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KCC funding for Otterpool Park Town Development rejected

By KentOnline reporter

Concerns have been raised that plans for a huge development of 10,000 houses in Folkestone will go ahead without vital infrastructure in place.

The issue was raised by Green county councillor Martin Whybrow after a multi-million pound bid for a share of a government fund to support the huge Otterpool Park Town Development was turned down.

KCC had wanted a £281 million contribution from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to meet the costs of infrastructure such as new access roads, extra school places and other community facilities.

An Arcadis's artist impression of how Otterpool Park will look
An Arcadis's artist impression of how Otterpool Park will look

At a meeting of the county council’s cross-party environment and transport cabinet committee, Mr Whybrow said: “Whatever you think of Otterpool it is a bit surprising to fall flat at the first hurdle.

"Are we pursuing the government for an explanation?

"There are things that have to be in place to support Otterpool. I wonder the money that needs to be ploughed into this is not coming forward.”

But Cllr Rory Love said: “The government is absolutely committed to this - I have personally had that from ministers and it will continue as planned and there may be some forward funding.”

He said a recent decision by Homes England, set up by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid, to buy 150 acres of land off junction 11 of the M20 between Lympne and the Lympne Industrial Estate, was a sign of the government’s commitment to Otterpool.

Planning officers said while the government had been asked for information about the bid’s rejection, KCC had received a generic reply.

Tom Marchant, head of strategic planning and policy, said: “Of course it is disappointing but there are other avenues of getting money, such as Section 106 contributions.”

That is money developers are asked to provide councils with where additional investment is needed to account for the impact of new schemes.

Under the plans, the 375-acre site would see 10,000 homes and a health centre as well as eight schools and 11 nurseries.

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