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Protesters march on Hythe High Street against 10,000-home Otterpool Park plan

ByCharlie Harman

Hundreds of angry villagers took to the streets to protest plans for a new 10,000-home garden town.

The march, held in Hythe on Saturday, was in response to the proposed Otterpool Park development, earmarked for land between Folkestone and Hythe.

An application for outline planning permission was first lodged in February which, if granted approval, would allow the first 8,500 houses to be built.

Protesters gather to register their disapproval

Protesters carried signs, made speeches and wore specially-made shirts reading "No to Otterpool new town, yes to local homes for local people" as they made their way around town.

Campaigner David Plumstead said: “Putting unthinking members of society to relatively minor inconvenience by in-your-face protest action is sometimes the only way to get their attention to the gravity of a situation, and you had better believe that global warming, climate change and the loss of our countryside are matters of the utmost gravitas.”

Objections to the proposed development include loss of countryside, clean air and tranquillity.

Protestors gather over the Otterpool Park proposal. Picture: Paul Amos. (9254141)
Protestors gather over the Otterpool Park proposal. Picture: Paul Amos. (9254141)

Mr Plumstead added: “It has no public support, and there are practical issues too.

“The green spaces aren’t viable; they are too small and too restrictive. 10,000 new homes could bring 25,000 new cars to the area. The air pollution problem is going to be dire.

“The area is also water stressed; we asked Affinity Water how many new homes they could accommodate in the area and they said around a 1,000."

As well as 10,000 new homes, the Otterpool site could include care villages, primary and secondary schools and health centres if it gets the green light.

Eventually, the proposed town would connect the villages of Westenhanger, Lympne and Sellindge, with documents suggesting that "green space" would constitute more than 50% of the 765-hectare site.

The scheme has faced opposition since it was unveiled in 2016.

Protesters will get another chance to air their views soon, as a public exhibition will be held on Thursday, May 16 and Friday, May 17.

These will take place at Westenhanger Castle and the Leas Cliff Hall respectively, running from 2pm to 7.30pm.

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone

Read more: All the latest news from Hythe

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