The next members’ meeting is Wednesday 9th August at 6.45pm. Please visit our website to see details on how to be a member. New members may still get the July magazine as a courtesy. There may be an earlier committee meeting. Can committee members put forward items, and also review, correct and comment on this NEWS.

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Cheriton Active Travel

Our June meeting of over 25 members voted heavily in favour of the heavily amended scheme to improve walking and cycling from Central Station to Cheriton. It no longer removes any car parking spaces or trees but does introduce proper cycle lanes from Coombe Road to Central Station. It is supported by the Green Party, Liberals and, at last contact, the Tory County Councillors. Please don’t think it is the same as it was, and please back it. The money is ring fenced and won’t be spent on anything else if it is turned down. Some political games are being played, but YOU can look at  and fill in a form by Tuesday FIRST  AUGUST  to give your views. We don’t like many of the traffic islands being removed. We believe, listening to some members, that:

  • the 20mph limit between Coombe Road and Somerset Road junctions
  • the efficacy of the Beachborough junction lane alterations, which however make sense to most neighbours in theory at least.
  • AND the rules when the M20 is closed

should be officially reviewed after a year or two. We do believe the existing cycle path through Three Hills should be repaired at the Cherry Garden Avenue end and promoted by KCC and FHDC as a pleasant route. But all in all it should be an improvement.

Pass the consultation details on QUICKLY TO YOUR FRIENDS. It is on a knife edge.

Eastcliff Playpark Development: Did anyone see that the current Green/Lib coalition has completely abandoned the mothballed plan to make Wear Bay Road a lot more unpleasant for neighbours? See our 2021 magazines for a memory of the campaign that we took part in to review it. There should be a mobile kiosk allowed and some play improvements, but the road wasn’t suitable for a Bank Holiday choke up, so close to houses and esp with the De Haan development oncoming. There will be continuing excavations to the Roman sites.

De Haan Seafront Development

The exhibition of the latest phase of the Seafront development was shown last Friday and Saturday but seemed unpopular and is being reviewed by the developer. Go Folkestone did miss an important meeting through email mix-ups, but many of the over 250 Go Folkestone members went to the exhibition. I saw them in the long queues and inside the building and chatted to them. The queues were considerable. Although friendly they were mainly critical of the development in question. The exhibition focused on the development of the harbour car park next to the Harbour Arm rather than the succession of four proposed crescents of houses and flats on the beach.

The biggest surprise was the possible conversion of the station into a shopping centre.  It had been expected that the station to be somewhat overwhelmed by the tall adjacent buildings but not to be effectively incorporated into them.  The place for such commercial activities is surely within the boulevard running though the development, where the ground floor units are to be double height, multipurpose spaces suitable for shops, food outlets and workshops.

The crescents, Phase 1, are summarised in our July magazine which came out before Phase 2 was publicised and should progress in 2023-2030. However, Phase 2, the harbour car park development, is long into the future at after 2030. It does however have at least outline planning permission. Some of this permission runs out before 2026, but the giving of permission can be elongated by doing some of the works to ‘start’ the actual development. It is also the fact that past planning permissions are very powerful evidence for future developments unless new evidence discredits them. But without Council support a serious rethink will take place.

The views of all Go Folkestone members are important. Please tell us of them by email, Facebook, Website and at our monthly members meetings. The next members’ meeting is on Wednesday 9th August at 6.45pm at Wards Hotel in Earls Avenue. Currently members seem to dislike Phase 2 while not being aggressively against all development. Since its inception in 2000 Go Folkestone has always been the group that defended the best old town buildings, and got more listed than any other group, while not being complete Not In My Back Yarders, and not being aggressively political. Contrary to some social media, Go Folkestone’s magazine and website, and the organisation itself has not received any money from Sir Roger De Haan or his organisations for over ten years. But we do think he has done a lot for the town. Consider the harbour arm, Old High Street and Tontine Street before Sir Roger De Haan.

Incidentally the latest Go Folkestone magazine had 19 contributors, so those who say that I write 75% of it are mischievous! People just don’t always wish to be named. Please send in your own articles for Autumn, including reviews, (well argued) views, volunteering opportunities, stories and human interest, and also photographs for our annual fund-raising calendar to

My personal view, as your Chairman, is that I am worried that Folkestone may become Banana Town following the success of the Greens and Labour in local elections and the ongoing major dial down of the Prince’s Parade Development. Banana being shorthand for Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything. There is no future in being completely against the Seafront Development. It will bring jobs and facilities. We must instead make it proportionate and workable. It will inevitably be a political football in the period going up to the General Election because Prince’s Parade seems to suggest that if you are against building you get elected. People become Nimbies. Folkestone becomes a sleepy little town again like Dover. Ashford continues to expand in all directions and attracts investment from well-known brands.

Folkestone is constricted and must not build on The Downs BUT surely there is a vision which develops Folkestone with significant newness within the town and seafront as a lively seaside town with prosperous satellites like Hawkinge and Otterpool, and great connections to London?

Currently members seem to dislike Phase 2 for several reasons. There will be a review of these reasons at a Go Folkestone committee meeting and at the August monthly meeting. But provisionally some of the worries are:

  • The bunching and density of the five or so main buildings which should have some square or piazza whilst also giving the harbour some boundary. These two worthwhile objectives should not be exclusive.
  • The current popular railway station survival should be sacrosanct.
  • There is a real feeling that car parking and gridlock will remain a problem particularly in Summer. There are new car parks proposed, and underground car parking but locals still need to be convinced by independent experts. Perhaps a multi-storey car park is one answer but people believe Tram Road will be an inadequate traffic artery for the development proposed. At least Phase 1, the crescents, should start demonstrating in 2024-2030 whether the problems have been under-estimated.
  • Sewage and inundation are widespread worries. Planners and developers need to be absolutely sure about the solutions.
  • People are cynical that facilities such as surgeries will be built and STAFFED in a way that avoids more pressure on local services.
  • The design is being decried as Flintstone Towers. This is typical social media superficiality. But there is no doubt that the Crescents did not get such a negative response. So something needs to change.
  • The occupiers of the town centre of Sandgate Road continue to be concerned that the harbour commercial development will weaken it. De Haan will keep strong connections. But why have so much commercial development. Ground floors are good for residential for the elderly and disabled and surely would still make a profit?
  • Social housing is at 8% of the whole because of the many other facilities provided in the Arm. While there is no commercial point in turning exceptional flats into social housing COULD NOT fringe units in the twilight zone of Marine Terrace be bought up for new, better quality social housing ???

Volunteer Group

Thank you to the people who participated in the June Go Folkestone Litter Pick in central Folkestone. There will be another one, organised by Patty Key date to be advised. We normally meet at the Leas Arch and radiate out in different directions over Central Folkestone, as far as The Garden of Remembrance or F51 in Dover Road.

We could occasionally try Cheriton, or a littered long footpath in the countryside, but the regular patrol picks up a lot as it covers the leisure walk hotspots along the Folkestone Town Trail that GF originated; not that FHDC paid pickers aren’t good. Gloves and fun collecting long and short litter-pickers are supplied by Folkestone and Hythe community wardens. It is completely voluntary. Contact if you want to be prodded, or do other voluntary activities such as watering trees and planters. We believe the paid Folkestone Sprucer and others have their place and support them. But we are all responsible for our town.  Don’t forget Friends of Cheriton Road Cemetery at Saturday 11.30am (details Page 8 July magazine) and Folkestone Poppy Project (details

Recently we started helping Incredible Edible by watering a few planters in Cheriton on Mondays or Tuesdays and will help with the Folkestone West planters. Fortunately, there are downpours at the moment, and the shopkeepers such as Watson Neal are very good. But there will soon be a heatwave !!! Water that street tree near your house if it looks parched. Kent County Council will get there in the end but you could save it in the meantime.

A couple of us have already gone to the first visit to Shorncliffe Military Cemetery to do some Himalayan Balsam pulling and possibly some surveys with the White Cliffs Countryside Partnership. We hope to discuss evening activities with them too.

Some of us will go on their Ravens and Rifles Walk on Thursday 3rd August at, unfortunately, 10.00 am. See their website.

Richard Wallace.

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