Princes Parade site hidden from view

Mike Blakemore from the Shepway Green Party has claimed that Conservatives on Folkestone & Hythe District Council, including the Leader, have tried unsuccessfully to prevent an investigation into how expenditure on the ill-fated Princes Parade development was allowed to reportedly increase by around £2 million since the beginning of this year.

The project was finally paused on 1 November, after wildlife habitats on the site had been destroyed.

A decision on it’s future is expected be made later this month.

It’s reported by Mr Blakemore that at a meeting of the full council on 30 November, Leader of the Council Councillor David Monk and Councillors Susan Carey, John Collier, Clive Goddard, David Godfrey, Tony Hills, Jennifer Hollingsbee and Philip Martin all voted against a Green Party motion calling for the matter to be examined by the Council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee, while Councillors Stuart Peall and Patricia Rolfe abstained.

However, 18 councillors voted for the investigation, which the three Green Party councillors for Hythe ward will participate in.

Work clearing the land of wildlife has already been completed

Leader of the Green Group on the Council, Councillor Lesley Whybrow proposed the motion, which read: “Council believes that in order to avoid a similar situation arising again, there should be an investigation into how expenditure on the project was allowed to reach £4-£5m from the £2.56m that had been spent by January 2022 despite the fact that the capital receipts had not been secured.

This investigation should include a detailed timeline including when problems were first identified in order to establish if there was an earlier point at which the project should have been paused, plus the extent to which the details and risks of the project were adequately communicated to councillors.”

Councillor Whybrow claimed: “The Conservatives ignored countless warnings that this development was too risky and too costly and council tax-payers will pay the price of their arrogance for years to come. Sadly, this is the Conservative way – to refuse to listen, to refuse to apologise and to refuse to learn from your mistakes.”

By Ed

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