The Kent town of Folkestone is enjoying a new lease of life after the regeneration of the Town Centre.
A new Creative Quarter has revived part of the town and is bringing new people into the area. Buildings have been repaired and given a new splash of colour, which is encouraging visitors and artists into the town.
Folkestone has for a long time had the reputation of a typical run down British coastal town, but things are changing. The Creative Quarter is set within the old town and follows one street that goes downhill towards the harbour. It is an ideal place to wander around, with attractive cobbled streets within a stone’s throw of the beach.
There you will find lots of interesting independent shops, galleries and cafes and is home to artists, creative businesses, independent boutiques and eateries.
Apparently Roger De Haan, the man behind the Create Quarter concept, grants short leases at pepper corn rents to give entrepreneurs the chance to prove their business idea. This is a great idea to get new businesses off the ground, but the downside is that it can leave the business owner without a premise at very short notice should things not pan out. There can also be a number of closed shops at any one time.
During the summer there are a number of events that take place, drawing in more people to the area.
Developers have also come to Folkestone as many buildings are undergoing a facelift or refurbishment to modernise them. The Leas Pavilion building is awaiting planning permission to upgrade it to a luxury apartment block.
There is a feeling amongst the locals that Folkestone could become the new’mini’ Brighton. Brighton has also undergone a resurgence in poularity and is now a sought after location. There is good shopping in ‘The Lanes’ in Brighton, with quaint alleyways filled with craft shops. Folkestone seems to be following along a similar trajectory.
Of course, there will always be some who wil not see the potential of this seaside town. Some comments describe the area as run down, dirty, overpriced with awful parking.
The jury is still out as to the future of Folkestone, but it is encouraging to see a few fresh shoots of positivity appearing.