Folkestone and Hythe district (formerly known as Shepway) includes a unique diversity of coastal towns, scenic villages and countryside of outstanding natural beauty. An extensive coastline extends from Folkestone in the east to the remote Dungeness peninsular at the western end of the district.
The M20 runs through the district and provides easy access to local towns and villages, the national motorway network, Eurotunnel and the Port of Dover. The district also has excellent connectivity to central London via high speed rail services, with trains between Folkestone Central and London St Pancras taking as little as 54 minutes.
Folkestone is the civic centre of the district. It has a bustling town centre with the old town regenerated as a unique creative quarter. The harbour and seafront area of the town has outline planning permission for up to 1,000 new homes with commercial, leisure and retail uses. The recently restored Folkestone Harbour Arm has become a popular destination for events, music, eating and discovering the history of the area. The Folkestone Triennial is an internationally renowned arts festival held every three years, where site-specific artworks are commissioned around the town. On the edge of the town at Shorncliffe Garrison, a phased redevelopment of 1,200 new homes is being carried out.
Hythe is a prosperous cinque port town characterised by historic lanes and buildings with an attractive town centre. Local attractions include The Royal Military Canal, The Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, the nearby Port Lympne Wildlife Park, walks along the beach or on the North Downs and a good choice of local shops and restaurants. A new leisure centre, open parkland and enabling development is proposed on Council owned land in a prominent location on the seafront.
The Council as a local planning authority and as a significant landowner is proposing a new garden settlement known as Otterpool Park for up to 10,000 new homes. This is an extensive site that includes the former Folkestone Racecourse and is located just south of Junction 11 of the M20, next to Westernhanger Railway Station. Otterpool Park is included in the Government’s Garden Settlement programme and is a draft allocation in the review of the Council’s Core Strategy Local Plan. An outline planning application for the new town is expected early 2019.
The successful candidate will be the Council’s lead planning professional responsible for overseeing the local planning authority’s determination of the application for Otterpool Park, as well progressing a range of high profile major developments, including detailed plans for the regeneration of Folkestone Harbour and seafront, phased redevelopment of Shorncliffe Garrison and the proposed Hythe leisure centre.
Folkestone and Hythe District Council recently changed its name from Shepway District Council, so as to more readily reflect its special location in East Kent. The Council has 30 elected members, with the Conservative group having an overall majority. The Council has a leader and cabinet model of governance. There will be a district-wide local election on 2nd May 2019.
The Council’s Corporate Plan 2017-2020 has six ambitious strategic objectives. These are to provide more homes; work with businesses to provide more jobs and a vibrant economy; to provide an attractive and clean environment; to keep our communities healthy and safe; to achieve stability through a commercial and collaborative approach; and to deliver excellent customer service.
The Council works closely with Kent County Council and neighbouring authorities in East Kent at both member and officer level, to ensure that strategic level planning follows a co-ordinated approach.