Hollingsbee, please contact me to arrange a meeting. I will only speak to individuals.
 
 
There we have it. Susan Carey didn’t actually write any of that, but it more accurately reflects her position as a Councillor. So, was she dishonest or economical with the truth on her election material? Was she too ashamed to mention all of the facts above? Is she fit to hold public office? We’ll leave you to decide all of those things. So, if you happen to meet a Carey voter, ask them if they actually know what they’ve voted for. Chances are, you’ll be met with a vacant gaze and the old adage: “They’re all the same, whoever you vote for“.
 
God help us.
 
S&DRA.

What a turnout

Dear 4th May Voters,
A massive thank you to all who turned out to show their disgust and anger at the way Shepway District Council treats us all. Their lack of transparency and devious dealings over unneeded developments across our District has led to this backlash by Shepway Residents, calling for resignations and justified claims of dodgy dealers and worse.
S&DRA

Hunt the Monk

Dear Residents,

Today, Thursday, 6th April, 5 candidates attended the Hustings at the Civic Centre:

Stephen Priestley, UKIP. Tim Prater, Lib Dem. Martin Whybrow, Green. Aaran Harvey, Labour.
Bryan Rylands, Independant.

Unfortunately, Councillor and Leader of Shepway District Coucil, David Monk was scheduled to attend but pulled out due to: Your guess is as good as mine. We would have loved for our leader to attend so he could justify his actions over Otterpool, The Lorry Park, Princes Parade and the partnership between SDC and the Reuben (offshore, thank you very much) Brothers, but alas, it wasn’t to be.

To be honest, there wasn’t a lot to choose from between the candidates, with the main theme being concentrated on the NHS, Ward closures and lack of funding. With members of the audience being paid up members of the Fifty Plus group, it was hardly surprising that the NHS took centre stage.

The issues surrounding Otterpool New Town, Princes Parade and the Lorry Park were obviously raised with all candidates speaking with one voice. (Perhaps Cllr. Monk felt too embarrassed to attend on those issues alone). Lack of transparency within the Council cabal was mooted with one candidate likening our area to a police state. An abuse of power, indeed.

 

The mood in the hall was most definitely anti SDC with the audience fully aware of the shenanigans of Monk and his Cabinet Cronies. It wasn’t just the audience that voiced their dissent: At the candidates top table, speeches were interspersed with the words Corruption, Lies, Dodgy dealings, Closed door meetings and more. It’s clear that more and more residents are becoming familiar with the authoritarian regime that exists at Castle Hill Avenue. It’s also clear that the Civic Centre swamp needs to be drained, sooner, rather than later.

We can start on the 4th May by casting your vote for a candidate that will actually serve you. In other words, anyone rather than an incumbent Shepway Tory.

S&DRA.