FH: stories | Otterpool Park

A major new garden town development just outside Folkestone could deliver up to 10,000 homes and 9,000 jobs to the district over 30 years, if plans are approved.

Otterpool Park is one of 15 garden towns outlined in the Government’s Garden Communities programme. The proposed development is located on the former Folkestone Racecourse and surrounding land, a site that offers excellent connectivity. London is under an hour by high speed train from Folkestone and there is convenient access the M20 via nearby junction 11a. For local access to Europe, Eurotunnel Le Shuttle’s service takes car passengers from Cheriton to Calais within 35 minutes, or Eurostar’s passenger service to Paris runs from nearby Ashford in under two hours.

In creating a whole new and sustainable community, the plans incorporate community facilities, schools, shops, medical centres and transport infrastructure. The recent addition of medieval Westenhanger Castle, its historic barns and parkland to the site will add a heritage-based centrepiece to the new garden town and bring it back into wider community use.

Garden towns are sustainable in their nature and almost half of the development will be dedicated to green spaces, some of which include woodland walks, community allotments and sports pitches. The plans account for wildlife too and indications show it could deliver a 20% increase in biodiversity across the site – double the emerging target set by DEFRA.

Otterpool Park looks set to set a high standard for modern garden towns in the UK.