No change for Folkestone's East Cliff

Published: 27 July 2023

View of East Cliff looking towards the Martello Tower and the sea beyond.

A scheme to increase facilities at East Cliff in Folkestone is not to be taken forward but sources of funding to improve the play area are to be explored.

A future vision for the area off Wear Bay Road was suggested by the council, which manages the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Site of Special Scientific Interest, for the Folkestone Parks and Pleasure Grounds Charity.

The vision, with a play area for children of all ages, visitor centre and parking was discussed with stakeholders in 2021 as a way of generating income for the charity. This income could then have been used to meet the costs of the ongoing maintenance of the existing bowling greens, pitch and putt course and tennis courts.

After differing views emerged about the ideas for the future of the clifftop area, the council ran a public consultation last summer and there were 1200 responses to a survey published online and in print.

At a meeting of the charity trustees, who are also members of F&HDC’s Cabinet, Cllr Jeremy Speakman said: “There were a couple of elements that came out quite strongly in the consultation. One was for a café or a mobile kiosk which could be self-funding or possibly generate income. I think there was also quite strong support for more biodiversity.

“To show that we are a listening council perhaps there is the opportunity to take those two elements forward.”

Trustees agreed recommendations that officers continue to explore all available funding sources both for the play area and to fund the cost of maintaining the existing sports facilities. Any future improvement works will be subject to further public consultation.

Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT) is due to start some further work near to the site of the Roman Villa at East Cliff in August. CAT is intending to spend two months leading community excavations to the north of the site of the villa. All are welcome to visit the site and see the work.