We’ll start with some good news. The probable Roman villa discovered on the Otterpool Park site will now become part of the development. In a conversation with Cllr Jennifer Hollingsbee our public face was informed that the Otterpool map has already been changed to incorporate and reflect the historical importance of the find for Otterpool Park.
Moving on, we know that Kent County Council’s and Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s £281 million Housing Infrastructure Funding bid was unsuccessful. In the bid though was some revealing information.
First the number of houses which will be built with and without HIF money are according to Steer Davies & Gleave as follows.
Now without the HIF money the project will run until 2060 according to information seen by the Shepwayvox Team. And between 2021 and 2042 only 5,294 units will be delivered. So Sellindge and its environs will potentially be a building site for up to 40 years.
Moving on, if the HIF bid had been successful FHDC would have taken out a loan from the Public Works Loan Board for the sum of £75 million and £19.6 million from the Local Growth Fund.
The Council as of March 31st 2107 had an outstanding debt of £57.5 million with the PWLB, add on the £75 million and that would take FHDC’s debt levels to £132 million. That’s a whopping 130.4% increase in debt levels. Now remember FHDC did not get the HIF money, so how much money will they borrow from the PWLB more than £75 million? We think you the residents of Folkestone & Hythe have a right to know that. After all it is your Council Tax and Business rates which will help pay down any debt incurred by Monk et al.
On Thursday September 14th 2017 at 9.30am, 17 people gathered at 2 Marsham St London, the home of the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government. The 17 present were there as members of the Programmes & Projects Committee of the Homes and Communities Agency – (Homes England since Jan 2018). On the Agenda at Item 3 was the Land at Shepway, Kent – see below.
Now 3 months later on the 6th Dec 2017, Dr Susan Priest, the Head of Paid Services at FHDC was aware of the acquisition of the land by Homes England at Lympne Airfield according to an FoI Request.
Now the strange thing here is that the land registry as of the 5/5/18 still shows that PHIDES ESTATES (OVERSEAS) LIMITED are the owners. Why has it taken six months to register the land as belonging to Homes England?
And finally, in a string of emails obtained by FoI we know what members of the Collaboration Board were doing up to the end of March 2018. Yet the Collaboration board have only released their notes up till Jan 2018. Rather odd that. We do ask why the Collaboration Board can’t release up to March 2018 at least? We hope they will oblige asap.
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It is obvious that they are trying to build a new town in Shepway (sorry Folkestone & Hythe) in order to persuade more London commuters to move to East Kent. The majority get as far as Ashford and are presumably not as taken with Folkestone as a place to live and commute from. I know the west end of Folkestone as an ex-resident and can see its attractions for managers and professionals. However, for those starting their careers and with smaller budgets Ashford is currently a better place to start out.