Tibbalds appointed for Otterpool Park garden town centre masterplan and design codes

June 3, 2020

Tibbalds has been appointed by Folkestone & Hythe District Council to develop a masterplan for the town centre and design codes for Otterpool Park, a new 10,000-home garden town between Folkestone and Ashford in Kent. Landscape specialist BBUK is supporting both workstreams.

The masterplan will focus on Phase 1 of the scheme – the initial phase of the development to the north east of the site – and will include a design strategy for the mixed-use town centre, as well as around 1,000 homes, commercial units, green space and landscaping, and a station linking into the nearby HS1 line.

Tibbalds will also create two separate design codes for the project. The first will be a Strategic Design Code covering the new garden town as a whole, with a strong focus on streets and public realm. A second, more detailed design code will sit alongside the Phase 1 masterplan, providing guidelines for developers and their design teams in relation to the town centre and other higher density areas.

Otterpool Park is set to be a vibrant new community located close to the M20 and an hour’s train ride from London as well as being near the Kent Downs and seaside town of Folkestone. In addition to new homes, plans include employment, shops, schools, and medical centres, as well as extensive open space across a 770-hectare (1,903-acre) site that incorporates Westenhanger Castle.

It is being promoted by landowners Folkestone & Hythe District Council and Homes England to help address the area’s growing housing needs. It is now part of the MHCLG Garden Communities Programme.

Andy Jarrett, Chief of Strategic Development Projects at Folkestone & Hythe District Council, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Tibbalds again. As the project enters a crucial stage moving through planning to delivery, we are confident that the team will bring excitement to the place making that will endure and prove to be a major contribution to the garden town.”

Katja Stille, Director, Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design said: “Otterpool Park will be a new garden town with culture and creativity at its core. Even though green space and open landscaping will be a central feature, this development will first and foremost need to function as a community, so it is essential to get the right infrastructure and facilities in place from the start. Although the new town centre will develop over time as the population grows, it needs to be capable of becoming a focus of activity from day one and continue to provide for the community in perpetuity.

“We are committed to ensuring sustainable, green, healthy principles are applied to all aspects of this new development, helping to maximise wellbeing and healthy living opportunities for the people who will live and work there, as we have with other projects of this scale such as Manydown and Northstowe.”

Sue Rowlands, Director, Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design added: “Creating strategic and more specific design codes will make sure that the quality of development continues over the next 30 years while allowing a flexible approach as the times change.”

“At the same time, the masterplan itself will build on our work helping existing town centres throughout the country to remain attractive and economically vibrant places, such as Salisbury, Hertford, and Sutton Coldfield.”