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 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.
The following planning applications were discussed at the July meeting.
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. Awaiting a decision by FHDC.
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 neighbouring 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.
Y18/0565/FH – “Grey Walls”, 25 Albert Road. Erection of 6 new build dwellings in the form of a terrace along with new vehicular access and associated off road parking within secured courtyard to rear following the demolition of the existing 2 bedroom detached dwelling along with replacement boundary wall to the west. After discussion it was agreed to object on the grounds of overdevelopment, the bulk of the proposal and insufficient parking as no visitor parking included. Comments submitted and acknowledged. Awaiting a decision by FHDC.
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.
Comments on the following applications were agreed by email after the Committee meeting:
Y18/0567/FH – ex-Lloyds Bank, 62 High Street. Change of use and conversion of the bank into a retail unit on the ground floor and a residential unit above. Agreed to welcome the re-use of an empty property in a prominent position at the corner of the High street and Bank Street.
Y18/0581/FH – r/o 69 High Street. Change of use and conversion of existing outbuildings to 3 town houses with external alterations. HCS had commented on a similar application I the recent past. To be consistent it was agreed to object on grounds of no on-site parking, no visitor parking and that the surrounding properties are 2 storey and will be dominated by this 3 storey development.
Y18/0592/SH – r/o 88 St Leonard’s Road. Erection of 2 detached dwellings to the rear of 88 St Leonards Road together with parking, bin storage, landscaping and construction of an access road. Agreed not to object but to refer to the concern of local residents about the ownership and possible loss of public use of the proposed access to the site.
Y18/0598/FH – Ordnance Garage, Military Road. Change of use and conversion of existing car wash to sandwich bar, installation of new external glazing and erection of single storey rear extension together with demolition of the plant room to provide a new parking bay. Agreed not to make any comments.
Y18/0654/FH – Waitrose, Prospect Road. Display of non-illuminated signage to include 23 new and 16 replacement signs. Agreed not to make any comments.