Your chance to object to the developers’ plans for Standard Quay – there are just a few days left

This is reposted because the deadline for objecting to the plans to gentrify Standard Quay has been put back – there is still time for readers to make a difference!

Standard Quay

How would you feel, if I told you someone wants to plonk a restaurant right in the middle of the site shown in this photo – and that this would likely be the first step in a redevelopment of the area that could include more restos and cafes, and maybe housing?

Wherever this happens, working boats, sailing barges and the people who work on them come under pressure and generally have to leave. It’s been a blight all round our coast, and most of the boaty working folk have felt driven to leave Faversham’s Standard Quay already.

If like me you feel the planning authorities should take steps to save this historic old quay and return it to its old use as a boatyard and busy wharf, we have just a few days to place our objections to the restaurant plan. Read the background here.

To do so, go to the website, search for Swale Borough Council, then go to the  applications and use the search box to hunt down applications  applying to Standard Quay. There are just a few days left to lodge your reasons for objecting to the proposed development.

I guess we’ll all have our own objections, and that they will become obvious from reading the documentation. My guess is that some intheboatshed readers might include the planned changes to Building no 1 itself, and perhaps the undeniable fact that establishing a restaurant at this site will be the end of hopes that Standard Quay will again be bustling with traditional craft – which it was until not long ago, before established marine businesses left in a hurry.

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 consultation – have your say by the 24th June

Standard Quay

Faversham Creek urgently needs our help once again.

Readers will remember that a little while ago I appealed to readers to sign a petition calling for action to save Standard Quay as a working boatyard and to retain the business and skills already in place.

Many of those businesses will have moved out by the end of this month, but efforts to protect and improve the Creek are continuing.

This time the threat is a consultant’s report to Swale Borough Council that proposes abandoning important measures that would help maintain the creek as a navigable waterway and would open the door to developers to build more lucrative housing, restaurants and so on.

Known as the Fullwood Report, these proposals are now open for consultation – which means those of us who disagree with its proposals for the area have until the 24th June to tell planners what we think.

Everyone who reads the report will have different views on what’s wrong with it – for example, you might take a moment to check out the Faversham Creek Consortium view, and those of the traditional craftsmen and women that have now been forced to leave Standard Quay.

While no-one wants the Creek to become a sad unusable ditch, Fullwood seems to have taken the view that developers should be allowed to do their worst because local authorities cannot afford to get involved with expensive projects.

Not everyone agrees with this approach, not least because the Creek has much to offer in terms of both tourism and  maritime industry. There are other reasons for optimism also: the Faversham Creek Trust’s campaigners say that ‘just because the Council do not have the funds, does not mean that it cannot be done. This is where not-for-profit organisations such as the Trust, volunteers and the wider society take over’.

Let’s be specific about some of the key points.

Fullwood is weak on the important area at the top of the creek, including the crucially important swing bridge that could allow vessels to use the upper part of the creek, and the sluice, which should be reinstated for its purpose of washing silt down the channel to keep it navigable.

It fails to deal properly with the issue of access to the creek – in some areas in Faversham itself, developers have been allowed to re-route established footpaths away from the creek and to eliminate wharf areas where vessels can moor. This kind of thing must be prevented in future, and where possible footways and mooring facilities must be reinstated.

The report also proposes re-designating areas subject to flooding so that housing can be built upon them if certain criteria are met – for example flats might be built above ground floor business premises. There seems to be some debate about whether Faversham is in need of more housing, but if it is this probably isn’t the right way to provide it. If anyone would like to know how unpopular a council can become when housing projects are allowed and are then affected by suffer flooding, I suggest they ask the people of Lewes.

Yet another problem is that the banks of the creek include some important old buildings – the Hasarde building dating back to the 15th century was used for trading and is now the home of a corps of Sea Cadets, while at Standard Quay there is a magnificent 17th century granary that is currently subdivided for the use of a variety of businesses offering antiques, bric-a-brac, a small garden centre and teas.

The Fullwood Report is available online; please send your comments to Natalie Earl at by the 24th.

Also on the subject of Faversham Creek, I’d like to add that a one-hour version of independent film-maker Richard Fleury’s beautifully shot film The Quay is now available online.