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Sandgate Parish Council rejects Princes Parade plans

By Sean Axtell

The showdown over a controversial beachfront housing estate and leisure centre in Hythe is escalating, after a parish council refused to back the plans.

Battle lines were drawn between Shepway District Council and Sandgate Parish Council when parishioners voted unanimously against the development of Princes Parade last week.

It comes after the district council last month applied to its own planning committee for permission to build 150 new homes, complete with green space on the old landfill site.

Plans: Artist's impression of Princes Parade - Shepway District Council
Plans: Artist's impression of Princes Parade - Shepway District Council

Parish council chairman Tim Prater was one of those who refused to support the proposals at the extraordinary meeting last Tuesday.

He said: “I object personally and I’m delighted the parish council objected.

“Everyone agrees we should get a new swimming pool but Princes Parade is not available for development.

“A suitable site has already been agreed in Martello Lakes eight or nine years ago, I don’t understand why a pool can’t be built there.

“We are only one objection. We know there has been an abundance of objections made to the district council.

“I believe where you have a council applying to itself for controversial planning permission it will likely go to the secretary of state,” he said after the meeting.

At the time of writing Shepway’s planning portal showed 449 residents officially objected to the plans against 149 in favour, a disapproval rating of 66%.

The lion’s share of objections cite the area’s beauty, the need to preserve the historic military canal and the removal of open space.

Artist's impression of Princes Parade - Shepway District Council
Artist's impression of Princes Parade - Shepway District Council

But Hythe Town Council poured cold water over the protests when it voted in favour of the proposals last week.

Plans and works committee chairman Keith Miles used his casting vote to support the bid – to shouts of “shame on you” from a packed public gallery.

The authority continues to champion its planning bid.

The Princes Parade Now Facebook page has significantly increased its rallying cries for public support as the deadline for consultation looms.

It was set up by the authority’s public relations consultants for the project, Edwards Harvey.

Its latest post says: “Both local and national planning policies support developments of this type, but your backing is equally essential. Don’t let others speak on your behalf.”

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