Faversham Creek and the carbuncle – object now!

Local planners are considering an application to build the residential development shown in this drawing.

In my mind, the description ‘carbuncle’ seems very apt. It’s too big and bulky for the site, the ‘ship-like’ references in the design is in rather poor taste (placing a residential development here will likely contribute to keeping vessels out of the area), and it is not at all in keeping with the commercial and industrial sites all around.

In addition, the Faversham Creek Trust folks say it will compromise the work of their boatbuilding apprentice school by eliminating moorings and because complaints from residents could easily lead to the school having to be closed. The small building behind the proposed flats is the Trust’s school premises.

Trust officials add that the proposed development is in conflict with local planning aims, which commits the authorities to ‘specifically encourage the regeneration of the creek basin for commercial and tourism purposes, including use of the basin and its wharfage for historic craft. Planning permission will not be granted for proposals that would result in the loss of land or buildings suitable for employment uses’.

That should be enough to see this project thrown out, I hope. However the deadline for objections is the 29th of this month. If you get a chance, please sign the petition against the development or post your objection on the Swale Borough Council site here.

Faversham Creek Trust makes progress

The Faversham Creek Trust is making impressive progress with its building (which now has electricity, for example), and a successful application to the apprenticeship charity The Hedley Trust to have the FCT’s apprenticeship scheme accepted as a continuation of the original Standard Quay scheme – which has led to a transfer of funding.

It also has a new patron, Professor Sir David Melville, who has tremendous experience in higher education and training, is a new resident in Faversham and a boating enthusiast.

And following the failure of the FCT’s original Heritage Lottery Fund bid a new more widely drawn bid is being formulated.

But of course there’s still much, much more to do. Swale Borough Council’s consultation ahead of a new master plan for the area ends on the 18th May. Those of us who want to see the Creek flourish as a traditional working waterway should make sure we have our say before that date. See what the Faversham Creek Trust folks have to say about it here.

Finally, if you’re in the area on Saturday, do call in on the FCT’s stand in Faversham’s historic market place from 10am to 4pm to find out more, perhaps join the organisation and take part in the ‘sponsor a slate’ scheme, which aims to replace the roof of the purifier building, which is to become the new workshop.

A shout out for: the Faversham Creek Trust weblog

Faversham Creek Trust weblog

I’m greatly enjoying the Faversham Creek Trust’s weblog.

One the news side, the FCT folks are making real progress, with volunteers clearing pigeon poo and other nastiness out of the old purifier building in preparation for it to become the home of the new apprenticeship scheme in 2013, thanks in part to Morrison’s.

Another positive step came when the sailing barge turning area was dredged recently – this will make it possible for barges to turn around without fear of being grounded and then left stranded across the creek supported only at each end. The resulting strain could cause serious and possibly terminal damage to a barge. (I don’t know whether the Trust had anything to do with this, but it’s good news, and an interesting preview of what will come later further up the creek.)

But some of the best reading here is Arthur Percival’s terrific history of the place: recent instalments have included Thomas Arden’s tide mill at the head of the creek, the story of how deepening the channel enabled Faversham’s port to compete with Whitstable after that town’s harbour was constructed, and final the collapse of trade in the creek in the late 20th century.

If you’re interested in Faversham and this part of North Kent – perhaps for its excellent coastline for sailing and boating generally – the FCT’s weblog is essential reading.