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Market could return to Folkestone harbour with themed stalls

By Molly Mileham-Chappell

A coastal town could see a regular market in the harbour once again, if planning permission is approved.

The Folkestone Harbour Company (FHC) have submitted an application to Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) to change the use of the former station platforms to allow markets for a period of eight years.

The company have revealed that if all goes to plan, the area could have different theme days featuring various vendors.

The weekly market on the old Rotunda site in Folkestone when it returned in 2010. Picture: Gary Browne
The weekly market on the old Rotunda site in Folkestone when it returned in 2010. Picture: Gary Browne

The application, brought forward by agent Martello Building Consultancy for the applicant, notes that no permanent structures are proposed for the area, as the stalls will be user supplied for the day's activities then stored elsewhere away from site.

The design and access statement reads: "The market 'zone' will be used for the provision of weekday and weekend markets for which the harbour already has relevant licenses from FHDC.

"The area currently offers no direct employment opportunities other than managed maintenance.

"The proposals will provide direct employment as well as increasing people traffic locally thus providing trade to other areas of Folkestone."

Dan Johannsen, media manager for FHC, said: "The station platforms were very carefully restored and completed earlier this year, and it was one of our objectives to animate this new space with activities of similar quality to those already well established on the Harbour Arm.

"One option is to introduce pop-up markets, which are likely to have themes, such as vintage stalls and artisan foods.

"The change of use application is with a view to securing formal permission for this to take place.

"We hope it will add another dimension to the experience people will enjoy in 2019."

The restore station unveiled (5740038)
The restore station unveiled (5740038)

The renovation of the former Folkestone Harbour railway station was completed in spring this year to bring it back to life after it was first opened in 1850.

The walkway – similar to the revamped Harbour Arm – forms part of the seafront masterplan containing shops, cafés, bars and homes on the seafront.

Markets in Folkestone have been a rich part of the town's cultural history for decades.

Dozens of traders would line the seafront in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s.

The market on the seafront came to an end in 2004, after many years next to the former Rotunda amusement site. It was a popular weekend activity for families and traders, including food and clothes stalls.

Former Folkestone Town Centre Manager Rob Woods described the market as the town's 'life-blood' as the Rotunda buildings began being demolished around 2002.

In May 2010, the seafront market was revived for a time with the support of the Folkestone Harbour Company, including stalls such as a butchers and greengrocers.

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