Otterpool Park Update
Folkestone & Hythe District Council since 2015 have purchased in excess of £30 million pounds worth of property. Some of it at their Otterpool Park development between Newingreen and Sellindge. For example they have purchased
Otterpool Lane Land – £5.2 million
Westenhanger Castle – £2.9 million
The Willows – £500,000
Quoin – £635,000
They also have options on the land belonging to the farmer of Harringe Court Farm and The Walkers owned land behind Barrow Hill in Sellindge, which may make up part of the Otterpool Park development, if planning permission is granted. Cozumel Estates Ltd BVI – The Reuben Brothers have options on the land owned by R Prices & Sons.
Between the Council as Local Planning Authority and Council as one half of the developer, they have spent in excess of £5 million for consultants to work on the Otterpool Park project so far. Some of these consultants are:
Pinsent Mason Solicitors – £100,000
Bps Chartered Surveyors -£36,450
Creative Folkestone – £40,000
Mills & Reeve Llp – £13,120
The Council as one half of the Developer wishes to buy yet more land across the site. One such acquisition is the Charlier field at Newingreen – see map below. It is owned by four individuals who each have a 25% share. As we understand it cannot be sold unless all four shareholders agree to sell. According to the Design & Access Statement, this land/field would be needed in 5-10 years as an access road. The Council already own the house the field surrounds
Charlier’s Filed that Folkestone & Hythe District Council wish to buy – Google My Maps
This land forms part of the Otterpool Park development. It is necessary for the Council/Developer to purchase it as it will be a access route to the Secondary School behind it and be built on in 5 – 10 years after work has begun.
Across this land will run an access road to a planned Secondary School and to other parts of the housing development, according to the design and access statement.
We understand offers have been made for the land and rebuffed. However, if the land owners refuse to sell, the Council could use Compulsory Purchase powers. There is a principle that landowners will always be fairly compensated for land acquired under CPO powers. The question is what constitutes fair compensation?
The most up to date Guidance on Compulsory Purchase Orders makes it clear:
“a compulsory purchase order should only be made where there is a compelling case in the public interest.”
If landowners wanted to be difficult they could sell off tiny parcels of land to individuals. This happened at Otmoor in Oxfordshire when the M40 was being built.