Plans to build thousands of new homes near Folkestone could lead to overcrowding on London-bound trains, leaving Ebbsfleet commuters "unable to get on trains", according to Dartford Council.

Concerns were raised by council officials after a consultation was lodged regarding the Otterpool Park development which aims to develop up to 8,500 residential homes on land between Ashford and Folkestone.

The development proposes to create a new garden city which will include new primary and secondary schools, health facilities, shops, business sites and leisure facilities.

In response to the consultation lodged by the Folkestone and Hythe District Council, DBC officials have flagged "significant concerns" with regard to future transport woes as more properties could lead to a rise in commuters using the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL) service from Ashford to central London, which also stops at Ebbsfleet International.

According to council documents, a senior council official stated: "There are clear links from the development to HS1 and then to Ebbsfleet.

The Borough Council has concerns that greater loading in east Kent could massively worsen the overcrowding on these essential trains.

"Existing investment/ rail expansion plans are only due to cater for creating any capacity at the Ebbsfleet AM peak for the next three years or so.

"Beyond early 2020 the trains will be over capacity by Network Rail’s own admission, even without this development."

Although Otterpool Park plans note that the site was chosen due to its close proximity to Westenhanger railway station, Dartford Council officers have argued that new commuters could only use this station to get to Ashford before using the CTRL to reach central London.

It's also argued in their report that an analysis conducted by the developer, Cozumel Estates Limited, which predicts a "slight" increase in train usage, is only taking into account an increased demand at Westenhanger, not other stations.

Dartford Council's report states: "It is extremely likely that a new town by a railway station in an attractive rural setting will generate major commuter movements by rail.

"The Council would request that further work is carried out with regard to the impacts of the proposal on the passenger capacity of the commuter rail network."

The major east Kent developer has been met with fierce opposition from scathing residents who live near the proposed site, with more than 140 objections being lodged to the local authority.

Issues cited by concerned neighbours range from increased traffic trouble and fears that good quality agricultural land will be destroyed during the development stage.

The outline application still awaits approval or refusal from Folkestone and Hythe District Council.