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Latest Attempt to Halt Princes Parade Development Falls

February 26, 2021 10:50 AM

Green Council candidates 2019 John Wing, Doug Wade, Georgina Treloar and Lesley Whybrow and Lib dem candidates Tim Prater and Gary FullerAt the Folkestone and Hythe District Council Full Council meeting on 24th February, an amendment to the General Fund Medium Term Capital Programme was proposed by Lib Dem Group Leader Tim Prater and Green Group Leader Lesley Whybrow.

The amendment, pretty much identical to a similar one moved in 2020, fell 13-16. It would have removed the required £29m funding for Princes Parade Development from the Council's Capital programme.

In moving an amendment to Item 10: Update to the General Fund Medium Term Capital Programme and budget monitoring 2020/21 at the F&HDC Budget meeting of 24th February, Tim said:

"I'd like to move the amendment I have previously notified to Officers:

"That the following recommendation be inserted as recommendation two (and subsequent recommendations be renumbered):

"The Princes Parade (Princes Parade Leisure and Housing development) future allocated budget of £28.358m be deleted and that a future capital programme considers the required budget for a leisure centre on an alternative site, probably at Martello Lakes.

"Yes, for those suffering a little deja vu, this is pretty much exactly the amendment I tabled to the Capital Programme last year, and has the same intention as the motion supported by this Council in June 2019.

"It removes the funding from the Princes Parade Development scheme. It instead requires the consideration of an alternative location for a new swimming pool and leisure centre for Hythe, probably at Martello Lakes.

"We support the development of new leisure facilities for Hythe. We support the replacement of Hythe pool. Just not at Princes Parade.

"I won't read you the same speech as last year, although it is tempting. However all the reasons I gave then for this amendment still hold true now. The development of Princes Parade does:

  • Damage to our environment.
  • Harms the setting of one of our most important scheduled ancient monuments, the Royal Military Canal.
  • Threatens our wildlife and ecology.
  • Exposes this Council to huge financial risk.

"This isn't a few new buildings. It's 150 houses, a hotel, a leisure centre, 1.5 acre surface water attenuation pond and the re-routing the existing road away from the seafront to nearer the canal.

"And if we've learned anything in the last year, it should be that we should be valuing the areas of open space that we have have in our community. Sometimes you can't drive somewhere to have a walk.

"If we've learned anything else in the last year, it should be that there is significant risk in anything, and that things change.

"There is a wealth of evidence to suggest that Princes Parade development is going to be more risky and expensive than costed, and that it could blow a hole in this Council's long term financial position, while ALSO still being the wrong thing to do.

"Abandoning the development of Princes Parade now will have material impact on the budget. We will have to write some expenditure off, and seemingly cancel a contract - its true. And we should. The same would have been true last year, and it remains true now.

"But keep going, and much more money may be sunk, and much more may have to be written off. There are still big hurdles to clear, from site investigations to detailed consents.

"Remember, we know that from Sports England projections I've given before that its entirely possible to build a new centre BETTER than that proposed at Princes Parade perfectly affordably elsewhere.

"Many Councillors will have seen emails from Save Princes Parade with reports from the Environment Agency saying the drainage scheme was "just about viable" and independent design consultants says that the re-routing of the road at Princes Parade "potentially creating as many problems as it solves".

"We can do better than this, and you can make it happen this evening. Leave Princes Parade alone. Please - support our amendment."