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TAKING POSITIVE STEPS TO DELIVER A GARDEN TOWN RESPONSIBLY

TAKING POSITIVE STEPS TO DELIVER A GARDEN TOWN RESPONSIBLY

Published: October 25, 2023

TAKING POSITIVE STEPS TO DELIVER A GARDEN TOWN RESPONSIBLY

Joint funding options are to be explored to help ensure the vision for the district’s new sustainable garden town at Otterpool Park continues to evolve.

After seeking reassurance the council would remain a significant shareholder in any future agreement, cabinet members agreed a series of recommendations – covering the strategic direction, delivery and funding of the project.

Councillors were advised entering into a joint venture could secure appropriate skills and expertise, while also reducing the council’s exposure to financial risk. The full report can be read on the council’s website.

Otterpool Park will provide a mix of 8,500 new homes, business premises and high-quality open spaces for the district. Work to meet the aspirations for the development to be carbon net zero is ongoing.

Leader Cllr Jim Martin said: “As you would expect from a responsible local authority in times of significant financial pressures, it is good to explore all ways of continuing to deliver the project for the benefit of the local residents – as well as securing a sustainable future for the council.

“Like many major schemes across the country, wider factors such as rising interest rates and construction cost inflation have had an impact. No project is immune from them.

“Otterpool Park remains a very profitable scheme, but the current financial risks are not acceptable to the council. That is why we need to look at our options. Third-party funding, if that is what is agreed, would reduce the council’s exposure to risk.

“We would only enter into agreements with those who have a track record of facilitating development at scale, and a commitment to delivering our vision for Otterpool Park. Key principles – including the council retaining a significant stake and a shared role, risk and responsibility as master developer – would also need to be met.

“But nothing has been decided. The more information we have about different ways of delivering this new garden town, the better decisions we can make for the short, medium and long-term of our extraordinary district.”

 

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM FOLKESTONE AND HYTHE DISTRICT COUNCIL

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