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Council wants to build thousands of homes around Folkestone Racecourse

By Sean Axtell

The council is "close" to launching a planning bid for 8,500 homes and infrastructure on land around Folkestone Racecourse.

The Otterpool Park Garden Town application still needs "some technical work", said a Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) spokesman.

They added: “At the consultation events in June we said were working toward a submission date of end of this year.

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

"We are close to being ready to submit the application but there is still some technical work to complete first so the exact date is currently under review."

The proposed 713- hectare estate is expected to be built between Westenhanger, Lympne and Sellindge.

There are concerns the development, expected to grow to 10,000 homes within 30 years, will connect the Folkestone and Ashford districts.

Sarah Stewart, 30, who recently moved to Sellindge, said: “I accept in some form or another the development is going to happen.

Otterpool Park boundary map
Otterpool Park boundary map

"But I didn’t realise quite how large it was going to be.

"The land is agricultural and mostly greenfield which will vanish.
"My worry is that in years to come Folkestone and Ashford are pretty much going to merge into a huge town. It would be like one big city.”

Meanwhile, FHDC and Cozumel Estate’s masterplan shows shops, medical facilities and schools form part of the project, in what the council calls “a community for the future.”

How Otterpool Park could look
How Otterpool Park could look

Already the authority is urging drivers to use their cars less to minimise pollution and congestion: “Most homes will be within five minutes’ walk of bus stops or public transport hubs and within 10 minutes’ walk of a primary school, local shops and services.

"We’re also providing routes for walking and cycling at Otterpool Park and beyond,” said a spokesman.

Cycling, walking and buses will “take priority” over cars, with transport focused largely on footpaths bicycle routes, they added.

The publicly available masterplan takes into account 10,000 homes.

The remaining 1,500 homes would be part of the last phase and may not be built for more than 20 years.

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