Folkestone Place Plan
A mission-oriented approach to guide future investment and action in the town centre
The Place Plan for Folkestone Town Centre sets out a vision to guide the town centre’s evolution for years to come. Informed by a comprehensive community engagement process and input from industry experts, the Place Plan is intended to build on current strengths and guide a trajectory that responds to contemporary challenges.
The Place Plan sets a ‘Grand Challenge’: To overcome decline in Folkestone’s town centre by embracing opportunity, addressing the climate emergency, celebrating what’s already great and bringing the town’s communities together.
Six ‘missions’ set out the route to responding to the Grand Challenge. These directly address specific issues from a detailed appraisal process, and correspond with specific proposed actions and interventions, with clear, targeted impacts. The series of proposed actions have been defined and illustrated in the Place Plan to achieve these missions across areas of Folkestone’s Town Centre.
The Place Plan addresses key themes such as setting the ambition for investment opportunities, supporting a public realm and improved animated public spaces, fostering dynamic employment environment and improving transport and movement in the town centre.
Folkestone is the largest and most significant town in the Folkestone and Hythe district. Folkestone’s strategic location means that it is a key coastal gateway to Europe and has good transport connections, in particular the fast rail link to London.
The Place Plan acknowledges the history of the area and raises awareness of its cultural offer and growth potential, including recommendations to enable business growth and economic development for the area.
The engagement process for the Place Plan made a commitment to listening to the full spectrum of Folkestone’s communities, to ensure that the Place Plan was guided by the views and priorities of strategic and delivery partners, businesses, community stakeholders as well as the wider public, residents and visitors.
17 public workshops and events, 167 participants in detailed 1-to-1 and group conversations, 266 attendees at public webinar events
The Place Plan will be used to guide future investment and action in Folkestone town centre in a cohesive manner, and may also be used to develop emerging planning policy and guidance. Outputs will also enable public bodies, private landowners and the wider community to progress with clear delivery and implementation plans in the knowledge that they can contribute to the Missions.
Mission 1: Celebrate what’s great
Make the most of Folkestone’s best assets - its coastline, its communities, its heritage and its creativity - to attract visitors and enhance the lives of residents.
Mission 2: Town centre for the future
Reinvigorate the town centre core by identifying opportunities for future inward investment, a range of new uses, community services and employment opportunities.
Mission 3: A place for all voices
Work with the people of Folkestone to develop proposals that are meaningful to all, now and into the future.
Mission 4: Moving sustainably
Create an environment that better connects the town centre and surroundings and supports active movement and enables healthy lifestyles and wellbeing.
Mission 5: Access to opportunity
Embed opportunities for support, skills and training to allow all residents of Folkestone to benefit from change.
Mission 6: Deliver sustainable quality
Ensure that all outcomes - whoever they are delivered by - meet Folkestone’s full potential for exemplary quality and address the twin crises of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss.
In the face of limited resources, funding will need to be sought from a variety of sources, which the Place Plan will help enable.
The Place Plan provides an opportunity to think about ‘place’ and the type of outcomes which can be achieved within Folkestone Town Centre. Much of this can be achieved through the delivery of physical actions; improving public realm, active travel and enabling exciting things to happen in the town’s buildings. The Place Plan is, however, also an opportunity to think about fundamentals of how people interact with a place, the sense of ownership people have of their town centre and the quality of experience they have when they are there. Getting this right will help to embed the physical interventions proposed within the Place Plan and will ultimately support better economic, social, and commercial outcomes.