We call for public meeting with developers over Folkestone seafront plans

Labour calls for public meeting with developers over Folkestone seafront plans.

Labour is staging a protest tonight to call for a public meeting with developers over changes to plans for 1000 homes on Folkestone seafront.

The changes will be debated at Folkestone Town Council’s planning meeting this evening (Thursday), which Labour says is jumping the gun.

The scheme has outline planning permission, but now developers want to significantly increase the height of the blocks of flats, remove promised amenities such as the beach and sea sports centres, and knock down the Harbour Master’s House.

The scheme only includes plans for 8% shared equity homes and no social rented or council housing.

An opportunity for people to make comments on the revised plans does not even close until 21st February according to the Shepway planning website; almost a week after the planning meeting! There have been no public meetings about the changes, only a meeting held in private on 25th January where developers presented the changes to town councillors.

At that meeting town councillors also called for a public meeting to take place.

Labour is backing that, and is arguing the proposed changes are major not minor — so there should be a new planning application from the developers along with full public consultation.

Laura Davison, Folkestone and Hythe Labour candidate at the General Election said:

“Yet again the seafront developers are proposing changes through the town council without proper, transparent public consultation. Town councillors have already backed calls for a public meeting; campaigners and residents want one, so why are developers trying to push this through on Thursday even before the opportunity for people to have their say on paper has closed? This development will be a massive change to Folkestone and we will get a much better outcome for everyone in the town if the community is involved. If local people are shut out and ignored, concern will simply continue to grow.”

What people can do:

Labour will be protesting outside the town council planning meeting on Thursday 15th February which starts at 7pm at the town council offices, Guildhall Street before joining the meeting which is open to the public. More details can be found here: http://www.folkestonetc.kentparishes.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/18.2.15.pdf

Representations on the changes can be made on ​www.shepway.gov.uk/planning​ by searching for Y17/1099/SH until midnight every day, via e-mail to ​planning@shepway.gov.uk​ or in writing to Head of Planning, Civic Centre, Castle Hill Avenue, Folkestone CT20 2QY, stating the application number (Y17/1099/SH), your name and address. Comments should be submitted by 21st February.

For more information about the proposals and how to object, see Facebook group Folkestone Seafront Development Public Voice.

You can contact your councillors and MP to put forward your concerns. Ask them to push for a public meeting.

At its last all members meeting, Labour members unanimously passed the following motion:

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.

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