Otterpool: An update

April 29, 2018

Our local Hythe Town Councillor, Ashley Tanton, reports on a recent briefing about the proposed Otterpool development:

The briefing saw Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s Otterpool team offering assurances that Affinity Water has confirmed it can supply Otterpool but there have still been still no firm commitments on issues I raised earlier, including the amount and type of affordable housing.

From an infrastructure perspective, the latest master plan includes a realigned A20 avoiding Newingreen. It is proposed that there will be a high street at the Westenhanger end of the development and several schools for all ages. Conversations are ongoing as to how to meet medical needs. Tourism offers (think woodland cabins) which were touted earlier are now omitted.

Homes England now owns land including at Enterprise Way. Andy Jarrett, the District Council’s scheme promoter, acknowledged the risk of losing control of key components (like affordable housing) if parcels of the site are developed piecemeal. Generally he played down the fact that the £281 million Housing Infrastructure Fund bid was recently rejected by the Government, saying it was not the right time for it.

Notably, a connection to HS1 would be unlikely in the first ten years of the scheme (so 2030-ish) meaning the first residents will have to wait for local high speed connections. Issues were also acknowledged with the A20 at Barrow Hill lights.

At peak construction, the scheme aspires to deliver 300 homes a year, although some years will be much slower. There were acknowledgements too that housing will be delivered in phases according to demand (bearing in mind the project is forecasting demand for 30+ years). The latest master plan shows the SSSI site being a country park.

The housing planned along the A20 corridor is subject to change due to the Roman Villa that has been uncovered in excavations on ground west of Newingreen, south of the A20. Finally, no compulsory purchase orders are currently being proposed, although conversations have been had between the promoter and “most” homeowners on the A20 to establish their situations.