A successful bid has been made to the government's Levelling Up Fund for just under £20 million to transform Folkestone Town Centre. Following on from the Folkestone Place Plan that was developed with extensive engagement in 2020, our project seeks to bring forward some of the priority projects identified to realise our future vision for the town.
Folkestone - A Brighter Future has a number of components. It includes significant improvements to the road system around Folkestone Central rail station and better signage and improved links to the town centre for pedestrians and cyclists.
It will also bring changes to the road network in the town centre area to address the legacy from when the roads served Folkestone well when it was a port town, but are no longer appropriate.
The improvements include a new roundabout on Cheriton Road, a change to two-way traffic along Middelburg Square north and the removal of some of the road network along Shellons Street, to create a single two-way highway with more pedestrian crossings. These measures will all help to reduce traffic speeds around the town and create a much more pleasant pedestrian-friendly environment.
'Green heart' plan
The current bus station in Bouverie Square is to be replaced with a new park that will create a new 'green heart' for the town. The area can be used for events or simply for residents and visitors to enjoy the new greenery.
Bus station provision will be replaced by bus stops along Middelburg Square where there will be more space for bus users and better access into the town. New greenery and improved public realm will be brought to Sandgate Road and Guildhall Street, making the town centre a much more inviting and pleasant place.
The bid also includes funding for the first stage refurbishment of the Folca building, and will see the conversion of the art deco part of the building into a useable space ready for new uses. Ideas currently being explored for this space include a 'test lab' for businesses to try out new ideas, as well as new retail and entertainment uses.
Our bid for levelling up funding can be viewed here.
The drawings below of a new Bouverie Square (left) and improved Sandgate Road (right) are by We Made That.