Kent’s Connected Coast Shepway District is going for growth based on good communication links and a strong commitment to encouraging business. With the arrival of High Speed 1 at the end of 2009 building upon already excellent communications links – the M20, Eurotunnel, and Lydd Airport as well as Dover Port and Eurostar on its doorstep - the district is well placed to take advantage of its strategic location between London and mainland Europe. One of the major reasons for optimism is the redevelopment of Folkestone Seafront and Harbour, which took a major step forward in August 2013 with the unanimous approval of outline planning application for a mixed-use scheme on the 36-acre site. The scheme, which offers the opportunity to add life back into the seafront and harbour and help to reunite the town with its coast and includes residential, retail and office uses as well as sports and cultural facilities in keeping with its maritime environment. A temporary facility has also been located at the western end of the site to trial watersports along this part of the Kent coast, another way of generating income. This approval follows on from some other developments that have greatly improved the attractiveness of the coastal Kentish town.
In June 2011, for example, Rocksalt, a restaurant run by the former Head Chef of Claridges Mark Sargeant, opened to great acclaim. The restaurant is set on the harbour with views of the English Channel and is designed by award-winning Guy Holloway Architects.
Areas around the harbour have also benefited from improvements, with the most notable changes being the introduction of a new water feature on the route between the town and the popular Sunny Sands beach, and the refurbishment of the harbour arm. For more information on Folkestone Seafront and Harbour, go to www.folkestoneseafront.co.uk.
Exciting developments support growth agenda Other projects due to happen in the area include development work at the Shorncliffe Barracks, Nickolls Quarry, Hawkinge West and Link Park sites. As well as helping these developments come to fruition, the district council has made a number of key interventions, aimed at improving business start-up and survival rates, increasing skills and encouraging business growth. These include: Supporting Start-Up Business: In August 2013, The Factory Floor, in partnership with the district council, launched a new incubation facility in the heart of the Creative Quarter. The 20
ThinkingBUSINESS June-July 2014
Official magazine for Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce - June/July 2014