Local councillors are currently engaged in developing a new neighbourhood plan covering the area that includes Faversham Creek – and it will come as no surprise to anyone that, as usual, the plan is to build still more housing on all the available industrial sites.
Now as this is supposed to be a democratic process, people are being asked to comment on the plan, and the Faversham Creek Trust is arguing strongly that the Creek should so far as possible be revived as a working waterway.
Here’s what the Trust folks say:
‘At present the Plan is essentially to allow the building of houses at all the key sites which up to now have been classified as industrial.
‘We don’t believe this qualifies as “regeneration”. Waterfront housing is luxury housing that does not meet local needs, and it doesn’t take many houses to make other uses impossible. The Plan needs a clearer vision about what the Creek is for: there are alternatives that we believe are more productive, and which build on the Town’s maritime heritage to enhance local skills, training for young shipwrights, industry, employment, tourism, leisure and recreation.’
Read more here, and see the neighbourhood plan consultation here. Also see some interesting points from an umbrella campaign including other local organisations here – this group fails to understand why the new proposals are so similar to proposals that were rejected just a couple of years ago, and argues for non-housing alternatives.
And there’s also the points made by contributors to the Visions of a Creek website to consider.
Having looked at the plan, it is curious that it seems to be so much at odds with the Council’s introductory argument that ‘regeneration of the Creek and the protection of Faversham’s maritime heritage could support businesses and tourism opportunities which will do much to revitalise the whole of Faversham’. Well it might, but it is difficult to see how the proposals to put expensive housing where it will flood and also prevent Creek-related activities will further that aim.
I’m reminded of the cartoon character Snagglepuss, who would always say he was going to go one way before running in the opposite direction. Of course, he did it to bamboozle his cartoon enemies.
Once the issue is decided, there will be no going back, and so the FCT is putting on an exhibition about the potential for alternative uses for the Creek-side sites at the town’s Alexander Centre tomorrow Saturday (31 May) and at the Purifier Building every Saturday morning during June. The exhibition includes various other ways of making your point.
If you’d like to have your say, see the FCT website, and have a look at the neighbourhood plan consultation website and fill in the survey – it’s the only way many of us have to be heard.