A £3.55m grant bid which could help transform a Folkestone site – parts of which have been derelict for more than 60 years – has been submitted.
Folkestone & Hythe District Council put forward a Brownfield Land Release Fund application for the Ship Street project last month.
The outcome is expected from central government by the end of the year. If successful, the money will be put towards the remediation of the former gasworks.
The council is developing an idea which could see a mixed-use, housing-led development with courtyard gardens, space for small shops and cafés, and public creative and cultural space on the site.
It bought the freehold of the former gasworks in 2021 as no private developers stepped in to develop the 1.54-hectare plot over many years.
Cllr David Godfrey, Cabinet Member for Housing and Special Projects, said: “We’ve been busy carrying out capacity studies, market engagement, investigation works, site maintenance and a highly successful public consultation event in recent months.
“This bid could be the most significant step towards delivering around 150 energy-efficient homes, including affordable council housing, to date.”
Applications for Home England’s Infrastructure Delivery Fund and Affordable Homes Fund will also be considered once a decision has been made.
It is estimated the project will cost around £40m.
Leader Cllr David Monk added: “By taking ownership of the site, we are able to drive the development forward and hopefully access funding for remediation.
“This is the latest phase of proactively trying to bring brownfield sites back to life for the benefit of residents and the district as a whole.”
Cabinet members agreed in September 2022 to ask full council for the £350,000 required to pay the professional fees associated with the scheme design and the planning application submission.
Homes England has already agreed to provide some funding for the design development of the scheme.
The project also plans to develop pleasant walking and cycling links between the harbour and Folkestone Central station.
Visit folkestone-hythe.gov.uk/ship-street for more information about the site’s history and bright future.