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Sunday, 26 February 2017


Dear Residents,

One of our residents has recently brought to our attention a communication from Ms Lisa Flounders which we think is unhelpful and bordering on dismissive. It relates to the 'Community engagement' in early December where Cozumel Estates (Reuben Brothers), held a 3 day, 4 venue event to introduce local residents to the notion of having a new town on our doorstep and how advantageous it would be to us all.

Here's the email thread:

Dear Ms Flounders

There has not, to my knowledge, been any published information regarding the public reaction to the above presentations. Could you please advise me what level of support for the Otterpool Garden town scheme was indicated by the public meetings. I look forward to hearing from you.

Resident of Lympne

Dear Mrs xxxxxxx

Many thanks for your email.

We'll be coming back again to the public this spring with further details, following the sessions in December.

Best wishes

Lisa Flounders.

Dr Ms Flounders,

Thank you for your email but you have not answered my question. Please let me know what level of
support for Otterpool was shown at the above meetings

Kind regards

Resident of Lympne

Dear Mrs xxxxxxxx,

Thank you for your email, I'll be sure to contact you when this information is available.

Best wishes,

Lisa Flounders.

Judging by the response of Ms Flounders, one would assume that she possesses an insouciant quality that is far from being admired.

Pictured below is Ms Flounders. Her contact details: 01483 561119 or or We're sure that Ms Flounders would love to hear from residents expressing their concerns that evidence of support for the New Town is being withheld. Why not contact her and ask the reason why?

Considering that the 'Community engagement' was on the 8th, 9th and 10th December last year we would have thought that there would have been enough time between then and now to publish the findings of the so called Community engagement.
Ms Flounders actually works for a company based in the Guilford area (so much for local companies being used by SDC) called Property housemarketing. Acting as an agent for SDC, could it be that SDC has yet to communicate with Ms Flounders?

On a previous post we presented our own findings as residents entered and left the so called 'Community engagements: In percentage terms, the support for building a New Town within our communities totalled (wait for it)…………….1.5%. Was this the silent majority that our Caribbean suntanned (more on that to come) Deputy leader and Councillor Jenny Hollingsbee told us was supporting the Otterpool New Town notion?

It would come as no surprise to us all that the requested information is being held back for fear of rocking the proposed 'New Town' boat. Moreover, it was only two weeks ago that Leader of SDC, David Monk said in a press article that the Community engagements would START in March of this year. Disregarding events and information seems to be a habit that Cllr Monk finds it very difficult to break.

It was also David Monk that told a great untruth on BBC radio last year intimating that the Council had the full support of 27 Parish Councillors for the New Town at a meeting on 7th June 2016 when in actual fact the opposite was true.

This is David Monk, Leader of Shepway District Council. If our information is correct, he will be standing as a candidate in the forthcoming County Council election on 4th May in one of the Folkestone wards. We would have liked to present a list of his qualities as our District Council Leader but alas, we just can't think of any. We say that, but none that are actually printable. We'll leave it there for now.


Sunday, 19 February 2017


Dear Residents,

Our friends at Shepwayvox have posted an alarming item that all Shepway residents should be taking very seriously. Moreover, the situation will, have no doubt about it, become worse, a lot worse given the fact that 20,000 more houses are planned by Shepway District Council; 8,000 homes for local people and 12,000 as an unwanted New Town, increasing the Shepway population by 41%. 

With an already failing infrastructure and no new hospitals in the pipeline, can we bury our heads in the sand and hope for the best? The future looks extremely bleak, not only for us, but also for our children and grandchildren. 

A giant rally is being planned for this coming April by S&DRA, (exact time and venue to be announced). It's time to stop the rot in local government.


Please read on:

Shepway GPs "seeing too many patients a day to be safe."

The Shepwayvox team spoke to three GPs from across the district and each of them said they and their colleagues were already ""seeing too many patients a day to be safe."

Getting a GP appointment was your number one concern and more people emailed us about this one subject than any other.

GP Surgeries across Shepway and beyond  have been struggling to keep waiting times down during the busy winter period, with some patients waiting two or three weeks for an appointment. And when one does get an appointment, the amount of time given has been reduced so that "we can get more through the doors and reduce the waiting times. The Prime Minster has now floated the idea that if we don't give patients the appointment times they want, GP Practices will face funding cuts, which will only make things worse."


The chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Dr Helen Stokes-Lampard has said waiting times could rise to three or four weeks and such delays may cause non-urgent conditions to become acute problems. Dr Stokes – Lampard,  and the three GP's we have spoken to are "profoundly concerned" about how general practice would cope over winter when there is allegedly a higher demand for NHS Services.

There are 114,459 patients registered at the 18 Surgeries in Shepway, according to the latest NHS figures published in Jan 2017. Central Surgery having the fewest number of patients. Dr Findlay & Partners at the top of Sandgate Hill have the greatest number of patients with 11,453.


We have spoken to three local doctors who asked for their names not to be mentioned.  We asked  them if patients with non-urgent needs would be forced to wait weeks to see their GP.  "Most Certainly. It's already taking some patients two to three weeks to get in to see a GP for non-urgent stuff, so by the time three to four weeks has passed, the non-urgent stuff may be becoming urgent."

The three GP's all mentioned a "chronic shortage of GPs" and "a crisis in recruitment and a reliance in some surgeries on locums." All of them raised the issue of safety and said that the demand on general practice across the district is increasing and "the resources and workforce available to us are so lacking that individual GPs are currently seeing too many patients a day to be safe. And then at the end of a long day in clinic, we still have a mountain of paperwork to get through."


This rightly concerned us and alarmed the GP's themselves, but that's how it is. It is not just here in Shepway these concerns have been raised.

Just a year ago (Feb 2016)  GP's were saying the quality of the service they provide had deteriorated in the last year.

A year on a little it seems has changed. You the patients are right to be concerned, as are the three GPs who have flagged up this issues. So what can be done?

The obvious solution is throw more money at the problem. However, that alone won't solve the ongoing issue. So what is the answer? We don't know nor did the three GPs we spoke to. With 44 GPs looking after 114,459 people in Shepway area and many set to retire over the next five years, we have to think about how we use GPs' time.

The three GP's all said "all GP Practices across the district are doing all they can to attract new GPs to the area but for many reasons GPs did not want to come here." Again the GPs didn't know why that was.

 We like they do not know the answer. All we do know is that GPs are very concerned. Their workloads have increased, their patient time has decreased and are currently seeing too many patients a day to be safe.The GP system is working close to capacity most of the time, so a small bump in demand can cause a significant problem.  We like you, when trying to book an appointment get frustrated as the phone is more often than not engaged.

Our overstretched GPs are trying to do their best, but as we said earlier, the Prime Minster Theresa May announcing  GP surgeries will be forced to give patients appointments when they want or face funding cuts, this we believe, will not help.

Tell us what you think. Contact us at:


Wednesday, 15 February 2017


Dear Residents,

It appears that Cllr Monk, Leader of Shepway Council is up to his old tricks again. If you thought about going along to the 'Otterpool' Cabinet meeting on the 7th March you may be faced with a firmly locked door to the public gallery. An eagle eyed local resident has contacted SDC with the email set out below:

Dear Mr Chambers

I can see from SDC's website the meeting of the Cabinet regarding Otterpool will be behind closed doors.

I understand SDC will use LGA 1972 section 100A(3), and Paragraph 3 Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the  LGA 1972 

How are SDC allowed to use these sections of law when

Paragraph 9 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 states:

"9. Information is not exempt information if it relates to "proposed development" for which the local planning authority may grant itself planning permission pursuant to regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992."

What legal precedent, if any, is SDC granting themselves permission to discuss these matters which relate to the proposed development of Otterpool Park, when Para 9 states very clearly that  SDC Cabinet meeting behind closed doors relating to otterpool on the agenda  cannot do this.

I look forward to your reply.


We await a reply from Jeremy Chambers, but in the meantime, please feel free to contact him yourselves at:


Tuesday, 7 February 2017


Dear Residents,

It's so good to hear that our future is looking rosy with a massive house building programme that our government is putting in place. Not so good for Joe and Helen though. Are you typical of Joe and Helen or is your Son or Daughter in the same boat?  Please read on:

Dear Councillors and Members of Parliament,

My name is Joe Bishop. I work for the NHS. My salary is £24,000 pa. My wife, Helen has a part time job which she fits in between my shifts and brings in an extra 5,500 pa. I am a moderately intelligent person. We have one child. At the moment I rent a small flat at the rate of £700 per month. I pay my taxes and national insurance. I pay my Council Tax and all utility bills. We have an old diesel car which regularly breaks down because I can't afford the servicing. We have no luxuries, we struggle to find value food. We have no savings because we can't save.
It's encouraging to read that hundreds of thousands of houses are being built, in the planning system to be built and will be built in the future.
If I was a landlord, I would be rubbing my hands together with glee at how many more houses I could add to my portfolio to rent to people like me.

There are a number things that we do have: We have aspirations, We have our love for each other, We have a deep understanding of each other. ...............We also have anxiety, stress and depression.

Is there at least one member of local or central government that can reassure us that our lives will be better in the near or distant future.

Yours faithfully,

Joe Bishop.

Sunday, 5 February 2017


Dear Residents,

We are constantly receiving emails from Shepway residents, but here's an email from a Deal resident looking at the bigger picture from the perspective of the health and wellbeing for us all across Kent. Please take the time to read:

As a former resident of the Shepway area I am concerned, though not surprised, by the mounting threats to the quality of life and environment of the Folkestone/Hythe area.
The proposed Otterpool 'garden village', waste incinerators, a huge lorry park adjacent to the M20 are all causes for concern for anyone with the wellbeing of the area in mind.
I would like to be added to your mailing list please. I would like to be involved when I can with helping to preserve the rural nature of the area.
As a Deal resident and someone involved in the transport industry I feel that increased pressure on transport infrastructure in the M20 catchment area, increased pressure on rail connections to East Kent, combined with the effects of Ebbsfleet garden city on the M2 will impact not just Shepway residents but the entire East Kent population.

                                                      Yours sincerely



Dear Residents,

If you came along to the Barn Dance last night, we're sure that you would agree that it was a night to remember; a resounding success. 

With well over 300 people in attendance, there was something for everyone. It was great to see families and young children taking part in the dancing; with the dance floor heaving there was little room to spare. 

The event was organised by SOS Kent with team leaders, Sharon and Alison breaking records for the amount raised to fight off the lorry park. Wait for it.............................£7,000 raised.....Yes. £7,000.  How was it achieved?: Ticket sales, raffles, Auction and the goodwill of local people donating prizes and auction lots, coupled with sheer hard work of all involved. It really was unbelievable.

There will be other events planned in the near future looking to raise even more money to keep our land free from the immediate threat of concrete, tarmac and intense pollution.


We will be supporting our friends at SOS Kent to strengthen our alliance and looking further afield to get even more groups on board. 


Friday, 3 February 2017


A Referendum, A Super Council & a Whole Load of Debt.

by shepwayvox

Shepway District Council (SDC) becoming part of the Super Council, is the  most important decision SDC have made since they became a district council in 1974. Therefore we call upon the leadership of Shepway, both the CEO Alistair Stewart as the Returning Officer and Cllr David Drury Monk - our ex double glazing salesman, to offer the people of Shepway a referendum.


We need the opposition leader Len Laws (UKIP) (pictured) to stand up and be counted. So far his opposition style has been non-existent and it is time he showed the people of Shepway, that he is worth the£7,650 allowance he receives for being opposition leader.

Over half a million people will come together under one roof, one council, this surely merits a referendum and we call upon all parties in opposition to call for a referendum, Labour, UKIP, Lib Dems the Greens, Local and Town Council's we will all be affected.

We call upon the opposition parties to ask about the deficits, which Ashford Borough Council (ABC) is rightly concerned about, thus reluctant to join the other four, because of their "financial woes" as Cllr Gerry Clarkson Leader of ABC puts it.

SDC have debts close to £60 million. £40 million of that is what they borrowed from the Public Works Loan Board and they will pay back £57 million in all, so  £17 million in interest payments until 2030/31.


Canterbury have a debt to the Public Work Loans Board of £ 183.3m, what are the loan repyaments on that? And how long will it take to pay off including the interest payments.

What are Dover & Thanet's outstanding debt to the Public Works Loan Board?  What is the true figure of all their debt, including their pension deficit they all appear to have? Is this why Ashford Borough Council are reluctant to come on board? Is this what they mean when they took about the financial woes of the other four councils? Is the debt the elephant in the room?


Our ex failed double glazing salesman Cllr David Drury Monk, so often talks about our future generations, the debt he has left them and will leave them if we sign up to the Super Council, is neither here nor there to him but Cllr Monk might be


CEO of SDC Alitair Stewart, (pictured) (Source Two Visual Thinkers) has said that SDC have struggled to engage other authorities in commercial collaboration.  Why is that Mr Stewart? Who is responsible for this? Doesn't the buck stop with you?

Mr Stewart's business model does not appear to be a sensible one to us, does it to you, when he is on the record as saying

"We have a successful grounds maintenance team. We offered to our neighbour to help sort out their team at no cost to them and no profit to us, and they didn't want to, so we just went and sold the services to someone else, which I find sad,"

It is sad Mr Stewart when SDC are not capable of engaging other council's. It is sad when SDC do not listen to its voters over building up to 20,000 homes across the district, when it doesn't listen to the people of Hythe over Princes Parade. It is sad, when they spend money like water on putting the new Leisure centre, first at Martello Lakes then on Hythe Green and now on Princes Parade. This fiasco has rolled on since 2006 and the costs are alleged to be in excess of half a million pounds. Is that money well spent? We personally think not.


Will SDC be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire by signing up to the super council?  We personally think so, and not to tell us about the debt burden the constituents across the four districts will be taking on is disingenuous to say the least. Therefore, whether you are from Thanet, Dover, Canterbury or Shepway, we call upon you the good people of these districts to contact your local Councillors and ask them for a referendum, or if anyone has the money to make it a legal issue and ask the courts if we the people of East Kent are allowed to vote on a mammoth decision, the likes of one which we have not had to make since 1974.


Thursday, 2 February 2017

SAVE PRINCES PARADE. 7th February, Civic Centre. 5pm.

Dear Residents,


A firm date for your diary is Tuesday, 7th February at 5pm. Doors open to the public at 4.45pm. The proposed Princes Parade development will be debated at The Civic Centre, Folkestone. 
Please make the effort to attend.

The link to the agenda is here  - - We would draw your attention to the lack of information.

The save Princes Parade website is

Please watch this space for further information.


Wednesday, 1 February 2017


Dear Residents,

A hard hitting letter supported by five major groups representing the majority of local residents opinions has been published in the KM, Folkestone & Hythe today. Commenting on the letter, one of our Co Chairman, Les Barratt said: 

'One has to ask; what has made the author of this letter put pen to paper and moreover, be supported by so many groups including a local Parish Meeting. The level of misinformation and great untruths streaming from Shepway District Council is now at unprecedented levels. There is now a momentum of opprobrium from constituents across Shepway to the cavalier attitude of Leader David Monk and his Council in the manner that he's driving the SDC juggernaut through local democracy. It has to stop'.

There can be no doubt that whatever political persuasion you are, local issues are of paramount importance and taking precedence over any political tag. 
We have said it before; We are all Shepway Residents and will be encouraging all Shepway Residents to be pulling together to rid the Civic Centre of the Monk bandwagon.


Here be the letter:

Distrust in Shepway District Council's fitness for purpose
We the undersigned wish to protest in the strongest terms about the behaviour of Shepway District Council and the majority of its councillors and call for an immediate suspension of all major planning decisions.  Our distrust in their fitness for purpose and competence is based on the following:
  • The on-going Kent police investigation (case number ZY/035502/14) into the alleged giving of undisclosed gifts to Shepway District Councillors by the former MD of Lydd Airport ahead of the Council's determination of Lydd Airport's planning application in March 2010.
  • The Council's failure to present credible arguments to illustrate how having two New Towns on the M20 on successive motorway junctions  - Ashford on Junction 9 and 10 and Otterpool Park and a proposed lorry park on junction 11 – could be sustainable in terms of jobs, infrastructure and the wider impact on the environment.
  • Councillors' failure to represent their constituents in arguing for proportionality in housing /development matters.  This region of Kent has "done its bit" largely through the Ashford growth centre.  While councillors have a duty to ensure that government policy is implemented at their district level, they equally have a duty to represent and deliver the views of their constituents to their council and to government, particularly when their constituents have been pressured to breaking point.  In Shepway no such representation takes place.
  • The Council's failure to inform residents that the proposed 12,000 house Otterpool Park new town will be in addition to the 8,000 homes the Council is already committed to provide in the period 2006-2026 and explain why the new town is not put forward to help reduce pressure for new housing in other areas particularly the AONB and Romney Marsh. A tally of 20,000 homes amounts to another Folkestone being imposed on Shepway.  Under a Labour government Shepway District Council argued it could not support more than 5100 houses over the same 20 year period because it was unsustainable. 
  • The failure of the Council to reveal its dealings with the Reuben Brothers/Aldersgate Investments (owners of the now defunct Folkestone racecourse) over Otterpool Park and delineate why it is now acceptable to build a new town which includes the racecourse when the planning Inspector in June 2013 stated that 820 houses on the racecourse would conflict with the Local Plan's overall spatial strategy.
  • The failure of the Council to provide sufficient information to enable residents to provide meaningful responses to the housing site allocations set out in the recent Places and Policies Local Plan, Preferred Options consultation.  By not providing information about the number of dwellings which have been built since 2006 it conveyed the impression that all new housing sites put forward in the consultation document were required to meet the District's target of 8000 new dwellings in the period 2006-2026, when clearly this is not the case.  Shepway is already making good progress in meeting its housing targets, particularly on Romney Marsh.  The new housing sites proposed for this area will result in the Marsh contributing very substantially more than its designated share of the total.
  • The council's willingness to acquiesce to developers' pleas to reduce affordable housing allocations on new housing estates.
  • The lack of transparency in relation to the Council's attempt to develop Princes Parade and the churn in consultants employed- pointing to the Council manoeuvring to get the answer it wants.
The list could go on. The behaviour exemplifies the Council's routinely dismissive and cavalier attitudes to the safeguards implicit in the regulations intended to control the planning process and limit the adverse environmental and social impact of development on established communities, open countryside and farmland.
We are told we live in a post truth society – but we are not prepared to accept this standard. The incompetence, maladministration and outright duplicity being applied by Shepway District Council (SDC) in the conduct of our civic affairs exceed the level which the majority of residents are prepared to tolerate.
Jim Martin, Lesley Whybrow:  Save Prince's Parade
Louise Barton, Mark Skilbeck: Lydd Airport Action Group
Donald Broad: Monks Horton Parish Meeting
Les Barratt, Bob Edden: Sellindge & District Residents Association
Dr Belinda Stott, Julian Goldsmith: South Cheriton Action Group


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