Sir Roger De Haan and Guy Hollaway to Speak at Go Folkestone AGM

The 22nd Annual General Meeting of Go Folkestone will be held at Wards Hotel in Earls Avenue on Wednesday 9th November.

Dear Members, as Go Folkestone calendars will be available, should you intend purchasing at the reduced price, would you kindly allow sufficient time before the meeting by arriving at 6.00pm for the meeting to start at 6.30.

Drinks and snacks will be available to be purchased and ordered prior to the meeting start at 6.30.

Guest Speakers at 7.30.

The very special guests are the philanthropist Sir Roger De Haan & Guy Hollaway of Hollaway Associates, Sir Roger’s architectural adviser. We await more details from their representatives, but it should certainly be an unmissable meeting as both have been involved with the most exciting Folkestone projects of the last 20 years. Non-members welcome but may need to pay a small charge, to be discussed. Minutes of the AGM to members will be issued to members.

Please arrive at 6pm if you wish to easily purchase an Aspects of Folkestone 2023 CALENDAR, to support our projects, at members’ rates of £7 each (non-members £8) or should you wish to join Go Folkestone or renew your membership. Depending on time there may be a drinks and sales’ break at 7.15pm, but the talk will start at 7.30pm subject to speakers’ wishes.

Go Folkestone provides a non-political forum for sensible comment on the town’s past, present and future as well as an alert to topical matters not covered enough by local media nor covered constructively by ranting social media. Subscriptions have finally had to be raised after 20 years to £15 per year/£20 joint.

The magazine should be posted in hard copy and emailed to members before the AGM. Otherwise over a thousand are found in a variety of venues. Donations, bequests, calendar orders and potential articles to

The much reported Cheriton to Central Station cycle scheme of KCC is being reconsulted by an ever-hopeful KCC but the sine qua non/dealbreaker/bottom line is that BOTH residents and shopkeepers are almost unanimously against the original scheme which removed 4 trees and 42 parking spaces, and stopped access to Ashley Avenue. That scheme is dead. The scheme lobby are doing workshops etc to see if something can be done which doesn’t remove any parking spaces overall, which local councillors say is an essential pre-condition. GF have suggested that the cycling improvements on the fast stretch from Central to Castle Hill Avenue are fine, and most people agree. As the money is there to be spent stand by for some alterations, but not many invasive ones in the shopping stretch between Coombe Road and Risborough Lane. We have asked for a cycle path improvement through Radnor Park and Three Hills, & wonder if school-bound roads Cornwallis Ave & Tile Kiln Lane could have cycle improvements too.  

We also believe that there is an opportunity in the Kent College plans in Shorncliffe Road to have a quiet and pleasant cycle way behind the partially rebuilt college from Kingsnorth Gardens to Broadfield Road.

Go Folkestone News 11 October 2022

Firstly, you are invited to the Annual General Meeting of Go Folkestone on Wednesday 9th November, at 6.00 for 6.30am which features a talk by the noted local architect Guy Hollaway who has been crucial in the regeneration of Folkestone since 2000, as Sir Roger De Haan’s main architect.   Regular readers will know that he designed F51, the already famous indoor skateboard park and climbing wall (and Folkestone Boxing Club!) in Tontine Street … or rather Dover Road at that point! But he has also advised on the redevelopment of the Creative Folkestone district viz Tontine Street and The Old High Street with their many interesting new buildings. Non-members should arrive at 7.15 pm.

Guy is involved in the current discussions on redeveloping and improving the central axis from Central Station to Bouverie Square, for which the Council, and perhaps Sir Roger, may have some money. It is uncertain that he can talk much about it, but we can try, and certainly put our points. What will happen with Middelberg House – the former Saga building in Bouverie Square?

New Consultation on Drugs and Alcohol

Kent County Council is the key player in drug and alcohol dependency treatment, rather than Folkestone and Hythe DC. They are consulting until the end of October re peoples’ views about this. Look at this link and make your point felt. Go Folkestone is talking to the Rainbow Centre which knows about these things but will make a submission.

Please help our green gang:  GO FOLKESTONE raised £1140, including £240 from Folkestone Invicta FC, toward the planting of 8 FLOWERING CHERRY TREES TO COMMEMORATE QUEEN ELIZABETH, running along the front wall of Cheriton Road Cemetery opposite Invicta, the Bowls Club, Three Hills and Morrisons. This is part of a bigger scheme by the members of Cheriton and Morehall Royal British Legion, backed also by councillors such as Ann Berry, Dylan Jeffery and Michelle Keutenius. Cheques to Go Folkestone marked ‘trees’ are still welcome.

Meet at 9.30am on Friday 14th October at Cheriton Road cemetery to start some clearance of small areas, digging of trial holes by the wall and shifting of a couple of small, old stumps. The main work is professional, but this will save money and clarify where exactly the trees would be best to go.

Help is also welcome for the white garden, by the Friends of Cheriton Cemetery on Saturdays around noon, and by Incredible Edible group in watering the planters along Cheriton High Street – meet at All Souls at 2pm Wednesdays.

Likely Redevelopment of FOLCA/Debenhams

There will be more news on this both this week and next, but in view of the GF meeting on Wednesday here is my slightly amended (from 18th September) and summarized personal view.

The Council refer to the buildings of ‘Debenhams’ as Folca 1 and Folca 2. Folca 2 is Art Deco and possibly safe? Folca 1 is the Edwardian red brick corner cupola and Bouverie Place building. This is firmly intended for demolition. Given that the Council actually owns the freehold and is granting a 150-year leasehold to a health centre developer it is going to be very difficult to stop this, particularly as an early listing attempt by Heart failed. We are advised by professionals that reapplication for listing is pretty hopeless. Our friendly sister society the New Folkestone Society is not proposing to do that either, although it has carried out a survey of locals outside the property, the majority of whom would be very sorry to see it demolished. We all would. So, we have a building which is not protected and is intended for a large modern health centre which will both profit the cash-strapped Council and increase footfall in the area.  The Clinical Commissioning Group aka doctors want a specific set of rooms and facilities for which they don’t want a shop conversion and have in fact fairly detailed plans for something pretty all-singing and dancing. The issue of car parking is left very vague, however. There MUST be decent parking.

As I have said before, unless buildings are surplus to requirements like the old Royal Vic, the health business, NHS or Private is very prone to demolishing old buildings, as it were, in the national health interest. The one thing Go Folkestone is suggesting is that, in the absence of any other occupiers for the thirties piece, perhaps the health centre could spread further than currently planned, into the part still fully owned by the Council. If it did that there is a faint chance that the Edwardian corner cupola and side entrance might be built into the design even though that loses space, because you would get replacement space. But the new development is planned at 5 storeys, so could it work?

Folca 2 is the main 1930’s Sandgate Road building with the Art Deco multi-windowed front. It remains with the Council, which has talked in the past of a town centre council gateway. The Council say they would like to save this half of Folca if possible, e.g., if it wouldn’t fall down, can be reused somehow etc. A feasibility study into saving the frontage, and less likely the magnificent staircase [too much wasted space they say] is being polished up now and is believed to recommend refurbishment, but at the same time criticize the quality of the façade building. It will report in late October as things are moving apace. There has to be a use for it all.

The Council don’t have to take the consultants’ advice, but they have a very poor record on heritage and may go further in demolition rather than preserve more, on the basis that a new build would be worth more. But Go Folkestone, New Folkestone Society and most locals would, we believe, say that the town would lose most of its character if both parts of its most dominant building were flattened. And it is more dominant even than the Town Hall. So many old buildings demolished in the fifties, sixties and seventies are regretted now, while the Bull Ring, Tricorn Centre and others that replaced them were hated and up for demolition themselves in half the time.  Time for FHDC to look at the appearance of the town centre and not only cash.    

Go Folkestone are also going to try, with the New Folkestone Society and Heart to get FHDC to follow Kent County guidance and start designating a ‘local list’ of as it were Grade 3 buildings to protect at least a bit. Suggestions include FOLCA (!!), the Burton Building aka Luben, the Crown Post Office and the old Victorian Post Office aka Sandgate Road KFC!

Other Planning:

Barnfield Road, off Park Farm Road: 22/1447/fh :   A block of 30 small workshop and industrial units is proposed for the part of the old Silver Springs site which used to come off Barnfield Road i.e. the southern third nearest the town. These are in 5 rows of six terraced small units, clearly hoping to improve local employment and enterprise. We could say why not build more houses. We could say that despite the drawings of trees there is no landscaping plan, and we want decent trees and landscaping across the front. We could say the traffic on Park Farm Road is dreadful and something will have to be done. Any comments are pointless after 13 October.

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