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Red letter day in the regeneration of Folkestone

Contributed by editor on Nov 28, 2007 - 10:19 PM

Howard's Way.... a weekly column from the Rt. Hon. Michael Howard QC. MP. 

29 November 2007

 

Monday was a real red letter day in the regeneration of Folkestone.

I was privileged to be asked to cut the ribbon at the opening of the Bouverie Place Shopping Centre. This project, which has been so long in coming and which has met with so many ups and downs along the way, is at last with us.

A tremendous crowd turned out on Monday and to judge by their reactions they were not disappointed. I certainly think the wait has been worth it. The new centre is very impressive and I do not believe there is a supermarket in the country with a view to compare with the view from Asda’s store in the new development.

The new centre is one of the biggest pieces in the regeneration jigsaw.

Others include the coming of the high speed rail link in two years time, the redevelopment of the harbour, the growth of the creative quarter and the opening of the sculpture park and the University Centre. I truly believe that when all these pieces in the jigsaw are in place, the future of Folkestone will be transformed.

Meanwhile our long standing retailers have been co-operating in an anti-crime initiative supported by the Kent People’s Trust which I was shown last Friday. Retailers now have access to a communication system which enables them to warn, and be warned, about any undesirable or anti-social people who may be about to enter their shops.

This scheme does seem to have helped shopkeepers alert each other and the police and has made a significant contribution to the fight against retail crime.

It, and the new shopping centre should both go to make Folkestone’s shopping a better experience in future.