Why has work stopped on the Princes Parade project?

On 24th October 2022 F&HDC published a report referring to the proposed development of Princes Parade (C/22/56 dated 1 Nov 2022) – which concluded that because of the deteriorating national economic situation particularly in the the leisure, energy and financial markets the council is unable to deliver the project within existing budget and recommended to pause current spending on the project and re-evaluate available options in light of the current economic climate and propose a way forward.

The entire report makes for sobering reading and the council was clearly left no choice but to suspend the project while it considered its options.

Subsequently an in depth report (No. C/22/73) was produced examining these three options:

Option A. Continue with the project, noting the changed financial package;
Option B. Do just the necessary works to implement the planning permission; or
Option C. Stop the project, while future land uses are considered.

Folkestone & Hythe District Council Cabinet met in December 2022 to consider those options and finally voted to agree option B. See the minutes for that meeting here…

The voting went… For 7; Against 2; Abstentions 0. Councillors Prater and Whybrow asked for it to be noted that they voted against this option.

The scheme’s many critics have always maintained that the project was not viable and now economic pressure has seen it suspended – after having had over £5 million spent on it!

Little progress had been made on negotiations with Sunningdale House Developments on the purchase of the land designated for housing despite much being made of the computer generated illustrations circulated to the local media.

Significant work needs be done on the site by 18th July 2023 to implement the planning permission or it will lapse. Before then there will be local government elections which could change the political make up of the district council. The project’s progress through the planning and budgeting system has so far been precariously balanced and if there is a significant change in the political make up of the council it is likely that the whole project would undergo a reappraisal.