The Redevelopment of the Folkestone Seafront

The New Turner Free School
April 25, 2018
Final Stages of the Data Protection Bill
May 9, 2018

The redevelopment of the Folkestone seafront took a further step
forward last week, with Folkestone and Hythe District Council
approving some adjustments that had been requested to the outline
planning permission. The changes asked for by the developer see an in
increase in height of some buildings, in order to create more public
space across the site. Overall, it is still proposed that around one
thousand new homes will be created on the land, as well as providing
space for businesses to work from. The Council also followed a good
process in considering these new proposals, by pausing to take
independent legal advice before voting on them. I think it was right
as well for the Harbour Company to agree to reduce the height of one
of the planned buildings, that had given particular concern to
residents on The Leas.

It has been recognised for many years that the regeneration of the
Folkestone seafront, could deliver a major economic boost for the
town. We have been discussing plans from Roger De Haan’s Folkestone
harbour company to achieve this for more than a decade. It can be
tempting for some people to try and insert new terms and conditions on
a development that delay the project and increase costs for the
builders. I do not support the requests for this proposal to be
‘called in’ by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and
Local Government. His powers in cases like this only extend to
reviewing the legality of the approval that the local council has
already given. As the council has already taken legal advice this
would only cause unnecessary delay.

I believe that now is the time to start building. To support this, a
few years ago I helped secure multi-million-pound grant funding from
the government to help prepare the ground ready for the development;
this work was completed last year. We are fortunate that we are not
dealing with a fully commercial property developer, looking to make as
much money as possible from this project. Instead, Roger De Haan has
already invested huge sums in the regeneration of the town, and is
supporting a scheme which is primarily looking to cover its costs and
create a high quality development which will benefit the economy of
the whole town. The building on the seafront will create jobs for
people, as will the money spent in Folkestone by the people who live
in the new homes. The recent regeneration of the harbour arm and
railway station has not only created a fantastic public space for
everyone to enjoy, it is also bringing more visitors back to
Folkestone, which is vital to the success of any coastal town. In
addition to the new homes being created on the seafront, we need more
affordable properties to buy and rent for local people. I have
supported other development schemes that have plans to achieve this,
not least the proposal from the council to create a new garden town at
Otterpool, to the south of junction 11 of the M20.

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