Swale Borough Council modifies the plan for Faversham Creek – on English Heritage advice

Faversham Creek 1905

Faversham Creek, 1905 – a postcard from Gary Vaughan’s fascinating collection

The Faversham Creek Trust’s weblog has published a cheering post, after a revision of the Faversham Creek neighbourhood plan by Swale Borough Council designed to take into account concerns raised by English Heritage.

Here’s what the FCT folks say:

‘The amendments do make a very considerable difference to the Plan, especially to Ordnance Wharf and Swan Quay, and to matters concerning the conservation area, the archaeology and historical aspects of the sites, the views and design standards. Specific sites which are affected directly (although all are covered by the ‘Background Text and Scene Setting’ and the ‘Creek-Wide Policies’) are Site 2 Ordnance Wharf, Site 3 BMM Weston, Sites 4 and 5 Swan Quay/Frank and Whittome, Site 8 Standard Quay and Site 9 Standard House.

‘The policies for Ordnance Wharf would make it considerably more difficult to build residential units on it, but still would not preclude them.

‘The policies for Swan Quay would make it more difficult for the proposed large blocks of flats to be built by the Quayside, but would allow some housing. They offer much more protection to the existing industrial buildings, the industrial nature of the site, and to the environment of the historic and listed buildings on and close to the site, but it may not be enough.

‘The policies for Standard Quay remove the use of Building No. 1 as a restaurant.

‘The policies for Standard House offer greater protection to its setting as a significant landmark on the Creek.

‘In summary, then, these changes do offer some, but not all, of what Faversham Creek Trust and others have been asking for all these years.’

We’ll have to see what the town’s council makes of the revisions when it meets, but I think it’s clear that both the FCT should be congratulated for its continuing campaigning for the Creek, and English Heritage should be thanked for its intervention.

Btw… a huge amount depends on  the non-working swing bridge near the top of the creek being updated, which would once again allow vessels to moor in the basin up-river.  The FCT is earnestly raising money to do just that. Read about its efforts here, and please throw a few bobs their way if you can.


Punt built in the Faversham Creek Trust building launched

The folks of Faversham held a launching ceremony for a 14-foot punt named Kingfisher on the town’s Stonebridge pond on Sunday.

The punt was built by local long-term unemployed people under the direction of local boatbuilder Alan Thorne under a Department of Work and Pensions-funded educational scheme, and is to be used by a local organisation, the Friends of Westbrook and Stonebridge Pond for clearing ancient waterways between the pond and the tidal head of Faversham Creek.

Alan’s workshop is in the Faversham Creek Trust’s building, which is housed in an old gasworks by the head of the Creek.

The waterways are remnants of an old gunpowder works that used leather-bound boats to transport gunpowder (rather than iron-bound wheeled carts) in order to avoid striking sparks.

The boatbuilding project was managed by The Creek Learning Project in partnership with the Brents Community Association, and aims to help local unemployed people gain the confidence to get into work or volunteering.

Friends of Westbrook and Stonebridge Pond chair Fern Alder (wearing a yellow jacket in the photos above) said ‘I would like to say a big thank you, on behalf of the whole group, for the truly beautiful and very useful punt that has been made for us.’

My thanks go to the FCT’s Griselda Mussett for the photos.

Alan Thorne can help with boatbuilding projects – constructing to plans in very tidy stitch-and-glue or more traditional techniques. Contact him by email at ajthorne3@hotmail.com or phone 07865 091155.

Shipwrighting apprenticeships at Faversham Creek start in August – apply now

Mayhi at the Faversham Creek Trust's Purifier Building Faversham photo by Richard Fleury

The Faversham Creek Trust’s apprentice scheme for training young shipwrights is to begin in August, when two apprentices will begin their 18 months of intensive training at the Trust’s Purifier Building.

The scheme is part of the FCT’s  aim of regenerating Faversham Creek as a working waterway, and is expected to be expanded in future years.

Read about the scheme here.

The apprentices will begin by working on the 1908 Kent-built wooden yacht Mayhi, photographed above at the Purifier Building by Richard Fleury. Later in their training, they will experience commercial repair and restoration of larger vessels moored downstream.

The teaching programme will be contracted to a company formed by Brian Pain, managed by master shipwright Simon Grillett, and accredited by Rochester College.

PS – Readers may also be interested to know that the well known comedian, presenter  and TV producer Griff Rhys Jones recently visited the FCT during a tour of Kent’s civic society’s as part of his role as the president of Civic Voice. I gather he showed a good knowledge of the issues facing campaigners seeking to protect Faversham’s buildings and to ensure the Creek once again becomes a working waterway. So the word is getting round…