‘Disastrous’ plans to reroute a seafront road to make way for 220 new holiday homes have been scrapped.
GSE Group, which owns the Hythe Imperial Hotel, has put forward bold proposals to transform neighbouring Hythe Golf Club into a lakeside tourist spot.
It will include chalets, surrounding boating pools, with play parks for children and walkways for visitors.
As part of the vision, bosses had initially hoped to relocate Princes Parade, the road that currently runs between Hythe beach and the golf club, so it instead goes behind the development and along the Royal Military Canal.
The idea was put forward in the developer's scoping report, which is the first phase of the planning process that sets out what they will do to minimise the impact on the environment.
It said moving the road would “significantly improve public accessibility to the seafront” and “enhance permeability from the town to the coast”.
Images released last year showed a new pedestrianised promenade where the road currently runs.
But now the developer, which also owns the land for the golf course, says it is exploring other options following feedback from a public consultation, held last year.
A spokesman from GSE explained: “We are glad to see the scoping progressing, which is an important part of preparing for a planning submission.
“However, we would once again like to stress that the plans included are marked as illustrative only, and significant progress has been made since their submission.
“Regarding the redirection of Princes Parade in particular, this is a brilliant example of how the public consultation process should work as part of informing an overall masterplan.
“Our initial belief, as openly discussed back in November, was that this development represented an incredible opportunity to create a pedestrianised promenade bringing increased activity and footfall to this part of the seafront.
“Ideas included improving pedestrian accessibility, providing a more user-friendly promenade, introducing a cafe and more.
“This would allow us to redirect the road to the rear of the site and introduce traffic calming measures, offering a safer alternative to the long and straight existing road.
“Although we saw this as a genuine opportunity, it became apparent at the public consultation and through other stakeholder meetings that this is perhaps not as widely supported as we had anticipated.
“Whilst some were in support, the majority were opposed to the idea on a variety of grounds and provided some really insightful solutions.
“We have gathered this feedback and can confirm that we have looked at amending our proposals to not only keep the road in its current position but also provide improved surfacing and safer pedestrian crossing points.
“This is one of several changes we have made to the proposals following the consultation in November, and we are excited to hold our second consultation in the very near future.”
After hearing the reroute has been scrapped, resident Nicki Stuart who has lived in Hythe for nearly 30 years, said she is “relieved”.
The 63-year-old added: “There was a lot of opposition to previous plans to reroute the road so it would have been a disaster if they did it.
“We still don’t want the development but it is a relief they are not going ahead with the ridiculous idea of moving the road.
“I think everybody will be pleased to hear this.”
A similar idea to reroute the road was proposed as part of Folkestone and Hythe District Council’s failed project for a stretch of land further along Princes Parade.
In total, 150 homes, a hotel, a leisure centre, shops and open green spaces were planned for the large site, which is a former waste tip.
Following years of protests and campaigns, the project was scrapped when the new Green Party administration took over the authority in May.
At a public consultation in November, many Hythe residents expressed their fears over the potential new scheme for the currently-open golf club, with one comparing it to a “mini Center Parcs”.
The course and adjacent 92-bed Hythe Imperial Hotel are both owned by GSE Group, which has built a number of developments in the county including Ashford International Truckstop.
Bosses claim the golf club is “no longer maximising its potential for the local tourism industry or the community”, and as a result, they want to develop it.
The proposals also say the scheme could include “three central water features” and the holiday homes will be integrated around the lakes if plans are approved.
It could also have a mixture of two- and three-storey chalets, a children’s play park and lakes.
Artist’s impressions previously released by the company show a number of lodges surrounding a newly created lake, with visitors in rowing boats and swimming in the water.