Otterpool Park Update: Kent Ecological Advice Service query if Biodiversity Net Gain will exceed 20%.
It can’t be easy wanting to build a new town where you wish to build up to 10,000 homes. It would seem that Otterpool Park LLP, the master developer is running into problems on several fronts.
The first hurdle of course is those who oppose Otterpool Park.
The second is National Highways who have stated in their response:
recommend that planning permission not be granted for a specified period (see reasons at Annex A)
Should the Local Planning Authority not propose to determine the application in accordance with this recommendation they are required to consult the Secretary of State for Transport, as set out in the Town and Country Planning (Development Affecting Trunk Roads) Direction 2018, via firstname.lastname@example.org and may not determine the application until the consultation process is complete.
It also states:
It is recommended that the application should not be granted for a period of 3 months from 18 January 2023 unless all outstanding matters are resolved to National Highways satisfaction beforehand; in which case a new National Highway Planning Recommendation will be issued.
So this means potentially no outline application for Otterpool Park coming before the planning committee prior to April 17. In April the Planning Committee is due to sit on the 18 April.
Back in Nov 2022, Andy Jarrett, the MD for Otterpool Park LLP, said an application would come forward in Feb/March, for the first 5,925 homes. February is looking highly unlikely, but one never knows.
Historic England remains of the view that the proposed garden settlement at Otterpool Park would cause serious harm to heritage of great importance. However that said they go onto say:
Historic England is persuaded, through a combination of amendments and the draft conditions and S.106 Heads of Terms, that it should be possible to put in place safeguards to avoid or minimise harm including to Barrow 44 and to secure a sufficiently large package of heritage benefits. Provided that the safeguards are in place, we think this this could be sufficient to meet key policy tests (NPPF, paragraphs 195 and 202).
Historic England, therefore, no longer objects to this application provided that safeguards are secured as proposed in the draft conditions and S.106 Heads of Terms and amended in the way we recommend in Appendix 1 of this advice letter.
The Environment Agency state:
These amendments do not change our previous response, KT/2019/125452/04-L01, dated 28/10/2022
They end their comments of the 28/10/22 by stating:
Other issues to consider:
Has climate change and the effects of future higher intensity rainfall and/or prolonged droughts been considered in the design of the SuDS and wastewater treatment works wetlands?
How will the wetlands affect the temperature profile of the East Stour?
KCC Ecological Advice Service states:
The submitted report has detailed that there will be an anticipated positive Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) for hedgerows, river corridor and habitats of within the site. We do agree that it will be likely that a BNG can be achieved for all three aspects but we do query if the anticipated BNG for habitats will exceed 20%.
Biodiversity is all the different kinds of life you’ll find in one area—the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and even microorganisms like bacteria that make up our natural world. Each of these species and organisms work together in ecosystems, like an intricate web, to maintain balance and support life. Biodiversity supports everything in nature that we need to survive: food, clean water, medicine, and shelter.
So BNG is an approach to development that leaves biodiversity in a better state than before. Where a development has an impact on biodiversity it encourages developers to provide an increase in appropriate natural habitat and ecological features over and above that being affected in such a way it is hoped that the current loss of biodiversity through development will be halted and ecological networks can be restored.
There have been other additions to the outline planning application for Otterpool Park – Y19/0257/FH and you can read them here
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime
Having read these procedures, did the developments at New Romney, which, (according to evidence published in 1881 in New Romney archeological society statement), were apparently constructed on top of medieval and probably Saxon remains; comply with these regulations? Historic England were certainly aware, their forms submitted as requested. One might be forgiven thinking there was some sort of ‘over sight’. Again? Therefore, are we expected to actually trust there will be lawful compliance, or is this just another legal fog from which we must become customarily jaundiced, complete with licences and wavers?