Long on words but short on detail is how one could sum up the Leas Pavilion and Proposed Residential Development public consultation, which took place yesterday in the Channel Suite in the Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone.
The plan is to put up to 90 flats on the site while spending approx £4 million on refurbishing the dilapidated Leas Pavilion as a community space.
In September of 2019 Kantion, owned by Miles Stewart McKinnon (below left) and his business partner Olivier Daelemans (below right), agreed with the current owners of the property – Leas View Developments Ltd – to bring this project forward.
Kantion has worked very closely with the Council and Heritage England over the last months which resulted in the plans and project to restore the Leas Pavilion back to its condition of 1902 surrounded by a residential block of approximately 90 units and 42 car parking spaces.
As we understand the planning application will be submitted in mid April and ought to come before planning sometime in August 2020, if all goes according to plan.
The money for the development will be onshore money, according to Mr Mackinnon. His partner Mr Daelemans believes work could start on restoring the Leas Pavilion and the flats as early as March/April 2021.
Once the planning application has been validated and approved, then and only then we will be able to see the detail and discuss affordable housing and other significant issues.
The Friends of the Leas Pavilion have long campaigned to save the Pavilion said through their chair Liz Mulqueen (pictured):
“I have met with the founders of Kantion several times and they have impressed me with their professionalism, expertise and transparency. The Friends of the Leas Pavilion have fought for many years now to have this building restored and brought back into community use. We have now identified a partner who shares the same passion. This is undoubtedly our best, and possibly our last chance to restore the building to its glory and grace of 1902.”
After many false promises, perhaps Kantion are the people to save the Leas Pavilion. We’ll know more when the planing application are on the Council’s planning portal and we can all scrutinize the detail.
One of those false promises came in July of last year (2019) when the current owners, Leas View Developments Ltd, submitted a planning application which has since fallen by the way side. Holloway Architects of Hythe, has designed both buildings. Here’s their previous design back in July.
In 2015 the dream to develop the Leas Pavilion was to add a health club and gym, with a towering U-shaped block of 68 residential flats over seven floors over the top of the listed structure.
In the earliest planning application, 2008, the design, by Russ Drage, the architect, presented the same image of glass fronted apartments, which would offer panoramic views over The Leas promenade and the Channel.
The current owners, Leas View Developments Ltd, previously Churchgate, have had the land since 2008. Twelves years or 4,380 days have passed and little to nothing has been done with the listed structure. Perhaps Mrs Mulqueen has a point when she says:
This is undoubtedly our best, and possibly our last chance to restore the building to its glory and grace of 1902.”
Surely to save a listed structure from falling into further rack and ruin some compromise has to be found.
The current CGI design make the building look hideous, horrendous, not in keeping with its surroundings etc These issues can all be raised when the application is submitted via the council’s planning portal.
Furthermore, you can lobby your Councillor to affect any change.
The first design, 2008, was all glass fronted apartments, which would offer panoramic views over The Leas promenade and the Channel.
What else is there to offer for a building on this site?
The second design in 2015 was no different. The most recent is not different either. 12 years, or 4,380 days and four designs have come to pass, and the Leas Pavilion remains a dilapidated building – a blot on the landscape. Compromise must be found on all sides if we are to save this building for community use.
As a passing comment, we do ask why Cllr Laura Davison was rifling through the written comments left by persons who attended the consultation, given that GDPR applies to Kantion’s property.
The Shepwayvox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime