Response from David Monk

Thank you to all those who responded to our request to write to David Monk and the cabinet recently. It seems that most of you received this not particularly helpful response. We’re giving some thought to how you might respond.

“Thank you for your correspondence relating to Princes Parade. I have received a number of representations from local residents making similar points and I thought it would be helpful to you if I summarised our full position.

In line with expectations set out by Government, all Local Authorities are required to consider effective use of assets they own. I can therefore confirm that the Council is still actively considering the redevelopment potential of land it owns at Princes Parade, Hythe. The extent and nature of that development is not yet clear and is partly dependent on decisions yet to be taken by Hythe Town Council (HTC) and Kent County Council (KCC).

Following a request from Hythe Town Council for us to consider The Green, Hythe as a site for the new Recreation Centre, we have formally asked them if they will make land available to allow Shepway District Council to construct the Centre on The Green. If Hythe Town Council agrees to this proposal, then Shepway District Council will construct a new Recreation Centre including a public swimming pool, training pool, gymnasium and sports hall. This will commit the District Council to invest an estimated £8.5 million in new community facilities in Hythe for the residents of all of Shepway. In my view this represents good value and an opportunity for the community to benefit from new leisure facilities in the heart of the town, but the matter is in the hands of Hythe Town Council as the land owners.

We have invited Kent County Council to confirm whether or not they wish to construct a replacement to Seabrook Primary School at Princes Parade. This is something for KCC to decide, but something this Council is prepared to assist with by making some of our land available.

When these two matters are resolved, it will allow the District Council to give thorough consideration to the future of the Princes Parade site. I have asked the two Councils to let me know their formal decisions by the 31st January 2016 in order to allow the District’s project to move forward.

Some people have suggested that Nickoll’s Quarry is a better site for a replacement swimming pool. However, that land is not controlled by the Council and the developer has made it clear that the land will not be available for many years. It is a matter of fact that the site requires considerable investment in infrastructure before it can accommodate a Recreation Centre.

Although the current pool is becoming increasingly expensive to maintain and to keep open, I am also aware that it is well used and I do not want to be forced to close it for safety or maintenance reasons before a new pool is available.

To help progress the development of Princes Parade, the Council has decided to prepare a planning application for the comprehensive mixed use redevelopment of land at Princes Parade, Hythe. The uses and extent of the uses will be determined at a future meeting of Cabinet in response to the decisions of HTC and KCC. When a planning application is submitted, it will be determined by the Council as Local Planning Authority in the appropriate manner.”