Regeneration chiefs reveal first look at plans to renovate former railway station at Folkestone Harbour
PUBLISHED: 13:53 14 February 2017 | UPDATED: 13:53 14 February 2017
Work is set to begin on the project later this month
Plans to regenerate Folkestone seafront have taken a huge step forward as work on renovating the former harbour railway station is set to begin within days.
Bosses at Folkestone Harbour Company have released designs to show what the redeveloped station will look like.
Following the successful renovation of the Harbour Arm in 2015/16, this new work by the company, which is overseeing a multi-million pound project to redevelop the town, is designed to extend the areas accessible to the public.
It will create new access to the Harbour Arm by using the viaduct that carried trains across the harbour as a pedestrian walkway, with the work, carried out by Graham Construction, set to begin this month following preliminary work to repair the structure.
Folkestone Harbour Company spokesperson Peter Bettley said: “The aim is to provide a direct route between the town and the Harbour Arm, via the former railway station platforms, and will ultimately link with a boardwalk along the beachfront towards the Leas Coastal Park.
“This will improve connectivity around the harbour itself and help enhance access between the Coastal Park, the Stade and beach areas, the Creative Quarter and other parts of the town centre, anticipating the wider opportunities that the seafront development will bring.”
Repairs to the viaduct are almost complete and bosses say the area will shortly be landscaped, with new railings also added.
“A staircase and lift will be constructed to provide access between the viaduct and Harbour Square, adjacent to the fountains,” Mr Bettley said.
“Care is being taken to respect the listed status of the structure and to preserve and enhance its heritage value, whilst introducing a function that is relevant to the area’s future.
“Similarly, the former railway station, which in the past had become quite neglected, will be renovated to a high standard, surviving features such as the glass canopies will be restored, and the site’s heritage as a marine railway terminus will be recognised.”
The work is an important step towards the transformation of one of Folkestone’s most iconic sites, which will help redefine the relationship between the town and the sea, regeneration chiefs say.
To date this has included the opening of RockSalt, a signature restaurant overlooking the inner harbour, the creation of interactive fountains in a new public square and the Harbour Arm itself.
The Harbour Arm opened for the first time in late 2015, followed by a full summer season in 2016 and proved a hit with residents and visitors alike.
Thousands of people come regularly to enjoy a vibrant mix of live music and entertainment and distinctive places to eat and drink and bosses insist these will reopen for the 2017 season in late March.
As work is completed on the renovation of the site’s historic infrastructure, interpretation and signage will be introduced to help tell the story of the harbour and Folkestone’s maritime heritage.