The Princes Parade site is the subject of a long and complex history. All of the key moments since 2002 have been outlined below. Please note the text is an accurate reflection of the council’s position at the time of writing.
Leader Cllr Jim Martin has committed to “proper conversations” with the local community about “restoring the biodiversity and future of this much-loved community asset.”
Hoardings remain in place and are being maintained to ensure ongoing site security and public safety from the contaminated land until the council has clarity on works required to be able to take them down.
No further activities on the site are currently being progressed.
A report asking the Leader to make a decision about the Princes Parade site is published.
The current planning permission has an implementation date of 17 July 2023, after which it will expire.
A recommendation to seek an extension of the permission for three years, through the submission of a non-material amendment to the local planning authority, will now be considered by Cllr Jim Martin before a decision is made later this week.
This would allow the new administration to consider options and give sufficient time for community engagement on the future use and treatment of the site before final decisions are made.
Hoardings remain in place and are being maintained to ensure ongoing site security and public safety from the contaminated land. No further activities on site are currently being progressed.
The council receives an offer from a private developer to acquire and develop out the Princes Parade site.
Cabinet discusses the matter on 22 February 2023 and instructs officers to consider the offer and potential next steps.
A detailed report considering community and commercial factors will be prepared and put before members once this work has been completed.
The immediate focus remains on progressing the decisions made in December – ensuring all outstanding pre-commencement planning conditions are satisfied and carrying out some material works to ensure the permission is implemented.
Cabinet members considered options relating to the site. 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 would allow the land to be ready for construction and for the tendering process for the main contracts to start once the economy has settled.
The footpath south of The Sea View Bridge in Seabrook will remain open until works necessitate its closure. Hoardings on the boundary of the site will remain in place to keep the site secure.
As per the agreed remediation plans, air monitoring will be undertaken when any works necessitate excavation of the site.
An individual Leader decision about the Princes Parade development is published.
It has been agreed to pause current spending on the scheme to assess the options available moving forward.
This prudent approach is being taken due to the current uncertainty in the financial and energy markets.
A report has been published regarding an individual Leader decision about the Princes Parade development in Hythe.
It sets out the up-to-date financial considerations surrounding the project against the context of council finances and the turmoil in the energy and financial markets.
The report recommends pausing current spending on the project pending further officer recommendations on how to proceed.
The decision will be taken on 31 October 2022 and published.
Data from soil samples taken from the site are published. It shows that no detectable amounts of contaminants have been found within the ground where samples were taken.
Analysis relating to checks for airborne particles have also been made public.
The footpath of The Sea View Bridge in Seabrook has now been reopened.
This is in direct response to residents' requests to keep it accessible for as long as possible until work starts on the Princes Parade site in early September.
A number of car parking spaces at the Sea Point car park will be suspended from 7am on Monday (22 August) to allow this to happen.
Air tests are regularly carried out to ensure the safety of the public. Six different monitors at various locations on the site are checking for any asbestos fibres released due to ground disturbance.
Only 1.5 fibres were detected in a recent sample of 2,800 litres of air. This is below the quantification limit and therefore no further action is required.
Effective mitigations such as water suppression are being used on site when materials have to be excavated. If threshold levels are exceeded, then extra measures will be implemented.
|Date||Results||Below quantification limit?||Action required|
|16 June 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|16 June 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|17 June 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|17 June 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|23 June 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|23 June 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|04 July 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|04 July 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|12 July 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|13 July 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|13 July 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|14 July 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|13 August 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|14 August 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
|25 August 2022||Satisfactory||Yes||No|
The footpath south of The Sea View Bridge in Seabrook will be closed from 25 July to allow hoardings to be put in place. This work will take up to four weeks to complete.
There will be no direct pedestrian access to Princes Parade from Sea Road as a result. A diversion route will be clearly set out.
Following requests to keep the footpath accessible for as long as possible, it will be reopened by 19 August and remain so until work starts on site in early September.
We appreciate this closure may cause some inconvenience - but the safety of residents is our main priority.
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.
Compaction testing works will be carried out at Princes Parade from 21 March.
A vibratory roller with active monitoring and GPS tracking will be on site for a couple of days as we continue to prepare for the construction of high quality and accessible facilities.
There will be no disturbance of any contaminated ground - the machinery will only be compacting the top surface. No dust or nuisance is expected to be generated by the work.
Further clearance work begins at Princes Parade. You can find out more about it here.
The latest phase - mainly grass cutting and the removal of large shrubs - was deliberately scheduled outside the key ecology calendar to help protect birds and other wildlife.
It was overseen by suitably qualified ecologists. Replacement trees and enhanced landscaping will be introduced onto the site once construction work has been completed in early 2024.
Following a discussion by councillors, the General Fund Medium Term Capital Programme was approved on 10 February 2022. This means the funding required to proceed with the project is available.
Cabinet members discussed various key aspects of the Princes Parade project. Questions about contamination were asked and a summary of the remediation strategy can be found here.
- The financial capital and revenue provision to complete the project. The cost of delivering the project now stands at £45,300,579 - an increase of around £16.5 million. This has been caused by a number of factors including the near 18-month delay caused by legal action, improved knowledge of the site, and inflation and the supply chain issues which all major projects are currently subject to.
- Confirming the appointment of preferred build contractor BAM Construct to deliver the leisure centre, the realignment of Princes Parade and construction of western car park, provision of a widened and traffic-free promenade, and the creation of a new linear park adjacent to the Royal Military Canal.
- The appointment of preferred leisure centre operator Freedom Leisure on an initial 10-year contract, with an optional five-year extension at the discretion of the council. Freedom Leisure runs similar facilities in Ashford and Sandwich.
- Additional funding to install solar cells on the leisure centre as part of the council's green agenda.
- The legally binding covenant to protect the scheme's parkland and open space from any future development proposals.
Permissions for a sub-station to supply the new leisure centre with power, and the installation of two storm water outfall pipes leading from the development onto the beach are granted by the planning and licensing committee.
Folkestone & Hythe District Council's application for a stopping up and diversion order at Princes Parade is granted.
Following a request by objectors, the submission was subject to a public inquiry that was held at the Leas Cliff Hall and Civic Centre in October and November 2021. It was overseen by independent inspector Owen Woodwards.
A letter published by the Department for Transport read: "The Secretary of State agrees with the inspector's comments that the order would bring many benefits - including safer and more varied car parking opportunities, improved car parking for the disabled, improved cycle routes, and improved highway safety."
You can find out more about the annoucement by reading our press release or by clicking on the decision documentation below.
Stopping up of highway at Princes Parade: Decision letter (PDF, 151.54KB)
Stopping up of highway at Princes Parade: Inspector's report (PDF,214.69KB)
Stopping up of highway at Princes Parade: Order (PDF,50.33KB)
Visit our Princes Parade Stopping Up Order Public Inquiry page to view the documents relating to the inquiry.
Vegetation is cleared from areas of the Princes Parade development site following a successful phase of reptile capturing.
Work to safely and sensitively relocate slow worms, common lizards and grass snakes from the former municipal waste tip to suitable habitat within the Royal Military Canal corridor began in August 2021.
Following completion, some vegetation had to be cleared to ensure all reptiles have been found and that those already relocated do not return to what is now a site becoming ready for construction.
With the scheme progressing at a good pace, Heras fencing now needs to be placed on the site's boundaries to ensure the area is secure and keeps the public safe and away from what will soon be a construction site.
Access will remain through the site via the central path bisecting the site and along the path to the western edge of the boundary with the golf course.
Natural England granted a licence for us to carry out badger relocation works at Princes Parade in September 2021.
The process - which includes various sympathetic measures - is allowed to take place between 7 September 2021 and 30 November 2021 inclusive.
All activity will be carried out in accordance with the agreed method statement submitted to Natural England as part of our application.
The relocation work will be led by ecological experts and Natural England will be given access to monitor progress. Work to construct the new badger sett also starts following the approval of a planning application by the local planning authority in August 2021.
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 closes 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.
Work to safely relocate reptiles from Princes Parade to a suitable habitat within the Royal Military Canal corridor in Hythe is to starts.
Fencing is fitted along the western, northern and eastern boundaries of the existing habitat areas to sensitively trap reptiles that inhabit the site.
Once captured by suitably experienced ecologists, they will then be taken to the nearby suitable land. All of the work will be in line with the appropriate guidelines and overseen by experts.
Residents are asked not to enter the site as this may inadvertently have a negative impact on the project's determination to safeguard the local reptile and animal population.
A public inquiry is called by the Secretary of State for Transport regarding the stopping up order. The council fully expected this announcement due to responses submitted by two of the statutory consultees. You can find out more about the hearing here.
It is our belief that the proposal will create a fantastic traffic-free promenade that can be enjoyed by all, as well as help improve road safety along our coastline. This case will be made at the hearing in October.
A statutory consultation on plans to stop up the road at Princes Parade ended on 7 June 2018 - this is separate from the planning application for the project.
Having carefully considered the responses received, we wrote to objectors in May 2021 asking if they would like to withdraw their comments as the council feels the issues raised have been satisfactorily addressed.
You can read our full responses in the following report document.
Any outstanding representations after 28 days will be submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport's office for determination.
As the statutory consultation phase of this process has been completed, no further comments can be accepted at this stage. This work relates only to plans to stop up the road - others aspects of the project cannot be considered.
Preparatory work for the Princes Parade development continues as exploratory site investigations work begins.
A technical note from BAM Construction and an ecology note from Lloyd Bore, both relating to this work, can be read below.
Ecological works begin along the northern bank of the Royal Military Canal to establish grasslands to benefit reptiles, bats and birds.
To combat misinformation, the ecologist's technical note in relation to this work has been made public.
Princes Parade scheme moves step closer to reality as BAM Construction are appointed to deliver a new leisure centre, promenade and infrastructure works to facilitate this and the residential developments at Princes Parade.
Daniel Brenchley, construction manager at BAM Construct, explains:
Council planning decision on Princes Parade upheld as permission to appeal the judicial review of the planning permission is refused at the High Court.
Full council adopts the Places and Policies Local Plan
The council's Cabinet agreed the Princes Parade scheme
You can find press releases issued about the project between 2019 - 2021 in our development project press release archive.
A report was considered by Cabinet which outlined the detail and nature of the proposed planning application for Princes Parade to be submitted to the local planning authority.
The report contains a summary of the community engagement carried out by Edwards Harvey in November 2016, and includes copies of the consultation materials
The report gave the authority to the Head of Strategic Development Projects to submit an application for planning permission based on the following;
- Affordable Recreation Centre (ARC) to the eastern end of the site,
- 150 residential units (30% affordable),
- Open space provision including a substantial area to the west and a central area linked by a linear park,
- Partial relocation of the road to the north of the site,
- Two residential areas located either side of the central open space
Two community engagement events were carried out by Edwards Harvey for Folkestone & Hythe District Council, which included public exhibitions held at Seabrook Church Hall on the 29 November and Hythe Town Hall on the 30 November.
The masterplan proposal for the engagement events was based on the following key principles;
- ARC to the eastern end of the site,
- 150 Residential units (30% affordable),
- Five main areas of open space located through the site reflecting initial suggestion from Historic England that openness on a north - south axis be retained throughout the length of the site,
- Relocation of the road to the north of the site
- A summary of the public responses can be found in the report below which directly influenced the report to Cabinet in February 2017.
Edwards Harvey Princes Parade Community Engagement Campaign Report 5 December 2016
District wide consultation was carried out on the Places and Policies Local Plan: Preferred Options which began on the 7th October and last for 6 weeks.
The plan (which contains Policy UA25 for Princes Parade, Hythe), features 56 sites across the district that could provide 2,500 much needed new homes, and over 13 hectares of land for offices and other work spaces.
The Places and Policies Local Plan identifies specific sites for new homes and work spaces.
The Preferred Options document contains Policy UA25 that supports development of the Princes Parade site based on the following:
- Development based on a single comprehensive masterplan incorporating public open space, leisure, small scale commercial, up to 150 residential dwellings,
- A substantial community recreation and leisure offer to replace Hythe Swimming Pool (with possibility of other facilities),
- High quality open space linking between the canal and beach front and accessibility east/west along the canal and coast,
- Mix of well designed homes with a landscape led setting,
- Appropriate accommodation for the elderly, affordable housing and self/custom build
- The report to Cabinet seeking authorisation to approve the draft document (which Contains Policy UA25 Princes Parade, Hythe) and proceed with the public consultation can be found at the following link.
A report to Cabinet was submitted in June which outlined three major repairs required at Hythe Pool, (the replacement roof, pool liner and chlorine storage tank), following major failures in each of these elements.
These repairs were essential to stop permanent closure of the Pool. Cabinet approved the funding required to carry out the essential works
An update on the decisions relating to the replacement Hythe Swimming Pool and considering the land use options for Princes Parade was submitted to Cabinet in April.
A report by Tibbalds outlined three options which included the extent of each land use, and how they could be incorporated into the potential application for planning permission at Princes Parade.
It was agreed that the following mix of uses be included:
- Provision for the Hythe and Saltwood Sailing Club,
- Land for between 124 and 178 dwellings (based on residential densities ranging from 35 to 50 dph),
- A site for the proposed ARC,
- An area of high quality open space
At this point as Kent County Council (KCC) could not confirm its position on the inclusion of the new school, Cabinet took the decision not to include the relocation of Seabrook Primary School as part of the masterplan.
The council were subsequently contacted by Hythe and Saltwood Sailing Club who, after a meeting of its members, decided that they no longer wished to be included as part of the masterplan.
A report was submitted to Cabinet in February outlining the issues relating to the restrictive covenant on Hythe Town Council land at Hythe Green.
Legal advice recommended that the Council no longer sought to acquire the land at Hythe Green, thus making Princes Parade the preferred location for a new leisure centre.
The Cabinet decision was as follows:
- That the Council should no longer seek to acquire the land at The Green (either on a freehold or leasehold basis)for the purpose of providing a new leisure centre.
The report to Cabinet in November responded to the request to consider options relating to Hythe Green (as the preferred location option for a new leisure centre with Princes Parade as a second choice) and KCC's involvement regarding the relocation of a new primary school for Seabrook to Princes Parade.
The subject areas covered were:
- Role of Partners,
- Potential of The Green, Hythe,
- Taking into account response of the Partners, to prepare a planning application for Princes Parade
Issues surrounding existing covenants on The Green made it an unviable option for a new pool and recreation centre and Princes Parade remained the preferred development location - although without a new primary school following KCC's failure to confirm its support.
This Cabinet report provides an update on the progress of the Princes Parade project. The report recommends that progress continues with a range of work streams looking at the potential redevelopment of the site.
The subject areas covered were;
- Consultation on relocation of proposed facilities - 23 May 2014 and 5 June 2014. Asked the public to comment on whether they preferred an eastern or western location for the ARC with a roughly 50/50 split in terms of the responses,
- Partnership agreement with KCC,
- Assessment of ground conditions,
- Financial viability,
- Engagement with Historic England,
- Planning considerations,
- Asset Management Plan,
- Condition of Hythe Pool
A Statement of Community Involvement (see link below) was produced for the Places and Policies Local Plan Issues and Options Consultation.
This document sets out the actions Folkestone & Hythe District Council undertook in advance of, and during the consultation period for the Places and Policies Local Plan Issues and Options document.
Places and Policies Local Plan Issues and Options. Draft Policy C9, Provision of New Community Facilities in Hythe, set out options related to the concentration of the new community facilities on the Princes Parade site or a more dispersed model.
The report to Cabinet in May outlined the progress made on the Princes Parade project since Cabinet last considered the matter in July 2013.
The report provided Cabinet with the results of the revised development options for a new leisure centre and the revised development cost options for a mixed use development on Princes Parade which included;
- An ARC, based on the recommendation contained in a report prepared by Strategic Leisure,
- The relocation of Seabrook Primary School,
- A total of 36 town homes as enabling development,
A report was taken to Cabinet in July which outlined the progress made on the Princes Parade project since Cabinet last considered the matter in December 2012.
The report provided Cabinet with the results of the second stage consultation and a revised plan to take the project forward.
The principle objectives of the Princes Parade project were defined in the report as follows;
- Secure an allocation for residential use in the Site Allocation DPD,
- Improve setting of Royal Military Canal,
- New public park,
- New water sports facility,
- Enhanced promenade and beach for public use,
- Possible replacement for public swimming pool,
The report also identified the following workstreams to take the Princes Parade project forward;
- Clarifying land use directions,
- Potential development costs/cost estimates,
- Confirming community infrastructure funding sources,
- Potential property disposal receipts (based on site capacity concepts and development appraisal),
- Additional potential community infrastructure funding,
- Sources and cost analysis by activity stream,
- Integrated delivery analysis
A second stage of public consultation was carried out in February following an initial consultation during the summer of 2012.
This second stage of consultation set out a series of scenarios for future activities at Princes Parade, including different extents of site use, balances of open space and active use and locations across the site.
The purpose was to understand the potential of the site, the effect of different approaches to the site, and to gather opinion from a range of stakeholders, residents and businesses.
The stage 2 consultation ran from Friday 8 February to Friday 8 March 2013 with activities of the consultation process including:
- A project website,
- A Saturday market stall consultation on Hythe High Street,
- A two week library exhibition,
- An evening drop-in session at Seabrook School,
- Stakeholder discussions
By providing a range of formats and opportunities for comment, the consultation was designed to draw out opinion and feedback from a broad section of the local community.
A summary of the consultation can be found in the document below.
Report to Cabinet outlines the recommendations of Strategic Leisure, the consultants commissioned to undertake a feasibility study to determine the most suitable location for a new leisure centre.
The feasibility study explored 3 location options. The study was funded through the Section 106 planning agreement for the Nickoll's Quarry development, which contained a financial contribution towards a sports, leisure and community facilities.
The report concluded that Princes Parade was the most appropriate location for the new leisure centre.
Following defeat of the Town Green application, Officers were asked to give consideration to options for the site, which included fencing the site to prevent public access.
This proved a costly option and in preference to this, a study was commissioned to clarify the potential for meeting community needs which included leisure facilities, education, a range of public open spaces and any housing or commercial activities at the site. At the same time, a separate feasibility study - funded through Section 106 contributions from the Nickolls Quarry development - looked into potential sites for a new pool and recreation centre.
The decision of Cabinet authorised the Head of Strategic Projects to continue with the project and request that a further report be presented to Cabinet at the next appropriate stage in the project.
Town Green Application Details
Date 2009 (Application) - 2011 (Decision)
An application to register Princes Parade as a Town Green was turned down by Kent County Council (KCC) in 2011.
The application to register land at Princes Parade, Seabrook as a new Town Green, including a copy of the statement and minutes of the meeting, can be found on the Kent County Council website at the following link :-
Cabinet report which set out the range of opportunities that existed within the district, to develop sports and leisure provision in the district. It set out a framework for the improvement of facilities and for other initiatives across the district.
Provision of a new pool and gym at Nickolls Quarry was supported within the report.
Prior to 2008 related PFI reports
Folkestone & Hythe District Council Local Plan Review 2006
The Folkestone & Hythe District Local Plan Review was adopted. This included site two site specific policies covering the Princes Parade site TM8 and LR9.
LR9 is a general policy seeking to protect public open space whilst TM8 support the provision of low key leisure facilities on an area of land at the eastern end of the site.
The District Council has sought, through the SDLP, to allocate the site for residential use. This was not accepted by the planning inspector who considered that the unique nature and openness of the site should be retained.
2002 - 2007
The council successfully secured £10m PFI credits from the Department for Culture Media and Sports (DCMS).
The credits were awarded to enable the council and its partners (Hythe Town Council and Folkestone Sports Centre Trust - who also had to commit financial contributions to the project) to build a new pool and sports centre at South Road Recreation Ground in Hythe and improve sports facilities in Folkestone.
However, in 2007, following 'significant and fundamental' issues with the project concerning affordability and relationships between partners, the PFI credits were withdrawn by the DCMS.
Despite the setback, the council reaffirmed its commitment to replace its old swimming pool in Hythe and continued to look for a suitable site.