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District Council in Knife-edge vote to Save Princes Parade

June 27, 2019 11:35 AM

Princes ParadeIn the first ever full council debate on the future of Princes Parade, Folkestone and Hythe District Council passed a motion to Save Princes Parade from development and instead build a new swimming pool and leisure centre at Martello Lakes. The motion was proposed by Lib Dem Councillor Tim Prater and seconded by Green Councillor Lesley Wybrow, ond was won by 15 votes to 14.

In the hour debate, there were a wide range of speeches for the motion from Lib Dem, Green Party and Labour Councillors in support of the motion, and crucially also from Cllr Terry Mullard from UKIP who in adding his support to the motion gave the additional vote needed for victory.

The whole debate can be watched online via the Council website.

The motion read:

This Council notes:

1. The hostility of local people to the proposals to develop Princes Parade, as evidenced by the local election results;

2. The damage it will do to the environment and the setting of the scheduled ancient monument that is the Royal Military Canal;

3. The financial risk this Council faces by pursuing this highly risky £29 million+ project;

4. The clear ongoing need for a new swimming pool and leisure centre in the district, and that a location for that at Martello Lakes would better support Hythe and Romney Marsh, than one nearer the Folkestone Sports centre.

This Council resolves to withdraw its planning application Y17/1042/SH for Princes Parade, and cease immediately any ongoing plans to develop that area for anything other than outdoors recreation.

This Council further resolves to immediately take up the option for a Leisure Centre site at Martello Lakes and will bring forward plans no later than November 2019 to open a new swimming pool and leisure centre there, whilst also seeking indicative funding support from partners for that site.

Both of Sandgate and West Folkestone's Lib Dem Councillors, Tim Prater and Gary Fuller, spoke in support of the motion during the debate. Tim's speech moving the motion can be read in full on his website.

Commenting on Facebook immediately after the vote, the mover of the motion and Lib Dem Group Leader Tim Prater said:

"Delighted to say that tonight, by 15 votes to 14, Folkestone and Hythe District Council passed our motion to Save Princes Parade.

Huge kudos to Cllr Mullard for voting for the motion with the Lib Dem, Green and Labour Parties.

"Not legally binding, but MORALLY binding. Our Council MUST listen.

"Wide range of powerful speeches on the whole range of issues - environment, ecology, heritage, finances, health, enjoyment and risk. It's great working as part of a diverse team - in opposition, but STILL able to reset the agenda."