Planning

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PLANNING

Hythe Civic Society aims to promote high standards of planning and architecture. It does so by vetting all Hythe planning applications making appropriate comments to Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC). The Society comments on FHDC’s planning policy documents. The Society also aims to secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic and/or public interest.

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PLANNING POLICIES – CURRENT MAJOR ISSUES – PLANNING APPLICATIONS

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PLANNING POLICIES

Folkestone and Hythe Core Strategy:

The Core Strategy is the overarching, long term plan for the district.  The policies in this strategy have formed the basis for determining planning applications and for guiding public and private sector investment decisions.

FHDC has carried out a review of the adopted 2013 Core Strategy as there have been many major changes since that Core Strategy was adopted.  For example – the national population projection figures have been updated; National Planning Practice Guidance has changed; Government has increased housing targets; and, FHDC has reviewed its own Corporate Plan which includes the Otterpool Park development.  Further information can be found at: https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/Core-strategy-review-2020

The Core Strategy Local Plan review consultation commenced at the end of March 2018 and closed in mid May 2018.  Briefly there are two major changes to the adopted 2013 Core Strategy:  an increase in proposed housing numbers to be met within the period to 2036/37; and, inclusion of the new Otterpool Park garden town centred on the old Folkestone racecourse.  The Society has responded to this review.

The “examination in public” into the objections to the Core Strategy will be held in November 2020 by two Inspectors appointed by the Government under covid-19 safe procedures.

Folkestone and Hythe Places and Policies Local Plan:

All planning authorities must have detailed up to date planning policies.  The lack of an up to date Local Plan with at least a 5 year supply of identified housing sites gives a strong advantage to developers when planning applications are submitted for housing.

The 2006 Local Plan was reviewed and updated in 2013.  This 2013 updated Local Plan has been recently reviewed and the new 2020 Places and Policies Local Plan was adopted by FHDC in October 2020.  The finalised document can be found at:

https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/planning-consultations/places-policies

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CURRENT MAJOR ISSUES

Prince’s Parade:

In February 2017 FHDC Cabinet endorsed an officer report to continue to work towards submission of a planning application for the development of Princes Parade for a leisure centre (swimming pool, a fitness studio, car parking but removing the sports hall), 150 houses on a smaller overall footprint, a larger area of public open space and an enhanced promenade area.  Further information can be found at:  https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/more-homes/more-jobs/princes-parade

There has been strong opposition to any development on Princes Parade.  Further information on the case against development can be found at:  www.saveprincesparade.org

The Society’s policy is to be totally opposed to development on Princes Parade: we think that this should remain as open space but with full public access.  We also think that the proposed leisure centre should be built on either the Smiths’ medical site in Boundary Road, Hythe or on a site, not necessarily the site initially agreed, within the large development at Martello Lakes.

In September 2017 FHDC, as landowners and promotors of the development, submitted a hybrid planning application to itself, as the planning authority, for the following development:

 The development of land at Princes Parade, comprising an outline application (with all matters reserved) for up to 150 residential dwellings; up to 1,270sqm of commercial uses including hotel use, retail uses and / or restaurant/cafe uses; hard and soft landscaped open spaces including children’s play facilities; surface parking for vehicles and bicycles; alterations to existing vehicular and pedestrian access and highway layout within and around the site; site levelling and groundworks; and, all necessary supporting infrastructure and services. A full application for a 2,961sqm leisure centre including associated parking, open spaces and children’s play facility.

The Society requested the Secretary of State to “call in” the application for his decision on the grounds that a council should not decide its own planning application for such a major development.  Such a procedure would have ensured, and given confidence to the Society and many residents of Hythe, that the decision had been arrived at objectively and without bias – whatever the decision.  The Secretary of State declined to “call in” the application leaving FHDC to decide upon its own application.

In August 2018 FHDC discussed the application and gave a provisional consent subject to clarifying the route of surface water drainage disposal which, in the planning application, was to be into the sea.  A subsequent period of public consultation was held as the revised surface water drainage disposal was into the Royal Military Canal.  The Society objected to this revised proposal.  In mid July 2019 FHDC granted itself permission to proceed with the development.

click photo above to watch a video courtesy of: geekanoids.co.uk

Otterpool Park:

In December 2015 FHDC purchased Otterpool Manor Park farm as an investment.  In March 2016 the Government invited expressions of interest to develop new garden settlements to help ease the lack of new housing.  FHDC submitted Otterpool Park in mid June 2016.  The only public briefing before the submission was a meeting with representatives of the immediately surrounding Parish Councils less than 10 days before submission.  The Parish Councils were not in favour!  In August 2016 all Parish and Town Councils were invited to a presentation.  In mid November 2016 Government gave the go-ahead for Otterpool Park with a financial grant towards preparatory work.  The first consultation opportunity for the general public was in early December 2016 in which the Society participated.  The second round of public consultation took place in the early summer of 2017.  Further information can be found at:  https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/otterpoolpark

Your Committee felt it had insufficient information to come to any conclusion on Otterpool Park and how it may affect Hythe over the next 20/30 years.  So the Society asked the Council Leader to come and put the case to us which he, and two senior officers, did in September 2017.  Assurances were given that the detailed planning of the development will ensure that health, education and transport facilities will be in situ from the earliest days, obviating any additional pressure on our already over-stretched resources, and that the retail element will compliment rather than compete with Hythe High Street.

An outline planning application was submitted in late February 2019.  The planning application is for a new settlement including up to 8,500 homes.  The applicant is Cozumel Estates in association with FHDC as joint promoters of Otterpool Park.  In the period of public consultation that followed the Society, recognizing that the actual proposal is outside the Society’s “area of benefit”, commented upon how the proposed development may affect Hythe.  Its comments included the potential effect on Hythe High Street; concern about additional traffic in Hythe particularly on the Scanlons Bridge gyratory system; concern about the capacity of Junction 10 on the M20; concern about “rat running” through Saltwood; the need to recognize and undertake rescue archaeology as necessary during the development; and, the need to preserve the open aspect of Princes Parade for the additional residents – over 20,000.

In recent times FHDC has bought-out the interest of Cozumel Estates and FHDC is now the sole landowner of the site.

It is clear however that such a major development “on our doorstep” will have effects that are hard to predict and your Committee will seek further clarification of the situation as the plans develop in detail.

The planning decision is awaited.

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PLANNING APPLICATIONS

Your Committee continues to monitor ALL planning applications in Hythe.  There are, on average, about 20 applications per month.  The Society does not comment to FHDC on many applications as the Society is largely concerned about major and significant proposals.  The Committee takes greater interest in applications in the Hythe Conservation Area that includes the High Street.

Your Society encourages individual members to contact FHDC Planning – by email at planning@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk or in writing to Planning, Folkestone and Hythe District Council, Civic Centre, Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2QY – about any planning application of concern.  It would be helpful if your comments were also sent to your Ward Councillor.  Contact details for Ward Councillors can be found at https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/webapp/myarea/index.php?t=councillor

If you wish to follow the progress of a particular planning application and/or to see what comments have been made by other people or organisations please go to https://www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/view-planning-applications  and insert the appropriate details.

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Planning Applications considered by email link in October 2020:

No Change:

Y19/0071/FH – Smiths Medical Site.  Objection lodged re grounds of additional traffic created and comment on the need for adequate residential parking on the housing development.  Awaiting a decision by FHDC.

Y19/1058/FH – Hotel Imperial, Princes Parade, Hythe:  Erection of an extension and reconfiguration of existing floor plan to western elevation of hotel to provide new spa, treatment and changing facilities to existing pool.  After discussion it was agreed to express concern about the adequacy of parking spaces and about the increased traffic flow at the Twiss Road, South Road and Princes Parade junction.  Awaiting  decision by FHDC.

Y17/1042/SH Princes Parade – The Judicial Review requested by the Save Princes Parade group dismissed their claim that HFDC’s planning permission was illegal.  SPP have requested leave to appeal.  For full details visit SPP website at saveprincesparade.org .

Y20/0183/FH – Construction of a 3-bedroom residential dwelling at the rear of 17 Brockhill Road, Hythe including the demolition of existing double garage to provide space for parking.  After discussion agreed to object.  The objections are that the proposal would: create a precedent in an area of mature houses with large gardens; be garden cramming; be out of keeping with the surrounding area on grounds of scale, mass and form; be 3 storeys in an area of 2 storey dwellings; and, would create a safety hazard of vehicles crossing a well-used footpath.

Y20/0357/FH – 62, High Street, Hythe.  Conversion of Grade II listed 2-story commercial unit into a mixed development of a smaller commercial space with high street frontage and three self-contained flats with separate access on Bank Street including a small enclosed staircase above the side entrance.  After discussion agreed to support as it brings an important property in the central part of the High Street back to life.

Change:

Saltwood Care Centre:

The Chairman advised that GSE Developments Ltd is intending to submit a detailed planning application in August for the construction of around 24 residential dwellings and 32 extra care apartments on the land to the north of Saltwood Care Centre, Tanners Hill, Hythe (otherwise referred to as Alder Court).  As GSE cannot hold a physical public consultation it has set up this website https://www.aldercourt-saltwood.co.uk/ .  Members of the public can ask questions via the Feedback section, which will be answered by the project team, and these will inform the scheme’s final design prior to the submission of a planning application.  HCS have responded and forwarded members’ comments to the developers.

New Applications:  None

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