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.
Please sign by clicking the link below:
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!
5.6 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 email@example.com. 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 diggers are back
It seems inevitable… to the delight of children of all ages, every six months or so the dumper trucks, the diggers and the bulldozers are back on the beach. Thousands of tonnes of shingle have to be moved back from where the tides and waves have swept them to maintain crucial flood protection for up to 3,000 homes.
Last year F&HDC applied to the Environment Agency for almost £2m in funding and congratulated itself on the outcome in these terms:
“Securing the money needed to carry out this essential work for another five years is a real achievement – it will benefit thousands of our residents.” ¹
A real achievement? The renewal funding for the work is routine, isn’t it? If not, why are more homes planned on this low lying, vulnerable stretch of coastline?
Read our previous article on the flood risk here…
More information on beach management in the south-east here…
Don’t Rain on my Parade
The theme for Hythe District Photographic Club’s Project of the month for April was “Name That Tune” and long-standing supporter of Save Princes Parade, Chris Farrell, responded with this brilliantly evocative photograph of the Tram Shed…
You can see more of Chris’s photographs on our Gallery page which features a variety of creative work by local people and inspired by Princes Parade and the Royal Military Canal.
Wild about Princes Parade
The land which is earmarked for development at Princes Parade has been largely left undisturbed for many years, and the eastern stretch of the Royal Military Canal from Twiss Road to Seabrook still has soft, reeded banks and unmade footpaths. This has enabled a diverse range of wildlife to establish itself and thrive. The birds in the trees and bushes and on the water delight walkers every day. Not so obvious is the wildlife that has prospered in the land that has been closed to the public for years.
A new campaign group, Wild About Princes Parade, has been set up to give a voice to the badgers, the lizards and snakes, the foxes, the bats and the birds that are already suffering from the preparatory work being carried out and will be removed – or worse – before construction starts next year.
Glyphosate used on tree stumps
A number of tree stumps from the trees felled on the north bank of the Royal Military Canal have been found to have been treated with glyphosate plugs, presumably to prevent any regrowth and hasten decomposition.
The use of glyphosate, a powerful herbicide, which is dangerous to human health and as well as to wildlife including bees and earthworms in an area which is designated for habitat creation is reckless.
The controversial clearance of vegetation from the north bank should have been undertaken in February, not March when the nesting season had already begun. A further reason the work should have done before March was the time necessary for enough new reptile habitat to be established.
This document (pdf) spells out the issues.
Site investigation work starts at Princes Parade
After causing a furore among local residents when contractors began clearing trees and vegetation from the north side of the Royal Military Canal, Folkestone & Hythe District Council began ground investigation work on the development site. The investigations, which involve drilling and excavation, are scheduled to last five weeks.
According to F&HDC this work will be noisy and generate “some odour” from “deposited materials”. We assume that this refers to waste from the time the area was used as landfill. There are no reliable records of what may be buried there but past ground surveys show evidence of asbestos, heavy metals, oil and hospital waste. The council’s press release says “all operatives are trained and may be required to wear masks and paper suits as a safety precaution”.
That will be a sight to see as we take a stroll along Princes Parade in the coming weeks!
There are few details on the safeguards for the wildlife and once more we need to be concerned about how it will suffer at the hands of the council and its contractors.
You can read the “Site Investigation works – Technical Note” from the contractors here (pdf) for more details.
The stated purpose of the site investigation is to work is “inform the works required to prepare the area (above) for leisure facilities and accessible open spaces” – no mention of 150 homes, hotel, shops, moving the road… etc
Ecologist wasn’t there for nesting bird survey
Green Cllr Treloar has confirmed that the ecologist was NOT present when the tree clearance works were to commence on Monday. In the absence of a nesting bird survey and the absence of a qualified ecologist the work should have never been authorised. Our complaint to the authorities to stop should have been upheld and a thorough investigation completed before work was allowed to start… read more
Outcry as trees cut down along the canal
There has been an outcry from local residents and canal users as trees are being cut down and bushes cleared on the north bank of the Royal Military Canal as part of the project to develop Princes Parade.
The work is being done to create a new habitat for the reptiles that F&HDC are planning to relocate from the development site. However, it has been identified that grass snakes inhabit this area and therefore the stumps should not be removed or the ground broken until later in the year as this would compromise their habitat. We are trying to establish if a nesting bird survey was completed by the responsible ecological officer. It is essential that the work is correctly and sensitively carried out and if this is not the case it should be halted.
The timetable for the preparatory work this year involves, first of all, making new habitats for wildlife, particularly reptiles, which would need to be moved from the development site. And according to that timetable the works cannot be undertaken later than the end of February to allow time for reptile habitat establishment and, crucially, because of the presence of nesting birds from March onwards. Full details can be seen in this document from Tibbalds Planning and Urban Design Ltd to F&HDC Development Management Manager Lisette Patching.
On Monday 8 March a section of the canal was closed off and it is feared more trees are being cut down, stumps removed and vegetation stripped back.
This letter from the Development Management Manager reminds Tibbalds of their obligations under the Wildlife and Countryside Act but still the destruction goes on.