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Hop Kweng

Hop Kweng, 1 Majestic Parade, Sandgate Road, Folkestone, Kent, 2008 Superb decorative facade more redolent of a 1960s New Town such as Crawley than a genteel seaside shopping parade. I like the way the symmetrical square display panels make even the cheesy food photos a stylish part of the overall design. Still there and generally well-reviewed  on on TripAdvisor despite philistine negative comments about its “dated” appearance.

Hop Kweng

Hop Kweng

Hop Kweng

Hop Kweng

3 replies »

  1. I like this. It’s well maintained and befitting of the building. It’s also bonkers! Yet, if you tried to install this shop front today and tried to get it through planning, it would probably be rejected. One thing your site does (which I love by the way) is highlight that our high streets are quite different and changing. Most shop fronts are pretty ugly in general, but many have charm and many help shape and define our high streets. I think planning should change to be more localised, to help make sense of how our high streets look now, in context, rather than trying to adhere to national planning guidelines that are a one size fits all approach. If we localised planning and had guidelines on a street by street basis, our high streets would be more distinctive. vibrant and exciting places to be. Perhaps they could be defined by local BID, traders or civic groups.

    I’m all for making the most of architectural features and historical context (generally the best shops on this wonderful site have layers of history), but if the whole street has ripped them out, what do you do then? Sometimes you have to be a bit bonkers. Or modern. I’d only apply 1 rule and two items of guidance to shops as a national planning framework:

    1. The sign MUST have a number on it.
    2. Retain original shop fronts and features whenever possible.
    3. Try to make your high street unique, try to steer clear of generic aluminium shop fronts.

    Keep up the good work. This is a truly wonderful site and I’m surprised more people don’t comment!

    • Thanks for such a flattering and thought-provoking comment – you raise points I agree with but hadn’t even realised, apart from subliminally. It certainly never occurred to me that OTT facades such as Hop Kweng likely wouldn’t get past planning today (whereas any number of generic fried chicken emporia, betting shops and loan sharks doubtless would). And your comment about street numbering is so true, it takes ages to find one with a number. It even affects this blog: I always try to give street numbers for shops I feature here, even if they’ve long gone – which means I spend hours trawling around on Google Streetview wandering up and down roads looking for matching architraves and the occasional street number to help locate them!

  2. You will probably find that most chicken shops etc don’t go through planning. Unless its in a conservation area, you have permitted development rights to add a sign. You have to apply for advertising consent if its lit. I’d say the vast majority of shops in the high street don’t go through the hassle and expense of permissions.

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