Trouble at the Guildhall

Standard Quay at Faversham – sadly, there are still very few larger boats compared with a few years ago

Tempers in Faversham are clearly at boiling point.

Under council rules this week the chairman of the Faversham Creek Trust was asked to temporarily leave a public meeting held at the Guildhall to discuss a document recommending more residential development along the banks of the Creek. Read about it here.

The reason given was that as chair of the Trust he was deemed to have a vested interest – the FCT would like to see the historic, centuries-old Ordnance Quay near the centre of the town used for maritime purposes such as moorings for sailing barges and other traditional craft, and for boatbuilding generally.

It’s a point of view – but this is hardly an interest that could be compared with the financial interests of a property developer, for example. It could be argued that almost anyone who lives in the place and many of us who do not could be deemed to have an ‘interest’ of that kind.

In another strange twist, it seems the meeting only allowed 15 minutes of questions at the beginning of the meeting – before any new information had been presented.

There is little question that there are strong passions on both sides of the planning argument at Faversham, with one faction arguing that the town needs new housing along the banks of Faversham Creek and the other arguing that the Creek has enormous potential as an amenity, as a historic site with enormous interest for visitors, and as a source of employment. There’s also little question that the latter view has strong support in the town and must be given the consideration it is due.

In such circumstances, isn’t it crucially important that the planning and consultation process should be above reproach? If not, the wrong decisions will be made, the arguments and anger will rumble on for decades and Faversham itself will gain a reputation that no-one wants to have.

PS – What sort of people want to be able to contribute more to planning process around the Creek, and to the debate about its future? See this short and reasonable paper from the Brents Community Association. I should explain that the Brents is an area just out of sight in my photo – it’s a little further up the Creek and on the right.

PPS – There’s an opportunity to make your objections known to the council tomorrow evening at 7pm. Work prevents me from getting there, but the details are at the Faversham Creek Trust website.


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