Parish stakes its claim

Geoff and Pete setting out

One of the things The Parish Council asked for and got from Otterpool Park LLC at the beginning of our discussions was a strip of land (‘buffer’) to be ceded to us so that we have the last word on what goes in there.  The strip is 30m wide and there will be no buildings or roads in it.

On Saturday, Cllrs Colledge, Maddox, Bebbington (at the other end of the tape) and Horner marked out where 30 metres from the racecourse fence is with a number of wooden stakes.  Residents with property that backs onto the racecourse can get an idea of how big this buffer will be.

The drawings of Phase 1 we saw on Friday do not show this buffer around Tollgate Cottage or Little Greys.  And it’s not shown north of Westmead or south of Liveden and Kirkfield House.  This is not in accordance with our agreement with OPLLC and needs to be resolved.

Bear in mind that there is no public right of access onto the racecourse itself.  If anyone wants to see what this buffer looks like from the racecourse side, they will have to arrange for permission.  Please contact the council for that.

Stake with flag

Otterpool Park Consultation

The online presentations by Otterpool Park LLC last Friday gave us a glimpse of how the company and its consultants are thinking at the moment.  We saw that the street layout in ‘Phase 1’ of the project (the ‘Town Centre’) has changed since the outline planning application was submitted in 2019 and there was little bit more about where the ‘centre’ of the town will be and what it might look like.  The plan to develop land next to Barrow Hill as part of Phase 1 has, thankfully, been dropped.

We are promised the recordings of the two sessions on Friday will be made available online. If you didn’t get to the sessions, take a look at one or both.  Each lasted 90 minutes. The videos have not been posted yet, as of Monday 29 March, but you can see screen grabs of most of the slides here.

You can comment on the plans by completing the questionnaire.  Comments made on Friday were not made visible on the screen and individual comments will not be published.  Please, if you do comment, let the parish council know your views as well so that we can make OPLLC aware of what residents feel most strongly about.  We are also in close contact with our neighbouring parishes who will also doubtless be responding to the consultation with concerns similar to ours.  Email our Clerk, Cathy, or post in Stanford Matters on Facebook.

Many of our residents have responded to the flyer we put through everybody’s letterboxes last week.  If you missed that, there’s a copy here.

The consultation closes on 23 April.  Don’t forget there’s a Parish Council meeting on 14 April at 7pm.

Otterpool Park update

Last week, one councillor from each of three of the affected parishes – Stanford (Cllr Horner), Lympne (Cllr Boor) and Postling (Cllr Hobbs) were given a presentation by Otterpool Park LLC (OPLLC) and their consultants that are developing the master plan for Phase 1 of the town.

We were shown some drawings but these had not been circulated in advance and we were denied access to copies. When we pressed OPLLC on this, they said they would consider releasing some of them prior to a public consultation to be held later this month. We have heard nothing since.

It’s difficult to say what the meeting was for – none of the councillors could speak for their residents since no-one else had seen the drawings. But at least they are talking to us.

Phase 1 of Otterpool Park is the area from Stone Street west to about as far as the Mink Farm and, we are told, not further south than the A20. It will contain about 2,000 homes.  The Master Plan is part of the ‘Tier 2’ (more detailed) planning work that FHDC planners have asked OPLLC for before they can approve the outline planning application for the whole town.  The consultants will also be producing a Design Code.  We were told that work has not been started yet.

OPLLC are planning a public consultation to be launched online on this Friday 19 March for three weeks. Please look out for this, make your comments and also let us have your views so we can gauge the mood of the village.

The drawings will show an empty strip of land 30 meters wide to the west of Westenhanger. This is as promised by OPLLC at our request. This land will be ceded to Stanford Parish so that the residents will have the last word about what goes in there. We have also requested, and they have shown this on the drawings, that immediately west of that 30 meter ‘buffer’ there will be only houses, not flats or other multi-storey buildings.

There is no such buffer shown around Tollgate Cottage, Twin Chimneys or Little Greys Cottages. Two of those are east of Stone Street so not officially in Phase 1 but we are insisting the same principle applies on the east (when that is developed) as on the west.

Bottom line is there is going to be a huge town on our doorsteps. We knew that already. But if there is anything in the proposals that is unexpected or which affects you in particular, please contact any parish councillor to discuss it. Cllr Horner and Cllr Bebbington are meeting OPLLC regularly.

Details are still thin on the construction sequence and how this is going to affect us in the next few years. We are pressing for those. They have promised that access to Stone Street, Westenhanger will be limited to existing residents but what happens in the area of the existing racecourse entrance is unclear. We are very concerned about how Stanford South residents will affected as the project proceeds. 

Hopefully the consultation will include the latest project programme.

Slip road closed at north of village

Those who have been out this morning from the north side will have seen the slip road towards Canterbury has been closed by KCC.

Geoff Colledge had a report from them this morning as follows:

“Further damage to the triangle and parking by HGVs etc at this site has worsened. KCC inspectors have been making regular visits to the site and successfully moved lorries on.

“So KCC applied for a temporary road closure until the end of January given Stack being re instated etc and the probability of further disruption throughout our area.

“Temporary barriers are in place and these will be inspected on a regular basis to ensure they are not moved by drivers.”

Geoff was further advised that the repairs/improvements to this site are programmed and further work to kerbing and protection of drainage up Kennett Lane is in next years schedule.

Action on lorry parking

Insp Andy Brittenden attended our Parish Council meeting on Wednesday to hear about the issues we’ve been having with lorries parking in the village.  He was very attentive and promised to go and discuss our case within the Police and with the highway authorities.

He said lorries parking illegally or causing an obstruction should be reported on 101.  There are also night-time patrols and he would see if Stanford can be included in their rounds.

The next day, it was announced that additional powers have been given to KCC to clamp and issue penalty notices for inappropriate and illegal lorry parking from January 1st.  The press release follows:

New powers have been given to Kent County Council to help keep roads in the county clear of illegally parked HGVs.

For the first time, KCC will be allowed to clamp and issue penalty notices to drivers in Ashford, Canterbury, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe, Maidstone, Swale and Thanet.
The new powers will come into effect on January 1.

Inappropriate and illegal lorry parking will potentially be an issue in the areas in and around the M2 and A2, as well as the M20, A256 and A299 in the east of the county, impacting the lives of residents.

KCC Leader Roger Gough said: “We recognise that antisocial HGV parking is already a problem in Kent and something that will most likely become worse once we have left the EU.

“I’m grateful to the government for giving us these temporary powers which will act as a deterrent to any HGV driver and ensure that compliance is greater, meaning key routes on Kent’s road network are kept clear.

“Though we have worked hard on traffic management plans in conjunction with our partners, we cannot guarantee there will not be a certain amount of freight turned back from the Port of Dover, Eurotunnel or from the Manston or Sevington sites if paperwork is not in order.

“If this is the case HGV’s are expected to return to their base of operation but it seems more likely they would simply move onto the local road network and wait to become ready – these powers help highlight that this is not acceptable.”

KCC is now arranging contracts to ensure the seven boroughs can be patrolled and is also arranging for signage to be installed on all relevant roads.

KCC’s Director of Highways Simon Jones said: “Drivers who are taking short statutory breaks will be exempt from enforcement, and we will endeavour to work with HGV drivers to help and encourage them find safe and appropriate locations to park for longer periods.

“As such we will be taking a reasonable but targeted approach to enforcement, for example, if an HGV was parked up in an official location and not causing an obstruction or nuisance, we would be seeking not enforce.

“Keeping Kent’s roads safe and clear is our priority and these powers will encourage HGV’s drivers using our network to consider other road users and Kent’s residents.”

Looking out for your neighbours this winter

This winter we are backing Kent Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter Campaign “Knock and Check”.

Knock & Check is a campaign to reignite the community spirit seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and doing something small to help those most vulnerable during the winter months.

Small actions could make a big difference:

  • Knock on the door to say ‘hello’
  • Offer to pick up some food or add something to your online shopping
  • Drop off a slice of cake
  • Plate up an extra meal
  • Share books or magazines
  • Volunteer for one of our fantastic organisations in Kent and Medway
  • Share details of supporting services

Remember to follow Government guidelines on social distancing to keep communities safe from COVID-19.

  • Keep a 2m distance, staying outdoors at all times
  • Wash your hands before and after a visit
  • Wear a face mask

To find out more about how you can take part, visit www.kentcf.org.uk/knockandcheck

Volunteer to help find the vaccine for COVID-19

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There are a number of vaccines being identified, but only large-scale studies can give researchers the information needed about how effective they are.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is working with the NHS and aims to recruit as many people as possible onto the registry, which will allow people to be put in touch with the vaccine studies in the coming months.

Researchers are looking for people from all backgrounds, ages and parts of the UK – including both people with or without existing health conditions – to take part in vaccine studies, to make sure that any vaccines developed will work for everyone.

The service is available to anyone aged 18 or over, living in the UK. There is no obligation to join in any study, if you are contacted. But by taking part, you could help researchers find vaccines to protect us all more quickly – which in turn could help the NHS and save lives.

Sign up today!