More than 300 people have signed a petition calling for the reopening of a closed trail to allow controversial redevelopment work to begin.

Opponents of the proposed Princes Parade split on the coast between Hythe and Sandgate are furious that a road between the Royal Military Canal and the beach was fenced off in the height of summer.

Folkestone and Hythe District Council asking for a footpath to reopen at Princes Parade in Seabrook. Photo: Nicki Stuart” data-root=”/_media/img/” data-path=”RHS04YY0PK48R7THIH6M.jpg” data-ar=”1.20″/>
Left to right, Chris Farrell, Hilary St. Clare and Nicki Stuart collected hundreds of signatures on a petition to Folkestone and Hythe District Council asking for a footpath to reopen at Princes Parade in Seabrook. Photo: Nicki Stuart

Chris Farrell, Hilary St. Clare and Nicki Stuart handed the petition over to Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC), which is driving the redevelopment of the seafront site.

“You can imagine our frustration at seeing access closed when no work is taking place,” Ms Stuart said.

“Access is prohibited during the summer holidays to families wishing to go to the beach and to the many dog ​​walkers, paddleboarders, swimmers and walkers, not to mention the extreme inconvenience for residents and visitors with disabilities.

“We expect the council and the construction company to work with the public.

“This petition is an indicator of local concern and frustration over the closed path.”

The path has been blocked between the waterfront and the bridge over the Royal Military Canal, which leads to the footpath.  Photo: Nicki Stuart
The path has been blocked between the waterfront and the bridge over the Royal Military Canal, which leads to the footpath. Photo: Nicki Stuart

Palisades began going up around the land, which is intended for new housing, a leisure center and other commercial buildings, in June.

People living near the site, which includes part of a former municipal landfill, have waged a long and vocal campaign against the redevelopment of the land.

FHDC responded to the petition saying “public safety is paramount” when decisions about access are made.

A spokesperson said: “We considered reopening the path overnight and discussed the idea with our contractors.

“We have concluded, at this time, that this would not be in line with agreed plans to maintain public safety.

What planned accommodation at Princes Parade in Hythe could look like
What planned accommodation at Princes Parade in Hythe could look like

“Other residents living nearby have raised concerns about other risks created by public access, including the risk of children accessing the work area of ​​the site, so we need to balance those views.

“However, to accommodate requests from local residents, if we can, we will temporarily reopen the trail once ongoing operations – primarily hoarding – are complete until more extensive work begins on site in September.”