Princes Parade saved, but Council deficit magically increases by £2m.

Before we begin our report by our public face, who attended the Annual General Meeting of Folkestone & Hythe District Council meeting last night, 24 May 2023, which saw the divvying up of Cabinet jobs to Green & Lib Dem Cllrs, there is some house keeping to do. 

On Tuesday 23 May, we wrote about fire doors. At last night’s AGM meeting, one notes from the images supplied by our public face, the fire door that opens into the chamber, remained propped open during the whole of the meeting. 

Research conducted in 2022 by the British Woodworking Federation as part their Fire Door Safety Week campaign ‘Close the Door on Fire’, shockingly found that over 30% of those asked believed that a fire door that was propped open with a wedge or a fire extinguisher was safe.

Neither elected Cllrs or officers seemed concerned about a fire door left open. Fire doors save lives and should be closed.

Moving on, Cllr Jim Martin (Green) at 68, has become the youngest elected leader of Folkestone & Hythe District Council in the last 20 years. He made it clear there was “much debris to clear up” from the last Tory led administration, including the £18.5m deficit over the next four years. However, this statement made by the new leader Cllr Jim Martin is not true, as the cumulative deficit according to the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy is £16.5m (page 8).

How he magicked £2m into existence, to make the deficit worse, we simply don’t know.

Cllr Martin also made clear that Princes Parade is saved, which drew a huge round of applause from the public gallery. He did say also there  are a very complex set of issues to remove, and this will take some time. He did not say how long they’d take to remove, or how much this will cost.

He continued by saying there was a loss of £4.3m for Princes Parade. However, the Council’s data makes it clear this is £4.9m; which is £600,000 pounds more than he quoted. That said, Cllr Jim Martin, the new leader of the council, did say back on the 14 Feb 2023, at the Overview & Scrutiny Committee, the sum “lost” on Princes Parade was £5m and more.  

Regardless of whatever party is in power, presenting false or misleading information to the electorate must not occur, like fire doors must not remain open, when they must be closed. Residents of the district voted for change, so we ask for it to be delivered, along with the right facts and figures.

Cllr Martin made a further commitment to move to a Committee system by May 2024, as Cllr Martin believes this style of governance will be more inclusive.

However, we honestly believe any system (within reason) can, with the right attitude, be managed to be democratic, to be accountable, to work in the interests of local people. We do not think that there are definitive “pros and cons” to any one system.

The single most important issue in making any council accountable, transparent and involving of local people is culture – the mindset, attitudes and values of those in decision-making positions. A mere change of governance system will not deliver this – on its own.

For now we are stuck with a cabinet system; which the coalition between the Greens & Lib Dems believe is not democratic and inclusive.

On another note, Labour have not received a single job in the Cabinet. This is because their National Executive Committee prevented them from getting into bed with a Green – Lib Dem coalition. That said, they have taken the Chair of the Council, the Chair of the Audit & Governance Committee, Chair & Vice Chair of the Planning & Licensing Committee, and the Chair of the Personnel Committee. 

Finally the changes the electorate voted for have been made, and the new Green – Lib Dem lead Council have not got off to a perfect start. Lets hope that things will improve, or we’ll be back to where we were when the Tories were in power, and that’s a place nobody wants to revisit.

The Shepway Vox Team

The Velvet Voices of Voxatiousness


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21 Comments on Princes Parade saved, but Council deficit magically increases by £2m.

  1. Hythe Greens have got their way, now watch them slip into the same cosy ways of their predecessors. If it doesn’t affect Hythe then any development will get approval. They are as self-serving as Monk’s mob.

  2. Yep watched it online. I could not distinguish the new Green leader, Cllr Jim Martin, from the former Tory leader, Cllr David Monk. Cllr Martin lead us up the garden path with his financially inaccurate misstatements, just like the old one used to do on a regular basis. Somethings never change.

  3. Let’s see if they have got the balls to sell Westenhangar Castle . That would put some money back in the coffers that Monk wasted .

  4. No mention of the biggest legacy from Monk and Co That would be Otterpool and getting it scrapped.

    • @Colin

      They will not do it, they claim that the Govt’s house building requirements (which were reduced to advisory, not mandatory) means Otterpool Park has to go ahead (but not Princes Parade). It is notable that the Green Councillors for the wards affected (Hythe Rural and Downs West) do not live anywhere near the 30 year building site, if the Council website details are correct.

      • Colin // May 25, 2023 at 23:15 //


        It’s also noticeable that the Greens were solidly against Otterpool before the election so we must keep the pressure on them to scrap it.They find themselves in a difficult position now as the largest group having got there by the anti PP and anti Otterpool votes,.Keep our countryside Green not covered in concrete.

  5. I noticed Cllr Tim Prater was given the finance portfolio. I am rather surprised as Tim left a good number of people high and dry after the pub he ran on The Stade went down the tubes.

  6. The last time Libdems had anything to do with leading the Council locally they nearly bankrupted it. That led to the Tory control for last few years. The Greens are Hypocrites they and their voters around Hythe have all got SUV’s on the drive all go on posh holidays via jumbo jets and NO SOLAR PANELS ON THE ROOF! Labour lot want hundreds more asylum seekers at Napier barracks. When is this council going to demand it’s closed the High court said it’s not suitable and should close. I see 4 years of failure and hypocrisy by this administration👎

    • @Andy

      You are not suggesting the Tory’s come back are you ?
      Give this new set up a chance to do something first.They have made a start by scrapping P P.
      If they can now do the same and scrap Otterpool that would be the perfect start.

  7. @Colin
    I don’t support any party. But Otterpool park is staying already been told that locally by neighbours who are supporters of the Greens and a local Hythe Green Councillor told them all that can be done with Otterpool is strict monitoring. I suggest Struct conditions to build new roads adjoing this scheme to ease local congestions with the Tunnel and Port so near. The channel Tunnel builders are to blame in 1994 fail to complete the plans on their application to build new roads around our area especially north of the M20 this is why our villages get gridlocked! With Otterpool Park the green councillors need to make sure they build new roads to release the gridlock otherwise are whole area will be 24/7 gridlock standstill then we can plane blame the Green Party administration that’s just been elected in let’s hope they do their job with otterpool Park but as I said in the original comment I see hypocrisy and failure by this new administration they are all the same politicians whatever party.
    If they want to release pressure on the local housing stock Napier Barracks is already emarked for a huge development they need to go to court and get the barracks closed for asylum seekers we don’t want it the charities don’t want it no one wants it and get the new development done up in Shornecliffe!.

    • @Andy

      Simply cancel Otterpool as this would be the best Green option.

      • @Colin

        Yes I agree but they won’t cancel Otterpool just tighten planning regs to ensure its kept within permissions. The Green Councillors with Libdem and 10 labour need to be together and call for a new planning committee review if Otterpool park development company as it’s owned by FHDC they have just asked for another £80 million to start the project I say STOP THE PROJECT CANCEL OTTERPOOL AND PUT ANY MONEY IN POT TO LOCAL USE 👍

      • Colin // May 29, 2023 at 16:55 //


        Borrow another £80 million at todays interest rates?Even more reason to cancel Otterpool!!

  8. What about my generation under 40 who can’t get onto the property ladder. We earn between 25k and 35k a year and we can’t get mortgages due to the house prices in Folkestone. Every time people talk about scrapping a building development they never discuss the reality that by scrapping them we are putting more demand on our limited supply of housing thus increasing properly prices and rents. By all means councillors should insist on more affordable houses or first time buyer flats in these developments.

    But I have to ask due to the Nimby culture we seem to now have, does anyone want those who grew up in Folkestone to be able to buy in their hometown? Because if you do, then we need to build build build (affordable houses and first time buyer flats)

    • @ Matthew

      Brownfield sites and within existing town areas yes but not at the expense of farmland and open countryside.

  9. @colin so lack of supply of housing and thus the rents and house prices of Folkestone will continue to rise.

    There is not enough brownfield sites and room in town areas to build the required houses needed. Unless of course your happy to support high rise smart apartments?

  10. @ Colin
    Yes I agree another £80 million is totally unacceptable but that’s what Monk and his Tory wets at FHDC agreed not the new Council.
    They were outvoted by Monk and the Disgraceful independents so time to turn the table. Monk only applied for a new garden town to please Jenrick who was the housing secretary at the time the same as he accepted Napier Barracks to help his friend in the Home Office Priti Patel.
    Well they are all out now the Green Party libDems and labour need to take firm action and reverse all this Tory corruption.
    If they don’t they need to be held to account for gaining our trust and our votes. I still say as I say on every comment politicians are all corrupt whatever party they represent even the Green Party they are claiming their allowances if they were genuine they would refuse them.
    When the Green Party say all council officers will not have vans and cars they will walk then I will believe what they preach. It will also get council officers out and about in the community and getting fit because most of them sit behind desks or behind steering wheels doing nothing.. then they will have not only enforced their agenda agenda on not polluting the atmosphere with car fumes they will have also helped the NHS by getting most of their staff fit again. Name me one councillor who stood up and said that at their election?None of them because they’re all hypocrites.

  11. @Matthew
    Your comment about the under 40s not been on the housing market I’ve been on the housing market and had my own house all of my life until I divorced ten years ago because the wife got to keep it I am not on the housing market anymore and I’ve been on the council waiting list for 10 years and I’m in my 60s now living back with one of my grown up adult daughters how does that grab you? After working for nearly 50 years and paying my taxes and being law abiding I now am a lodger!! So I think as you are far younger and probably fitter than I am these days stay at home with your parents or your wife’s parents or go and live with one of your family like I am it’s quite easily done and you have to swallow your pride Matthew!!!🙄

  12. @andy

    It’s not pride, it’s about wanting to have an opportunity to become self reliant. To own my own piece of society.

    All that needs to happen to make this a reality, is we build more homes, be it houses or flats to cover the growing population and to counteract the series lack of housing supply we have for the existing population. That means we have to build somewhere.

    • @Matthew

      The real problem is that the properties that are built are not built for locals. They are built for those relocating from London, to overseas investors, and as second/holiday homes. You can be sure that any “affordable” or Social housing will be the last to be built, and only if it is “economically viable”. Unless this is addressed, no matter how many houses are built you will be in the same situation.

  13. @Neil

    I’m not disputing the wrong type of properties are being built. I’m saying we have to build build build. A mixture of first time buyer homes/flats (the bulk of which needs being built), affordable properties, luxury (yes luxury as well,) and social housing.

    But we can’t just say no to every development. Otherwise what do people want my generation to do? Live with our parents for all our lives ? Because they don’t want homes built in this field or that field or that old disused land etc.

    Quite simply we have to build on a massive scale. Or those who block every development need to stop pretending they care about my generation getting on the housing ladder

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