Flexible employment is key to potential partners at Construction Expo

1st November 2017

Rebecca Kearney, Project Manager for Otterpool Park, Arcadis Design and Consultancy shared the platform with Dr Susan Priest, Corporate Director – Strategic Development at Shepway District Council

Representatives of the construction industry, from builders to business services, gathered at the Kent Construction Expo in Maidstone last month to hear about Otterpool Park, highlighting flexible employment opportunities and ecology as key considerations.

As work continues to develop the masterplan for Otterpool Park, the team of designers, planners, architects and technology experts are working on proposals for the project. They are taking part in a number of events across Kent to brief the community, groups and individuals who would like to learn more about our ideas. This team, led by design consultants Arcadis, has been responsible for research and creation of the proposals for the garden town so far, under the direction of the main landowners in the area: Shepway District Council and Cozumel Estates.

The Kent Construction Expo brings together different industries from within the construction sector, including contractors, developers and consultants; Otterpool Park was represented by Arcadis as well as Susan Priest, Corporate Director Strategic Development and Julia Wallace, Otterpool Park Project Manager for Masterplanning and Design, both from Shepway District Council. We explained how we will go about developing a garden town that promotes a happier, healthier lifestyle for its residents.

We discussed why the location of Otterpool Park will be central to delivering the garden town, bringing together an attractive, rural location with great transport connections across the county, to the capital and abroad. We also explained how green space and open areas would be incorporated, as well as how innovative technologies would be incorporated to build Otterpool Park, a garden town fit for the future.

A key element of the garden town model is the creation of jobs within the settlement. People were especially interested in our plans to cater not only for traditional methods of employment by bringing in shops, services, offices and industrial space, but also to consider the way the working world is becoming more flexible with people working independently from home or from shared office and studio space.

As with all of our sessions, we were asked questions on a wide variety of topics. Someone asked if there would be an onsite manufacturing facility to build the homes, how jobs would be provided locally throughout the long build process and beyond, what our ecological considerations are and even about our plans for public art. There was interest in the intention to push for high speed train services to Westenhanger station.

While we don’t have answers to all questions at this stage, we welcome the suggestions that were discussed at this session, and at other events we’ll attend. We are creating a garden town that has been shaped by the ideas and feedback of everyone we’ve spoken to, to create a new community with opportunities for everyone, in the best location connecting town and country with the coast nearby, providing a lifestyle to suit.