Ship Street

We are developing plans for the former gasworks in Ship Street and are committed to bring this brownfield site back into use as a high quality housing-led development.

An image of a illustration of the Ship Street development

£2.5m funding for project

In October 2023 central government announced that Ship Street is to receive £2.5m from the Brownfield Land Release Fund.

The successful application was made by the council and will go towards the remediation required to enable the construction of up to 150 homes on the site.

Public engagement

A second public engagement event focusing on the future of the derelict Ship Street gasworks site was held on Wednesday 1 March 2023. Those unable to attend can view the evolving proposals by reading the display boards from the event.

Ship Street public engagement event boards [March 2023]

An event was also held on 24 March 2022 giving residents an opportunity to give us their views. Those views have helped us inform the project brief and outline the broad expectations we have for the scheme.


The former gasworks site has a rich historic past but has sadly become an eyesore since it was left derelict as far back as 1956. Part of the site ceased to be used then, though it continued to be used for gas storage until the 1970s and a social club operated until earlier this century.

A large scale remediation of the site took place between 2009 and 2011, and Southern Gas sought to sell it. To encourage a purchaser we included it in a list of sites for housing development in 2015. No offers were made.

Given the lack of interest from the private sector, we bought the site in 2021. It requires further remediation and by taking ownership, we want to drive development and be able to access any funding for land remediation.

The Ship Street site in Folkestone continues to be allocated for housing development in the Local Plan.

Site conditions

This large site is situated in a strategically important position between Folkestone Central station and the town centre - including the harbour area.

It is a five-minute walk to Folkestone Central station and a three-minute walk to Radnor Park.

Site levels fall significantly from west to east, with a 12-metre level difference across the site. Existing retaining walls create a largely flat plateau across the centre of the site.

The site has some residual utilities operations still in place. Site issues need to be investigated further.

Site investigations

Further site investigation works were carried out during the summer of 2022.  The results of these will be used to define the remediation strategy for the site. 

Site principles

The site can deliver an exciting new residential development that will also provide pleasant walking and cycling links from Folkestone Central station to the town centre and harbour.

A study by Fletcher Priest Architects in 2021 identified a number key principles to be taken into account in future designs.

A green link across the site can create a pedestrian route from station to town centre and F51 (the new skate park) and open up views to the hills beyond.

The lower section of the site to the east offers scope for a small public open space that can benefit the wider neighbourhood.

A green car-free link route can incorporate food growing and sustainable drainage systems. There is potential to incorporate areas for play in the green link design.

A local plaza with active ground floor uses, including workspace, with opportunity for temporary exhibitions in the public realm.

Design principles

The aim is for this unsightly plot to be transformed into a fantastic development, which benefits the local community. Through well-designed and sustainable housing, the development will positively add to the distinctive cultural character of Folkestone.

  • The homes will be highly energy efficient using materials to minimise carbon emissions and very well insulated
  • The development will encourage sustainable lifestyles with incentives to promote using public transport, cycling, and car clubs
  • The homes will be a mixture of private and affordable
  • It will include a mixture of houses and apartments for growing and newly forming households
  • The homes will be of a density suitable to the site's town centre location. Houses and apartments may have terraces instead of traditional gardens
  • The development will create a pedestrian and cycling-friendly urban environment and may include mews-like streets

Next steps

Work up planning application Spring 2023
Brownfield Land Release Fund application Summer 2023
Submit planning application Autumn 2023
Planning decision Winter 2023/24
Procure developer partner Winter 2023/24

An application has been made for Brownfield Land Release Fund grant funding towards bringing Ship Street forward for development.  A decision is expected to be received in December to whether we been successful.

A creative development

We greatly value the contribution of Creative Folkestone in supporting the development of the project brief for Ship Street.

Creative Folkestone has a proven track record of applying art, cultural activity and creativity as a sustainable driver of urban regeneration. This is exemplified by their leading role in the development and promotion of Folkestone's Creative Quarter.

Through the Folkestone Triennial and other initiatives, Creative Folkestone has opened the site to visitors, and hosted events that reimagine the site and potential futures. The creative industries continues to grow and plays an important role in making Folkestone a great place to live, work, play and visit for all.

We seek to utilise that expertise and drive to place creativity at the heart of the project brief for the housing-led design development of the site.

Ship Street development (PDF, 20.43MB)

You can find a press release issued about the project before 2022 in our development project press release archive