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Otterpool Park: Garden town in Shepway given funding boost from government

By Matt Leclere

Extra cash has been awarded to develop plans for the controversial Otterpool Park garden town.

The government said today it is awarding £155,000 to Shepway District Council to continue working on its proposals for the project.

The money is set to fund the council's work on developing a masterplan and other aspects to submit a planning application.

An artist's impression of how the finished Otterpool Park will look at ground level
An artist's impression of how the finished Otterpool Park will look at ground level

It is the latest round of support from the government for the 12,000-home project on fields around Lympne, Westenhanger, Stanford and Sellindge.

SDC leader Cllr David Monk said it was "wonderful news".

He added: "It confirms the government’s commitment to our plans for a green garden town – Otterpool Park.

"This funding will contribute to the work we need to do in preparing a masterplan, design statement and Environmental Impact Assessment and all the other requirements of a major planning application."

The council has previously warned it would be prepared to slash services in order to fund its proposals for Otterpool Park if cash was not secured from Whitehall.

We revealed in July that planning costs before a spade has even hit the ground for building is estimated at around £6.5m.

Folkestone Racecourse forms part of the 1,279 acre site
Folkestone Racecourse forms part of the 1,279 acre site

Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, announced a £2.5m injection in a bid to speed up building for 155,000 new homes in nine "ambitious" projects across the country.

The government said the funding will "support local authorities and communities" in delivering their plans by providing "dedicated resources and expertise".

Mr Javid said: "Locally-led garden towns have enormous potential to deliver the homes that communities need. This new funding will help support the construction of more than 155,000 homes in nine places across the country.

"New communities not only deliver homes, but also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies."

Communities secretary Sajid Javid
Communities secretary Sajid Javid

Otterpool Park is a 1,300 acre site taking in Folkestone Racecourse and land around the villages close to the M20.

The plans include new medical centres, schools, industrial and employment spaces and connections to the high-speed railway line at Westenhanger station.

The latest funding from the Department for Local Communities and Government (DCLG) will support other garden towns in Didcot, Basingstoke, Aylesbury, Taunton, Harlow-Gilston, Northamptonshire and north Essex.

The department said it was supporting the proposals because it allowed plans to be "well-planned and well-designed communities" adding they would "stand out as exemplars of good development in years to come".

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