Folkestone Seafront Development to be decided 24 April

Folkestone seafront development to come before the council again on 24 April

The most recent plans for Folkestone’s seafront development show the picturesque harbour obscured by buildings, the Harbour Master’s House demolished, removal of the sea sports centre and other public amenities, and a significant increase in the heights of high-rise flats, almost reaching the height of the Leas in some cases. A large number of residents still don’t know that the plans have changed since the initial public consultation and planning agreement in 2015.

Labour, the Town Council and local campaigners have been calling for a public meeting to reveal and discuss the latest plans, ensuring that the public have a voice and a reasonable chance to respond to this development, which will have significant impact on Folkestone. Despite these calls, Shepway District Council and the developers have refused to hold a public meeting.

On 3 April the plans came before Folkestone & Hythe District Council, and after some discussion over whether the plans constituted Section 73 (minor material amendments) and, as the development is of a size which made councillors concerned, the decision was made to defer the vote until legal counsel had been sought. A large number of local residents came along to the meeting, and their presence was certainly felt in the chamber.

The decision will now be going ahead on Tuesday 24 April at the Civic Centre. As before, this planning meeting will be open to the viewing public and will be streamed live on the council website. We would like to get even more people along than last time — if we can’t all fit into the gallery that’s fine, we’ll have to stand outside — our presence will affect how the councillors behave in the chamber and will hopefully remind them that they are representing us.

You can see some images of the proposed height/bulk of the buildings here.

Labour Councillor Jackie Meade of Folkestone East ward said:

“It was with dismay that I saw the revised plans on the seafront. Gone are the wonderful views that draw visitors and much needed money for small local businesses; gone are the residents’ facilities, including the sea sports school; no social or council housing in an estate of 1000 flats and houses; gone is the historical harbour master’s house. Instead we are being given high rise buildings with no new real infrastructure such as GPs, schools or roads to support new residents. Such a dramatic change to our town should have, at the very least, a public meeting for locals to raise their concerns, and put forward positive ideas and changes to the plan.”

What you can do to help:
Can you take ten minutes to help us email councillors to let them know how you feel about the plans? You can get the Planning Committee email addresses here

It needs to be in your own words but here are some points you might like to include:
There should be a public meeting with developers about these changes. Town councillors have already said this.

These changes are not minor amendments they are major changes; developers should go back to the drawing board and local people should have a meaningful say, through a new public consultation.

Developers have applied for changes to the original building plan which remove community facilities and do nothing to address the lack of council, social or affordable housing.

Include a phone number and ask councillors to call you before the meeting so you can discuss it with them.

Please send copies of your email and any replies to  news@fhlabour.org

Notes:

Application number Y17/1099/SH will be considered by the Planning & Licensing Committee on 24th April 2018 at 7.00 pm in the Council Chambers at the Civic Centre, Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone.

The Committee report and recommendation will be available five clear working days before the meeting and may be viewed at www.shepway.gov.uk. Supplementary sheets will be available the day before the meeting.

Folkestone and Hythe constituency Labour party passed the following motion at our all members meeting on Saturday 20th January:

Given the rise of homelessness in the Folkestone area and the need for social and affordable homes, Folkestone and Hythe Labour Party cannot support the proposed Seafront/Harbour Arm development in its current form. We would welcome a real increase in low cost/ low rent accommodation and additional amenities for Folkestone residents. As it stands however the scheme offers neither. It will give rise to increased pressure on an already weakened local infrastructure, including lack of GPs servicing the area, and increased environmental problems caused by a growth in traffic and a lack of public transport for both future and current residents.  Further we believe that local people should have a meaningful say in the shape of Folkestone’s future.

You can read the full Folkestone & Hythe Planning Report here. On the last page there is a recommendation for councillors to accept the plans as they are.

Shepway District Council’s planning committee have already been dragged over hot coals in the High Court for their questionable dealings with Little Densole Farm, where the judge ruled against the council and deemed evidence as unreliable. You can read the full High Court report here.

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New:

The Council’s Conservation consultant report is now up on their website — it provides a greater level of criticism and identifies some of the problems with drawings (i.e. suggests that technical detail shows that the building closest to Burstin will more likely be 10 stories, and not 8 stories high as in drawings).

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