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Dance Easy Studio, in The Bayle, Folkestone, to be replaced by six flats

An historic dance hall will be knocked down and flats built in its place.

The controversial application to demolish the Dance Easy studio, in The Bayle, Folkestone, has been approved by planning councillors.

The Dance Easy Studio in Folkestone. Picture: Gary Browne
The Dance Easy Studio in Folkestone. Picture: Gary Browne

Now, a three-storey building which will include six flats and a smaller ground floor community room will be erected.

It is not the first time the project, put forward by family run Charlier Construction, has been put before members of Folkestone and Hythe District Council.

But this latest application addressed concerns over the loss of the current community space and amended the building design.

It has received much opposition in the past, including from a school head teacher and a resident's group.

Issues previously raised included increased traffic and loss of the hall, which has been used for dance classes, comedy nights and more in the past.

The application itself has received 34 public comments, 32 in objection.

The proposed new build, taken from the planning application (21171829)
The proposed new build, taken from the planning application (21171829)

And despite being approved at the meeting, the application still met resistance from some members of the planning committee.

Cllr Danny Brook (Con) questioned why no parking provisions were to be provided and Cllr Jim Martin (Green) asked what purpose the smaller and more restricted community hall would serve.

Cllr Jackie Meade (Lab) said she had quite a few issues with it, adding: "It is always a disaster for any town to lose a community space, and I appreciate they have put a community space in here but I can only echo what has gone before that the space that's in there will not have full disability access and I don't think that's right."

In addition, Cllr Meade, also mayor of Folkestone, mentioned the lack of parking, the 'small' size of the flats and the loss of the existing sprung floor.

Officers responded to concerns and said the site has been derelict since March 2017 and said although smaller the proposed community hall would be suitable for different uses.

Mayor Jackie Meade
Mayor Jackie Meade

They added it was a 'difficult application to consider'.

Cllr David Wimble (Ind) spoke in support: "The current building is dilapidated and not fit for purpose."

Cllr Jennifer Hollingsbee (Con) added: "I remember this application coming forward on a number of occasions. It is a heritage building but do we want to see it derelict and not used and contributing to the area in not a good way.

"It is a site in the middle of the town and we want to discourage the use of cars. It seems to me this is a way of doing that."

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