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No alternative to Princes Parade project, says Hythe council leader

By Sam Williams

The leader of a council has declared there is "no credible alternative" to a controversial housing development set for a seaside town.

The now-approved Princes Parade scheme will see 150 new homes, a hotel, shops and restaurants, green spaces, parking and a new leisure centre built along the well-used road in Hythe, parallel to the the Royal Military Canal.

The project - which has received years of criticism and protests - was finally approved by the council at the end of July, much to the chagrin of members of the Save the Princes Parade (SPP) campaign group.

Artist's impression of the development set for Princes Parade
Artist's impression of the development set for Princes Parade

And Cllr David Monk, leader of FHDC, is standing strong in his assurances that the project is the right fit for Hythe.

He said the scheme will provide "value for money" and claims it would be "irresponsible" to halt the project now.

His comments were in response to a question from Cllr Laura Davison (Lab) during a meeting of the full council.

Cllr Davison, member for Folkestone central ward, had asked: "Why it is that you and your cabinet think you have the right to ignore a democratic decision of this council, made by elected representatives of the people at our full council meeting in July, to stop the Princes Parade development?"

Cllr David Monk (9779942)
Cllr David Monk (9779942)

Her question related to a 15/14 vote to scrap the seafront scheme, which was almost immediately declared "not legally binding".

Cllr Monk told Cllr Davison: "It is 16 years since the residents of Hythe were promised a new pool and we wish to honour that promise.

"The new centre will provide good quality modern swimming facilities and a new gym and multi purpose fitness suites.

"It creates new open park land and improves the environment of the beach front.

"I have asked officers to appraise the implication of not implementing the plans, which I expect to come forward to cabinet shortly, but as things stand the princes parade development provides the best opportunity to replace the pool in a comparatively short time scale and at a price that achieves value for money.

"No other option can achieve this.

The land along Princes Parade in Hythe
The land along Princes Parade in Hythe

"It would be therefore irresponsible to take a decision to stop the project.

"Not only has the council already spent considerable resources, both in money and in time, which would then be wasted, the council would then be left with no credible alternative that would see a new centre constructed and opened."

Members of SPP have long claimed the development is ecologically risky, harmful to wildlife and not financially viable.

Instead, they have lobbied for the land around Martello Lake to be used as an alternative site.

The group are now in the process of launching a judicial review in another attempt to scrap the plans.

Read more: All the latest news from Hythe

Read more: All the latest news from Folkestone

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