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.
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 have “the 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