Government sponsored Historic England slams Hythe Princes Parade project

Contributed by editor on Nov 14, 2017 - 03:50 PM


Historic England, the Government sponsored body which looks after England’s historic environment, has objected in the strongest possible terms to Shepway council’s proposals to build 150 houses, a hotel and a leisure centre on green open space alongside the Royal Military Canal (RMC) at Princes Parade, Hythe.


The canal is a scheduled ancient monument. It is unique because it is not a normal transport canal but an important part of the country’s defences. It was constructed in the early 19th century in response to a very real fear of invasion by Napoleon’s army.


Historic England say the council’s planning application would cause: “… serious harm to the significance of a nationally important group of heritage assets, and in particular to the eastern end of the RMC…” It goes on to say that: “… the lack of proper justification is sufficient reason in itself to refuse planning permission.”

The strength of Historic England’s five-page letter of objections will not surprise Shepway Council because it confirms pre-application advice given to the council.

Artist impression of Princes Parade proposals

Historic England has informed the Government’s National Planning Casework Unit of its objections and has asked Shepway council if it would expect a resolution to approve its own application on land that it owns to be referred to the Secretary of State so that he could consider his position. And it has asked the council when the application is likely to be considered so that it can consider making representations to councillors at the committee meeting.

Environmental protection group ‘Save Princes Parade’ has welcomed Historic England’s intervention.

Spokeswoman Lesley Whybrow says: “More than 6,000 people signed a petition against any development on the site and there are 575 objections to the planning application. Historic England had advised the council about the importance of protecting an historic site of national importance before it went ahead with its planning application. It is time that the council listened to people’s views and expert advice.”

Historic England’s view is shared by KCCs archaeology department which has submitted a ten-page letter of objection to Shepway council’s planning application. It concludes that the harm to the historic environment provides sufficiently strong grounds for the application to be refused.


The council’s proposals include a new swimming pool but Lesley Whybrow points out: “There is an alternative to concreting over a unique green open space and seriously harming a scheduled ancient monument.

"The council could acquire a site at Martello Lakes/Nickoll’s Quarry for £1,” she says.

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