A Bonkers Architect and Sir Roger De Haan’s take on the Regeneration of Folkestone
Last night – 09.11.22 – at Wards Hotel, Folkestone, Sir Roger De Haan (pictured) gave a talk about the regeneration of Folkestone at the AGM of Go Folkestone.
He was invited by Go Folkestone who have long campaigned to make Folkestone a better place.
Below is a recording of Sir Roger and the interaction with over a 100+ attendees.
He openly, playfully and benevolently calls Guy Holloway – a Bonkers Architect, and hopes the Triennials will turn Folkestone “into a Mecca of art”.
Of course, Sir Roger gives his version of the reality of the regeneration of Folkestone. He does so as a developer and a philanthropist. He speaks about the Old High Street, The Seafront, Harbour Arm, Shepway Sports Trust, Education, The Council, Car Parking, and the Princess Royal. He accepts he took his eye of the ball, regarding the Princess Royal.
It’s for you to decide if Sir Roger, and the organisations and events strongly associated with him, have been a force of betterment, for a place 55,000 of us call home.
The Shepway Vox Team
Not owned by Hedgefunds or Barons
Thanks. It’s a very good recording and great to hear the perspective from the developer.
There is an elephant in the room though! Considering the resistance to constructing a new car park, how will all the residents of the thousand homes get up the hill to the town?
The last thing we need is a new carpark, or more parking, encouraging more people to clog our streets and public spaces up with cars.
But I totally agree, there is a traffic problem in Folkestone – the roads are too fast, too dangerous – and that discourages people from walking and cycling. An electric bicycle or e-scooter would be a much better way to get from the seafront into the town, but riding one on our one-way zoom zoom streets is far too intimidating. We need more protected cycle lanes, removal of all the one-way systems, and we need the entire town to be made a 15mph or 20mph zone. We also need the lift to be restored asap. And we need the hour parking allowance for visitors in the resident parking zones to be removed, as it just clogs up the resident parking with church visitors etc.
Yes the bicycle is an option but probably unlikely for most of the residents of the beach apartment and houses. Most of them will have cars in their designated spaces under the apartments, and would automatically use those. Turning Folkestone into an Amsterdam type of cycling paradise? Even beyond the capabilities of Roger de Haan methinks. Meanwhile Folkestone town centre will fail to benefit fully from all the new residents.
What an honourable man, I used to hang out in Folkestone in the 1970s and saw first hand its decline. I now live in Folkestone and can see how much it has changed for the better, it is becoming a busting , vibrant place to live and visit. A fantastic transformation. Thank-you Sir Roger De Haan. 👏
What are the Council doing to attract further investors to regenerate other areas of the town that badly need it, or are they expecting Sir Roger De Haan to fund it all? At least the previous vision of Folkestone as a tawdry Blackpool of the South is happily dead.
It is noteworthy that apart from Sir Roger no other major developers have been investing in Folkestone and he is to be commended for that. I do wonder if the Council’s poor reputation as a planning authority puts other investors off.
One point that Sir Roger did not address is that the Harbour area is still blighted by the presence of the Grand Burstin Hotel. I cannot imagine prospective property purchasers are impressed by its looming bulk. I do wonder if Britannia Hotels are just waiting for an offer. Any thoughts please?