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.