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.
This is a once in a generation opportunity to breathe new life into this area.
This new seaside community will be developed around a much-needed new swimming pool and a leisure centre providing modern facilities for people of all ages, residents and visitors alike. Once the project is completed, about half of the site will be parkland and open space - giving people the room to breathe, to live and enjoy this lovely waterfront setting.
The application was submitted on behalf of us by Folkestone & Hythe District Council Strategic Development Projects, and includes:
- a new leisure centre consisting of a 25m swimming pool, teaching pool, spectator seating, studios and gym to replace the existing Hythe Swimming Pool, which is obsolete
- new public open space to replace the existing, underused space on the site and provide enhanced recreational opportunities at the seafront. Approximately 4.76 hectares will be open space - that's around 45% of the entire Princes Parade site
- up to 150 homes, including up to 45 affordable units, to address local housing needs. The housing development is included within the proposal to help fund the delivery of the leisure centre and swimming pool and public open space
- more than a kilometre of widened public promenade for walking, cycling, running and sitting
- small-scale commercial uses including a café, restaurant and a boutique hotel to help expand the range of services at the seafront and bring economic activity to the site
It's anticipated that the leisure centre and swimming pool will be developed as a first phase and so full details of this are provided. Recognising that the remainder of the project will be developed in phases by a separate party (or parties), the housing, open space and commercial elements were submitted in outline with all matters reserved except access.
How was this decided?
Folkestone & Hythe District Council was fully aware of the wide range of views and differences of opinion over the exciting proposals to regenerate Princes Parade. The submission of the planning application followed a rigorous examination of the constraints and opportunities presented by the site.
The plans were also shaped by pre-application discussions with Folkestone & Hythe District Council Planning officers, statutory consultees (Historic England, Environment Agency, Kent County Council), input from Design South East via a Design Panel Review, and widespread consultation with local residents and other stakeholders about the scheme.
This feedback had a significant impact on defining the final application. For example, the decision to locate the swimming pool at the eastern end of the site was taken after comments made by Historic England about locating it close to the existing built-up area there. A majority of residents who expressed a preference agreed with this.
More public open space and parkland to the west of the site were added in line with feedback, plus lower building heights towards the Royal Military Canal, improved public parking and a host of other changes made. This underlines the applicant's willingness to listen to considered comments during the lengthy consultation process.
The application included an illustrative masterplan which demonstrated how the key elements of the overall site could be laid out. It also included a set of parameter plans for the outline elements of the proposals, which 'fix' a number of elements, including land use, building heights and access.
After a lengthy debate on 16 August 2018, Folkestone & Hythe District Council's Planning and Licensing Committee approved the scheme.