Plans to invest nearly a million pounds in creating a “coastal destination” on Romney Marsh have come to light.
The project was unveiled in a new report that features a proposal to add more than 100 beach cabanas, washrooms and changing rooms, vacation rentals, a cafe and a concession stand in the Coast Drive parking lot in Littlestone.
Better car parks are also planned, as well as improvements to the public domain which “will create a real destination for visitors”.
The project was discussed by cabinet members of the Folkestone and Hythe district council.
Cllr David Wimble (Ind) said, “There isn’t a single person in New Romney who isn’t behind this. They all think it’s a great idea.
Cllr David Godfrey (Con) said it will be a great attraction that will improve the area and attract visitors.
About 28 cabins already line the waterfront at Littlestone-on-Sea, near the New Romney Sea Cadet building.
But this new project would allow the installation of 108 additional colorful beach huts, with a promenade in front of them.
The cabins would be staggered so that each had a view of the sea.
A new modern toilet facility is also planned, with a proposed cafe or kiosk also included in the design to “generate income and expand the offering on site”.
Improved parking layout is also needed – allowing 72 spaces – as well as new bins and panels, with the possibility of adding solar panels to provide green energy.
A drawing of the project, as well as a layout of the masterplan, were included in the firm’s report.
Subject to a building permit, it is hoped that the device will be in place by summer 2022.
The total cost of the project is estimated at £ 893,000.
Existing council funding allocated of £ 375,000 would go to the project, and it is proposed to add the additional £ 518,000 needed for the loan in FY 2021/22.
The council hopes to see a return of almost £ 2million over 25 years.
The cabinet report said, “The coastal swamp areas are highly valued throughout the summer season and welcome a large number of tourists while providing recreation space for local residents.
“As in all parts of the Folkestone and Hythe district, the numbers have been increasing year on year and more and more during the pandemic.
“Managing these numbers, while actively promoting and supporting areas that are moving forward, is important.
“The investment in Coast Drive Car Park will create a coastal destination, boost tourism and business on the marsh while providing an important source of income for the council.
“This project shows investment in the swamp by the council and with the proposed long-term actions presents an exciting opportunity not only for the swamp but for the entire district.”
Other locations – the parking lot at St Mary’s Bay and Fisherman’s Beach at Hythe – were also considered for the program, but Littlestone was seen as the best option, the report says.
“The investment in Coast Drive Car Park will create a coastal destination. “
The project would follow a similar development at Folkestone, where its existing beach huts have been renovated and wooden ones added.
This device currently has 100% occupancy rates with a waiting list of over 800 people.
Last year, plans to build 20 new homes in the Coast Drive parking lot were rejected by members of the Folkestone & Hythe council planning committee.
Opponents said the project would have an impact on neighbors, the environment and tourism, as essential parking spaces on the beach would be lost.
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