High Knocke Dymchurch, do we need the 132 homes given there is “massive oversupply” of housing, says leader of the Council

This is the story, or rather the continuation of the story about the planning application for 132 Homes at High Knocke Dymchurch. This application is set to go before the planning committee on 6 June 2023. The application shouldn’t even be before the committee, as it is fails to meet policy requirements in the Local Plan, but more of that in a wee while. 

First of all, we want you to cast your mind back to August 2018. For those of you who were there, huddled together with a drink in hand, hidden behind the blacked out windows of the Fountain pub in Seabrook, you might recall seeing a mild mannered, qualified Chartered Building Surveyor, with a Diploma in Project Management and a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, before you on the screen. 

You might recall him saying there is a “massive oversupply” of housing in this part of Kent. If not, the clip below which is taken from Prince’s Parade, Development or Destruction?, sets out his precise words. 

And yet even with this “massive oversupply“, planning applications tumble into the planning department like confetti onto the streets after a wedding. Given housing numbers are now advisory, and not mandatory, there is no need to keep on feeding this “massive oversupply”.

The person in the video above is, Cllr Jim Martin, now Leader of Folkestone & Hythe District Council, who is responsible for Special Projects, planning policy, property development, emergency planning and business continuity.

Cllr Martin first stood for election in 2019, and his sole reason was to bring more democracy to Folkestone & Hythe District Council. 

Cllr Martin was re-elected in 2023. 

Given the qualified leader of the Council, Cllr Martin makes abundantly clear there is a “massive oversupply” of housing, do we need the 132 homes on High Knocke, Dymchurch, which will come before the planning committee on 6 June 2023? According to the leader the answer has to be no we don’t.

It was often said of the last Tory led administration of Folkestone & Hythe District Council, they did things to us, rather than with us. Will the new planning committee made up of 4 Green Cllrs, 4 Labour Cllrs, including a ward Cllr (Tony Cooper), 2 Tory Cllrs, and 1 Independent do things to the people of Dymchurch they don’t want, even when there is a “massive oversupply”?

If Cllrs wish to reject this development backed by offshore money, then they must do so for planning considerations only. So to save them time effort and energy, we set out how this development can be halted and sent packing. Not permanently but for now at least.

It was our public face, Bryan Rylands (pictured), who for those you of you not aware is one of the EKHUFT NHS Governor’s for the Folkestone & Hythe District,  who reminded us the application is for 132 homes. He pointed out any application for 100 homes or more, needs a Health Impact Assessment (HIA). This is set out in Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s current Places_and_Policies_Local_Plan which states:

Policy HW2

Improving the Health and Wellbeing of the Local Population and Reducing Health Inequalities

For residential development of 100 or more units… a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) will be required.

There is no HIA in the application submitted. So how has a planning application which needs a HIA even got this close to being placed before the committee? The application is not lawful as it stands, and would almost certainly be quashed at Judicial Review, or dismissed at a planning inspectorate appeal.

Professor Chris Whitty the UK’s Chief Medical Officer’s said in his Annual Report 2021 – Health in Coastal Communities.

It is clear coastal communities face significant and long-standing challenges in relation to health inequalities. 

This application needs a “rapid” health impact assessment and the guidelines for these are set out here Rapid Health Impact Assessment Tool. This tool is underpinned by the Spatial Planning for Health prepared by Public Health England. Both documents have been tested at Judicial Review, and in higher courts as well, and both have survived extensive examination by learned lawyers and judges.

This is not the first time the Council have failed to make planning applicants submit a Health Impact Assessment. The first time which we are aware of, was application Y14/0873/SH for 250 homes in Sellindge, submitted by Taylor Wimpey. It had no HIA, according to the documents on the Council planning portal. The second was Y16/1122/SH for 162 homes in Sellindge, submitted by Quinn Estates. It too had no HIA, according to the documents on the Council planning portal. 

Page 16 of the Folkestone & Hythe District Core Strategy states of the Romney Marsh Area:

Many settlements have few existing facilities or are very small, particularly of concern is access to health facilities.

Dymchurch’s population is made up of 46.28% of people aged 60+. Many patients have issues accessing their outsourced health care provider who run Martello Health Centre. Those over 60 are more representative in the Hospital Trust’s, in and out patient statistics, than those under 60. These stats show there are health inequalities in this area. As such a HIA must be undertaken to help design these out of the development. 

Privatisation of the GP surgery in Dymchurch harms patients.

Research by the University of Oxford published in The Lancet, found conclusively that “Private-sector outsourcing corresponded with significantly increased rates of treatable mortality”. And given what Prof Chris Whitty said “It is clear coastal communities face significant and long-standing challenges in relation to health inequalities.” A HIA for the High Knocke development is imperative. 

Cllrs can say no to this application because it fails to meet the requirements of Policy HW2, in the local plan, and it contravenes the core strategy as well. Plus there own leader has said there is a “massive oversupply” of housing in this part of Kent. Add to that there is no CIL or s106 for the Hospital Trust, then Cllrs must say no. 

The people of Dymchurch deserve better. Forcing more housing upon this community, when according to Cllr Jim Martin, Leader of Folkestone & Hythe District Council, there is a “massive oversupply” of housing in our part of Kent, will show a Council doing things to the people, rather than with them. Take five and give that some thought

Let’s hope they throw out the application, because as we said, as it stands, it would suffer a simple and easy defeat at Judicial Review and fail at planning inspectorate appeal as well.

The Shepway Vox Team

Discernibly Different Dissent


About shepwayvox (1802 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

2 Comments on High Knocke Dymchurch, do we need the 132 homes given there is “massive oversupply” of housing, says leader of the Council

  1. It will not pass, the Greens have made it perfectly clear they will sacrifice the residents of Stanford, Westenhanger, Lympne, Newingreen, Sellindge, (where none of their councillors live), to protect their power base.

  2. At least it will give KCC Highways an excuse to put more pointless traffic lights up as they did further down at Dunstall Lane

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