No cheer on Princes Parade

This stretch of the Royal Military Canal, a scheduled historic monument, is already looking very different

Proposals to develop Princes Parade in Hythe are still being pushed along despite the divisive nature of the scheme.
It was in August 2018 that Folkestone and Hythe District Council awarded itself permission to develop land it owns on the site, its planning committee approving an application for up to 150 houses and associated buildings including a leisure centre, hotel and café or restaurant.
Despite this, the campaign to block the scheme, spearheaded by Save Princes Parade, refused to die, although protestors were dismayed when in February 2019 the government announced it would not be calling in the council’s decision.
Undeterred, campaigners forced a judicial review. There was a substantive hearing in the High Court in March last year, but some three months later they learnt this had been dismissed by the High Court.
And in December, permission to appeal that review was refused, causing Folkestone and Hythe District Council to declare: “There is no other route of appeal against the decision and the Princes Parade development can now go ahead.”
However, so contentious is the scheme, which borders a stretch of the Royal Military Canal, that some councillors have still not given up the fight. During the local authority’s cabinet and full council meetings on Wednesday, February 24, one asked that almost £29 million be removed from its General Fund Medium Term Capital Programme, effectively denying the funds required for the project to proceed.
The councillor suggested focus should move instead to building a leisure centre elsewhere in the town, “probably at Martello Lakes”.
His amendment was, however, voted down by 16 votes to 13.
Work has now begun on clearing the site, by the Royal Military Canal – the upsetting scene of trees and vegetation being chopped down sparked a protest to which the police were called.
There is also concern that the powerful weedkiller glyphosate is reportedly being used to kill the stumps left by the tree-chopping on the north bank of the canal. It has been pointed out that there are no signs or barriers warning the chemical is being used in an area where children and dogs could come into contact with it.
It would, also, of course be far more environmentally desirable to leave the stumps to degrade naturally.

Monday, April 19, 2021

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