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 this 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.
Use your vote!
Don’t forget – May 6th is polling day for local elections and a number of county, town and parish council seats are being contested.
Of particular interest to supporters of Save Princes Parade are the seats listed below – you can download information on the candidates by clicking on the links…
Folkestone & Hythe District Council
- Election of a Parish Councillor: Sandgate Village Ward
- The Hythe East election for a town councillor has been postponed following the death of a candidate. It will now take place within 35 days of the original poll date.
Election of a County Councillor:
- Cheriton, Sandgate & Hythe East Division
- The Elham Valley Division election has been postponed following the death of a candidate.
- Folkestone East Division
- Folkestone West Division
- Hythe West
- Romney Marsh
More information on the these elections can be found on the Folkestone & Hythe District Council Website here.
Encourage everyone to VOTE LOCAL – download a pdf of the VOTE LOCAL poster above to print!
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.
Just as ground investigation works began on the proposed development site Southern Water placed some new signage along the Royal Military Canal asking to the public to be “Pollution Spotters” and alert them of any “discolouration, odours or debris” and “dead fish or wildlife in distress”.
This former landfill site conceals hazardous waste and F&HDC has warned residents that they might notice unpleasant odours as the work continues.
It’s also worth remembering that while the Environment Agency has withdrawn its objection to the Planning Application, describing the surface water drainage scheme as “just about viable”, it is clearly concerned about drainage into the canal. Also concerned is Historic England which hasn’t withdrawn its objection to the development and surface water drainage into the canal – a Scheduled Monument – is a key issue.
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 has begun 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.