Hollowshore in danger – please lodge your objection now!

Hollowshore and its marshes 500px

Hollowshore threatened area 1 Hollowshore threatened area 2

The marshes at Hollowshore – threatened by company plans for gravel extraction. See a satellite photo the area on Google Maps

I hate to call on people’s help once again so soon after my earlier comments about Faversham Creek – but another important location in the Swale area is in danger because someone in business can see a way of making money.

This time the threat is to the area around Hollowshore and along the western bank of Faversham Creek. It comes from a local company in Faversham called Brett Aggregates, which apparently owns mineral rights in the area and has put in planning applications to excavate gravel in the area for a period of 17 years.

The application information published by Kent County Council is here (please scroll down quite a way to sites 25 and 26). It was also the place to go to object, but the consultation has now closed, even though many of us have only just learned about it. The only contact address I can find is mwdf@kent.gov.uk.

I hope many of you will write to object: I understand we’re now past the official deadline for objections, but this application has only come to light in the past couple of weeks, deeply buried as it is.

If you do make your views known, you will be in very good company. The organisations who have already objected or expressed serious concerns include Swale Borough Council, Natural England, Kent Wildlife Trust, Protect Kent, The Faversham Society, the Environment Agency and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

If the Brett’s applications succeed I think we have to accept that it will be goodbye to a gem of a place. The areas where the company’s workings are recognisable: they’re ponds and holes in the ground that have been fenced off, no doubt for the safety of the public. The area has not been returned to anything like the marshland it must once have been.

What’s more, this is a business that needs to make great use of big digging and spoil-carrying machines, and there’s often a lot of noise that is particularly noticeable at night.

If the excavations go ahead, we will almost certainly have to say farewell to the wonderful old pub at Hollowshore, the Shipwright’s Arms, which will lose much of its appeal for visitors. There will be less demand for moorings along Oare Creek and I fear also for the future of Hollowshore Services, the shipyard that for decades now has maintained an extensive fleet of traditional craft, and provided many of them with suitable berths. Expanding the Brett’s business will likely destroy at least one established business, and to greatly damage another.

If you’re passing by, I’d suggest you dropping into The Shipwright’s, enjoy a pint and ask to sign landlord Derek’s petition opposing the planned excavations.

This is an area that should be well protected, and I hope it is.

For one thing the area around Hollowshore is a designated Ramsar Site. For those who don’t know – and I didn’t – the Ramsar Convention in 1972 was an inter-governmental agreement that wetlands would be preserved. At the time, the reasons for doing so were often about wildlife, but we now know that they are an important part of the carbon cycle, and help to control carbon levels in the atmosphere.

The marshes around Hollowshore and in the Ham Farm area are clearly wetlands, for along with the cattle (and marsh frogs) they are a tremendous place for wetland birds, which often include herons and little egrets. No doubt birders could say a lot more.

It’s also a Special Protection Area under the EC Birds Directive, which came into force in April 1979, and which designates areas that are important to rare and vulnerable birds, and to regularly occurring migratory species. Yet again, it’s a designated SSSI – a site of special scientific interest, and therefore one of our best sites for wildlife. Brett’s say they will dig up only one area at a time, but it seems inconceivable that they can return areas they have dug up to their previous condition – surely that would take decades, if it could be done at all.

Please help – if enough of us make our objections, the council and the planners will hopefully have to take some notice.

PS – It might be useful to see what Brett Aggregates have left in the areas where excavation has taken place – and the plea left by someone who loves the area as it is.

Brett Aggregates mess at Faversham Brett Aggregates mess at Faversham Brett Aggregates mess at Faversham Brett Aggregates excavation appeal

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19 thoughts on “Hollowshore in danger – please lodge your objection now!”

  1. I strongly object to this further damage to a vital heritage area and much appreciated and used sailing area. The whole area will fall into disrepute if, after what has happened to Milton creek and the appalling threat to Faversham's historical waterside, this further damage ia allowed to go ahead.

  2. Objections really can make a difference, locally the proposed gravel extraction at Chilling Brownwhich was defeated by local action. Good luck in opposing this our coastline is too precious to loose.

  3. Funny enough that state administrators always try to hide certain plans away from the public. And, if caught red-handed, they always claim that it is all in public interest, while really it is in certain interests. Here in the Nordhorn horn area, administrator want to install an old 16 ton railway bridge from Austria(!) on the banks of the River Vechte. Now this bridge is not crossing the river , it shall be situated parallel to the river. And all that in an area of outstanding natural beaty. If you will go there with your canoe, the administration and the ecologists go nuts, because you disturb this area. So what about this "piece of art"? It costs 2 mio €! And they acted in the same way. Just a small not on some hidden website and afterward they said:"Well but we published it". Bloody bureaucrats!!!

  4. Thanks Gavin, for your support in this. As the landlord of the Shipwright's I obviously have a vested interest in Bretts plans. Apart from the devastating effect on the marsh and it's wildlife, I am seriously concerned about the effect on our summer trade – which basically supports the pub during the long winter months.

    A good many of our customers come to enjoy the tranquil haven that is Hollowshore, and should these plans go ahead, that tranquilty will be lost for many years.

    1. Quite right Derek. In these busy times when so many pubs have closed, The Shipwright's and its setting are something special, and a worthwhile business that should be supported by planners, not undermined by other business.

      Gavin

  5. I agree powerfully with everything said here. I cannot understand how a Ramsar site could even have been considered by KCC for aggregates extraction.

    I am a member of the Kent Wildlife Trust. One of the Trust's "corporate ambassadors" – a title gained by paying £1,000 plus VAT, and enabling a company to advertise itself – is listed as Brett Group. I have today written to Sue Young, Head of Conservation and Policy at the Trust, as follows:

    " Is your corporate ambassador Brett Group in any way connected with Brett Aggregates, which has applied to excavate gravel at the Hollowshore and Ham Marshes near Faversham for the next 17 years? "

    For information, her email address is sue.young@kentwildlife.org.uk

    I cannot believe that a "wildlife trust" would have anything to do with an aggregates company or its holding company, so it is probably a coincidence (I hope so). But I will report any answer I receive.

  6. crazy ! …. another example of people willing to destroy an area of amazing natural beauty in order to line their pockets. I for one will be writing my objectionsn – thanks for bringing this to our attention Gavin

  7. Is there any way that this scandalous proposal can be highlighted at this coming weekend's Faversham Hop Festival? A stall with information? The petition? Announcements by bands and comperes?

    I note that the Brett Group is one of the official sponsors of the Hop Festival but that shouldn't stop anyone from raising this crucial issue at such a popular local event.

    The Brett management need to know how outraged we all are.

    They MUST NOT be allowed to destroy either of these two areas.

    1. Best talk to the festival management Alan! Standing outside some of the major events with a placard and handing out leaflets might be a very effective way forward… Gavin

  8. You must try to publicise this a lot more, I've only read it in the Fav News, I wonder if it's already too late, has permission be granted?

    I object most strongly to Bretts wrecking this Ramsar and SSSI site, why bother putting this protection on if it's going to be ignored.

    No chance of going to the EU courts then, too expensive?

    Has anyone spoken to the Environment agency about the flood risk once this land is excavated? I'm sure there must be an increased risk of Faversham flooding if this barrier is removed.

    And yes I'm a member of Kent Wildlife and the RSPB, have you spoken the RSPB? I can't believe this is allowed to happen, there's so little marshland habitat left in Britain.

  9. I recall this area from when I lived near Herne Bay for about 18 months in the 80s before returning to Scotland

    I was struck then by the desolate beauty of the land around Oare Creek and the fantastic lunches (beer pie, etc) served up at the Shipwright's Arms. All redoelnt of Dickens, etc

    Given the bodies expressing concern and the fact that it is a Special Protection Area, it is important that anyone who inhabits this website from time to time and has had the privilege of walking/sailing this special place objects and makes as much noise as possible through the local media

    It would be criminal to allow gravel extraction in a place like this!!

    Jay Cresswell

    Aberdeen

  10. I realise I'm late to this party but I just went for a walk out there the other day and saw the sign on the gate. Any chance of an update? I can't find anything on Google to tell me what's happened since late August. Happy to lobby if there's still time to do so. Can't believe the consultation is valid if key stakeholders not told.

  11. It is astounding that with all the special this that and the other accreditation, this can still be considered. I strongly object to this further damage to a vital heritage area and much appreciated and used sailing area. The whole area will fall into disrepute if, after what has happened to Milton creek and the appalling threat to Faversham’s historical waterside, this further damage ia allowed to go ahead.

  12. I strongly object to Brett’s dispical intentions to the marvelous Hollowshore area. Please, please, please don’t let this happen.

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