Thank you to the 19-20 people, including a handful of pupils from Beacon School and the deputy mayor, who participated in last Friday’s worthwhile Go Folkestone Litter Pick in central Folkestone. Despite the rain, which only decided to stop when it saw us gathering at 2pm. There is something about 2pm; it seems to rain more at lunchtimes.
Today and yesterday several Go Folkestone members went to see the refined De Haan plans for building on the harbour car park. More later and in the magazine, but in ten years’ time they will probably only just have sold all the crescents which are planned for along the beach between boardwalk and Road. So, you certainly have a fortnight to tell us what you think of the plans for the strikingly shaped and now more spaced blocks due sometime in the 2030s on the Harbour car park. Space to construct it all and also to run the Harbour Arm retail areas will be safeguarded after a fashion by NOT building the last Block E in the series of crescents. Blocks A, B (the current one), C (opposite Marine Crescent) and D will be built. But the space which E will ultimately occupy will be used for a musical chairs shifting around of retail and construction through the 2030’s. Most of the committee thought that there was good design and quality, but will the car parking be enough? To be fair to the smaller cycle lobby, cycle lanes were distinguished by their absence. But I think GF won’t want cycling on the boardwalk. We will be putting out our thoughts in a qualified objection to a few details, but most of us still like it. The overall planning permission is given, so it is a case of making it work, rather than trying to squash it.
You all may well have heard that the Greens are not joining with the Lib Dems in a District Council coalition as I expected but with Labour….., probably. This will be clarified in a week as Labour are having a meeting, and also have to clear any local ‘arrangement’ with HQ, which will be interesting. Nobody yet has asked Keir Starmer whether he would go into national coalition with the Greens; perhaps they should!
It will make for stability in one way as between them they have 21 seats to the Conservatives 5, rightish Independents 2 and Lib Dem I think 2. But I didn’t think made for stability in that Greens and Labour have different views on some of the development items. I wonder if Labour will choose to write off Prince’s Parade at the cost of millions. It is an unpopular development and always was, but a complete write would be prohibitive. Of course, the value of the land in the books remains high even if they themselves choose not to build on it, so possibly the auditor may be content? But what is the value of land which you don’t wish to build upon?
The less important Town Council meets on Tuesday and will probably vote Belinda Walker in for Mayor and Abena Akuffo-Kelly for Deputy, both experienced Labour councillors. The District leaders are possibly going to be Jackie Meade for Labour and Jim Martin for Greens and the leaders of the Greens and Labour will alternate as chairs with Green presumably having first go as they got 11 seats to Labour’s 10. The Greens are so inexperienced though; I think only 4 are sitting councillors. I hope they cope better than the Lib Dems did when equally inexperienced in 2000-2004.