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Join our Demonstration!

We invite you to join us for a peaceful, family-friendly demonstration against the plan to develop Princes Parade. We are protesting against the diversion of the coast road, the loss of wild space and wildlife habitat and the urbanisation of Princes Parade.

  • Save Our Road

  • Save Our Wildlife

  • Save Princes Parade!

Sunday, 15 August 2021

11.00 am Meet at the car park by the play area and Seapoint Canoe Centre.

From 1.00pm till 5.00pm There will be a “Celebration of Princes Parade” hosted by The Fountain, Seabrook CT21 5RT – featuring Jack Pound and the Rattlaz and Carol Grimes. There will be a BBQ, children’s activities and much more…

Accompanied children encouraged, animal fancy dress optional (prizes for best dressed!).

Please bring banners, placards and something to make some noise! We will walk along the seafront and along the canal for a short distance.

For more information please message us on Facebook @SavePrincesParade or email theprincesparade@gmail.com

We do not agree the area will benefit from the proposed scheme which will see the coast road moved harmfully close to the canal with a high risk of pollution and which will decimate the wildlife living at the site.

Wildness and nature will be replaced by tarmac and buildings.


What’s the cost of building on a landfill site?

At the FHDC council meeting on July 21st Councillor Jim Martin questioned Council Leader David Monk on the viability of developing Princes Parade in the light of the site investigation report on the contamination of the former land fill site.

You can also download a copy of the full report to which  Councillor Martin is referring here.

The full webcast of the council meeting can be found on the council’s website here.


What’s happening to the badgers at Princes Parade? (updated)

There’s a “planning application” (reference 21/1209/FH) on FHDC’s website relating to the fate of the badgers living on the land earmarked for development at Princes Parade and it appears to suggest that the council are planning to create an artificial sett for badgers displaced by the new development. There are already many objections to the plans as this article from KentOnline points out.

You can find full details on the FHDC planning portal here. Among the many interesting documents filed are this one, (the badger survey report) and an unredacted version of the Ecological Method Statement.

If you have strong feelings about the welfare of the badger population and would like to send in your own comments or objection, you can do so by following this link,

The deadline for comments is August 6th.

For your information, here is our own objection:

We are submitting this objection on behalf of our 616 members. Our objection to this planning application is as follows:

  • The public do not know what the current position is in relation to the badger population as that part of the details have been redacted. This is unacceptable if the public are to make informed comment. Clearly KCC find it so, as they have asked for this information. It should also be made available to the public if the Council is going to rely on it in writing their report. It is a legal requirement.
  • The details refer to sett A being retained at the western end of the site, and a new sett B created in this area. The layout of the western end of the site is unknown, both in terms of the position of the road, and whether it is still the intention to have the attenuation pond in this area.
  • If the badger setts are in close proximity to the road there is the risk of badgers being hit by vehicles as they cross the road which is a highway safety issue.
  • If the attenuation pond is in this area, the land will be too wet for the badgers to want to inhabit setts, generally they build in dry banks.
  • Under the application this western area will cease to be overgrown and will become public open space. The manicuring of this area would reduce the badgers food supply, which would make this area unattractive to them.
  • The use of this area as public open space will attract people and dog walkers which would make the area unattractive to badgers.

We have also noted an objection to the plan by the East Kent Badger Group which points out:

“Being the local badger group we have a great deal of local knowledge concerning badger distribution in the Princes Parade/Seabrook area. At no stage have we been consulted, and the position of the proposed artificial sett is based on pure convenience rather than scientific knowledge. For example we are not aware that any ecological studies have been made to determine whether or not the badgers at the existing Princes Parade site use this area of the site already. We are also concerned that the site is too close to proposed roads and makes the animals which will use the sett vulnerable to road traffic accidents. In addition it is normal practice to acquire local sett records as part of a biological record search for applications such as this one. As a group we hold all relevant records, and bodies that enquire of the Kent and Medway Biological (KMBRC) records centre are automatically redirected to us, as they do not hold full details of badger records. To date we have received no such enquiry from any party associated with the proposed development, and as a result we feel that it is extremely unlikely that the proximity of adjacent social groups has been considered in terms of the siting of this proposed artificial sett.”


BAM Construction Report

The report on the findings of the site investigation works that have been taking place on the land at Princes Parade has been published  on the the Council’s website.

The report is 489 pages long and can be found under planning application number 21/1209/FH on the F&HDC’s planning portal.

(You can also download a PDF copy of the report by clicking here.)

The planning application, 21/1209/FH under which the report can be found, is an application for the ‘Formation of a new badger sett, including earthworks’. The deadline for comments on this planning application is 16th July 2021.

We will be looking at the details of the report and the planning application and will be submitting comments as appropriate. Please can we encourage you to do the same.


Petition for Public Inquiry into Road Closure

Conservative Kent County councillors Rory Love and Andrew Weatherhead have launched a petition calling for a public inquiry about the stopping up of Princes Parade.

We believe this is worthy of our support so please sign and share this petition as much as possible. It is worth sharing on all social media platforms and in groups you may belong to. Please tell your friends about it too.

Signatures from “interested parties” are welcome so while it would be expected that most are local, the petition could be strengthened by wider support. This petition has a different focus from the previous Save Princes Parade petition and is less restricted.

The petition has passed the 4,000 signatures milestone – let’s get it to 5,000+!


Surface water strategy is now “draining onto the beach”

A revised ecology statement reveals that F&HDC has changed its strategy on the  thorny issue of surface water drainage from the proposed development  at Princes Parade. Instead of ultimately draining into the Royal Military Canal, it is now proposed to run off onto the beach!

Lloydbore Ecological Method Statement5.6 The hybrid planning application examined two potential drainage strategies, one draining into the canal and one draining onto the beach. Both of these strategies were subject to EIA screening and considered acceptable in environmental terms. The planning application as approved included a drainage strategy into the canal. Subsequent to the planning application being approved this strategy has now been re-visited and a strategy for draining onto the beach is now proposed.

You can download the full revised Ecology Method Statement from the council’s ecologists, Lloyd Bore here…

Note: the report is heavily redacted in parts.


Land plus cash confirmed for new pool at Martello Lakes

At the planning meeting which took place on 25th May 2021 it was confirmed that the S106 contribution from the development at Martello Lakes will include a cash contribution of over £5m* for the construction of a new Leisure Centre – whether or not it is built there on a plot provided at virtually no cost by the developers.

Hythe resident Mark Brophy addressed the meeting to seek clarity over the confusion that has surrounded the matter especially after council leader David Monk claimed it was an either/or situation. Cllr Jim Martin also sought, and received, confirmation from Llywelyn Lloyd, the Chief Planning Officer, that the S106 agreement made it clear that the cash contribution for leisure facilities would apply whether or not they were built on the 1.6 hectares land provided by the developers at Martello Lakes.

*index linked £3.2m – which becomes due when the 250th home is completed at Martello Lakes (previously known as Nickolls Quarry) 

Full details of the planning meeting are on the council’s website here…


Stopping up and redirecting Princes Parade

If you responded to the consultation  regarding the proposal to “Stop up” and divert  Princes Parade you should have received a notification from F&HDC’s Tim Madden to the effect that the consultation is over and the responses will now be considered.

There is a link to this report, commissioned by the council, from Buckles Solicitors.

Having objected to the planning application (over 700 objections in total) and been on the losing end of an extremely tight judicial review of the planning process, objecting to the stopping up order is the last single democratic process within which we can prevent the development as designed taking place.

We have asked a transport consultant to look at the report for us and will be getting that feedback in the next week or so.

In the report the several hundred objections from the public have been “categorised” into ten themes and Mr Madden writes that the response  to “the theme(s) relevant to your specific objection” can be found within the report.

The report reduces the relevant objections to two main categories and is worded in a way that strives to undermine all the objectors’ points and persuade them to withdraw them.

1 The “necessity test” Is the stopping up and diversion of the road necessary for the development as defined by the planning permission granted?

All those who objected because the Leisure Centre and associated development could have been achieved without the stopping up/redirection of the road had the foundations of their objection swept away when the council awarded itself planning permission – with plans that included the new shape of the road, thereby assuring itself that the “necessity test” would be passed, regardless of the fact that the aims of the scheme could be achieved without diverting the road away from the sea front and along the bank of the canal.

2 The “merits test” Remember that this report is not unbiased or independent. Its purpose is to set out the council’s case for the Stopping Up Order and reduce the credibility of the objections to avoid an inquiry being held by the Secretary of State for the Department for Transport into the application.

The public’s response to the consultation was clearly and overwhelmingly against the order. Buckles’ own assessment of the responses include:

adverse impact on the setting of the Royal Military Canal was raised by 175 repondents; on the traffic flow by 136; on the environment and wildlife by 122; loss of seafront highway amenity by 148.

The 169 who objected that the order was not necessary for the development had already been dealt with when the council as applicant and planning authority awarded itself planning permission.

Four (4) respondents supported the application.

Unsurprisingly, Buckles want you to accept their view that the “merits test” has also been passed.

If you have received the email please take time to reaffirm your objection to the stopping up order by emailing princes.parade@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk. Although you cannot raise any new objections you can take the opportunity to reinforce your original points and we would encourage you to do so. If you don’t respond your objection will not be withdrawn.

If you choose to respond, please copy in the case officer at the Department for Transport, nationalcasework@dft.gov.uk, quoting Reference: NATTRAN/SE/S247/3254.

Click here to read the Save Princes Parade Campaign’s comments on the Council’s response to the objections to the stopping up of Princes Parade.

(Responses were due to be made by 4pm Monday 7 June 2021.)

We will continue to fight the stopping up and diversion of Princes Parade as we will any development on Princes Parade.

Plan showing F&HDC’s proposed development and the realigned road. Click here to see a larger image (opens in a new browser window).


The Campaign

The Campaign

Initially formed in 2011, the Save Princes Parade campaign group was formally established in 2017 to oppose the Council’s latest attempt to develop the site.

Since then, the Council have refused to accept a petition of over 6,500 names and has brushed aside many individual emails and letters objecting to the plans. They have also ignored more than 600 formal written objections from residents submitted at the consultation stage of the planning process.

A timeline of significant events can be found here.

The district elections of May 2019 ensured that nearly half our Councillors are now opposed to the development. Shortly after this election, the Full Council voted to abandon the Princes Parade scheme. Although this decision was overridden by the Cabinet, opposition councillors continue to work hard within the District Council to prevent this development.

In a hugely powerful demonstration of support for the cause, residents and SPP members organised fund-raising events and generously donated nearly £50,000 to pay the costs of our attempt to overturn the Council’s grant of planning permission for Princes Parade through a Judicial Review.

The campaign continues…

Unfortunately, our legal challenge was unsuccessful. The Judicial Review, however, was but one of many hurdles for the District Council to overcome and they still have some extraordinarily difficult problems ahead. For example, F&HDC still needs to take account of the many objections to, and logistical problems of, ‘stopping up’ the road. There are also extensive environmental, drainage and ecological issues to be addressed as well as justifying the financial viability, yet to be ascertained, of building on this site. Despite F&HDC’s previous claims, Princes Parade is certainly not the cheapest and quickest means of providing a new swimming pool for Hythe. There is an ideal alternative location for the leisure centre available to the Council for £1 at Martello Lakes on the west side of Hythe which would better serve the residents of Romney Marsh where there is a real need for a swimming pool.

Currently we are working on promoting Martello Lakes as the only guaranteed deliverable solution to the challenge of providing Hythe with its a much-needed new pool. We are also investigating the ‘conditions’ imposed when the Princes Parade planning permission was granted and will be ensuring they are adhered to if, or when, development begins. We are also exploring the options we can pursue to prevent the ‘stopping up of the road’ and pressing for a realistic examination of the costs of development.

How to help…

There will be opportunities to object to aspects of the scheme in the future and we will flag these up as and when they arise. Meanwhile it’s always worth writing or emailing councillors to make your views known and we will keep you informed of any formal opportunities for you to object.

The Background

The Background

For many years Folkestone Hythe & District Council (formerly Shepway DC) have been working on a project to build a leisure centre and “enabling” housing (150 new homes) on land the council owns on Princes Parade in Hythe. This project is very unpopular with local people – not just because of the loss of our unique open space and the impact on the wildlife that lives there but also because of the impact on the Royal Military Canal (which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument); the contamination risk because the site was once used as a landfill site; the flood risk and just as important, the financial risk that this project could pose to the council. There is an alternative site for the leisure centre at the Nickoll’s Quarry/Martello Lakes development.

A planning application was  submitted in September 2017 and approved – subject to the Environment Agency  withdrawing its objection relating to surface water drainage – by the planning committee on 16th August 2018 5 for;4 against and one abstention. Unfortunately in a letter dated 15.1.19 the Environment Agency say that they are satisfied that the secondary scheme now presented by the council (ie into the canal) represents a “just about viable” alternative to a direct discharge into the sea. In a letter dated 17.1.19 the EA confirmed that they are withdrawing their objection.

We asked the Secretary of State to call in the application  but he has declined on the grounds that it is of local (ie not national) importance and so should be determined locally. We are looking to see if we have grounds for a judicial review.

The council’s cabinet approved the business plan for the project on Feb13th . The public were excluded from part of this meeting (we believe unlawfully) and we were not allowed access to the papers for the meeting.

The planners have just finished a consultation on the new surface water drainage system and we expect that they will soon issue the planning permission. At which point we will have 6 weeks to request a judicial review of the decision to approve the planning permission. The diversion of the road will need to be approved before the development can go ahead – this may need a public inquiry.

At the cabinet meeting on Feb 13th it was agreed to delegate management of the project mainly to an officer which means there will be even less public scrutiny of this than there has been so far. From the papers we have been able to see the council believe that the costs of the project will be £29m and that they will have enough capital receipts to cover this. We believe that the costs have been seriously underestimated and the proceeds from land sales overestimated so the council could be left with a multi million pound loss. The council’s own consultants admit this is a risky project. Councillor Monk states that the project is financially viable but the truth is the council is not yet in a position to be sure of that. Even if the project was financially viable, it will require a considerable amount of up front funding. It seems that the council are proposing to cover that by means of internal borrowing.

At a meeting of full council on 26th June 2019 a motion was passed to withdraw the planning application and to start work on a planning application for the leisure centre at Martello Lakes. However the Monitoring Officer claims this decision is not binding on cabinet. We wait to see how Davis Monk the Leader of the council will respond to this.

Scroll down past the aerial picture for more information.

You can read the full resolution  re the planning decision here.

The planning officers recommended that planning permission is granted you can read their reports here committee report  and here Supplement Information

You can watch the video of the meeting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2Vr5uWOlDw&feature=youtu.be

The summary of the planning application is: Hybrid planning application for the development of land at Princes Parade. An application for outline planning permission (with all matters reserved) for up to 150 residential dwellings (Use Class C3), up to 1,270sqm of commercial uses including hotel use (Use Class C1), retail uses (Use Class A1) and / or restaurant/cafe uses (Use Class A3); hard and soft landscaped open spaces, including children’s play facilities, surface parking for vehicles and bicycles, alterations to existing vehicular and pedestrian access and highway layout within and around the site, site levelling and groundworks, and all necessary supporting infrastructure and services. Full application comprising a 2,961sqm leisure centre (Use Class D2), including associated parking, open spaces and children’s play facility.

Apart from the many harms that will be caused by this development – harm to the setting of the Royal Military Canal (which is a scheduled ancient monument; loss of open space; loss of the wonderful vistas and open character of the site; loss of wildlife habitat and the loss of tranquility along the canal, one of our biggest concerns is that the project is not financially viable . The council do not seem to have an appreciation of the challenges of developing the site nor the risks involved.

There is another site for the new leisure centre at Nickolls Quarry (now Martello Lakes) so there is no justification for causing all this harm nor for the council to embark on such a risky project.

We are very concerned that so much of the application is outline only and that the applicant is trying to leave many of the details (including design and dealing with the contamination) to be decided as reserved matters or conditions. In other words, planning permission could be granted with all these details undecided ie effectively giving the developer who buys the housing land a blank cheque.

We believe that Princes Parade is a valuable open space and should be left that way to protect the wildlife and to protect the Royal Military Canal which is a scheduled ancient monument. We have serious  concerns about the financial viability of Shepway’s proposals to develop the site (and the other linked sites) and do not think it is appropriate to build on a contaminated site.

Is this what you want Princes Parade to look like?

The original idea for a leisure centre to replace the existing swimming pool came about as part of the planning application for Nickoll’s quarry (now Martello Lakes). The s106 agreement for that development includes a prepared site for the new facility which Shepway can buy for £1. The agreement also provides for a payment of £3.2m towards the new facility whether at Martello Lakes or elsewhere in Hythe.

In 2012 Shepway DC commissioned 2 sets of consultants’ reports. One from Strategic Leisure looking at the preferred site for the leisure centre (NQ, Princes Parade and the existing site) and one from GVA looking at Princes Parade.  The brief to GVA said

The purpose of this project is to secure a residential allocation for the mixed use redevelopment of Shepway District Council owned land at Princes Parade, Hythe in the council’s proposed Site Allocation Development Plan Document.”

Mixed use included the new recreation centre, a new Seabrook Primary School and housing.

Strategic Leisure concluded (without any public consultation) that the preferred site should be Princes Parade although the report itself didn’t provide overwhelming evidence to support that. This recommendation was accepted by Cabinet at their meeting in December 2012 when they also authorised officers to continue with the project.

In July 2013 Cabinet authorised the officers to look at a revised plan which included looking at the linked sites as well as identify the sources of funding (which has still not been made public.). At this stage Shepway had still not done a viability study of their plans nor had they done a contamination study.

In May 2014 Cabinet considered further reports from Strategic leisure (who now recommended a cheaper model for the leisure centre) and GVA.  The financial assessments provided by GVA were “high level”.  Jeremy Chambers said he would ask GVA to provide more detailed financial data but this was never done. It was agreed that the number of houses be limited to 36 and that a covenant be out in place to protect any remaining open space and parkland. We remained concerned that Shepway had still not identified all the costs and potential risks. GVA and Strategic Leisure differed in opinion as to whether the east or west end of Princes Parade would be the most suitable so it was agreed this would be put to the public. Unfortunately this was done by Shepway’s PR consultants who insisted that the contaminated waste would be removed. Shepway eventually conceded the waste would be capped not removed.

During the summer of 2014, Shepway commissioned a heritage study from Lee Evans. Shepway weren’t keen to publish this but we eventually got hold of it via a FoI request. Lee Evans recommended that Shepway delete housing from their proposal and discussed the risk of significant damage to the Royal Military Canal if the Leisure Centre is built on Princes Parade. Historic England have serious concerns about the effect on the setting of the Royal Military Canal. Read more here.

Early in 2015, Shepway held a public consultation as part of the Local Plan process. 80% of those who responded to the Princes Parade question were against development on the site but Shepway have never publicly acknowledged this.

In July 2015 Shepway officers attended a Hythe Town Council meeting with proposals to put a new pool and housing either on the existing site and/or on the South Road recreation ground. Both of these options were later ruled out (mainly because of parking but also because Shepway needs the capital receipt from the existing pool to part fund the new facility) but Hythe Town Council suggested they also look at The Green for the new leisure centre.

On 28th October 2015 Shepway’s resource Scrutiny Committee recommended that Cabinet reconsider Nickoll’s Quarry as the preferred site but cabinet ignored that recommendation.

On 4th November Cabinet were presented with a new report which:

-said that the new primary school was not financially viable (any final decision resting with Kent County Council);

– included a comparison of the 5 possible sites for the leisure centre including The Green concluding that The Green should be the preferred site with Princes Parade second preference. (However we would dispute the reasons given for ruling out NQ.)  Note that even if the leisure centre was built on The Green then there would be housing on Princes Parade.

– said that remedial measures would be needed to deal with the contamination (but note the contamination will be capped not removed.)

– included land value assessments for the various sites (note that lower density housing on Princes Parade gives rise to a higer land value because more of the land would have to be sold off.)

– recommended submitting outline planning applications for The Green (subject to HTC approval) and Princes Parade

Some of the supporting documents (including the contamination report and another report from Lee Evans looking at the planning risks due to risk of harm to the Royal Military Canal)  were published on Shepway’s own Princes Parade website but it is not clear if cabinet members were aware of this.

http://www.princesparade.co.uk/plans.html

At the cabinet meeting Councillor Collier tried to ask how this fitted in with the Local Plan (currently a work in progress) but was ignored.

The report failed to mention the previously agreed covenant on the open space on PP nor the limit of 36 houses but it was confirmed at the meeting that that the relevant resolution still stands.

Hythe Town council  agreed to make part of The Green available to Shepway for the new leisure centre but during the full council meeting at Shepway on 24 February Councillor Monk said that because of problems with the covenant on The Green the leisure centre would be built on Princes Parade after all. He tried to claim there would be no extra cost of building it there – thus ignoring the contamination, harm to the Canal and other known and unknown problems of developing the site.

On 6 April 2016 a report was presented to the Resource Scrutiny Committee. This report was not made public and the public were  excluded from the meeting on the grounds that a third party was involved and hadn’t given their permission. Shepway attempted to do the same for the cabinet meeting on 13th April. We argued that they had not given the required notice/and or reasons. In the end the Hythe & Saltwood Sailing Club who were apparently the third party gave permission for their identity to be revealed and so the public were allowed into the meeting at the last minute.

At the meeting cabinet were presented  with a land use report which showed three options – all three including 150 or more new homes ; two include a leisure centre  and one a “yacht” (they mean sailing) club.  Cabinet members unanimously voted to allow officers to use this report as a basis for a planning application. A budget of £500k for this preparatory work has already been agreed. Officers are due to report back to cabinet before November 2016

Princes Parade is currently designated for open space and recreation – not housing and despite the fact that Shepway keep referring to it as a brownfield site it is not a “previously developed site” as defined in the NPPF. We believe that any attempt to change  the designation of the site should be carried out via the Local Plan ie the proper democratic process.

You can read more about the various council/cabinet meetings including watching videos of some of them here and read some of the reports here.

Gallery

An inspiration

Princes Parade with its unique environment has inspired generations of artists, photographers, writers and filmmakers for decades. With its green space, wildlife, the historic Royal Military Canal and a wide open seafront with views to France, Dungeness and the hills and woods beyond Hythe it is a rare and precious feature in the south east of England.

Here we have a look at some of the work produced by local people in response to this beautiful, but threatened, landscape.

Illustration and design

James Marsh

Local artist and designer James Marsh’s latest limited edition book ‘Eco Worrier’ will be for sale at the next Garage and Garden Safari, with profits donated to the ‘Save Prince’s Parade’ fund.

James maintains international status as a highly acclaimed illustrator/artist, alongside being an accomplished designer and author, with a ‘National Diploma in Design’ among his formal qualifications.

In 2003 the ‘Independent’ newspaper named him “in the Top Ten of British illustrators”, and in 2015 was officially inducted into the American ‘Album Cover Hall of Fame’. His art has been used consistently throughout the advertising, publishing and editorial industries, on anything from posters and packaging to books and magazine covers.

James has featured in most leading graphic arts magazines, winning numerous awards both at home and abroad.  He’s probably best know for the iconic images used most memorably on album covers and posters for the 80s band ‘Talk Talk’, whilst his artwork hangs in both public and private collections throughout the World.

“I moved from London to Hythe in 2002 to realise a perfect working environment – my hillside studio overlooks the vast expanse of Hythe Bay, leading out across the English Channel to France.

I really appreciate the uniqueness of our surroundings and the pleasant walk in and around town via the canal.

Hythe has gradually changed since moving here, but I still believe it’s worth fighting to maintain its charming character and stem any over development, particularly along the seafront with its uninterrupted vistas”

For more information and extensive portfolios, visit  www.jamesmarsh.com


Photography

Chris Farrell

A career in the army has left Chris with brain damage, spinal injuries and complex PTSD. Chris walks her little dog, Becky along the canal and seafront at Princes Parade most mornings. She says, “I love this place, it is my sanctuary, it feeds my soul.  I love its beauty and tranquillity, and the abundance and variety of wildlife.  In my opinion it is the best place on earth.  It gives me the peace and space I need to deal with my conditions.”

Chris is a keen amateur photographer and is often seen along the canal taking pictures with her camera or mobile phone. She regularly submits images to the BBC Weather Watchers and her photos of Princes Parade are often featured on the local or national weather forecasts.

For the last three years Chris has produced a calendar of photographs of Princes Parade to raise funds for the campaign. The sold out 2021 calendar was a collaboration between Chris and four other local photographers who are passionate about saving Princes Parade.

Chris is a beekeeper and has a hive located very close to where the council has stripped the north bank of trees and vegetation. She is very concerned about the lack of forage now available to the bees and other pollinators and the stress the council’s destruction is putting on the animal population along Princes Parade as a whole.


Mark Brophy

Mark Brophy is originally from Hampshire but now lives in Seabrook on the Kent Coast. He is the author of “The Prince’s Parade” published in 2019 , a book inspired by the love of the area in which he lives and out of a desire to save it from urbanisation. He is an active campaigner and believes in the power of the written word to change the way people think about the earth as a complex, interconnected life support system.

A member of “Write by the Sea” a Folkestone based writing group, Mark contributed photographs and stories to “Ghosts by the Sea“, the group’s debut anthology. He is also a keen amateur photographer and can often be found walking with his Jack Russell, Rosie.


Marianne Taylor

“I love to watch and photograph wildlife along the canal paths at Princes Parade. These peaceful waterside walks offer chances to see a wide range of birdlife, including scarcer and Schedule 1-listed species such as Kingfisher and Cetti’s Warbler, and on summer days a wonderful array of insect life. It is so unusual to find an unspoilt wild place like this so close to a town – this area is one of the most special things about Hythe and one of the main reasons I love this area so much.

“I’m a nature writer (my most recent book, The Gull Next Door, includes observations from Hythe).”


Gillie Savage

“My photographs represent a visual diary of Princes Parade. As a keen photographer, I am always inspired by the surprises I encounter during my regular walks along the canal path and the sea front.

There are a number of viewpoints that I particularly love, where I often stop and just absorb the beauty and magic they offer. The seasons bring different mood, colours and light, each one has its own charm. The pair of swans feature regularly in my photos, to me they symbolise the timelessness of nature.

Princes Parade has always been a very special place to me. It is a peaceful stretch of open land which tumbles from one season to the next.”


Painting

Ron Marsh

Ron is a local Hythe artist and gets much of his inspiration from the Princes Parade area.

His work is very detailed and he often paints this part of the canal, and other scenes along our coastline, as you can see from the examples here.

He currently holds the ‘Best In Show’ award as voted for by the public at the town’s art society annual exhibition.

“We are so lucky to have this unique conduit running through our town. It can provide so many aspects for leisure and well-being in one easily accessible, natural place.

Having images of one’s surroundings inside our living spaces gives a constant connection and reminder of  the world just outside our door. I prefer to work on local images for this reason, and focus on a photo-realistic representation of the scene, which is easier to interpret and enjoy.

The vistas displayed by the canal as time progresses are constantly changing through season, weather and man. We must strive to embrace those changes, good or bad, because nature will relentlessly work its magic spell. That’s one thing that can’t be stopped, but freezing time through art and photography is something that we can all enjoy for many years to come.”

If you wish to contact Ron… ronmarshart@gmail.com

If you would like to see more of his work… www.instagram.com/ron.marsh.art


Adina Nash

In Adina’s painting the animals are becoming homeless refugees as David Monk moves in with his digger and are seeking a new life over the channel.
Oil on canvas, 19”x14”.

The painting is for sale, details from Adina at adina.nash@ntlworld.com or 07825 916929.


Music

Lorraine Lucas

The local singer/songwriter at Princes Parade. with an impromptu performance of “There’s just some things money can’t buy”…

Find Lorraine on Facebook


Poetry

The great, green parade

The great, green parade unfolds
under the February sun.
The sound of a plane intrudes
upon a thousand bird songs.

The machines never far away
from princely vegetation,
where people come to walk their dogs
and ease dog-tired minds.

It will soon be consumed.
Shapeless men in striped suits,
whipped, agree to desolate

this place, where crowds of reeds
sway in the breeze,
at the banks of the canal.

Jenni Hawkins

Hythe Town Councillor (Green)


Spring Mourning

Listen
Can you hear the songbirds singing in the trees?
Can you see the kestrel hover in the breeze?
How about the badger snuffling through leaves?
And have you seen the flowers loved by the bees ?

I’m sure they were here once, but where have they gone?
No longer do they come here, there’s little for them now
When the diggers came, they knew their days were done.
And now there are just houses, with parking down below.

The people did their best, to protect nature and light
They signed the petitions and marched to win the fight
But the dark clouds were brewing o’er in Folkestone heights
The lure of money and new apartments snuffed out that hopeful light

Some said it was just waste ground
Some said it was useless trees
They missed the bigger picture
That concrete doesn’t breathe

And now the diggers are coming
And the people just left fuming
They’ll tear the nature out
Of that there is no doubt

What’s happened to this pleasant land?
What’s happened to our earth?
It will all be under bricks and sand
Before we understand it’s worth

So today I am in mourning
But tomorrow I’ll rise anew
A new day is dawning
Let us hold firm and true

Mark Brophy


Books

The Prince’s Parade

Mark Brophy (Author) and Clare Foster (Illustrator)

This is the tale of Hana, a young girl who moves from where she was born in London, to the Kent coast. She and her family move to the Kent coast in the hope of a better life. They discover a wonderful area called Prince’s Parade which is full of amazing animals, has a beautiful canal and is right next to the sea too! She quickly falls in love with the area and when her family experience some difficult challenges they draw strength from their environment that surrounds them. When it becomes clear that the area is under threat from developers, Hana take’s up the fight in a rather unusual way. By reading this book it is my hope that you will experience the magic of Prince’s Parade. By buying this book you will be helping to protect it. All profits from it will be donated to the Save Prince’s Parade campaign which aims to halt plans to develop the area into a housing estate.

See it on “Amazon


The Prince’s Parade


Film

Mark Brophy

Prince’s Parade Development or destruction?

With the ever growing value of coastal land, and continual pressure from the government to build new houses the local council once again attempts to develop this stretch of land. In this documentary we examine the arguments for and against building on Prince’s Parade.

Produced by Mark Brophy with Cinematography from Flynn Marwood; Music by Tony Hulse; Aerial Cinematography by Gary Winch

Directed and Edited by Jack Brophy

Special Thanks to Jim Martin, Val Loseby, David Monk.


Martin Arnold Ltd

Chartered Surveyors and Construction Consultants

In October 2017 Martin Arnold Ltd were commissioned by the Save Princes Parade Group to investigate the financial viability of the proposed development. As well as losing the beautiful landscape shown here they calculated that the scheme was not viable. You can read their report here.


A View of Hythe

A wonderful reminder of what we are fighting to save.


The Save Princes Parade Story

This short film explains why it is so important to Save princes Parade from any development.


If you would like more information or to contribute to this gallery, please email us.