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£155,000 funding boost for controversial Otterpool Park garden town

PUBLISHED: 10:55 04 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:55 04 October 2017

Aerial map of Otterpool Park development

Aerial map of Otterpool Park development

Archant

The project aims to deliver up to 12,000 homes near Folkestone

The government has released £155,000 in funding to help speed up the development of the controversial Otterpool Park garden town.

Earmarked for land close to Sellindge and Folkestone Racecourse, the project is set to deliver up to 12,000 homes, but campaigners say it will devastate existing countryside and put a huge strain on roads and services.

Developers recently carried out a series of consultation events ahead of ambitions to submit a formal planning application to Shepway District Council next yea,r with the hope of beginning work by 2020, but opposition to the project remains strong in some areas.

Announcing the funding, communities secretary Sajid Javid said: “Locally-led garden towns have enormous potential to deliver the homes that communities need.

“New communities not only deliver homes, but also bring new jobs and facilities and a big boost to local economies.”

While the government is supporting eight other garden towns as part of this funding, Otterpool Park has been sounded out by the Department for International Trade as the first to be “actively promoted” by the government.

Key features proposed for the development include a high street, where there would be shops and amenities as well as homes, while green space could be utilised for allotments, food growing areas and sports pitches.

Currently, two secondary schools and seven primary schools are proposed, as well as a GP practice, primary and secondary care and social care services, while there is also a heavy emphasis on business, with large investment in broadband infrastructure proposed, as well as an innovation fund to encourage companies to relocate to the area.

It emerged earlier this summer that the council is planning to promote the project on a taxpayer-funded trip to the French Riviera - a move which left campaigners “horrified and dismayed”.

MIPIM, in Cannes, is renowned as much for its lavish parties as its housing conferences, but the council insists attending the event in March “will give us a unique opportunity to promote Otterpool Park to significant and potential investors in the residential and commercial property markets”.

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