Published: 05:00, 25 May 2022
| Updated: 14:52, 25 May 2022
Designs for a hugely controversial seaside housing development can today be revealed for the first time.
High-profile architecture firm Hollaway Studio has been brought in to create the 150 new homes planned on Princes Parade in Hythe and has now released two artist's impressions of the scheme.
The project, which will also encompass commercial space, food businesses and a small hotel, is being delivered by Kent-based building company Sunningdale House Developments.
People living near the site, which includes part of a former council waste dump, fought a long and vocal campaign against the redevelopment of the land, which has been pursued by Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC).
But architect Guy Hollaway - whose practice is behind local landmarks such as Rocksalt and the F51 skate park in Folkestone - says he now hopes to work with the community to deliver a development that works for everyone.
Speaking ahead of a community engagement event in Hythe next week, he said: "As a local architect, we watched what has been undoubtedly a controversial application go through the planning system and the appeal system and that decision to develop Princes Parade has now been made.
"When we were approached as to whether we would look at this scheme, we thought long and hard about that decision.
"But I came to a decision that, because the decision's already been made, I would rather be the architect for the project because that gives us the opportunity to do something really well."
The scheme has outline planning permission, and Mr Hollaway - whose firm is based in Hythe - says he now wants to produce buildings of "real architectural quality that will match the location".
All the homes on the site will have sea views, with a range of properties from flats to town houses.
Design will lean heavily on environmentally-friendly technology, including solar panels and heat pumps, to reduce impact on the environment and keep future running costs down.
The intention is also to have a range of food and drink businesses on the site, providing options not only for future residents but also people using the stretch of beach at the front of the development.
Sunningdale chief executive David Pownceby said: "Most of our competitors wouldn't come anywhere near this site, simply because they wouldn't have the the technical skill to deliver it and also the vision that I think is needed here.
"Our intention is to actually probably try and grow the consent in terms of the commercial.
"We don't think that what the council has put on the outline is probably enough to actually deliver that site in the way it should be delivered.
"If we're going to sell 150 units on a beach it's a very, very exciting prospect.
"People want to know where they can go and get a really good steak or Michelin-starred meal. We are going from well-known coffee houses, ice cream parlours, right the way through to that level of restaurant."
The next stage in the process will be the two-day event at Hythe town hall on Monday and Tuesday next week, where representatives of Sunningdale and Hollaway Studio will be on hand from 2-8pm to speak to people about the proposals.
"We understand that there's a lot of emotion around this project," Mr Hollaway said, "and we understand that we will never win certain hearts and minds.
"But what I would like to do is encourage people to come and see the plans come and talk to us.
"What we want to do is listen to the community and learn from what they have to say. This is an opportunity for the community to make suggestions of where we can add to the scheme or improve the scheme through their involvement in the project.
"Let's together make the best project we possibly can here, and let's see how we can create something that we can be truly proud of."