Folkestone's Old Gas Works to provide new homes
The Creative Foundation, which has been behind the regeneration of Folkestone as a cultural centre and destination, is now advising on the redevelopment of the Old Gas Works to the south of Ship Street, close to the town centre, where 100 new homes will be built.
Artists and architects are working with the community on the project to ensure that hertage and local character are embedded properly in the new development on the Gas Works site.
Artist Jyll Bradley was born in Folkestone the year that the gas works closed. Her public realm sculpture Green/Light (see below) using wooden and aluminium poles with wire-work and LED inset was commissioned in 2014 and placed on the site of the gas works. Here a century earlier, electricity was first generated for the town's lighting. The aluminium poles are designed to catch and reflect energy and light and occupy the the exact footprint of one of the gasometers. The outer square is set out as a 'hop garden', the poles and twine drawing on Kent's historic agriculture and the artist's childhood memories.
Christoper Upton, Director at The Creative Foundation, commented that 'our value is to be found in the ideas that we bring to the project and how we collaborate with the developer'.
There are now over 500 people working in the regenerated Folkestone Creative Quarter which is having an impact throughout the town. Christopher says that this organically driven success shows that there is an alternative to the 'consumption-led regeneration favoured by some leading cities'.
The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust which undertakes education and creative-led regeneration projects is the main driver behind The Creative Foundation.