Work to create the first stage of a new multi-million pound seafront development has now begun, it can be revealed.
The announcement comes from the Folkestone Harbour and Seafront Development Company (FHSDC), who are planning to regenerate Folkestone's coastline.
In total, 1,000 homes are proposed for the entire stretch of the town's harbour and seafront, with outline planning permission for this being secured in 2015. The project will also included cafes, restaurants and public spaces.
But today it has been revealed that work on the first phase - which will see 84 new homes built close to the Leas Lift and Lower Leas Coastal Park - has already started.
In addition, two new images of what the ambitious scheme will look like have been released.
They show white curved flats with balconies fronting the beach, giving future occupants spectacular views of the English Channel.
As well as private gardens and landscaped areas, the development will include shingle gardens that lead to the boardwalk and to the beach beyond, and a new piazza will be created at the base of the Leas Lift.
The scheme includes 20 town houses and four duplexes located in the middle of the complex, as well as 60 apartments.
Planning permission for this first stage was granted at the end of 2018, and will now be carried out by Folkestone-based Jenner Contractors Ltd based on designs by architects ACME.
The start date for the project had previously been pushed back, but now preliminary work has started on site, which is to the west of the seafront.
The FHSDC have already spent millions of pounds altering the look of Folkestone - major improvements have been made to the public realm, including the renovation and repurposing of the harbour line, viaduct and Harbour Station, all previously in a state of repair.
But the once disused sites now link visitors and residents from the town centre to popular tourist trap the Harbour Arm, which hosts year-round events, restaurants and bars.
Philanthropist Sir Roger De Haan, who leads FHSDC and is the former chair of the Saga Group, said: "This is an important step in our mission to bring new purpose to one of Folkestone’s most prominent sites.
"Our careful renovation of the harbour and railway heritage has already succeeded in attracting visitors to Folkestone in greater numbers than at any time in many decades, and now we can turn our attention to reinforcing the town’s reputation as a great place to live."
Over the course of the development, a staggering £7m will be paid by FHSDC as part of the section 106 agreement, which is a fee paid to the council by the applicant to mitigate the impact of the new development on the community and infrastructure.
This money will go towards benefitting schools, health and community services, as well as highways and road junctions in the town. Some of this work has already been completed.
In addition, £500,000 will be spent on the the restoration of The Leas Lift, which is currently in a bad state.
Cllr David Monk, leader of Folkestone and Hythe District Council, said: "Sir Roger has persevered with this development which will bring vibrancy to the harbour and seafront and make a big difference to Folkestone.
"The delivery of these new homes will provide a significant benefit and positive impact to the local area and the investment will be instrumental in continuing Folkestone’s growth and regeneration."
Managing director of Jenner Contractors Martin Sandall added: "Jenner are incredibly proud to be appointed as the construction partner for the first phase of the prestigious Folkestone seafront development.
"As a locally based business, having been established in Folkestone 145 years ago, the strength of the relationships we have developed with our known and trusted supply chain will be of paramount importance to the success of the project, and we are delighted with the opportunity this will generate for them."
Friedrich Ludewig, director of ACME said: "We have worked on the regeneration of Folkestone Harbour for the last four years, starting with the masterplan, new boardwalk, the harbour station and the viaduct.
"We are delighted that the first new buildings on the waterfront in a generation are commencing on site.
"The masterplan seeks to define buildings that are firmly rooted in the architectural history of Folkestone, celebrate the amazing views and create an active and open shingle beach for all.
"The new houses will contribute to create a vibrant place for residents and visitors to enjoy, reconnect the seafront to the town, and put the harbour back at the heart of Folkestone."