About the Folkestone
Townscape Heritage Initiative
The Folkestone Townscape Heritage Initiative (FTHI) is a partnership between Kent County Council, Folkestone & Hythe District Council (formerly Shepway District Council) and the Creative Foundation. This initiative has been developed following a successful bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund securing a total of £1.3m in grant funding for the project to enhance the old town area of Folkestone matched with £400,000 from Kent County Council and £100,000 from Folkestone & Hythe District Council.
The Folkestone THI will improve the townscape through:
- Repair and conservation of in-use buildings
- Reinstatement of architectural features
- Bringing vacant historic floor space back into use
- Enhancing routes, paths, steps and public space.
Following an assessment of the area, nine prioritisation criteria were identified in relation to the townscape:
- Location — the property must be in Folkestone’s Character area 4.
- Heritage value.
- Condition — taking into account the impact on the visual amenity and the historic character of the area.
- Prominence — in a prominent location.
- Group impact — taking into consideration properties which can create a higher impact by adding critical mass.
- Occupancy — whether buildings are partially or totally vacant due to repair and maintenance issues.
- Viability — the future use and sustainability of the building if work is carried out.
- Owner signup — likelihood of owner involvement and contribution, based on discussions so far.
- Value for money.
A rigorous filtering system was employed to score each property against the criteria which resulted in properties falling to one of three categories — critical, priority and reserve.
This has resulted in a list of one Critical and nine Priority properties to address in years one to three of the scheme. The filtering process has ordered the remaining 91 properties, with the highest scoring being held in reserve should any of the Priority properties not materialise.
The Delivery Stage will also:
- Build on significant community participation
- Provide opportunities for learning and developing heritage skills
- Create training and work experience opportunities