Otterpool Park is a proposed new garden town just outside of Folkestone and Hythe that will provide a mix of housing, business premises and high quality open spaces.
The need for a new garden settlement in Folkestone arises from the acknowledged housing crisis across the country due to the severe lack of house building over a 30 year period.
The Government, following the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012 has sought to significantly boost housing land provision across the country through a number of measures. The NPPF was updated in 2018 to introduce new changes and further updates were made in 2019.
Recent changes to the NPPF have introduced a new way of calculating how many new homes local planning authorities should plan for. This new method takes account of how many households are needed in an area, and how average wages compare to average house prices.
Currently this tells us that we should be planning for 738 new homes a year in Folkestone & Hythe district.
Local authorities that don't plan to meet their housing need can be challenged by developers; they may find that their planning decisions are overturned and they cannot control where development occurs. It's therefore very important that we plan to meet our housing need in the most sustainable way we can.
The NPPF says that building new homes can often be best achieved through planning for larger scale development, such as new settlements or significant extensions to existing villages and towns, providing they are well located. Planning at this scale also allows local authorities to secure the full range of infrastructure and facilities that is needed to support new residents and existing towns and villages.
In 2016 the Government published a prospectus to local authorities asking them to express an interest in providing settlements within their administrative areas.
After considering the potential of a garden settlement in the Folkestone & Hythe District to meet our housing need, we submitted an Expression of Interest to the Government in July 2016 proposing Otterpool Park as a new garden settlement. On 11 November 2016 the Government announced its support for Otterpool Park.
The Government requires local planning authorities to update their local plans at least once every five years. Given this, we are currently progressing with a review of our 2013 Core Strategy covering the plan period to 2037.
Draft Policy SS6 of the Core Strategy Review has identified Otterpool Park as a suitable location for a new garden settlement, and other policies in the plan provide detail about the type and design of the development that we want to see.
An early draft of the plan was consulted on between March-May 2018 and public consultation on a revised draft finished on 11 March 2019. We are currently looking at how the Government's new housing requirements can be met. We will then submit the Core Strategy Review to the Secretary of State and a public examination will be held, before an independent planning Inspector.