The future of Folkestone is not just an abstract concept: it’s the bricks and mortar, the lives of ordinary people, residents and visitors and businesses.
In other words, it’s our environment and our community which is being shaped over the next 3, 5, 30 years.
The Place Plan is a key plank of strategic policy: building on a long history of consultations, discussions and earlier briefs, the latest contribution to this has come through the work of We Made That.
Appointed as the consultants for a refresh of discussion on the various elements which go into the mix of Folkestone Future, the WMT team have come up with a series of information presentations and concept outlines. These have been shared by WMT over the last few months in a consultation process which they designed to secure an understanding of views from key stakeholders and the community at large.
The summary presentation which was shared on 10th June is available on the Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) website: click here to view…
The deadline for comment on these ideas was until 25th June – so this opportunity has now passed. However, we are interested in your views, so please do post any comments or suggestions at the foot of this page…
AFRA’s members have taken part in almost every stage of the consultation, in workshops, discussions and submissions.
In summary, our collective view is that this is a good effort, but requires improvement.
Below we set out our main comments in bold and our recommendations in bold italic
- The process of consultation in itself is very welcome and long overdue
- Disappointingly, however: the ‘reach’ which this work has achieved is really disappointing, according to figures provided by WMT themselves
- There is a need for a long-term commitment to greater democratic transparency, consultation and engagement on the part of FHDC
- There is a need for further work on an inclusive approach to our rich and diverse communities: age, culture, economic position, skills & training
- The overall concept of regeneration is also welcome and the case for forward planning is absolutely right;
- There are weaknesses in this particular version of a regeneration overview – stemming from the limited time and investment in the process.
- These include:
- An overall sense that this is a template approach: a model based on similar projects but undertaken with insufficient contextual sensitivity
- A lack of realism in terms of costs and timescales: this may be resolved in developing the Place Plan priorities and timeline
- An optimistic assumption of opportunities involving privately-owned infrastructure: this is likely to prove impractical, very costly – or both.
- Illustrations of detail which obscure strategic need – e.g. cycle ways proposed without identifying a coherent transport infrastructure
- A ‘fudge’ around commercial interests – the ‘night-time economy’ in residential areas: a full statutory licensing review is likely to resolve these
- There is a need for the Council to support genuinely strategic proposals which are tailored to our local context
- There is a need for a more realistic appraisal of the early and emerging possibilities for investment and change
AFRA members are activists in representing their local residents and – in so doing – it is often the case that we point out issues at the planning stage of major developments in our town, along with many others.
Too often, these legitimate concerns or suggestions have been disregarded and this is becoming a concern in its own right. As has been pointed out many times recently – regardless of political affiliation – we need to know that our elected representatives and local officers are doing the best they can for our community.
The current membership of the Planning Committee at Folkestone and Hythe District Council can be found by using the link here…
Add any comments or suggestions you have and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can – please be patient!