Faversham Creek Trust launched to revitalise historic waterway

Faversham Creek Trust leaflet

The Faversham Creek Trust launched yesterday will ‘work with both local and national government to regenerate shipbuilding and marine activity, creating a vibrant, revitalised working creek and skilled jobs for local people’.

That sounds like good news to me – if the council and landowners allow the new trust to achieve its aims.

A press release issued by the trust puts it this way:

‘Dedicated to protecting and promoting Faversham’s centuries-old maritime industry, the trust intends to reverse the recent decline in the creek’s fortunes for the benefit of the whole town, which is an ancient Cinque Port 10 miles west of Canterbury.

‘The trust has invited creekside land owners and operators to participate, and has produced a colour brochure detailing the creek’s history and its importance to the town. It sets out plans for a successful, sustainable future for this tidal link to the Thames Estuary, guaranteeing real employment and training opportunities.

‘The trust is asking the local authority, Swale Borough Council, to commit to protecting Faversham’s heritage and has plans in place to raise funds once the future of significant creekside sites can be secured.

‘The launch of the Trust comes at a time of widespread public concern for the creek’s future: in particular, the immediate threat to traditional boatbuilding jobs at Standard Quay. Around 1,000 people have already signed an e-petition to the council, calling for the quay, a national centre for sailing barge repair on the site of the famous Goldfinch shipyard, to be protected from inappropriate development.

‘Faversham is practically the last stronghold of the world-renowned Thames sailing barge. Safeguarding one of the town’s last surviving pockets of creekside maritime industry is an urgent priority for the new trust. But its scope and ambition extend much further.’

Trust spokesman David Gwyn Jones said that current proposals to allow the historic listed buildings on Standard Quay to be used for restaurants and shops would deny them to the maritime users and barge repairers on the waterfront.
‘We are not opposed to house building or business development,’ he said, ‘but new housing has already encroached upon much of the creek. Other sites are suitable for development which do not threaten the marine heritage of Faversham and its people’s jobs.

The trust’s plans include include:

  • creating more than 50 new jobs
  • bringing the swing bridge and creek basin back into proper use and resolving the present silting problems
  • new facilities, including slipways, dry docks, a dinghy building school, a blacksmith’s forge, a marine engineering workshop, and a museum
  • creek festivals and sailing events

Faversham’s a great place, but just think what it could be if this new trust gets it’s way!

Please sign the petition in support of Standard Quay’s boatbuilding future

Standard Quay

Standard Quay, winter 2010/11

 

Please sign this e-petition – it offers an opportunity to register public support for the aim of saving Faversham’s Standard Quay from a development that many fear could curtail or end the traditional boat building and repairing.

It’s a cause that deserves the support of anyone who cares about the future of traditional boat building, and about the future of the priceless Thames sailing barge fleet.

(If on signing you don’t immediately receive a confirmation email you haven’t signed, so please dig it out and click on the confirmation link. It’ll most likely be in your spam or trash folders.)

If you’re new to this issue, read more about the danger to Standard Quay at the Faversham Creek website and from this national newspaper article, and from the campaign press release, which I’ve posted in the comments below. (It’s not my press release, but I felt people should be able to access it.)

Also, do please take a moment to read the latest news and watch a short movie about Faversham Creek and Standard Quay put together by local film maker Simon Clay and journalist Richard Fleury. In relation to that site, I’d be curious to know which of the facts included in Simon Henley’s article are held to be incorrect by councillors. The news section of Simon and Richard’s site will explain what I mean.

I should report that I wrote to many of the local councillors just before an important meeting held in November and did not receive a single reply – not even an acknowledgement. (I have now had a reply from Mike Cosgrove.)

Finally, if you can, please pass this message to friends interested in this issue. The easiest way may be to select, copy and paste this web address into an email: https://intheboatshed.net/?p=12714

PS – The weblogs are taking up this story:

http://thetroublewitholdboats.blogspot.com/2011/02/save-standard-quay.html

Steel-hulled schooner for sale, lying at Standard Quay, Faversham

Schooner for sale

Schooner for sale

A pal and I dropped by Standard Quay at Faversham to see if we could spot a little lugger that we’d heard a friend is considering buying, so I took the opportunity to bag some photos of how things are there now. I’m sorry if you feel they’re not up to my usual standard – on arrival I discovered the battery of my usual camera was flat and so had to use my mobile phone, which seems to produce quite blue-grey images. I must get a spare.

Anyway, if you’re in the market for a steel-hulled schooner liveaboard, the one currently for sale at Standard Quay may be just what you’re looking for. It looked in pretty good shape to us, though neither of us has ever seen it sailing. The schooner’s pictured above.

Lady of the Lea Thames sailing barge Lady of the Lea Thames sailing barge Cambria being renovated

Roxane at Faversham Thames sailing barge Cambria being renovated

On a more cheerful note, the first two shots above are of the lovely small Thames sailing barge Lady of the Lea, two shots of Bob Roberts’ old sailing barge Cambria in restoration and a nice little Roxane that lives on the creek here.

And below is the bow of another Thames sailing barge Lady Daphne, here in a dry dock being repaired after a racing accident (I believe) and the yuppie flats that have already encroached the area opposite Standard Quay. The blue banner reads ‘Save Standard Quay’. For more on the Standard Quay campaign, click here.

Lady Daphne, Save Standard Quay banner

Lady Daphne, Save Standard Quay banner