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Folkestone harbour station revealed to public

By Sean Axtell

It's been under wraps for a year but now the transformed Folkestone harbour station has been unveiled to the public.

Folkestone Harbour Company (FHC) has carried out the renovation bringing the line, which was first opened in 1850, back to life.

The restoration forms part of FHC's seafront masterplan containing shops, cafés, bars and 1,000 homes with some tower blocks measuring 12-storeys high, recommended for approval by council officers this week.

The restored station unveiled
The restored station unveiled

Repairs have been made to the dilapidated platforms and the station canopies have been restored to their former glory.

The track-bed and signal box has been refurbished and wooden seating added to bring the space back to use.

FHC project officer Kay Whitehead said: "The station is such an important piece of Folkestone's history.

"It was part of Folkestone's international rail and sea connections but when the line was closed and the ferries stopped operating it fell into disuse.

"The station was just sitting there and our aim was to turn it into a space that can be enjoyed again."

It will link to the Harbour Arm and it is envisaged that entertainment, children's activities and stalls will grow out "organically" connecting the two attractions.

Earlier this month the Express reported Sir Roger De Haan’s FHC is resisting calls for a public meeting over its controversial seafront plans.

'True scale' representations of Roger De Haan's tower blocks on Folkestone sea front
'True scale' representations of Roger De Haan's tower blocks on Folkestone sea front

The company revealed late last year amended plans to increase the height of a number of buildings as part of the scheme originally granted permission in 2015.

The amended plans also included removal of sea and beach sports centres and fresh plans to demolish the historic Harbour House.

But despite 238 people registering their objections on Shepway District Council’s (SDC) planning portal and Folkestone Town Council vehemently opposing the plans, SDC officers have given the proposals the green light.

Officer David Campbell said in his report: “The proposal would provide new open spaces, improved parking facilities and connectivity, over and above the previous approval and includes highway mitigation for the increased traffic.

"The station is such an important piece of Folkestone's history" - Kay Whitehead

“The changes to the parameters including the alterations to the scale, form of the plots and heights have been considered and their impact on heritage assets such as the setting of the conservation area and listed buildings and the demolition of Harbour House, a non-designated heritage asset.”

However he did acknowledge the numerous objections and said they “will be looked at under the reserved matters and are not for determination under this application.”

The report will go before members in the council’s Civic Centre chamber at 7pm on Tuesday.

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