Have Your Say on the Updated Sandgate Design Statement

Residents are invited to have their say on a document setting out the unique character of Sandgate and how it can be preserved for future generations.

Members of Sandgate Parish Council have worked with residents, businesses and local groups to update the Sandgate Design Statement, used by Folkestone & Hythe District Council when deciding planning applications.

The updated document includes a section on buildings of local interest, as well as a proposal to restrict minor as well as major changes to properties in the High Street and Esplanade Conservation Areas in a bid to protect the area’s heritage.

Before it can officially be adopted by Folkestone & Hythe District Council as the planning authority there needs to be a period of public consultation, which will start on Thursday, 10 January.

Cllr John Collier, Cabinet Member for the District Economy, urged everyone to have their say.

He said:

“Sandgate’s Design Statement was the first produced for our district and is a fantastic example of partnership working between the parish and district councils, residents and local groups.

But in order for it to be most valuable, it needs to be reviewed regularly and that is exactly what has happened.

Now we want to make sure we have heard everyone’s views before we officially adopt it and use it as part of our planning process.”

The document identifies a series of character areas within the parish, and sets out design guidelines for each. There are 11 design principles, intended to give guidance to developers and to set the standard for future building projects, as well as action points for the parish council.

Cllr Robert Bliss, Chairman of Sandgate Parish Council, said the document was the culmination of a huge amount of work and debate.

He said:

For a small parish, Sandgate’s history is particularly rich and varied, while periods of land instability over many centuries have also shaped the character and appearance of many parts of the parish.

The document represents the wishes of a community passionate about the protection of its built heritage and its outstanding natural setting of wooded hillsides and long coastline, at the same time eager to enhance its environment in challenging economic times.”

To view the document and take part in the consultation, visit www.folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/consultations

The parish has seven Scheduled Ancient Monuments; five Martello Towers, Sandgate Castle and the Battery Wall on the Esplanade. There are 117 listed buildings, but the document identifies another 40 buildings of local interest, such as the former Little Theatre and the Chichester Memorial Hall. The revised Design Statement suggests creating a Local List to ensure they are protected for the future.

The parish council is also asking for an Article 4 Direction to be introduced in two of the Conservation Areas, removing permitted development rights and meaning even minor changes would need planning approval. If this is supported, it will be considered by Folkestone & Hythe District Council at a later date.