Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine ownself be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man. Hamlet Act 1 Scene 3
It’s been near six years since the Council bought John Champney’s land in Otterpool Lane for £5m, first reported on by the Shepway Vox Team. Since then not a single house has been built and the council have spent in excess of £66 million, buying property, land and paying consultants.
The Council knew that when they bought Champney’s land they always wished to build on it as the email chain, first published in March 2017 makes evidently clear.
Cllr David Drury Monk’s assertion that “We bought Otterpool Manor Farm before Christmas (2015) as a strategic purchase. We had no plans for the site other than a tenanted farming operation to earn some income,” was a lie, as the email chain makes very clear.
Otterpool Park is a development where the Council via the company wish to build up to 10,000 homes between 2022/23 and 2036/37. In the planning application supposedly to come before planning in early 2022, it makes it clear the number of homes to built out in the first stage is approx 5,300.
Do remember Otterpool Park has supposed to have come before planning in 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21.
According to papers published for the Finance & Performance Scrutiny Sub Committee, they make it clear “further land acquisitions are being explored, however timing of expenditure is uncertain.” and have set aside £ 6,324,000 to fulfill these ambitions.
A further £90,000 has been set aside for further consultancy advice to support the delivery process, plus another £5m funding for Otterpool LLP has been set aside to deliver the development. Also £995,000 of costs previously agreed to be met by the council, for for further Otterpool Park Masterplanning Costs will now be met directly by the LLP; who of course have received the money from the Council.
The sum total of this money equals £12,409,000, add in the £53 million already spent and the council have spent £65.5 million to date without a house being built. Add in consultants costs [Arcadis, lawyers, etc] since June 2020 and the true figure is in excess of £66 million.
Not bad for a council who have failed to deliver any affordable homes for low cost home ownership either in 2020/21 or 2021/22, according to their paperwork.
As an addendum, we understand Cllr Jenny Hollingsbee was asked if the Council were considering purchasing Lympne Castle, a reply their came none from the tight lipped Cllr.
The Shepway Vox Team
Being Voxatious is NOT a Crime