Andy Jarrett (pictured) the Managing Director of Otterpool Park LLP, has stated on the record, the date of the first house for sale at Otterpool Park development will be the 1 September, 2025, if all goes to plan.
If Mr Jarrett’s prediction comes true, it will have taken fifteen years for the idea of housing on the former Folkestone Racecourse to come to fruition. The idea of housing (800 homes) on the site was first put forward by Arena Leisure Plc in Sept 2010.
However, employment on the Otterpool Site had been put forward a year earlier in 2009.
Mr Jarrett attended the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on 8 Nov, in the Council chamber. Mr Jarrett was present as he gave a presentation on the strategic business plan for Otterpool Park Limited Liability Partnership (LLP). The presentation provided commentary on progress achieved to date and set out the proposed priorities, key milestones and finances for the LLP for 2023-24. The presentation provided an opportunity for the Committee to feedback ahead of Cabinet considering the draft updated Otterpool Park Business Plan in January 2023.
The first Otterpool Park planning application was validated by Folkestone & Hythe District Council planning department, on the 19 March 2019. The amended application was validated on the 29 March 2022.
Mr Jarrett hopes that Otterpool Park will come before the planning committee in Feb/March, just months before the local elections in May 2023. Any new Cllrs may well be saddled with a potentially irreversible decision on the development, given the money spent to date is nearing £70m.
He raised the Stodmarsh issue and how Natural England recently changed the rules on Nutrient Neutrality issue – removing phosphates and nitrates from water courses. This has meant the council had come up with a new acceptable formula that worked for everybody. This change has meant the Council discover further solutions than just a Waste Water Treatment Works on the site. It nows means the LLP now needs to add a substantial area of reed beds to help sift and reduce the phosphates and nitrates which are affecting the Stodmarsh. This of course comes at a cost to the shareholder of the LLP (the Council), but how much of an extra cost the LLP is tight lipped.
A modeling Survey of traffic at J10a of the M20 needs to be undertaken. However finding a suitable moment in National Highways diary to allow it to happen, is proving problematic. And for those of you who use the junction, they’ve just recently dug up the roads on J10a. So the survey will now happen in 2023, but when is unknown.
s106 Agreement conversations have begun most noticeably with Kent County Council and others. The heads of terms agreement will be available in Feb/March.
Another factor delaying the project is the response time of eight weeks given to Statutory Consultees, many of them need more time than the eight weeks due to be being under resourced.
Then in Feb/March, the Otterpool Park planning application for the first 5,925 homes, will Mr Jarrett hopes, be decided.
After any planning committee approval, they’ll submit a masterplan and other documents in line with a Teir 2 application, which Otterpool Park is.
There is much we could say, but for ease, you can view the proceedings in the video above. Mr Jarrett mentions the first house for sale in a response to a question from Cllr Terence Mullard (UKIP) in the last couple of minutes of the video.
Is Otterpool Park the right place for up to 10,000 homes?
As always we’ll leave you to ponder that.
The Shepway Vox Team
The Velvet Voices oof Voxatiousness