A Victorian building which previously housed the Debenhams town branch will be demolished to make way for a new health centre.

The three-storey property on the corner of Sandgate Road and Bouverie Place in Folkestone forms part of what is now known as the ‘Folca’ site, owned by Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC).

Part of the old Debenhams store in Folkestone will be demolished to make way for a health center

In September, the council agreed to lease the land on which the building sits, which is about a third of the entire site, to enable the creation of what doctors called a “state-of-the-art” health center. technology” of £16 million. center.

If approved, the proposal would see the city’s current Manor Road and Guildhall Street GP practices relocated, providing services to all 19,000 patients.

There would also be room to accommodate additional numbers in the future.

Local people will have the opportunity to comment on the proposals, which CHF Canada says will seek to mirror the existing design, through a series of public engagement sessions to be held over the summer before a planning request is submitted.

Dr Manuel Fernandes, of The Manor Clinic, said: “We are delighted to be working with partners to develop this new state-of-the-art facility in a key downtown location.

“Our ambition is to offer a new medical center that will meet the needs of patients…”

“Our design team has considered all options and the Victorian part of the site is not capable of hosting the range of services the project seeks to provide. Therefore, a new approach to construction is required.

“The current facilities in Manor Road and Guildhall Street are outdated, under severe capacity pressure and do not provide the best possible patient experience.

“Our ambition is to provide a new medical center that will meet current and future patient needs, and to attract new GPs and healthcare professionals to Folkestone and Hythe.”

Since FHDC bought the old department store in 2020, the community has made delivering a new health center to the site a priority.

The council argues that the potential for new employment opportunities and increased footfall will benefit Folkestone town center in the long term future.

The rest of the site is for future development
The rest of the site is for future development

Council leader Cllr David Monk said: “One of the reasons we bought Folca was to provide an opportunity to bring new uses to the building which would add value to the town centre.

“While it is regrettable that the Victorian part of the site cannot accommodate the new medical centre, moving forward with this vision will have a truly transformational impact.

“It will provide much-needed services to residents and increase footfall in the town centre, which will also help support local businesses.”

The health center project is part of the first phase of the redevelopment of Folca.

FHDC says it continues to explore opportunities for a mix of housing, retail and commercial development of the larger Art Deco part of the building on Sandgate Road.