It’s always good to make things clear at the very beginning. Folkestone & Hythe District Council (FHDC) in relation to Otterpool Park are one of the developers along with the Reuben Brothers vehicle, Cozumel Estates (BVI) Ltd. FHDC is also the Planning authority. So the developers will come to the planning authority to attempt to gain planning permission for this project. Another thing to remember is who is paying for all this? Is it FHDC the developer, or FHDC the council, or are they one and the same with regards to money? This has NEVER been made clear.
Moving on, Cllr David Monk (pictured below left) and Head of Strategic Projects Andy Jarrett (pictured below right) got to go to MIPIM after all. However it was not MIPIM Cannes, but MIPIM London held at Olympia London on the 17 & 18th October 2017. This cost £708, see final page.
Now many of you will not be aware that the developer – Cozumel and Folkestone & Hythe District Council (FHDC) have had two Viability Assessment created. One in August 2017 and the second in Nov 2017. The second was undertaken by Montagu Evans. When this Viability Assessment is compared alongside the Princes Parade development assessment, the Otterpool Park assessment has NINE whole pages redacted, pages 10,18,19,20,21,22,23,24 and 25 are black. Every full stop, every pronoun, every determiner, every conjunction, preposition, modal verb all redacted, along with more, much more.We fail to understand why.
Surely there is NO necessity or any legal reasoning which would state these parts of the English language are confidential, or have legal professional privilege, or are protected by common law. But of course one is allowed to see something such as the development costs with all the numbers blanked out.
The document does though set out the different build scenarios ranging from 12,000 homes down to 5,500 homes
The sales price sensitivities for the various permeations include the costs on the basis of “station improvements” at Westenhanger – or more particularly securing regular HS1 stopping services – will drive residential prices upwards, according to the viability assessment.
On the 27th Oct 2017 Chris Grayling MP (pictured below left), Secretary of State for Transport and Damian Collins MP met at Folkestone & Hythe Conservative Association Annual Dinner at the Hythe Imperial Hotel, Grayling was guest of honour. Perchance did Westenhanger feature in any of their conversations, we know the lorry park did?
The document makes clear that the gross developable area for Otterpool Park is 541 hectares/1336 acres. It was an Environmental Information Request which secured the Otterpool Park Viability Assessment. And it is 12(5)(e) of the Environment Information Regulations FHDC are relying on to prevent the redacted NINE pages being available to the public. The public interest is outweighed by confidentiality where such confidentiality is provided by law to protect a legitimate economic interest.
Moving on, Otterpool Park has cost a lot of money so far and there exists two sets of expenditure data. One which makes it that clear that £1,475,578.36 has been spent between 31/03/2017 and 01/05/2018. The other makes it clear from the original purchase order values as of the 31st March 2018 that £3,720,031.65 will be spent according to data received from FHDC. This is in part is due to Arcadis having a contract extension (modification) – due to changes to scope of work.
You can read 35 of the Otterpool Invoices some of which have been redacted due to them naming parcels of land the developers are interested in purchasing. Pinsent Mason undertook this work for the Council. Also that John Champneys received £2000 from FHDC for an extention to the licence for the use of the track at Otterpool Manor Farm.
So there you have it folks, Otterpool Park moves on at pace and nobody from the Council has informed us where the money is coming from for the infrastructure. Will they borrow, if so how much, for how long and what will the repayments be? We ask the question as we suspect that perhaps our Council Tax bills may well be rising year on year. The rises no doubt will assist the Council to pay for this building/vanity project. This is a project being forced upon local communities which will change them and their identity forever. Many of these communities do not want Otterpool Park to be built for a vast assortment of legitimate reasons.
As we have said before development is NOT always a bad thing, but development on this scale over this time frame, means these communities will be living alongside a continuous building site for close to 20 years.
Finally as we asked at the beginning, who is paying for all this, surely that doesn’t need to be a secret does it? Not when our business rates and council tax will no doubt rise year on year, surely we have a right to know, wouldn’t you agree?
The Shepwayvox Team – Dissent is NOT a Crime.