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Have you got a question about Otterpool Park Garden Town? Find the answers to the most frequent questions here, or contact us at community@otterpoolpark.org.

A garden town is a new settlement that offers high-quality homes, jobs and community facilities and services in an attractive, landscape-led setting. It provides everything people need for a new community to thrive – including schools, medical centres, green space, public transport, new roads, community centres and shops – to create a well-connected community with the health and happiness of its residents at its core.

Folkestone & Hythe District Council, as a local planning authority, is responsible for making sure that enough homes are provided for all its residents. To address the future housing needs in the district, 14,600 new homes will need to be built between 2014 and 2037. At the moment, the area has completed or has plans for, some 8,000 homes – leaving a deficit of 6,600 up to 2037. Homes will be needed beyond this date too. As landowner at the proposed site, the council can help to provide a solution to the housing crisis locally.

The proposed site sits to the south of the M20 and west of junction 11 and stretches from the village of Lympne to the south to Barrow Hill in the west. It covers around 765 hectares and includes the former Folkestone Racecourse, Newingreen and Westenhanger village and station. Existing communities nearby include Stanford and Sellindge. Larger towns in this area of the county include Ashford, Hythe and Folkestone.

There are a number of restrictions on where development can take place in the area – much of the district sits in the North Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and large areas are at risk of flooding. A report by AECOM also found that other areas of the district don’t have the capacity to make a significant contribution to growth, based on reasons including environment, lack of infrastructure and flood concerns. Otterpool Park is a great location that is ideal for a garden town.

The area is close to the motorway, has an existing railway station and is large enough to be able to create a settlement that has plenty of space for residents to live, work and enjoy a range of leisure facilities. It is close to the Channel Tunnel and the Kent coast is minutes away.

Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s Local Plan identifies Otterpool Park as a strategic development site. You can find more information about the Local Plan here. https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/planning-policy/adopted-development-plan.

We are anticipating a decision to be made on the outline planning application in 2023.

Folkestone & Hythe District Council has found that there simply are not enough brownfield sites in the area to provide all the extra homes that are needed, although as much as possible is being used. On the basis of the current rates of these sites, they can only provide for 1,000 homes between 2014 and 2037.

By building all the homes the area needs in one place, the development can also include all the roads, schools, utilities and health services that are needed by the residents.

This means much less pressure on existing services in villages and towns which are in themselves becoming increasingly crowded.

Also, brownfield sites can be so scattered that it is hard for the council to provide infrastructure to support them. Many of the existing brownfield sites in the area are already being developed.

The planning application is for 8,500 homes, but the master plan takes up to 10,000 homes into account, setting the framework for longer-term growth and designing the community as a whole. The planning application sets out plans for how these 8,500 homes – and supporting facilities and services – will be built out in phases. Much of the detail will therefore come forward in subsequent phases, with each phase requiring permission for the detail to be approved by the Council, in consultation with stakeholders and the local community.

The project is awaiting planning approval and, if granted, will begin in a phased way over a period of around 30 years.

We want Otterpool Park to be a garden town for everyone and to provide a wide mix of homes for people of all needs and aspirations. This will include flats and small houses for first-time buyers, family homes and homes for people who are retired. There will be homes for rent and to buy, as well as opportunities for self-build.

The design of the homes will be guided by design principles and the master plan. Design codes will also play a part, influencing materials used, range of house types and considering local character.

It is unlikely that homes will be launching in the next year, but we’ll be happy to contact you as soon as plans have progressed to that stage.

Please get in touch via our contact us page.

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