The Council’s proposals will: destroy the tranquillity and beauty of the Canal and its place at the heart of the local community; undermine the Canal’s status as a Scheduled Ancient Monument; devastate the site’s ecology and wildlife and obliterate the historic seafront views for which Princes Parade has been long renowned.
Among those who have objected to the plans are Historic England, the Environment Agency, CPRE, Kent Wildlife Trust, KCC Archaeology, Hythe Town Council and Sandgate Parish Council.
To make way for the beachside development, the Council’s proposals involve the removal of all vegetation from the site, the diversion of the existing road away from the seafront to run alongside the Canal and six metres above it, and the drainage of surface water from the site into the Canal itself.
The Council’s own consultants admit that the contaminated landfill is of no risk to current users of the site. It is, however, totally unsuitable for a residential development since it is impossible to remove the contamination and deep piling will be required, disturbing the landfill creating a risk that asbestos dust and other unknown contaminants will be released which could affect children in the primary school just a few hundred yards away.
This is just one example of many hazards inherent in developing this fragile site which is far better left undisturbed. Past ground surveys have produced evidence of asbestos, heavy metals, oil and hospital waste contamination.
The Council concedes that damage will be done to Princes Parade by this development and to compensate, an ‘amenity area’ and a leisure centre are planned for the site. But problems with drainage (the site is in a flood zone) means that the ‘amenity area’ will now be taken up by a 1¼ acre muddy attenuation drainage pond for surface water disposal.