Otterpool Park Update: Financial and health cost revealed

We  can reveal today Otterpool Park  expenditure and revenue will be in the region of £2.8bn with the Council reputedly making circa £800 million by selling approx 15 plots across the 756 hectare site.

It is not known how the Council will finance any of the project, but we suspect the vast majority of it will be debt financing, meaning  your children our future ratepayers and their children will be paying for it long into the future.

In the Otterpool-Park-Stage-3-Consultation-report released in July 2018 respondents raised there concerns over Health Infrastructure on three occasions. The report says:

  • Concerns over the current shortage of GP and teachers, and how will that be managed within the new development.

  • Challenge that there is a shortage of skilled employees (such as GP and teachers) at the moment, and how to mitigate this problem for the future situation.

  • Impact on the infrastructure, services and amenities as currently these are already struggling: Lack of doctors and GP

We know the initial planning application for Otterpool Park will set out the numbers of houses to be built as 8,500 homes.

The South Kent Coast CCG Chief Operating Officer, Karen Benbow has made clear at a meeting of the South Kent Coast Health & Wellbeing Board regarding the  Otterpool Park Garden Town Development:

  • “that 2,000 houses (phase 1) were not enough to warrant an additional GP practice and primary care was already stretched in the Folkestone & Hythe District  and couldn’t absorb the additional population. There was also concern that any extra care housing would generate additional pressures on primary care services in Folkestone.”

Given the fact that our district does NOT have enough GP’s and we have four surgeries which are currently either inadequate or requires improvement does not bode well for health infrastructure in the district. Add into the mix that nearly 20% of patients are waiting more than 14 days for an appointment, and things do not look good.

The Folkestone & Hythe District Council Core Strategy Review 2019 makes clear that an average of  676 new homes a year need to be built over the period 2018/19 to 2036/37 (19 years); or 12,845 additional homes in total. Add in Otterpool’s 8,500 and we have close to 22,000 homes. Now as GP practice and primary care are “already stretched ” according to Karen Benbow, what might the future hold for local health care if the A & E at the Harvey closes in the re-organisation of health care services.

The variables are to numerous  for anyone to give a definitive answer regarding healthcare. All we can say is it is more likely to get worse before it gets any better, if better it gets at all.

The Shepwayvox Team

Dissent is NOT a Crime

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