So Shepway District Council have announced the dates for the next series of community engagement sessions for Otterpool Park will take place between the Thursday 22nd and Saturday 24th June 2017
SDC’s milestones for the development are:
Submission of a concept masterplan in August 2017
Draft Local Plan consultation by end of 2017
Submission of a planning application by March 2018;
Local Plan Examination in mid 2019; and
Start on site in 2020
The financial support – from a pot of £18 million, of which SDC received £750,000 has allowed SDC to act quickly in Commissioning masterplanning and technical work, and funding its share of the costs (split between the Council & Cozumel Estates) This committment from SDC has helped build confidence with its development partner, Cozumel
In an FOI Request (12th May 2017) made to SDC regarding payments made to SDC by Cozumel Estates; their response was
A collaboration agreement between Cozumel & SDC on the 8th Sept 2016
In 2017/18 the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) funding will contribute towards:
Masterplanning & Planning Application
Preparation of planning application and all associated background studies and strategies.
Ongoing feasibility work for Westenhanger Station
Community & Stakeholder engagement
Among other things.
Water is an issue and in 2007 Shepway was the sixth most seriously affect area with regards to water scarcity. The lack of water is a risk which cannot be sensibly ignored having regard to the gravity and feared harm of building up to 12,000 new homes at Otterpool Park.
Now compare and contrast this with the levels of rainfall between 1981 – 2010
Then throw into the mix the future scenarios – regarding water – which were undertaken by the Environment Agency in 2013 and Affinity Water whose leakage actually increased between 2014 and 2015 tops the table.
So the risk is real, actual and of substance;
Doctor’s are retiring and finding replacements to come to the Shepway area is becoming increasingly difficult as the closure of Folkestone East Kent Family Practice demonstrates. They advertised for a GP for over a year with no takers. Manor Road Surgery Folkestone may well close, meaning over 12,000 people will have to be placed with other surgeries placing further strain on an already overstretched system.
Patients were forced to queue in 2015 outside Church Lane surgery (pictured) in New Romney when the Dymchurch Surgery closed. The harm is palpable, real, factual and of substance, and it is a risk which cannot be sensibly ignored. Where will the GP’s come from to fill the surgery/ies which will be situated on Otterpool Park.
The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) has warned the NHS will be “fighting a losing battle” of more GPs leave the profession than join.
RCGP Chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: “We know that practices across the country are finding it really difficult to recruit GPs to fill vacant posts, and the degree to which this problem has increased over the last six years is staggering.
So the “feared harm” of not be able to recruit more GP’s is real, actual and of substance. And when put on a map, makes our concerns and the concerns of many others very real indeed.
Almost one in five GP practices has had to abandon searching for a new GP as vacancy rates have hit their highest ever.
The GP crisis in Shepway is so much of an issue that the UKIP opposition have raised the matter and will be discussed tonight (14/06/17) at full Council – agenda item 9
So how do SDC, Cozumel, Affinity Water and the NHS intend to fix these problems? Well we can assure you these issues will probably not be a topic of discussion at the community engagement sessions, due to take place at the following venues between Thursday 22nd & Saturday 24th June 2017.
Venues for Community Engagement Sessions
June 22 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Tin Tabernacle Hythe, 4 Portland Rd Hythe, CT21 6EG United Kingdom (Presentations at 3:00pm)