New Green led Council abandons election pledge to build more affordable Council homes

The Council are looking to sell land once earmarked for 30 Council homes at Highview Moat Farm Rd Folkestone, to a private developer, meaning only 7 homes will be “affordable” rent / shared ownership instead of the promised 30. The council are seeking bids for the 2.25 acre site in excess of £1.5m according to the sales brochure marketed by Motis 

In a time when we need more social/council housing, not less,  the Green led council are jettisoning 23 Council homes, as they are skint. With a projected deficit of £18.5m over the next four financial years 2023/24 – 26/27, the reality of balancing the books takes precedent over any/all election promises about building more Council homes made by the Greens and Labour in their election manifesto’s

The Council’s Cabinet approved the acquisition of the former Highview School site in Folkestone in April 2017. The Council paid £750,000 for the site on 18 December 2017.

Highview – Google My Maps

Land purchased by Council for 30 Council homes, now to be sold off to private developer and only 22% (7) will be affordable rent

The approval to purchase Highview took place behind closed doors – see minute number 79

In Jan 2021 it was reported Folkestone and Hythe District Council was recruiting a design team for a £5.9 million residential redevelopment of the former Highview Special School. The Contract was awarded to Hazle McCormack Young LLP on the 04/05/2021, at a value of £242,977.

In all four companies have been awarded contracts relating to the Highview development

In January 2022, Report Number C/21/64 approved the development programmer for the Highview site, which was to deliver 30 zero carbon in use affordable Council homes for rent and shared ownership purchase. The payback period was 34 years for the site, plus officers were given delegated authority to seek local government grant funding for the site.  The report also makes clear a tender for the Design & Build contract for the delivery of the residential scheme including associated highways and services works, was granted at the meeting in Jan 2022. But as the contract register makes clear, both Modus Construction and Hazle McCormack & Young had been awarded contracts for the design and build without approval, according to evidence in the public domain. 

Work was expected to start on the site in spring 2022. But of course this did not happen.

Then on 22 February 2023, Report Number C/22/94  made it clear the costs had escalated from £5.9m in Jan 2021 to and estimated total scheme costs of between £10.2m and £11.33m, so almost doubling in price.  The report also gave officers delegated permission to explore the option of selling the site. The report was approved eight voting for with one abstention.

The Council find themselves in a position where they cannot afford to build out 23 Council homes at Highview. Nor do they havethe appetite or capacity to fund the Project” at Otterpool. They have sold Bigginswood where 23 homes were to be “affordable”, but now the site has been sold to a private developer, only 17 homes will need to be “affordable”. And what of Ship Street in Folkestone: How many promised Council homes will be lost once the land is sold off to a private developer?

Both the Green’s and Labour promised more council homes will be built. Both put this in their manifesto’s in the May elections. Six months into this new administration led by the Greens and Lib Dems, and supported by Labour, more council homes will not be built as is evidenced by both the sale of the Highview site and Bigginswood site

You choose your leaders and place your trust
As their lies wash you down and their promises rust

Paul Weller – Going Underground

The Shepway Vox Team

Dissent is NOT a Crime

About shepwayvox (1820 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email:

7 Comments on New Green led Council abandons election pledge to build more affordable Council homes

  1. They will probably try to ship those requiring council housing elsewhere, as they did before. It is all about turning Folkestone into a trendy seaside town for the wealthy.

  2. I’d still rather have Labour and the Greens rather than that corrupt little man Monk .
    Remember he and he alone was the one to get our Council into this financial mess

    • Have to agree. This financial chaos has not just arisen since the new council was elected, but is as a result of actions by their predecessors and the officials still in place.

  3. The previous administration left an empty bank account which is only now becoming apparent.

    Let’s hope the council are focused on obtaining all the section 106 contributions from developers that they are obliged to pay before anymore run in to financial difficulties.

    All the promises they made prior to winning the elections are probably now being reevaluated.

  4. Sadly the profligacy of the previous administration needs to be dealt with as a priority

  5. This issue clearly demonstrates that the corruption and ineptitude is at Chief Executive, Director and senior officer level. The Director of Housing and Operation s – Andy Blaszkowicz – presides over a team called optimistically called ‘Development’ – can anyone shed any light on what they have been doing for the past couple of years? Not developing anything that’s for sure!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: