Folkestone Harbour & Seafront Development Co. has announced the start of construction of the Seafront development, with the first ACME designed residential building. Folkestone-based Jenner have been appointed as contractor.
ACME’s involvement with the project started in 2016 through an invited competition. The amended masterplan achieved planning consent in 2018, and the first phase of the development received detailed planning consent in 2019, allowing the first plot to progress to construction.
The seafront site is at the base of the cliffs alongside Folkestone Harbour. The towns location in the English Channel made it an important fishing and smuggling town for centuries. The 1840s saw the construction of the port and its connection to the railway network, bringing weekend visitors from London and allowing for the start of regular ferry services to France.
Folkestone’s position as a holiday town declined with the 20th century advent of cheap air travel, and the 1995 opening of the Channel Tunnel led to the closure of the ferry service.
Over the last 10 years, under the leadership of Sir Roger De Haan, Folkestone Harbour & Seafront Company has undertaken extensive work to revitalise the Harbour, with the creation of new public spaces.
As part of these works, ACME completed in 2017 a new beach boardwalk, the refurbishment of the Harbour Station and Customs House as well as the creation of a new Folkestone Highline walk over the old Harbour Viaduct.
The new masterplan works with the remaining historic harbour and station, maximizes public space and sea views and gives the development a coherent architectural language inspired by Folkestone’s heritage.
In a playful nod to adjacent Victorian seaside estates, the development creates new urban crescents, articulated with curved bay windows and balconies.
20 town-houses comprise the lower front part of the first crescent, rising at both ends to two taller volumes containing 64 apartments and duplexes. Expansive sea views on the beach side are complemented by a raised communal garden on the wind-protected side of the crescent.
Friedrich Ludewig, Director of ACME, said: “ We have worked on the regeneration of Folkestone Harbour for the last four years, starting with the masterplan, new boardwalk, the Harbour Station and the viaduct.
We are delighted that the first new buildings on the waterfront in a generation are commencing on site. The masterplan seeks to define buildings that firmly rooted in the architectural history of Folkestone, celebrates the amazing views and create an active and open shingle beach for all. The new houses will contribute to create a vibrant place for residents and visitors to enjoy, reconnect the seafront to the town, and put the harbour back at the heart of Folkestone . “
Director of Folkestone Harbour Limited Partnership Sir Roger De Haan said: “This is an important step in our mission to bring new purpose to one of Folkestone’s most prominent sites. Our careful renovation of the harbour and railway heritage has already succeeded in attracting visitors to Folkestone in greater numbers than at any time in many decades, and now we can turn our attention to reinforcing the town’s reputation as a great place to live.”
Leader of Folkestone and Hythe District Council David Monk said: “Sir Roger has persevered with this development which will bring vibrancy to the harbour and seafront and make a big difference to Folkestone. The delivery of these new homes will provide a significant benefit and positive impact to the local area and the investment will be instrumental in continuing Folkestone’s growth and regeneration.”