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Protesters march at Princes Parade in Hythe over seafront development


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Almost 1,000 people turned out to protest against the redevelopment of Princes Parade as anger over the scheme shows no sign of abating.

The demonstration in Hythe saw people meet up with banners to voice their concern over the proposed project.

Campaigners call on developers to scrap the controversial development because it could destroy badgers' habitats

Planning permission has already been granted to build on the land, which runs parallel to both Hythe beach and the Royal Military Canal.

Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) is behind the project, which will include 150 new homes, a leisure centre, a hotel, shops and open spaces.

Investigative testing on the site started earlier this year in preparation for the building works.

Action group Save Princes Parade (SPP), which previously lost a Judicial Review appeal over the scheme, organised Sunday's protest which saw scores of people marching along the seafront road, before joining together to form a human chain.

Protesters formed a human chain around the land. All photo: James Willmott
Protesters formed a human chain around the land. All photo: James Willmott
Nearly 1,000 people joined the demonstration against the development
Nearly 1,000 people joined the demonstration against the development

Concerns from those against the plans include stopping up Princes Parade road, disturbance of wildlife, suitability and the viability of the land.

During the protest, Mark Brophy, a member of SPP, gave a speech in which he said the group had "every right to protest" because "objections to date have fallen on deaf ears".

He accused FHDC of "failing to see there are already homes here – homes that belong to wildlife such as birds, butterflies and badgers".

He also accused the authority of attempting to "discredit our legitimate objections".

It is not the first time protesters have made a stance against the plans for Princes Parade, with the proposal being subject to many objections and demonstrations over the years.

Some protesters wore animal masks
Some protesters wore animal masks

Mr Brophy added: "By continuing to demonstrate against these plans, we are sending a clear message that this development is unwanted.

"Future generations will be deprived, not only of experiencing the Royal Military Canal in its rightful setting, but also losing a vital piece of natural heritage.

"We have been let down by councillors who could have rejected this scheme.

"The pretty pictures they produce as artist's impressions cannot be trusted. Turning this unique environment into just another housing estate is not acceptable.

"Let them hear our disgust: Save our road – save our wildlife – save Princes Parade!"

This is not the first time people have protested over the scheme
This is not the first time people have protested over the scheme

Associated works which will allow the Princes Parade project to go ahead have also been met with concerns.

This includes the launching of a petition in June against the plan to stop up the road in order to make way for the development.

In addition, almost 100 comments were added to FHDC's planning portal last month over plans to relocate the badger sett on the land.

A FHDC spokesman said: “While we completely respect the right to protest, it won’t come as much surprise that we don’t share the views expressed over the weekend.

“We think the district’s residents deserve a new swimming pool and leisure facilities fit for the 21st century – as well as the quality homes, accessible open spaces and better access to the canal and beach that the project will deliver.

Artist's impression of the Princes Parade development in Hythe
Artist's impression of the Princes Parade development in Hythe

“Work to safeguard and improve key ecological features is at the heart of the project.

"Our whole programme is being carried out in a sympathetic way and supports a long-term, sustainable environment for wildlife in the area.”

Read more: All the latest news from Hythe

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