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 originally included a housing development of some 650 houses on the Folkestone racecourse. The Inspector did not find any compelling evidence for this large development in the open countryside and the proposal was deleted from the final document. 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 changes since the Core Strategy was adopted. For example – the national population projection figures have been updated, National Planning Practice Guidance has changed 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 closes on Friday 18 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 will be responding to this review.
Shepway 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 October and November 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. All comments submitted as part of the 2016 consultation can be found at: http://shepway-consult.objective.co.uk/portal/
All the comments submitted to FHDC have been assessed and FHDC has published its revised document – the “submission draft”. The consultation period closed in mid-March 2018. FHDC will send its submission draft, and the comments submitted, to an independent Government Inspector who will decide what parts of the “submission draft” need to be examined in a subsequent Examination in Public. This examination is expected sometime in 2018. The Society has submitted 11 comments on the “submission draft” and expects to take part in the Examination in Public. A summary of the Society’s comments can be found here.
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 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. The call in 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.
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. 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.
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 email@example.com 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.
The following planning applications were discussed at the October meeting:
Y16/0794/SH – St Saviour’s Hospital, Seabrook Road: HCS has objected. Acknowledgement received. Still awaiting a decision by FHDC. (No Change)
Y17/1042/SH – Princes Parade: The decision to approve the application, by a 5 to 4 majority vote, was taken at FHDC Planning and Licensing Committee on 16 August 2018. The decision is subject to agreement of the treatment of surface water. Discussions on this are ongoing so no decision notice has been made. It is unknown if the Secretary of State will “call in” the application for decision. (No Change)
Arising from FHDC’s recently released Financial Appraisal, CD (HCS Chairman) sent an email to all FHDC Councillors (not being members of the Cabinet) setting out HCS summarised views on the application and requesting a refusal. It was agreed to place on the website the following statement: “The Society is disappointed in the planning decision made by the Planning and Licencing Committee and has asked the Secretary of State to “call in” the application to enable an objective and independent decision to be made. The Society notes that the legality of the decision is likely to be challenged by the Save Princes Parade Group and, if individual Society members share that view, the Group will welcome pledges of financial support for any such review.” Further details are available on the Save Princes Parade website.
Y17/1543/SH – Pensand House, South Road. JT reported this application for the replacement of existing pitched roof of Pensand House with 6 penthouse apartments arranged over 2 floors, together with render finish, new windows and balconies to Pensand House and Marlborough Court, and associated hard and soft landscaping. Agreed, by email in-between meetings, not to object but to comment that the balcony steel structures need to be of sufficient quality that no dripping rust deposits appear and ruin the render. Acknowledgement received. Revised details submitted that do not affect HCS concerns. Planning permission granted by FHDC planning committee.
Y18/0215/SH – Redlynch House, 19 Hillcrest Road. Demolition of existing building (former residential home) and erection of 9 new apartments with associated car parking and amenity areas (resubmission of Y16/0886/SH). The application is narrower than the existing building but is taller. It will be a terraced 4 storey building at the rear but 3 storey at the front. There is much local opposition to the development. It was agreed to object on the grounds of: excessive scale, bulk and mass; visual intrusion; insufficient on-site parking; and, the creation of an undesirable precedent for the area. Comments submitted and acknowledged. Amended plans have been submitted reducing the footprint, ridge height and the number of units by one. It was agreed to object on the grounds of: insufficient on-site parking for residents; no visitor parking; and, the creation of an undesirable precedent for the area. Comments submitted and acknowledged. Planning permission granted by FHDC planning committee.
Y18/0444/SH– Pennings and Juniper Cottage, School Road, Saltwood. Erection of a two-storey building comprising 7 residential apartments, including landscaping, parking following demolition of the existing pair of existing semi-detached dwellings and garaging. After discussion it was agreed not to object in principle to the development but to express concerns over insufficient on-site parking, the bulk of the building in relation to neighboring properties, poor visibility onto School Road and the need for visibility splays with appropriate planting, and too much white render on the front elevation. Comments submitted and acknowledged. Awaiting a decision by FHDC. Revised details had been circulated by FHDC. After discussion it was agreed to object to the revised access arrangements on grounds of road safety. (No Change)
Y18/0670/FH – Olivia Court, Court Road. Erection of a third storey on both apartment blocks to create two penthouse flats. The Chairman declared an interest in the application as he lives overlooking Olivia Court and took no place in the discussion or decision. After discussion it was agreed to object on the grounds of overdevelopment, will adversely affect the street scene, will adversely affect the amenity of surrounding properties, and will adversely affect the setting of the Royal Military Canal basin. Comments submitted and acknowledged. Awaiting a decision by FHDC. (No Change)
Sunshine Restaurant extension– It was noted that the curved frontage of the extension had been re-instated in a new form rather than the replacement of the original. The planning consent (Y17/0677/SH) requires that any alterations to the shopfront other than decoration and maintenance would require planning permission. Therefore CD will write to FHDC Planning, copied to ward members, to request adherence with the original planning consent. CD has emailed FHDC re. frontage but has not received any reply.