History repeats itself, repeats itself repeats itself, History repeats…
“In ten or twenty years time I see Folkestone as everything everyone wants it to be with a lot more young people, a lot more housing and a lot more industry.” said former Council Leader, Philip Carter (Con) (pictured without hat), to the Folkestone Herald on the 26th Feb 1986.
On Oct 23rd, the Folkestone & Hythe Express quotes the Leader of Folkestone & Hythe District Council David Monk (Con) (pictured with hat) as saying: “We want to improve the appeal of the area [Folkestone] to residents and visitors, and support economic growth in the district at the same time.”
There is 33 years between these two Tory leaders statements, and the “Boomtown” and the “vibrant future” have not materialised. So many promises unfulfilled, but that’s what you get for voting Tory locally.
As more of us turn to internet shopping – open 24/7 all around the world – the death of our high streets, be it Folkestone, Sandgate, Hythe, Dymchurch, New Romney or Lydd will carry on at pace. There is little if anything Cllr Monk or the Council can do to reverse the tide. They are not Canute’s. And £2.2 million for Folkestone & £800,000 for the High Streets of Cheriton, Sandgate, Hythe, Dymchurch, New Romney, Lydd, Hawkinge, Lyminge, Sellindge and Elham will do little if anything to stop the tide of change.
But it isn’t just internet shopping that has been the scourge of our high streets and hollowed them out. Offshore companies based in known tax havens have played there part as well
84 Sandgate Rd Folkestone owned in the British Virgin Islands.
57-59 Sandgate Rd (which is home to WHSmith & the Post Office pictured) owned offshore in the British Virgin Islands.
32-34-36 Sandgate Rd, home to Shoezone, Simmonds and CEX owned offshore in the Bahamas.
10 -8- 6-4 – 2 Sandgate Rd homes to Oxfam Bookshop, Admiral Amusements and Bonmarche owned offshore in Luxembourg
We could go on for quite a while because at least another dozen properties along Folkestone high street are owned offshore, which includes the offshore arms.
The £3 million High Street Fund on offer from Folkestone & Hythe District Council, are for projects which include external renovation and improvement to commercial property, organising an event(s), or other townscape enhancements to increase the vitality of our community retail heartbeats. This could mean offshore companies who are leaseholders, or freeholders, could apply to renovate their run down properties and once again get a state freebie to the value of 50% of the total project.
The Shepwayvox Team
Not owned by Hedgefunds or Barons
This is why the Council is focusing all its efforts on Otterpool Park. They have decided that a new settlement is the only way to turn the fortunes of the district around. This ultimately depends on attracting new employers to the district who can offer well paid jobs. Without them young people will continue to move away. Only time will tell whether they will be proved correct.
I think you’ll find the Lib Dems when they held power in the 90’s also promised heaven on earth for Folkestone & the district. Instead we got serious financial incompetence.