Otterpool Garden Town moves another step closer
by Andrew South
The proposed Otterpool Farm development has taken a step closer to reality with the launch of a series of public consultations from 22-24 June.
And The Looker was at the Folkestone press briefing designed to update media representatives on where the project has got to.
Readers may remember the first series of consultation events which took place last December as a starting point for gathering opinion about the proposed development. It may come as no surprise to learn that the process revealed a number of key concerns among the 500 visitors at these events. Healthcare provision, stress on existing infrastructure, jobs and employment, and the design and quality of the proposed homes were high on the list of issues raised by local residents.
So now a similar exercise will be undertaken later this month to update the public and organisations about the progress made in developing the project. Other events are being planned for local businesses, schools and colleges.
The suits and smart summer dresses working under the umbrella of the Arcadis Group certainly put on a convincing show of hope and vision for the project, which aims to promote healthy lifestyles, grow businesses, provide opportunities for building community relations, and include retail space and an innovative healthcare hub.
It sounds impressive although there is a long way to go before the first ‘spade hits the ground’, scheduled for some time in 2020.
The project team of specialist consultants led by Arcadis is responsible for pulling together the ‘masterplan’ and communicating it to all interested parties. The next round of consultation events will include presentations from the consultant team at each session, giving more details on the design process and how planning will progress.
Lympne Village Hall
(please note that stiletto heels are not to be worn inside the hall)
Thursday 22 June 2017
7:00pm – 9:00pm
(Presentation at 7:30pm)
The MACH at The Marsh Academy
Friday 23 June 2017 10:00am- 12:00pm
(Presentation at 10:30am)
Sellindge Sports and Social Club
69 Swan Lane
Friday 23 June 2017
2:00pm – 5:00pm
(Presentation at 3:00pm)
2 Grace Hill
Saturday 24 June 2017
10:00am – 2:00pm
(Presentations at 10:30am and 12:30pm)
The plans still include a desired allocation of 40 per cent of the site as green space, with a Country Park, Town Park and River Park, with great emphasis being made on encouraging walking and cycling and developing a robust public transport system. This would include improvements to Westenhanger Station and an aim to include the station on the HS1 timetable for some trains.
Leisure areas for recreation and sport are hightlighted which provide access to small businesses, cafes, restaurants, pubs and takeaways, while education, employment training, and enterprise opportunities will be integrated with a business hub and schools.
A provisional timetable for the development has been produced, with the whole of 2017 being allocated to consultation, dealing with issues and developing the proposal. A planning application could be submitted to Shepway District Council in the Spring of 2018, with an initial decision in principle expected in late 2019.
Whatever your views on the proposed development at Otterpool, you are being given the opportunity to let them be aired at these events and find out more – there won’t be an excuse to say that “nobody asked me”! So do get along to one of these important consultation events to find out how a whole new town in the Shepway district could affect us all.