Coming soon to the council chamber – 16th Oct – are proposals and recommendations to be put to Cabinet. These proposals are to allow further spending on land and property acquisitions within the Otterpool Park boundary. A further report proposes and recommends the purchase of the Ship Street Gasworks site in Folkestone. Further expenditure is needed for electrical testing compliance and water risk assessments in Council owned properties. The final report will raise an East Kent Housing tenants consultation on whether to remain with East Kent housing as managing agent, find a new agent, bring it back in house etc.
The Chief of Strategic Development Projects at Folkestone & Hythe District Council, Andy Jarrett (pictured) will bring forward two reports for Cabinet to consider on Oct 16th, 2019.
The first “proposes a recommendation to Council for additional capital funding to enable the project [Otterpool Park] to progress.” Capital funding generally comprises the buying assets such as buildings, land, vehicles and other miscellaneous property, such as street lights and road signs.
This meeting [16th Oct] will more likely than not happen behind closed doors. However, any district resident can make representations that the public should not be excluded from the meeting during discussion of this item, email firstname.lastname@example.org, stating the reasons why you think the discussion should be held in public.
£20 million in additional capital funding has already been approved to enable the project [Otterpool Park] to progress. This approved funding has bought, the Champney land in Otterpool Lane [£5.3m], Westenhanger Castle [£3m] and other properties [£2m] within the Otterpool Boundary.
Mr Jarrett’s second report proposes another recommendation to acquire the former gasworks site in Ship Street, Folkestone (East Folkestone Ward) and to enter into a back – to – back arrangement to ensure that this derelict site is built out. The Ship Street site is earmarked for housing, and up to 100 homes could be built on the site. The site is in the Places and Policies Local Plan under UA12.
F&HDC wish to purchase this site to all for the development if up to 100 homes it is in the Places & Policies Local Plan under UA12
Again this meeting, more likely than not, will happen behind closed doors. Residents though can make representations as to why the public should not be excluded from knowing about the purchase of Ship Street where up to 100 homes could be built – You can send your representations to – email@example.com
Contracts Manager at Folkestone & Hythe District Council, Mr Andrew Rush (pictured), the officer who attended the East Kent Housing Board meeting on the 10th June and was aware that GCS were not fulfilling its audit brief to check on P & Rs work, is proposing an additional budget on the East Kent Housing – Electrical Testing and Water Risk Assessments on the 16th Oct. The report will review the current position with regard to electrical testing compliance and water risk assessments in council tenanted properties, managed by East Kent Housing.
It will make recommendations on the future electrical testing programme including frequency of inspections, cost estimates for the new programme and how this ought to be delivered. This report will more likely than not be discussed in open session.
The electrical issues were brought to Cllr Jackie Meade (Lab) attention by concerned members of the public. She rightly raised this issue at the full council meeting on the 16th June.
Sarah Robson (pictured), Asst Director Strategy, Performance and Communications at Folkestone & Hythe District Council will bring the East Kent Housing Future Options Appraisal and tenant consultation report before Cabinet on the 16th Oct 2019. It will review the current position with regard to the ongoing East Kent Housing Future Options Appraisal and the tenant consultation that will be completed as part of the process.
The report will also make recommendations on the future options of the Council’s housing services and the potential implementation process. This then will set out whether or not Folkestone & Hythe District Council continue with EKH as their managing agent, dump them and get a new one, bring the management back in house or join with another authority for example.
The Labour Group via their East Folkestone Ward Cllr, Michelle Dorrell, made it clear East Kent Housing be brought back in house, as outsourcing had clearly not been a raging success, especially under the stewardship of Chief Exec Deborah Upton.
These expenditure proposals for Cabinet when put along side both the £2.3 million pounds worth of redundancies happening at the Council and the failure to pay £10 an hour to the lowest paid staff is a slap in the face to all those hardworking people.
It further adds fuel to the flames over the controversial Otterpool Park development, as nearly £20 million pounds of Capital funding has already been made available to “progress the project”, including several properties, Westenhanger Castle and agreements with farmers owning land within the Otterpool Park boundary.
These reports ought to come to Overview & Scrutiny on the 15th Oct 2019. We call upon the opposition members of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee to call for more detail to each of these reports as only they are able to “scrutinise the detail“, if any comes before them.
Overview & Scrutiny can only make recommendations to Cabinet. They cannot compel them. The O& S committee could request more detail, more information, as sizeable sums of public money are involved. Such requests for the detail may well slow down any potential land or property acquisitions.
Finally, we would also ask them and you to recommend all meetings be open to the public as we believe that our council should more open and transparent, not less. You can email the Cllrs who sit on the Overview & Scrutiny committee and Cabinet to let your representations be know about these four agendas at:
OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime