The Princes Parade scheme is due to progress once market conditions are more favourable. All outstanding pre-commencement planning conditions will be satisfied and some material works carried out to ensure the permission is implemented. Read more in our news release.
There has been a high level of interest in our project at Princes Parade to deliver the leisure facilities - including a swimming pool, a wide traffic-free promenade and accessible open spaces - that residents of our district deserve.
Here we answer the most frequently asked questions by residents. This page will be updated as the development progresses.
Cabinet meeting in December
What decisions have been made by cabinet members?
Cabinet members considered options relating to the site in Hythe earlier today (14 December) after spending on the project was paused in October.
It was agreed all outstanding pre-commencement planning conditions will be satisfied and some material works carried out to ensure the permission is implemented.
This allows the land to be ready for construction and for the tendering process for the main contracts to start once the economy has settled.
Are you considering alternative sites for a new leisure centre?
The existing pool site, Nickolls Quarry, The Green and South Road recreational ground have all been mooted as suggestions for a new leisure centre - but none were considered viable options at the time.
Alternative sites are not being considered at the moment.
Could the hoardings be removed at this stage?
Hoardings on the boundary of the site will remain in place to keep the site secure. The footpath south of The Sea View Bridge in Seabrook will remain open until works necessitate its closure.
Will air monitoring continue to take place?
As per the agreed remediation plans, air monitoring will be undertaken when any works necessitate excavation of the site. More information about remediation work can be found on our website.
The information below the line was published before the decision to pause spending was made.
Work taking place in 2022
When will hoardings be put in place and why do they need to be there?
As with any major construction project, hoardings will be erected around the boundary of the site to protect residents and visitors to the area. They will be removed in phases as different areas are opened up to the public.
Unfortunately that means the Royal Military Canal play area at the Seapoint Car Park will need to close in early September. These facilities will be replaced by a destination play area and accessible open grass areas as the project progresses.
Displays highlighting aspects of the project will be placed on the hoardings.
Our vision for Princes Parade
Why are you developing Princes Parade?
We have long-held ambitions to replace our popular - but old and failing - swimming pool in Hythe.
The former municipal waste tip was first identified as the preferred location for this development back in 2012. Following years of careful deliberation and public consultation, the scheme was approved by district councillors on 16 August 2018.
We think the district's residents deserve a new swimming pool and leisure facilities fit for the 21st century. The development also includes quality homes to meet local needs, new accessible open spaces, and better access to the canal and beach.
You can read more about our vision for Princes Parade on our website.
Some people against the scheme claim you're not listening to their opinion - is that true?
We are aware that some local residents don't believe the Princes Parade development should go ahead.
However, the council has agreed to the scheme through a legally sound decision which, although not universally supported, has stood up to robust testing in the courts. A judicial review appeal was refused by the High Court as recently as December 2020.
This project will optimise the development of an underused site at a sustainable location for the benefit of the whole community.
What is the current timetable for the Princes Parade project?
We are currently working to the following schedule. Like all major projects of this type, many factors can influence the timeline.
|Erection of construction hoardings around the site||June 2022|
|Remediation work and construction of new road begins||July 2022|
|Open new road and close the current Princes Parade highway||January 2023|
|Leisure centre construction work starts||January 2023|
|Construction work of residential properties begins||June 2023|
|New promenade opens (phased work to maintain public route while work is carried out)||April 2024|
|Opening of leisure centre and other accessible spaces and facilities||July 2024|
Ecology and open spaces
Why aren't you preserving open spaces?
We are committed to creating new habitats for wildlife and there will be new accessible parkland plus a series of open spaces throughout the development further enhancing the setting of the Royal Military Canal for all to enjoy.
We appreciate the importance of natural public spaces for people to experience - both for their physical and mental health - and this development will ensure that the enjoyment of these areas is more accessible to everyone who visits Princes Parade in the future.
What ecological benefits will the Princes Parade scheme bring?
Work is being carried out to safeguard the site's key ecological features and introduce new habitat to encourage native species to flourish. Among the benefits is at least a 50% increase in suitable reptile habitat in the area:
- 0.7 hectares will be located on nearby land - providing foraging, sheltering, basking, refuge and hibernation opportunities for slow worm, common lizard and grass snake.
- A further 1.4 hectares will be delivered on site during the first phase of the scheme.
What clearance work has taken place to date?
Vegetation comprising of dead trees, brambles and invasive weeds was carefully removed from the northern bank of the canal in March 2021. This is to encourage more sunlight to reach the area and, together with the establishment of grassland, will be beneficial for several species.
Further vegetation was cleared from areas of the site in October 2021 following a successful reptile capturing and relocation programme. This was to ensure all reptiles had been found and that those already relocated did not return to what has become a site becoming ready for development.
Another phase of clearance work - mainly grass cutting and the removal of large shrubs - began on 14 February and has since been completed.
Were the badgers on site in any sort of danger during the clearance work in February 2022?
The clearance is being overseen by experienced ecologists and completed in line with the appropriate guidelines.
Exclusion zones around active badger setts are in place to ensure badgers in setts are not disturbed and are kept safe during this phase of work.
We are aware of badgers being present at the eastern end of the site where they have created new setts, in addition to using the artificial sett at the western end. A badger group will use multiple setts within their territory at different times of year.
The situation is being monitored and managed under the watchful eyes of trained ecologists - and, crucially, in accordance with the law.
Suitable options to sensitively address the situation at an appropriate time later in the year will be considered in due course.
Daniel Brenchley, construction manager at BAM Construct, explains:
Where can I read the Princes Parade ecology programme?
Health and safety
Can you reassure me that the work carried out to date has had no impact on public health?
The health and safety of our residents is of paramount importance to us.
Suitably qualified experts conclude that no public health risks have been generated by the work carried out to date at Princes Parade. Activity in 2021 was subject to planning conditions, as well as site-specific risk and method statements.
Link to Princes Parade information to read about the measures we're putting in place to remediate the site and keep the public safe while delivering excellent facilities and infrastructure.
Leisure centre and facilities
What work is being carried out to ensure the leisure centre is excellently run once it is open?
The process of finding a suitable and experienced operator to run the new leisure centre at Princes Parade - once construction work is completed - was launched in August 2021.
The expression of interest window closed on 22 October 2021. Bids will then be thoroughly assessed and tested before a final decision is made by cabinet.
Initially the contract will run for a period of 10 years, which could be extended by a period or periods of up to a maximum of five additional years at the discretion of the council.
Can you assure me that the leisure centre will be delivered? And why does the scheme need to include housing?
The project has been phased in a way to ensure the leisure centre - which includes a much-needed swimming pool for the town - is delivered first.
Running high-quality facilities isn't cheap. The construction of homes on this brownfield site will help ensure they can be enjoyed by residents and visitors for years to come - as well as provide more housing in the area for local people.
There have been rumours that the project will prevent public access to the beach and seafront. Should I be worried?
The promenade and beach will remain open to the public throughout - even during the construction phase.
People can continue to visit the area and its facilities while the scheme progresses before enjoying the new widened, traffic-free promenade and easy access to the beach once it has been completed.
Where can I view the latest plans for the leisure centre?
There has been a non-material amendment to planning permission Y17/1042/SH.
Amendments include changes to ground floor entrance and café area, access to the plant room, changes to first floor terrace (south elevation), changes to position of plant on roof, changes to car park access to include a single entrance/exit point, and changes to the road and car park levels.
This can be found on the local planning authority's portal.
What public toilet provision is planned for the development?
New public conveniences being built as part of the project. These will be adjacent to the park, kiosk and new public car park at the western end of the site.
Although the contracts for the sale of the South Road swimming pool site have not been finalised, the agreement will include for the provision of new facilities replacing the old.
Will the price of the development contract be fixed?
Realigning the road
What was the outcome of the public inquiry held in October/November 2021?
I've been told the existing Princes Parade road will be closed before the new one has opened. Is that correct?
No. The existing road at Princes Parade will remain open while construction work takes place and will only be stopped up once the new road is ready for vehicular use.
This is to ensure there is continuous thoroughfare and no need for diversions and will reduce the risk of impacting the local transport network.
Keeping people updated
How are you notifying people of works taking place on site?
We are doing everything we can to ensure residents living near the Princes Parade site are kept updated about any work which may impact on them.
Our efforts include - but are not limited to - letters sent to properties, the use of notice boards, uploading information onto our website and updating the online timeline, social media posts, and informing the local press.
If you have any further suggestions about how to keep residents updated, please email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org
Why did you not acknowledge an online petition regarding Princes Parade?
As is common practice across local government in this country, we only accept petitions in accordance with the requirements of our constitution.
A petition regarding Princes Parade did not meet that criteria and - therefore - was not able to be submitted for consideration.
Where can I ask questions about the project?
You can email your questions and to email@example.com, where it will be considered and addressed on this Frequently Asked Questions webpage.
Have you considered building a leisure centre elsewhere in the district?
This project is the result of years of careful deliberation, public consultation and painstaking preparation.
The existing swimming pool site, Nickolls Quarry, The Green and South Road recreation ground have all been mooted as suggestions for a new leisure centre - but none of these alternatives are viable.
Our timeline looks at some of these unsuitable options in more detail.
What will happen to the land at Nickolls Quarry which has been mooted as an alternative location?
The Nickolls Quarry site was provided as an option for sports, leisure and community facilities within the s106 agreement with the developer of Martello Lakes.
With the Princes Parade project proceeding, the council will receive a financial contribution instead - and the land will revert back to the developer.
It will be for them to consider the future use of the land although, if they wish to develop it, this would be subject to the normal planning requirement and processes.