Published: 00:01, 28 February 2018
The date has been revealed for the re-opening of the Folkestone Harbour Arm.
Closed throughout winter because of adverse weather, the regenerated railway terminal bursts into life in the summer with live music, entertainment and a rich assortment of independent traders.
New this year will be the addition of the spruced up harbour railway station, with work repairing and reconstructing the run-down platforms and canopies almost complete.
It comes following the creation of the seafront boardwalk, the new 800m wooden walkway meandering across the viaduct and the Harbour Arm, as part of the Folkestone Harbour Company’s (FHC) plans for seafront 1,000 homes.
The route through the revamped old station will complete a new network of footpaths, in an attempt to increase footfall.
And the Harbour Arm this year will fizz back into life with food stalls, live music and more lining the walkways from March 24.
A what’s on programme will soon be published and the online calendar detailed with entertainment listings.
More than 80,000 people visited during the summer of 2015 following a £3.5 million refurbishment, and each year visitor numbers have grown.
So far the harbour regeneration project – which aims to deliver 1,000 homes and 10,000 square metres of retail space - has cost FHC, which is backed by Roger De Haan in excess of £74 million.
But this month the company took a blow when councillors voted against the plans, where some high-rise blocks would measure 14-storeys high.
Members of Folkestone Town Council voted unanimously to oppose the scheme after raising a string of concerns, including a lack of affordable homes, poor road access, shortages of GP and school spaces and excessive building height.
Of the 1,130 people consulted 197 have objected and seven back the scheme, according to Shepway council’s planning portal.
The lion’s share of complainants echo the town council’s views.
The latest objection, from Gillian White cites Folkestone’s intensifying GP crisis – with a shortage of 16 doctors – as one reason to oppose the plans.
However, Peter Bettley, a spokesman for the harbour developer maintains proposed changes to the original plans “do not exceed the highest point permitted in the original application.”
He also explained that original plans for a sea sports scheme were trialled but proved unsuccessful and so a centre has been established at The Stade: "It is therefore proposed to replace sea sports in the scheme with public benefits of equivalent value."