There has been a high level of interest in our project to create a blueprint for the future of Folkestone town centre. Here we answer the most frequently asked questions by residents. This page will be updated as the project progresses.
At the beginning of the process, We Made That worked with the council to identify a list of groups and individuals to engage with: strategic & delivery partners, key stakeholders, community & interest groups, business groups and residents' groups.
We Made That held a series of focused workshops and one-to-one conversations over February and March. This has included over 86 members of the local community, representing 16 different groups and stakeholder parties. The invited groups and presentations from each of the workshops are available to download on the place place webpage, along with a text summary from each workshop.
An online survey has also been undertaken, the results of which will be made available shortly. The team asked for contact recommendations during these conversations. If you think there are groups or individuals you think we should be including please let us know using this email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Town Centre boundary is defined in the Adopted Local Plan 2020. The brief for the Place Plan is to focus on the town centre, and the team has defined a wider area of context that is also important to consider. We have made various adjustments to this in response to stakeholder feedback, and welcome any further comments.
To determine the key findings, the team has worked together with the council to gather data from council resources and publicly available data, such as ONS. The ongoing engagement process has fed into the more qualitative analysis. The team has looked at pre-pandemic statistics and studies and we can make judgements about what the impact of the pandemic has been in the last year.
New data has emerged over the last year in relation to information on claimant counts, furlough scheme take-up and business closure, for example. The team has also undertaken a detailed process of review of pre-existing studies and evidence, to avoid duplication of work and make best use of existing resources.
The team is working with the council to make sure we integrate project proposals with current developments and future plans where possible.
It is not the intention that the Place Plan becomes adopted planning policy, although aspects of the place plan may lead to policy in the future. The purpose of the Place Plan is to direct regeneration for Folkestone that will influence development as it comes forward. The seafront development represents an opportunity to bring new residents to the town, who will frequent the town centre. This should be seen as an opportunity, though it does mean that the future 'offer' of the town centre needs careful consideration to avoid competing with, or being left behind by new development.
Folkestone Town Centre will remain the primary centre for the District. Whilst the Otterpool Park proposals include a new centre for the development, it is anticipated that residents will still travel into Folkestone, and as such the development will support additional footfall in Folkestone's town centre.
The Night Time Industries Association have been specifically commissioned to review the District's licensing policy. This work will be subject to specific workshops and onwards statutory public consultation.
The originally intended deadline for the Place Plan was June 2021. The team has been asked to undertake some additional engagement with members and F&HDC officers, and as a result we are now working towards a July target for completion.
At the moment there isn't a specific delivery budget but there are opportunities to secure funding to support some of the ideas. The Place Plan sets out to help external parties to determine where they can contribute, to leverage private funding so that regeneration is not reliant on the council to fund and deliver.
Central government funding, such as the Levelling Up Fund could also be relevant. The Place Plan provides an opportunity to have a 'shopping list' to guide activity and put Folkestone in a better position secure funding such as this.
The intention is that the proposals will enhance the lives of all of Folkestone's residents. Better access to the coast and to the Town Centre are amongst the opportunities that residents have reported to value the most, as well as a variety of offer that aims to cater to people of all ages and incomes.
Our engagement process to date has been focused around allowing local residents to tell us what their priorities are and where they would like to see investment. The Place Plan proposals to date reflect this feedback, and we welcome further inputs via email@example.com
The team have been engaging directly through schools groups, several of those have taken place so far. Through this, we have started to understand more about what would attract young people to live, work and stay in Folkestone. The inclusion of young people is specifically addressed under the missions 'A Place for All Voices' and 'Access to Opportunity'.
It is clear that we can no longer rely on retail alone to attract people to town centres, including Folkestone. The team is considering a wider range of other potential uses including workspace, civic and community space, healthcare, leisure and residential uses.
It is worth pointing out that recent changes to the Planning Use Classes Order and Permitted Development Rights restrict the council's ability to control what uses take place in the Town Centre to some extent.
A list of who has been invited so far and a summary of the outcome of those sessions is available here in the stakeholder workshop summary document.
We have reviewed the Heritage Strategy and seek to incorporate recommendations where possible.
The team are eager to hear more about this from the people of Folkestone, especially when it relates to specific interventions or places that we should be acknowledging. Please do highlight particular sites or locations by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Stakeholders who were part of the drive to launching Folkestone as the first music town were engaged during the workshop phase and their input included within our development of the Place Plan.
The early-stage appraisal work identified several issues in regards to transport, including an over-engineered road network, issues with speeding, poor quality provision for walking and cycling and stakeholder feedback on parking issues.
These observations raise several opportunities which are captured under the 'Moving Sustainably' mission. Cars will not be excluded from the Town Centre but there should be viable alternatives for walking and cycling safely as concerns have been raised over traffic and speed. One of our proposals is that there should be a wider review of parking. We are able to make observations, to feedback on challenges and opportunities that people raise to us in terms of parking, but it is dedicated piece of work that we think needs more detailed consideration.
The council has regular contact with the trustees of the Leas Lift CIC to discuss progress of the restoration of the Leas Lift and we recognise the importance that it has in the overall scheme of things.
These Place Plan documents can be translated on request as with other council material. Requests can be emailed to email@example.com
In addition to the stakeholder workshops and the public webinar we have conducted an online survey the results of which will be made available shortly.
For any questions raised that you think were not answered at the webinar, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org