A showdown looms between protesters and a council over its impending decision to build a beachfront housing estate and leisure centre in Hythe.
Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) this afternoon announced it is “almost certain” it will decide whether to press ahead with plans for 150 homes on Princes Parade on July 31.
The announcement came moments before campaigner Lesley Whybrow, of Save Princes Parade, revealed plans to rally protestors and march on the council’s Civic Centre base before the meeting.
Mrs Whybrow said: “Given the conflict of interest with the council being both the applicant and the planning authority it would be much better if a planning inspector made the final decision not the council's planning committee.
“For that reason we have asked the Secretary of State to call in the application should the council grant themselves planning permission.
“My view is that the council are rushing this through before the Examination in Public of the Place & Policies Local Plan which I understand is due to take place in September.”
The district council is applying to itself for permission to build the leisure centre, homes, retail space and parkland on the former landfill site.
The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government has the power to take over planning applications rather than letting local authorities decide.
James Brokenshire MP will only agree to a ‘call-in’ a planning bid if it conflicts with national policy or is nationally significant.
It comes after a published ecology report revealed building should begin next year on the 150 homes estate, with parkland and retail space on the former landfill site.
A timeline of the works, designed in four phases, appeared on the council’s website this month via a report by landscape architect Lloyd Bore.
Appearing in its ecological mitigation strategy document, the Canterbury firm revealed the council hopes to begin work on the leisure centre next July.
However before work on the three-year building project begins, the council must carry out remedial work on the 1960s former waste tip.
If the district planning committee gives the proposals the green light, the Department for Transport will reveal if the council’s bid to ‘stop up’, or shut-down, almost a kilometre of Princes Parade road will go ahead.
It forms part of the authority’s latest phase to move the road adjacent to the Royal Military Canal, a listed ancient monument.
The re-routing will create a buffer-zone between future houses, according to FHDC.