At the annual MIPIM property conference in Cannes in March of this year, the Department for International Trade (DIT) revealed the investment opportunity – Otterpool Park – valued at £2.8bn was to build up to 10,000 homes over 20 years in our district.
Since Folkestone & Hythe District Council committed itself to the project with its £5.2 million acquisition of land from the Champney Brothers in Dec 2015, it has begun purchasing other property in the boundary to ensure Otterpool proceeds.
In 2019, Folkestone & Hythe District Council have purchased five properties costing £5,110,000 within the Otterpool Park boundary.
On the 10th Oct 2019 the Council paid £535,000 for Elm Acres Ashford Road, Newingreen, Hythe CT21 4JD.
On the 22 August 2019 the Council purchased Westenhanger Castle for £2.9 million.
Below is an updated map of all the properties known to belong to Cozumel Estates or the Council
On the 30 July 2019, the Council purchased 2 Franks Villas Ashford Road, Newingreen, Hythe CT21 4JD, for £285,000.
On the 26 the Feb 2019 the Council purchased Quorum, Ashford Road, Newingreen, Hythe CT21 4JD for £635,000.
On the 5th February 2019, the Council purchased Craylands, Ashford Road, Newingreen, Hythe CT21 4JD, for £755,000, bringing the total Council property spend in 2019 to £5,110,000.
If one takes account of the half a million the Council paid for the Willows Ashford Road, Newingreen, Hythe CT21 4JD, in Oct 2018, plus the original Otterpool Land the Council purchased on the 21st Dec 2015 for £5.2 million, that brings the known total Council spend on land and property within the 756 hectare Otterpool Park boundary to £10,810,000.
The Council’s director responsible for expanding commercial interests is Mr John Bunnett (pictured). He is a Chartered Surveyor and former Chief Exec of Ashford Borough Council (2009 – 2015,) and after that Brett Associates as the Director of Land & Planning, before joining our Council in late 2016.
Mr Bunnett is no slouch when it comes to business acumen. John has been a director of Greedylegs Ltd since Nov 1999. It’s latest set of accounts show that the company has tangible assets of £6 million and a shareholders fund of £4.9 million.
So far the Council have not borrowed monies from the public works loan board to pay for property acquisitions within the Otterpool Park boundary. As of the 31st March 2019 the Council had at it’s disposal £51.2 million in usable reserves. Of this the Council are forecast to use £10.1 million of borrowing (See 8.3) to fund property acquisition within the Otterpool Park boundary in 2019/20.
The Council’s partner in the Otterpool Park development is the Reuben Brothers offshore company Cozumel Estates Limited based in the British Virgin Islands. They have purchased two properties in the Otterpool Park Boundary in 2019.
Their latest acquisition is Rose Cottage Ashford Road, Newingreen, Hythe CT21 4JD purchased on Guy Fawkes day (05.11.2019) for £360,000.
On 6th Sept 2019 Cozumel Estates Limited purchased The White House for £375,000, bringing their yearly spend on property to £735,000.
So both the Council and Cozumel Estates move ahead at pace with the Otterpool Project where they wish to build up to 10,000 homes over a 20 year period.
The Shepwayvox Team
The Velvet Voices of Dissent