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
Shepway Core Strategy
The Core Strategy is the overarching, long term plan for the district to 2026. The policies in this strategy have formed the basis for the adopted 2013 Shepway Core Strategy Plan, for deciding planning applications and for guiding public and private sector investment decisions. The adopted 2013 Core Strategy can be found at: www.shepway.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/local-plan/core-strategy
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: www.shepway.gov.uk/planning/planning-policy/local-plan/core-strategy-review-2016
The Core Strategy Local Plan review consultation commenced at the end of March 2018 and closed in mid May 2018. On initial reading the appears that 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.
Shepway 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 Local Plan is currently under review. The 2013 document can be found at: www.shepway.gov.uk/places-and-policies
In late 2016 there was a consultation period for the “preferred options stage” of a new Local Plan. The Society made some 10 or so comments after it had heard the views of its members at a specially arranged meeting addressed by the Head of the Planning Policy Team at FHDC. These and all the comments submitted to FHDC were assessed and FHDC then published its “submission draft”. The consultation period on the submission draft closed in mid-March 2018. FHDC then sent its submission draft, and the comments submitted, to an independent Government Inspector who decided what parts of the “submission draft” need to be examined in at an “Examination in Public” which was held in mid May 2019. The Society has submitted 11 comments on the “submission draft” and was invited to participate in the “Examination in Public”. The Inspector has invited FHDC to submit additional work on its Gypsy and Traveller policies and proposals. These were accepted by the FHDC Cabinet in mid July 2019. A period of public consultation will follow and the additional work plus the public comments will be submitted to the Inspector. The Inspector’s report is expected by New Year 2020.
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: www.shepway.gov.uk/princes-parade
There is 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.
Full details of this hybrid planning application together with comments made by the Society, statutory consultees and the public can be found at:
At its October 2018 meeting the Society’s Committee agreed to object to the application on the same grounds as it used to object to the site allocation in the 2016 Local Plan consultation plus the grounds that the application was thought to be premature as the current Local Plan review process had not been through the external and independent examination by an Government appointed Inspector and, therefore, the whole process had not been concluded. The Committee also agreed to object on grounds of increased traffic.
Subsequently, the Society has 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 will ensure, and give confidence to the Society and many residents of Hythe, that the decision has 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: www.shepway.gov.uk/otterpool-park
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.
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.
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 www.shepway.gov.uk/moderngov/mgMemberIndex.aspx?bcr=1
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://searchplanapps.shepway.gov.uk/online-applications/ and insert the appropriate details.
Planning Applications considered at the January 2020 Meeting:
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 permission hearing, by a judge in court, was successful and granted consent for a substantive hearing to be held sometime in the new year – probably in March 2020.
New Planning Application:
Y19/1436/FH – 106 High Street, Hythe. Certificate of lawful development (proposed) for change of use from A1 Shops to C3 Dwelling Houses. There was concern that this retail property would be lost to the High Street but it has been vacant for many months. It was agreed to comment that the frontage should be sympathetic to its High Street location.