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Protesters gather at Princes Parade in Hythe and East Cliff in Folkestone


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Campaigners wearing animal masks and holding banners came together to protest against the Princes Parade development once more.

The demonstration was part of a county-wide day of action, titled Save Kent's Green Spaces, at the weekend.

Around 80 people gathered at Princes Parade for the protest. Photo: Nicki Stuart
Around 80 people gathered at Princes Parade for the protest. Photo: Nicki Stuart

Around 80 people stood along the coastal road, some with dogs, some holding signs and others wearing masks of the animals which will be uprooted due to the scheme.

The project, being led by Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC), will see 150 homes, a leisure centre, shops and open spaces, created along the land facing Hythe beach.

Work has already started along the stretch, including ground testing, clearing trees and vegetation, and relocating the badgers and reptiles which live there.

Nicki Stuart, part of the Wild About Princes Parade group, attended the rally and said: "It was a really good turn out.

"Residents are still hopeful that FHDC will see sense, especially with the very serious concerns about contamination in the ground when they start having to excavate and the exorbitant costs involved in building a swimming pool in this location so close to the sea."

Artist's impression of the Princes Parade development in Hythe
Artist's impression of the Princes Parade development in Hythe

Chris Farrell, who also attended, said: "The huge numbers of people who braved the freezing weather on Sunday to protest against construction work at Prince’s Parade is testament to the depth of feeling and anger felt towards FHDC.

"The people of Hythe democratically voted to stop this development at the local elections."

Members of Keep the East Cliff Green (KECG), which has been set up to fight plans to redevelop the recreation area known as Jock’s Pitch in Folkestone, also stood together on Sunday.

The group is against FHDC's proposal to create a play area for children and young children and also update the existing facilities, including tennis courts, a bowling green, pitch and putt course and putting green.

A consultation on the project is to be carried out by FHDC next year, the council has said.

Protesters at East Cliff in Folkestone. Picrture: Mark Hourahane
Protesters at East Cliff in Folkestone. Picrture: Mark Hourahane

Janine Gray, from the East Cliff group, previously said: “I feel our town is about to be crushed from all sides by building projects of various scales.

"This particular green space I had thought would always be safe.”

In response to the protest at Princes Parade, a spokesman for FHDC said: "This project will deliver a new swimming pool and leisure facilities for the 21st century - as well as quality homes, accessible open spaces, and better access to the canal and beach - on a underused, brownfield site at a sustainable location.

"It will benefit the whole community and work is already being carried out to safeguard the site’s key ecological features and introduce new habitat to encourage native species to flourish."

In terms of the redevelopment at East Cliff, Cllr John Collier, FHDC's cabinet member for grounds maintenance, said: "The facilities require modernisation and we must address the lack of play facilities for the Harbour ward.

"Trustees have not committed to any work and a full public consultation to understand what the public wants to see will be held in 2022."

A series of protests were held throughout the county on Sunday, to take a stand against the "relentless" housebuilding in the south east.

It was initiated by the Save Capel group, which is battling against plans by Tunbridge Wells council to impose a garden village of 2,600 homes on the parish.

But demonstrations also took place in Maidstone, Thanet, Deal, Sittingbourne and Faversham.

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