UPDATE ON PROPOSED “OTTERPOOL PARK” GARDEN TOWN

Lympne Parish Council continues to monitor regularly the situation about the proposed 12,000 home town which Shepway District Council wishes to build next to our Village.

On Wednesday 5th April to receive an update as a Parish for our residents we held another meeting with Shepway District Council as the Landowners, represented by Julia Wallace and Andy Jarrett from Shepway, and the Company Arcadis, commissioned by Shepway to report on the “feasibility and capacity” of such a new town.

The representative from Arcadis, a huge International firm with its headquarters elsewhere in Europe, outlined that there are 3 stages to their work and at present they have a team of 50 professionals working on assessing the area outlined to be developed. A Stage 1 report is due for publication, a very thick document with a 40-page summary apparently. This will be available to the public to view on the “Otterpool Park” area of the Shepway District Council (SDC) website soon we were told.

We were assured that Arcadis reports back to SDC based on a neutral stance in its assessment of what is possible and what development should and should not take place in certain areas.

SDC are apparently talking to other landowners in our area, no further details were provided. The owners of the racecourse, Messrs Reuben, remain unchanged and under the name Cozumel Estates continue to work with Shepway.

Another round of Public Engagement events are apparently planned for mid May, we pointed out that we require more notice than this in future to ensure we can inform residents of such events in our Newsletter.

A colour leaflet produced by SDC should have been delivered to all homes in Lympne, a Questions and Answer Leaflet the details of which are also on Shepway’s website. This does not appear to have been successfully delivered to our residents, as Shepway thought, so Ms Wallace will ensure this is investigated.

It would appear that a “master plan” for the actual planning application which would need to be considered in the normal planning applications process may be ready in Spring 2018.

SDC as the relevant Planning Authority would then consider any planning application for the proposed new town and agree it or not.

We asked a number of questions around infrastructure, where employment was going to be found for such a huge influx of new residents, heritage considerations, the impact economically and socially on the existing towns of Hythe and Folkestone, the Airfield in Lympne and so on.

We pointed out the growing evidence of the impact on human health by diesel emissions and questioned whether the extension to the Stop24 lorry park and the proposed gargantuan lorry Holding Area to ease Operation Stack had been seriously considered in the context of new homes being built next to it. We also pointed out that this sort of point was constantly changing as new evidence is produced and requested that this was given serious consideration and new information constantly reviewed. We were told the proposed town and lorry parking are two separate matters; we advised the meeting the two could not be separated and doing so does not make sense and that they should be considered alongside each other. We confirmed that Aldington Parish is now being included in the information sharing process and discussed the spread of housing in Ashford towards the Shepway boundary and the impact of the proposed town on urban spread across our countryside.

We received confirmation that other Parishes are in communication with this team whom we met. We want to ensure we have the latest information and we share any details of our meetings with our residents and feel the best way forward is to meet regularly with Shepway representatives to do this.

We are in the process of trying to arrange a meeting with Kevin Murray Associates, a Scottish based firm employed by Shepway Council to deal with Communications Strategies surrounding the town proposal, and will hopefully update you soon.

This in no way endorses any plans of Shepway District Council.

Please find below the website details for “Otterpool “Park”.

 

https://www.shepway.gov.uk/otterpool-park