The formal “expression of interest” from Shepway District Council (SDC) for a new “Garden Town” of approximately 12,000 houses was submitted to the Government in June 2016.  On 7 June 2016, Lympne Parish Councillors together with neighbouring Parish Councillors were called to a meeting at the Council Offices where the concept of the new proposed development was presented to the audience.  As we know, not one Parish Councillor expressed support for the scheme.  As expected, SDC Cabinet subsequently approved the submission unanimously despite consultation not having taken place with either Parish Councils or residents.

To explain the history of this process, Lympne Parish Council (LPC) was alerted to the intention of SDC to secretly buy the land which is now intended to be used for this development late last year when it was explained to us that the land would be bought as “an income stream” and was to be rented out as agricultural land.  The price paid for the land (in excess of £1000 per acre over the normal agricultural land prices) surprised us, but we were assured by an official source at a Parish Council meeting that there was “currently no intention” to develop this land.   Subsequently, it appears that SDC had been secretly working on plans for this development for some time, even as far back as March 2015 according to one source.  It appears that SDC has borrowed the money to buy this land (£5.263 million), a decision taken by the Chief Executive alone under his emergency powers.  It must therefore be no surprise to understand that your Parish Council are not at all pleased with the conduct of SDC, especially as the money borrowed to buy the land in theory belongs to you and I.

So, what are LPC doing about it?  We have expressed our dissatisfaction over the process to our District representatives, Cllrs Michael Lyons and Paul Peacock and to the Leader of Shepway Council, Cllr David Monk.  We have also written a letter expressing our opposition to the scheme to the then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the Rt Hon Greg Clark MP and a further letter is being sent to the new Housing Minister.  Other neighbouring Parish Councils have sent similar letters opposing the scheme and we will shortly be holding an emergency committee meeting to plan our long-term strategy, working closely with our neighbours to present our unified opposition to this proposal.  We have already received many emails and letters expressing concern and opposition to the proposal from residents.  We support the demonstration march organised by the Otterpool Newtown Campaign Coalition for Saturday 6 August 2016 to draw the attention of residents of Shepway to the unacceptable development planned by Shepway Council for our area.

Lympne Parish Council will continue to oppose this prososed development, which we feel is unnecessary and detrimental to the area.  Residents are encouraged to contact your District Council representatives to express their views, copying in the Parish Council.  Email contact details are as follows:

          Councillor Michael Lyons: Michael.lyons@shepway.gov.uk

          Councillor Paul Peacock:  paul.ap@ntworld.com

          Lympne Parish Council:  lympnepc@outlook.com