Plans for a new health centre with state-of-the-art facilities in the heart of Folkestone have moved a step closer.
Cabinet members unanimously agreed to the proposed terms of a 150-year lease of the Victorian building at Folca on Sandgate Road in order that the project can be developed.
We bought the former Debenhams department store in May 2020 with a view to it having a significant role to play in the future regeneration of the town centre.
Folca has since been run as a vaccination centre by Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust and more recently, the GP-lead Channel Health Alliance.
Support for plans
NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group has supported the principle of plans for a new surgery and will consider a business case once detailed plans have been developed.
These plans will set out what the new health centre will provide and then, subject to various permissions being obtained and consultation taking place, doors could open to patients in late 2024.
It is calculated that the delivery of the health centre would represent an estimated £16m investment into the town.
The health centre forms part of the first phase of Folca's redevelopment. Work around a potential mix of new housing, retail and commercial space in the Art Deco part of the site is still ongoing.
Your District Today
The Guildhall and Manor medical practices are proposing to come together to form the medical centre at Folca. As part of the proposed terms, we would retain the freehold of the site.
Folkestone & Hythe District Council has progressed the development in partnership with two local GP practices, specialist healthcare facility providers and the NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group.
Any plans for general practice services will have to go through the normal NHS approval processes to make sure patients' needs are met.
It would be situated on the Victorian part of the site - on the corner of Sandgate Road and Bouverie Place - and take up approximately one third of the Folca complex. Options for specialist and training facilities are also being explored.
To fulfil design standards for a modern medical centre, that section of the building will need to be rebuilt to make it suitable for its new purpose.
Residents will have a chance to comment on the proposals, which seek to reflect the existing design, through a series of public engagement sessions which will be held over the summer before a planning application is submitted.
The health centre project forms part of the first phase of Folca's redevelopment. Work around a potential mix of new housing, retail and commercial space in the larger, Art Deco part of the building is ongoing.
You can find press releases issued about the project before 2022 in our development project press release archive.