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.
PLANNING POLICIES – CURRENT MAJOR ISSUES – PLANNING APPLICATIONS
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 mid-December 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:
CURRENT MAJOR ISSUES
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Planning Applications considered by email link in April 2021:
Y21/0392/FH Erection of two dwellings at Land adjoining 43 Horn Street, Hythe. Agreed to support in principle and express concerns about access and contamination. Awaiting decision by FHDC.
Y20/1541/FH at 162 High Street, Hythe for a change of use from retail to a mixed use of barbers and a café during the day and a drinking establishment with expanded food provision in the evenings. Members were reminded that the number of barbers, cafes and drinking establishments in the High Street was for market forces to determine and not a planning authority. Awaiting a decision from FHDC.
Y20/1608/FH at land adjacent to Saltwood Care Centre, Tanners Hill, Hythe for the erection of 24 dwellings (18 x three-bed & 6 x four-bed) and the provision of a four storey building comprising 32 extra care units, with associated access (vehicle and pedestrian), parking, amenity, landscaping and biodiverse enhancements. Awaiting a decision by FHDC.
Y20/1784/FH at 19 Naildown Road, Hythe for the replacement of detached dwelling with an apartment building providing 8 x 2 bedroom apartments with associated access, parking and landscaping. Awaiting a decision from FHDC.
Y20/1808/FH (Listed Building Application) and Y20/1973/FH (Planning Application) at Post Office, 31-33 High Street, Hythe for consent for the retention of alterations to shop front. FHDC has refused both applications. Applicant has 6 months to appeal the refusals.
21/0133/FH – Listed Building Consent for the consolidation and rebuilding of part of the walls of the former animal pound at Open Space, Junction of Albert Road & Windmill Street, Hythe. Application welcomed. The Chairman, as a trustee of the Triangle charity, declared an interest in the application and took no part in the discussion and decision. Awaiting FHDC decision.
Y21/0553/FH at Land Opposite 24, Station Road, Hythe for the erection of 44 dwellings with associated access, parking and open space. After discussion agreed to object for various reasons.
Y21/0429/FH at 121 High Street, Hythe for change of use as retail to residential making the building one residential 2 bed unit for holiday letting. After discussion agreed to object as the property is unlikely to be used as a holiday let 52 weeks a year. Conversion to residential would be preferable.