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120 new beach huts set for Folkestone seafront

Regeneration plans for a popular seaside resort includes installing more than 100 new beach huts.

The proposals, for Folkestone seafront, will see 58 of the existing 74 chalets torn down, while the remaining 16 will be completely renovated.

The new plans would see 120 new chalets installed
The new plans would see 120 new chalets installed

In addition, 120 new wooden ones will be built, resulting in a total of 136 beach huts along the promenade.

The 16 huts to be retained include the eight tiered chalets and eight of the better condition chalets with pitched roofs.

There are also plans to repair and improve the coastal park, including stabilising the slopes, steps and walls.

The ambitious scheme - which requires 'significant investment' - was announced by Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) leader Cllr David Monk (Con) at full council last night.

He was responding to a question from Cllr Laura Davison (Lab) about the future of the huts when he revealed that many of the existing ones have fallen into a 'state of disrepair'.

He said: "In 2018 the 74 chalets were taken back in house after a long lease where they had been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair.

"Currently 52 of these are let to tenants with the other 22 being in an un-lettable condition and being too costly to repair.

Some of the existing huts
Some of the existing huts

"Significant investment is required, firstly to stabilise the slope between the chalets and the coastal park, remove the derelict chalets, repair the local infrastructure consisting of steps, paths and walls and finally to repair or replace all of the chalets."

The regeneration plans were approved by the trustees of the Folkestone Parks and Pleasure Grounds (FPPG), a charity made up of councillors which looks after parks in the town, at their latest meeting.

The scheme is now subject to FHDC approving the capital loan at its November full council meeting.

Cllr Monk, a trustee of FPPG, added: "The FPPG trustees have decided to proceed with an option that achieves the objectives and provides 136 beach chalets in total.

"This consists of 120 new wooden chalets of varying sizes and 16 completely renovated existing chalets giving a total of 136 chalets.

"The renovated chalets will be the eight tiered chalets and eight of the better condition chalets with pitched roofs.

Cllr David Monk (18850872)
Cllr David Monk (18850872)

"The trustees believe that this will maintain some of the character of the site and help maintain its identity.

"Many of the chalets need to be taken down so the slope can be stabilised behind them.

"Engineering works will be carried out to achieve this objective whilst the whole local infrastructure is renovated and improved.

"Two sections of the chalets will have new ramps installed to provide access to all before the 16 remaining chalets are renovated and the 120 new chalets installed."

Some of the current pastel-shaded cabins have stood in Folkestone for more than 30 years.

There are currently 120 people on a waiting list to rent a hut.

Tenants hit out last month after the proposals were first unveiled, with some fearing that introducing wooden cuts could cause a fire hazard.

Bob Hyslop, a member of the New Folkestone Society, told KentOnline's sister paper the Folkestone & Hythe Express: "The district council have got this idea that they want to demolish these huts and replace them with wooden ones.

"With the south-west wind, if a vandal - because this is a lonely beach and we have had them before - were to set fire to one hut, the whole lot could burn."

During the council meeting, Cllr Monk would not comment on how much the scheme would cost.

He added: "My fellow trustees have committed to a significant investment that will not only greatly improve the area but provide an income for the charity for the years to come.

"This will help maintain the beach chalets and surrounding area and the other charity owned parks and open spaces in Folkestone."

It was also heard that trustees will consider opening up their meetings of Folkestone Parks and Pleasure Grounds - currently held in private - to other councillors in future.

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone

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