The campaign to Save Princes Parade
The story so far… a very brief summary
The open space that lies between the Royal Military Canal and the seafront at Princes Parade is earmarked for development by the local council with plans that include a housing estate of 150 three- and four-storey seafront homes, a five-storey hotel, commercial premises and a leisure centre.
It had been clear since 2011 that Shepway District Council (now renamed as Folkestone & Hythe District Council) was determined to build on the land and when the Council submitted its planning application in 2017, The Save Princes Parade campaign which had been a hub for opposition to any development on Princes Parade was established as a formal group objecting to the F&HDC planning application and challenging its plans to develop Princes Parade.
In July 2019 formal consent of planning permission for the Princes Parade development was granted and the Save Princes Parade campaign prepared to mount a legal challenge to the decision through a Judicial Review. The hearing in the High Court was eventually held in March 2020 and in June we were notified that the claim was unsuccessful.
In December 2020 our legal challenge was effectively ended when we were denied permission to appeal the decision.
However the campaign continues. The issues we have been highlighting throughout our campaign haven’t gone away and F&HDC still faces serious problems delivering its proposals.
An independent report commissioned by Shepway District Council in 2016 together with the Environment Agency’s assessment of the drainage/run-off plans as “just about viable” suggest that the plan is so fundamentally flawed, so logistically and financially uncertain that, if pursued, Hythe may never gets its much-needed new pool.
In February 2021 F&HDC announced the appointment of BAM Construction to deliver the leisure centre. Construction is slated to begin during the first quarter of 2022 with on site testing starting in March 2021.
At F&HDC’s full council meeting on Wednesday 24th February Cllr Tim Prater tabled an amendment to the Capital Spending Programme seeking to delete the allocated budget for Princes Parade as the site for a new leisure centre/swimming pool in order to allow further investigation of the Martello Lakes option. It was voted down 16 to 13. All the Conservatives, UKIP and Independents united against the amendment.
At the beginning of March 2021 F&HDC began to cut down trees and remove vegetation along the north bank of the canal, causing wave of protest among local residents, most of whom had no warning. This action, aimed at creating new habitats for wildlife being displaced from the development site, was begun at the start of the bird nesting season contrary to the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 legislation.
Ground investigation work on the development site itself began on 24th March 2021 to collect information about the site in preparation for the start of the project in 2022. The council issued warnings about noise and odour and said the work, involving heavy machinery, would last about five weeks.