Finally, Folkestone & Hythe District Council are the owners of the Ship Street site in Folkestone, where they want to build up to 85 homes.
The invoice makes it clear the council paid £400,000 for the site plus £80,000 in VAT on the 31 March 2021.
The title deed makes it clear the Council became the owners of the Ship Street site on the 6 April 2021.
That said, according to the land registry they were not the owners on the 6 August 2021, nor on the 23 August 2021. Perhaps the delay can be explained by Covid!!!
The Council has since 2015 focused on land and property acquisition directly or brokering complex deals for long-term development. We can’t be certain, be we do get the sense that many residents are frustrated that the Council has become a sophisticated developer and has forgotten many of the purposes and principles of public service.
Land for development owned by the Council, Biggins Wood, Ship Street, Old High View School site, Princes Parade, Otterpool ,and Mountfield Rd (New Romney) represent their vested interest rather than current and future needs of the district’s residents. We are told, all too often, Otterpool will make the council cash rich, but nobody is saying our council tax won’t continue to rise.
The acquisition of the Ship Street site just reinforces the fact the council has become a developer, no different in part to Quinn Estates, Pentland Homes, or Taylor Wimpey.
Some of the land the Council own they have banked, such as Biggins Wood and Ship Street, other sites they are developing, again reinforcing the developer personality of the council.
Many believe we have a housing crisis, but we are of the opinion we have an affordability crisis. So, if Ship Street will be full of “affordable homes” enabling locals to climb onto the property ladder, that would be great. However, that said, we are not holding our breath.
The Shepway Vox Team
The Velvet Voices of Dissent