Outline planning application submitted

17th March 2019

An outline planning application for a major garden town community that will be made up of approximately 50% green space at Otterpool Park has been submitted to Folkestone & Hythe District Council.

The application, put forward on behalf of landowners Folkestone & Hythe District Council and Cozumel Estates, accounts for a mixed-use community comprising around 50% green space, 8,500 homes as well as the infrastructure and community facilities needed to support a sustainable development of this scale.

The proposed development outside Folkestone, Kent is part of the government’s garden communities programme which aims to deliver 200,000 properties by 2050. Otterpool Park’s garden town status means that it will be characterised by its high-quality housing, integrated with large amounts of green space, community facilities and a distinct creative identity.

It is expected that Otterpool Park will answer the district’s growing housing demands and deliver the job opportunities and infrastructure a community of this scale needs, now and in the future. The location has attractive transport connectivity via road and rail, including its high-speed route to London in under an hour.

Commenting on the planning submission, Cllr David Monk, Leader of Folkestone & Hythe District Council said

“We’re committed to delivering a new community that will contribute to the success of the Folkestone & Hythe district as a whole.

“The site is a credible and sustainable solution to local housing need and will provide high-quality housing of all types. In line with the area’s growing population, Otterpool Park will address demand now and for future generations. Infrastructure improvements, additional jobs and community facilities will benefit Otterpool Park residents as well as the communities around it.

“The master planning process has been developed over three years, and we have consulted with hundreds of local residents who have directly influenced our plans.

“We are confident this is a viable solution to the area’s needs and that we will deliver a community that will become a gold standard for modern garden towns across the UK.”

Andy Jarrett, spokesperson for Otterpool Park said:

“This is a very welcome milestone in this exciting project and we are pleased to be able to share our detailed plans for the proposed new garden town community.

“There are still opportunities to contribute to the development of the plans and we will welcome feedback in the coming weeks and months.”

The Otterpool Park board is now planning additional public exhibitions to enable members of the public to view the planning submission documents in greater detail and provide their comments.

Key benefits highlighted within the planning application include:

  • A development providing extensive open space, including the provision of a wide range of green spaces – from urban squares and parks, sports provision, allotments and gardens. Approximately 50% of the site area is proposed to be green infrastructure;
  • Providing a wide range of housing types, both market and affordable;
  • Creation of jobs during both the construction of the development and once the new settlement is complete, equating to approximately 9,000 new jobs (taking into account part-time workers);
  • Community facilities to be provided to complement existing provision, including a health centre, and nursery, primary and secondary schools within the development;
  • Creating new attractive, sustainable and connected neighbourhoods that fit in well with existing communities and will provide people in the local area, including new residents of the garden settlement with improved amenities;
  • Locating homes within short walking distance of shops, local amenities and services, as well as connections via bus and rail to the wider area;
  • Walkable neighbourhoods will be complemented by an extensive network of new cycle routes within the development, which will connect with existing routes in the local area;
  • Homes will be built to modern environmental standards through sustainable design promoting reduced energy consumption, water efficiencies, renewable and low carbon technologies;
  • Creating a range of employment opportunities, within higher quality and more accessible employment locations and scope for more highly skilled jobs;
  • Enhancing existing heritage and landscape features so they can be readily enjoyed, for example, creation of a heritage trail;
  • Protection and active management of built heritage assets, certain vulnerable heritage assets from gradual erosion and active management of built heritage assets;
  • Providing innovative development that embraces the opportunities from the changing energy market and technologies;
  • A development that delivers a 20% biodiversity net gain across the whole site;
  • Enhancement of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (former Otterpool Quarry) within a proposed woodland country park;
  • Health effects, including local access to work and training, social interaction, access to health food choices, access to a range of housing types, and access open space and nature.

The garden town has been supported by funding from the Government and Homes England. In February 2019, the Ministry for Homes, Communities and Local Government pledged £1.25m to the project, the largest sum of the 21 proposed garden town schemes.