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Monday, 30 January 2017


Dear Residents,

Apart from John Humphrys giving our Member of Parliament, Damian Collins a grilling on Radio 4's Today programme this morning on the subject of fake news, the Metro has this to say:

MPs to probe threat of 'fake news'

Damian Collins

THE phenomenon of 'fake news' is to be investigated by a group of MPs.

The culture, media and sport committee inquiry will seek to determine if it is a 'threat to democracy', said chairman Damian Collins. Concerns the spread of 'fake news' hit the result of last year's US presidential election may see web users 'be given tools to assess the origin and veracity of stories read online', he added.

Instantly our minds were filled with the words, pot, kettle and black. So, we are publishing some real fake (if you forgive the contradiction) news that local residents just may think is so far removed from the truth that it's laughable.

Here it be: 

Damian Collins, MP. Folkestone & Hythe. Representing and supporting the views of my constituents.

But it doesn't end there. We all know that the majority of Councillors within Shepway District Council are merely apparatchiks on the paths of their careers, or even worse holding on by the skin of their teeth, towing the SDC line. For example; Ms Susan Carey. We have many instances where Ms Carey has been the author of fake news, so for now, we will treat you to just this one:  'You know I am against the lorry Park but most people who responded to Highways England consultation last year were in favour'.

Surprised? We're not. Ms Carey is a Shepway District Councillor and also a Kent County Councillor. Oh how we wish that that really was fake news. Nice hat.


Monday, 23 January 2017


Dear Residents,

Councillor Zerny contacted us today to ask if we were interested in signing a petition to give local residents a say in house building programmes in our area. We checked out how many residents have already signed the petition in Folkestone and Hythe and to our amazement it was only 7. Why only 7 ? Either way, we all know about it now and we reckon we can easily get the total up to 700 and more, a lot, lot more.

Please right click on (open link in new window) to have your say. 


Saturday, 21 January 2017


Dear Residents,


We were more than pleased to accept an invitation as guest speakers at the local Labour party meeting at the Stade Court Hotel in Hythe today to update members on the proposed Otterpool Park New Town situation. Also in attendance was Lesley Whybrow speaking on behalf of the Save Princes Parade group.


The turnout was great, culminating with questions from the floor.


There can be no shadow of a doubt that the common theme that runs through the whole of Shepway is no matter what political persuasion residents are, we are all singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to our rotten Council in terms of lack of transparency and lack of consultation when it comes to developments across Shepway.


Last year we formed alliances with various like minded groups in the Shepway area, going from strength to strength in terms of people power. At last our message is getting out there:


If you're a Shepway Councillor, irrespective of your political allegiance, and you push against our views, choosing not to represent us, towing the line of your party, your days are numbered.


Information sharing is the key to building our numbers. Today, we hope that our message has hit a chord with 750 Labour party members and look forward to further engaging with them, and others, in terms of realising democracy across our communities.


Finally we would like to thank Aaron Roche, Vice Chair (membership) Folkestone and Hythe Constituency Labour Party, for inviting us along to listen to what we're about and look forward to meeting up, in whatever form, in the very near future.


Les Barratt. Co Chairman, S&DRA.


Friday, 13 January 2017


Dear Residents,

Our friends at 'Save Princes Parade' have issued a post on their site which S&DRA are supporting.

If you haven't yet made a note in your diary to vote in the election on MAY 4th, please do so now. 

More will follow from S&DRA on this subject but in the meantime, please take the time to read on:

As you may be aware there will be Kent County Council elections on May 4th this year. These elections won't have a direct impact on Princes Parade as that is a Shepway District Council issue but we believe that several Shepway DC councillors and cabinet members (including David Monk) will be standing for election on May 4th. (Susan Carey who is a Shepway cabinet member is already a KCC councillor and will no doubt be standing for re election.). Save Princes Parade is not political and we aren't going to tell you who to vote for but do we really want to give these people more power after what they are trying to do to Princes Parade? If you are not registered to vote you can register here: We need better and more transparent decision making at all levels of local government.

Thursday, 12 January 2017


Dear Residents,

In response to yesterdays announcement by KCC for multiple lorry parks across our motorway networks, SOS Kent have issued the following statement:

SOS Kent agrees that we need more overnight lorry parking, but not just here in Shepway. It is needed all over Kent and indeed, beyond. We have been campaigning for smaller lorry parks across the whole road network in the South East as just one of the 'smarter solutions' to any rare need for Op Stack, than destroying 250 acres of countryside. 

Properly managed, these multiple smaller lorry parking areas will not only help with Stack, but greatly help the daily/nightly problem of overnight lorry parking. So this announcement from KCC sounds encouraging and we look forward to hearing more detail.


We understand that plans to extend existing and develop smaller new lorry parks in the area have all been put on hold pending the outcome of the monster (3,600) lorry park proposed by Highways England. But with a judicial review pending, that could take months or years. Meanwhile, EVERY NIGHT trucks are being allowed to park dangerously, often chewing up verges, dumping rubbish and human excrement, refrigerated units keeping local residents awake and generally causing a nuisance and damaging the environment.


Having more overnight lorry parking spaces is one thing – and would be fine if they were to be used. Whilst the lorry parks do often fill up, HGVs (usually foreign) can still be seen parked on motorways and illegally elsewhere, even when there is still space in lorry parks nearby. They simply DO NOT WANT TO PAY TO PARK. Also, HGV drivers often want to park as close as possible to their Channel crossing point. So there is clearly the need to clamp down on illegally parked lorries right now. Urgent discussions and decisions need to be made about if, when, where and for how long lorries can be permitted to park in 'legal' free parking spaces such as lay-bys and residential streets.


The government could better use their £250m allocated for the proposed monster lorry park at Stanford by:

  • contributing to private developments to create 3000+ lorry spaces in smaller parks across the South East
  • Developing and installing smart IT to inform and coordinate lorry parking (overnight and for Op Stack)
  • upgrading the A2/M2
  • investing in freight by rail


Let's hope the lorry parking penny is finally dropping at KCC. It is never too late for them, SDC and our own MP to start doing the right thing.

SOS Kent, Stanford.


Monday, 9 January 2017

Poll of Polls - New Town (so-called) Community Engagement.

Dear Residents,

On the 8th, 9th and 10th December, a 'Community Engagement' was set up to inform local residents of the Otterpool Park New Town development that Shepway District Council would like to foist upon us. We believe that this so called 'Community Engagement' is little more than a charade - a tick-a-box venture to go through the process of  humouring or placating residents in SDC's quest to destroy our rural communities. 

Let us not forget that this 'New Town' has never been part of any local plan, core strategy or any other planning consideration. 

We have been told by Deputy Leader, Jenny Hollingsbee, how the great silent majority are greatly in favour of this planned metropolis and how wonderful it will be for everyone in the area. 

On the above dates, S&DRA attended the 'Community Engagements' and simply asked attendees whether they were against, in favour or neutral on the development.

Out of 151 residents questioned, 10 were neutral (needing more information) 2 were in favour and 139 were against the proposed development.

According to DCLG, part of the criteria for the development of a new town is to have local support. So, did Shepway District Council garner opinion from local residents before they presented their 'Expression of Interest' to DCLG (Central Government)? They certainly knew the opinions of 27 Parish Councillors on the 7th June 2016 who told Mr. Monk and Susan Priest that they thought it was a bad idea to build a New town.

And who was presenting the 'Community Engagement'? An independent or neutral body I hear you say. Well err, No: Cozumel Estates. Who are they? you ask. Cozumel Estates is owned by the Reuben Brothers. And who are the Reuben Brothers? They are the bedfellows of Shepway District Council. They are also owners of the Folkestone Race course, pushing for (along with SDC) the development of the New Town.

Your Councillors, Your Council, Fit for purpose? - We'll let you decide.


Sunday, 8 January 2017


Dear Residents,

SOS Kent are staging a fantastic evening out for all across Kent. Individuals, couples and families are all welcome. In support of the legal challenge against the building of the lorry park and desecration of 250 acres of good arable farmland. Please click on the link below for more details and to order your tickets.

See you there.


Wednesday, 4 January 2017


Dear Residents,

As we enter 2017, there will be many of us who will reflect upon the past year using many an adjective. Perhaps incredulous or astonished would be a couple. A wake up call to many who have now witnessed, first hand, the shenanigans of local and central government, who purport to be our representatives, foisting upon us, and supporting the monstrous Lorry Park and New Town against residents wishes.
For some of us though, it only confirms what we already knew: that honourability, integrity and loyalty is a commodity that very few of these individuals have been blessed with.

For the majority of us, the two developments that have kept many residents awake at night are the Lorry Park and the 12,000 dwelling Housing Estate that SDC are calling Otterpool Park.

As I write, my radio tells me that there will be affordable homes built on brownfield sites with government help for first time buyers.  The price: Up to £250,000. On further research, we found that there would be none available in East Kent. Even if there were, who could afford one? And what does affordable mean? And why aren't they designated as 'for local people'? Unanswerable by our 'so called' representatives.

The 'so called' Otterpool Park notion still rumbles on like an out of control super tanker, with little respect for local residents or local Parish Council opinion.
The 3 day 'Community Engagement' held at Sellindge, Folkestone Racecourse, Hythe and Lympne saw a good turnout out of residents, (no thanks to SDC advertising, or lack of it) where opinion was massively against the desecration of good farming land to build 12,000 houses. – Our survey results will follow later in the week. 
Councillor, Jenny Hollingsbee would have been aware of the negative response to the Cozumel Estates feedback form but still she made no mention of it in the Sellindge Monthly Newsletter. Being economical with the facts seems to be a thread that SDC is encouraging at every level.
Leader of Shepway DC, David Monk has already told us that SDC would have gone ahead with the Otterpool scheme even if they didn't get the backing of central government. Being 'in bed' with the Reuben Brothers, (Cozumel Estates) with their amassed fortune has given him the confidence to make that statement. We are sure that Mr. Monk and SDC have done their research most thoroughly and found the Reuben Bothers to be the most respected, scrupulous business partners, ensuring that any profit from the Otterpool development doesn't end up 'off shore' at the expense of local people/taxpayers.

The Lorry park development to date is on hold, even though our pointless Member of Parliament, Damian Collins is still mentioning it in local journals and telling how wonderful it will be to keep our economy moving blah, blah, blah. The same old rhetoric really does become a bore after a year of listening to it. Here's the thing: Collins has never had a career in Civil engineering or anything linked to infrastructure development in any way. He is a career politician; that's his job. If he's told to jump by his superiors, he simply say's 'how high', If he's told by Highways England that they have the solution, he believes them because that's the 'line towing' culture that he (and many of his chums) are about. As far as representing the views of his constituents go – forget it.
Thanks to the hard work of SOS Kent and Stanford Parish Council, along with other associated groups and individuals, a legal challenge has now been launched against the Lorry Park. Strange how Collins or SDC don't like to mention that.
Launched by Westenhanger Castle with an interest from Stanford Parish Council, it has a good chance of succeeding and keeping 250 acres of good arable farmland preserved for our future generations and maintaining the rural lifestyle that Stanford residents so rightly deserve.

Over the year our Association has organised three very well attended and successful demonstrations: Sellindge. Hythe and Folkestone. All very effective, getting the message across that we want our voices heard. Other groups have now joined our newly formed alliance to strengthen their individual voices.  Together, we are now lending support to each other as a real band of brothers and sisters. This has only been achievable through information sharing via social media and email streams. Information sharing is essential if we are going to have success in the future in opposing schemes or developments that our Council is hell bent on foisting upon us. It's with this in mind that I would encourage you all to spread the message across Shepway that there are organisations willing to stand and fight against unwanted development, but we must have contact details of your friends, neighbours, work colleagues and family. With strength in numbers, we can make a real difference.

To conclude we must ask ourselves, why are we suffering the onslaught of massive industrialisation and urbanisation of our beautiful rural area. The answer to that is simple: Damian Collins and Shepway District Council respectively. It was Damian Collins who lobbied central Government for a solution to operation stack. We're not saying that what he did was totally wrong, but we are saying is that he should have listened to local residents concerns and worked through a solution that would have been acceptable to all. Instead, he listened to Highways England spouting absurdities at their exhibitions, making inappropriate claims over and over again until in the end even they had to admit that a Lorry Park would not solve operation stack. By then it was too late to save face. Sure enough Damian Collins will pay the price at the next election.
As for the New Town, it was Shepway District Council that invited the 'Expression of Interest' from central Government after purchasing farmland for 5.2 million pounds. We are all aware of the events that surround that purchase, leaving residents in no doubt that transparency was a dirty word to SDC.
So are we, the residents saying 'no' to all development across Shepway? Of course not. But we are saying let us have real consultation as set out via the Local Plan and let us all contribute in the way our district is formed for our future generations – DEMOCRATICALLY.

The aforementioned demonstrations have taken place because we are not being listened to. The bully boy leader, Cllr Monk never listens or returns our calls when messages are left.  The majority of his cabinet are little more than sheep, towing the party line with little regard for their local residents who they are supposed to represent.
With our alliance growing and information being shared we would suggest that their days as Councillors are numbered.
There is a very important KCC election coming up in May this year. A Ms Susan Carey will be up for re-election: one of the Councillors supporting the building of the Lorry Park, Princes Parade and Otterpool New Town.
We would have liked to her to come along prior to the election date to tell us how she was going to improve our lives but she, along with Cllr Jenny Hollingsbee has flatly refused to meet us at any public meeting. Are we surprised?
More details of the election will be streamed through our website: Please watch this space for further details.

 It just leaves all the team at S&DRA to thank you all for your support throughout 2016 and wish you all a very healthy and Happy New Year.



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