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Princes Parade: Frequently Asked Questions

There has been a high level of interest in our project at Princes Parade to deliver the leisure facilities - including a swimming pool, a wide traffic-free promenade and accessible open spaces - that residents of our district deserve.

Here we answer the most frequently asked questions by residents. This page will be updated as the development progresses.

Our vision for Princes Parade

Why are you developing Princes Parade?

We have long-held ambitions to replace our popular - but old and failing - swimming pool in Hythe.

The former municipal waste tip was first identified as the preferred location for this development back in 2012. Following years of careful deliberation and public consultation, the scheme was approved by district councillors on 16 August 2018.

We think the district's residents deserve a new swimming pool and leisure facilities fit for the 21st century. The development also includes quality homes to meet local needs, new accessible open spaces, and better access to the canal and beach.

You can read more about our vision for Princes Parade on our website.

Some people against the scheme claim you're not listening to their opinion - is that true?

We are aware that some local residents don't believe the Princes Parade development should go ahead.

However, the council has agreed to the scheme through a legally sound decision which, although not universally supported, has stood up to robust testing in the courts. A judicial review appeal was refused by the High Court as recently as December 2020.

This project will optimise the development of an underused site at a sustainable location for the benefit of the whole community.

Ecology and open spaces

Why aren't you preserving open spaces?

We are committed to creating new habitats for wildlife and there will be new accessible parkland plus a series of open spaces throughout the development further enhancing the setting of the Royal Military Canal for all to enjoy.

We appreciate the importance of natural public spaces for people to experience - both for their physical and mental health - and this development will ensure that the enjoyment of these areas is more accessible to everyone who visits Princes Parade in the future. 

Has the council broken the law by cutting down trees around nesting season?

Firstly - and most importantly - nesting birds are not being disturbed. Dates regarding the bird nesting season are guidelines. 

There was a requirement that those undertaking the work were checking that there were no nests in situ. This work was preceded by a check for nesting birds, as will be the case for all future clearance work.

Both our staff and visiting ecologists undertook visual checks prior to and during the works. No vegetation containing nesting birds was disturbed.

We are confident, following specific advice from our consultants, birds of special status - such as birds of prey, gulls and kingfishers - are not nesting in the areas to be cleared.

Why have you removed trees from the northern bank of the canal?

Breaking up dense vegetation - including dead trees and invasive weeds - and encouraging more sunlight to reach the northern bank of the canal which, together with the establishment of grassland, will be beneficial for several species.

Vegetation removed in March 2021 comprised of dead trees, brambles, invasive weeds, an invasive species of non-native North American poplar, and particular elderberry trees that were being strangled by ivy.

As with many landscaping changes the area affected may look sparse initially but the less this is disturbed the quicker the new shrub and grassland will be established.

What methods are being used to ensure certain areas remain clear?

As a council we only use glyphosate where absolutely necessary, and Ecoplugs have been used to stop the regrowth of particular trees on the northern bank of the canal.

There is no risk to residents, pets, or the local environment. According to the Forestry Commission, Ecoplugs "present practically no risk of non-target drift or operator contamination".

Meanwhile, Alexandra plants on the north bank are being spot treated with small amounts of a selective non-residual herbicide. These plants need to be eradicated to establish suitable habitat rich in biodiversity.

Spot application is an efficient method which ensures that non-target plants remain unaffected and continue to flourish.

Where can I read the Princes Parade ecology programme?

An updated version of the document can be read by clicking on the link below. Some of the dates will vary from previous documents.

Where can I read the ecology method statement?

The ecology method statement - along with other documents relating to the project - was submitted as part of the planning application process in 2017.

It can be read by visiting the council's planning portal and entering the reference Y17/1042/SH. You will also be able to find details regarding the height of the leisure centre, flood risk mitigation and other technical information.

Planning applications (2021)

Why have new planning applications been submitted in 2021?

Planning applications regarding specific aspects of delivering the project, including those seeking the discharge of conditions, have recently been submitted to the local planning application for determination and are currently open for consultation.

These have been published on the planning portal - as is standard practice - to ensure the proper process can be followed. They can be viewed by clicking here.

If you wish to comment on current planning applications regarding Princes Parade, email planning.princesparade@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk - please note this address is for planning application-related correspondence only. Any other emails regarding the scheme should be emailed to princesparade@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk

Financial viability

What work is being done to ensure the project is financially viable?

As the scheme progresses through its design stages, the procurement routes are completed and the site investigation works are carried out, a clearer financial position will evolve.

A note which sets out the financial breakdown for the decision to progress with the Princes Parade project, as well as the next steps, has been published and can be read below.

Realigning the road

Does the council have permission to realign the road at Princes Parade?

There was a statutory consultation on the stopping up of the road - this was separate from the planning application for the project.

We have now considered the responses received during the statutory consultation regarding the proposed stopping up of the road. This application will ultimately be decided by the Secretary of State for Transport's office.

We believe the road proposal will create a fantastic traffic-free promenade that can be enjoyed by all - as well as help improve road safety along our coastline.

Keeping people updated

How are you notifying people of works taking place on site?

We are doing everything we can to ensure residents living near the Princes Parade site are kept updated about any work which may impact on them.

Our efforts include - but are not limited to - letters sent to properties, the use of notice boards, uploading information onto our website and updating the online timeline, social media posts, and informing the local press.

If you have any further suggestions about how to keep residents updated, please email your ideas to princesparade@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk

Why did you not acknowledge an online petition regarding Princes Parade?

As is common practice across local government in this country, we only accept petitions in accordance with the requirements of our constitution.

A petition regarding Princes Parade did not meet that criteria and - therefore - was not able to be submitted for consideration.

Where can I ask questions about the project?

You can email your questions and to princesparade@folkestone-hythe.gov.uk, where it will be considered and addressed on this Frequently Asked Questions webpage.

Alternative sites

Have you considered building a leisure centre elsewhere in the district?

This project is the result of years of careful deliberation, public consultation and painstaking preparation.

The existing swimming pool site, Nickolls Quarry, The Green and South Road recreation ground have all been mooted as suggestions for a new leisure centre - but none of these alternatives are viable.

Our timeline looks at some of these unsuitable options in more detail.

What will happen to the land at Nickolls Quarry which has been mooted as an alternative location?

The Nickolls Quarry site was provided as an option for sports, leisure and community facilities within the s106 agreement with the developer of Martello Lakes.

With the Princes Parade project proceeding, the council will receive a financial contribution instead - and the land will revert back to the developer.

It will be for them to consider the future use of the land although, if they wish to develop it, this would be subject to the normal planning requirement and processes.

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