Updated 19.01.23 @ 17:20
Just four days ago we wrote about the Council’s £20m Levelling Up Fund bid. It was announced yesterday 18/01/2023, that the bid had been successful. The money is for:
A major overhaul of Folkstone’s town centre with £19.7 million to improve shopping areas, an upgraded bus station and a new public green space to encourage businesses and visitors into the area.
Katharine Harvey (pictured) Chief Economic Development Officer at Folkestone & Hythe District Council, and her team, have done an amazing job in getting the bid together in the short timeframe they had.
It just goes to show there are very competent officers in our Council, and it’s clear some of them reside in Mrs Harvey’s team.
The funding is for the three following projects:
The Folkestone – A Brighter Future scheme focuses on three key areas to improve Folkestone town centre which are outlined below.
1. Station Arrival and Town Centre Connections:
This element of the project aims to improve the links from the railway station for pedestrians and cyclists to encourage use of active travel and public transport and to improve connections for visitors and residents alike.
2. Improved Gateway to the Town Centre and Bouverie Square:
This component of the project will unlock transformational change around the town centre. The focus will be to reconfigure the main bus station in the town centre and implement changes to the legacy gyratory road system to the north.
The money will enable a sustainable, attractive and welcoming gateway to be created for Folkestone town centre with a green park replacing the bus station in Bouverie Square.
The exciting and ambitious project will see Shellons Street become two-way with bus stops and bays replacing the bus station. Better signage and obvious walking links will connect visitors to a greener, more vibrant Sandgate Road and Guildhall Street shopping area.
3. Folca, Sandgate Road and Town Centre Public Realm:
This element of the project will refurbish the Folca building (the former Debenhams building) into a ‘town lab’ which will encourage and bring new and experimental uses into the town centre. The phased refurbishment of this building will bring a currently redundant building back into use in the town centre and reactivate this part of the high street. It will also improve the public realm on Sandgate Road to encourage footfall in this area of the town centre.
The funding will also enable the second phase of Folca to be progressed by establishing new uses for the site, with an intended focus on public services, retail, leisure and business uses for the rejuvenated building.
Or you can watch the short video the Council have produced
This is good news for Folkestone, lets hope that the desired ambition of the proposed projects achieve the coveted outcomes, because Folkestone Town, is a wonderful town. It deserves much better than the decline we have all seen over the last four years.
The Shepway Vox Team
The Velvet Voices of Voxatiousness