Clearing the land at Princes Parade

“Conservative councillors are throwing good money after bad by pursuing the unwanted Princes Parade development in Hythe when all the evidence suggests it won’t ever be deliverable”, according to Shepway Green Party.

The scheme, to develop 150 homes and a swimming pool on the prized seafront site , has been paused since October in the face of mounting costs amid financial uncertainty and soaring energy costs. Around £5 million has already been spent without a brick being laid and only the destruction of natural habitat to show for it.

Despite this, Conservative-led Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s cabinet voted on Wednesday to do the work necessary to implement planning permission when conditions improve. This planning permission, granted by the council to itself, requires foundations for the swimming pool to be built before the houses can be constructed, but the council could seek to change this.

The cabinet’s decision means the council will go on spending council tax-payers money in defiance of local residents who have campaigned for years to stop the development and having ignored a vote in full council in 2019 to withdraw planning permission.

Throwing good money after bad

Councillor Lesley Whybrow, leader of the Green Party group of six opposition councillors at the district council, says: “This is the very definition of throwing good money after bad. Yes, the council would have taken a huge financial hit on behalf of local residents if it had scrapped Princes Parade now, but instead it will continue to run up yet more costs. All of this was entirely predictable because the development never made economic sense.  

“The Conservatives under council leader David Monk have resolutely refused to listen to any and all advice, including from our own very eminent expert, Councillor Jim Martin.

“It is clear there is only one way out of this mess and that is to vote the Conservatives out of office at the local elections in May. The development as currently set out can’t go ahead but if the Conservatives control the council again they could amend the planning permission and may be tempted to try and make the scheme attractive to potential developers by dropping the swimming pool and increasing the number of homes that will blight our seafront.”

By Ed

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