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Author Archives: Faversham Creek Trust
Thursday 21 June 7.30pm at the Purifier Building
Professor TIM VALENTINE
“Still Making Waves”
Greenpeace – Taking direct action in Swale and Medway to protect the environment
‘Tim Valentine is Emeritus Professor of Psychology, Goldsmiths University of London. He is the election agent for Swale Green Party and was the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Faversham and Mid Kent in the 2010 and 2015 general elections. He is authorised to speak on behalf of Greenpeace UK.
In this talk he will describe the origin and values of Greenpeace, and discuss some recent campaigns with a focus on direct actions in Swale and Medway.
The talk will be illustrated with images and video of Greenpeace’s direct actions to protect the environment and promote peace over the last 47 years.’
Like so many others in Faversham, the Creek Trust Board is very concerned by the prolonged wait for news about when we will get our opening bridge. We have been continuing to work on this, lobbying behind the scenes on your behalf. We are in regular contact with KCC, and they assure us that:
- They are committed to achieving an opening bridge in Faversham
- They have a team working on all aspects of the project including the legal position and the finances. The contribution of £125,000 made by the public is being kept safely in a reserve account
- They are considering alternative designs of opening bridge, which may be much less expensive. We have given them our research which indicates that a lifting bridge, with the whole mechanism above ground, should be cheaper to construct and install, and should take far less time to install too – hence much shorter and cheaper road closures
- While KCC are not yet ready to report on their progress, we are confident that they are moving in the right direction, and they will bring us up to date as soon as they can
We will report to you again after the next Bridge Steering Group Meeting, which is scheduled to take place at the end of June
For more information, please email us at email@example.com
The Faversham Creek Trust was formed early in 2011 by a group of people with a specific interest in the Creek as a maritime asset, to try to change the planning focus away from creekside residential development that exploited the creek as a free visual asset, adding value to the development but nothing to the Creek
The Creek Neighbourhood Plan was introduced later in 2011 by SBC in an attempt to consolidate and formalise those developments, with the addition of some other industrial sites; not a contiguous plan, more a device for achieving the existing focus.
That Plan was not signed off until 2017 [see May 2017 in Archive], an indication of how contentious it became. Swan Quay was rightly excluded from development, even after judicial revue, and Ordnance Wharf will now have to meet strict criteria for development.
The SECOS oil wharf is in the planning process, for 2 blocks of 4 storey terraces, urban warehouse style without any real architectural merit, concertinaed in to exploit the plot to its maximum; early plans showing a small marina have disappeared, but the cantilevered walkway that utilises some area over the creek, potentially outside the property boundary, remains.
This would permanently prevent any mooring alongside; in fact it creates a hazard to small craft, the absolute opposite of regenerating the creek. This ostensibly meets the NP requirement for a continuous creekside footpath, but which is not actually continuous as the existing Belevedere developments do not have a designated footpath along their promenade waterfront.
It is clear that there is no acceptance of the need to stop hedging in the creek with high buildings, simply to cram in as many houses as possible, to maximise return. The next block to be added after these will be on the old coach works site and complete the wall of housing right up to Standard Quay; thank goodness for the listed buildings there. It should be noted that there are no affordable house here; these are premium priced resdiences.
Then there is that Bridge. The fact is that the Trust was central to promoting and fundraising £125,000 for it directly from the public [the only funds that are actually in the KCC kitty, the rest are still merely promises] but it is now being kept almost entirely ignorant of what is going on, regardless of any promises to the contrary if it kept quiet and gave KCC time to bridge the gap between the original estimated and funded £900,000 cost and the 150% extra cost quoted by the contractors.
Unfortunately, the result is that other groups have now taken over the initiative, without the constraints it signed up to. A promise from Paul Carter, Leader of KCC, that there will certainly be an opening bridge, is a good result, even though the timescales are unknown, but still no word on progress.
So whilst the Trust might appear to be sidelined, this has led to certain people hinting that the Faversham Creek Trust has gone. IT HAS NOT. In fact it is very active and meeting its charitable objectives, including a major role in organising the Nautical Festival, and running Boat Camp for pupils of the Abbey School, as well as continuing to manage the restored Purifier Building that hosts the Shipwright Training scheme, now joined up with the Pilot Cutter project in Truro.
Meanwhile a small team of Trust members looked closely at the design and installation costs and proposed to KCC an alternative approach. The Trust has recently been assured that all is going well, progress is being made, including consideration of the Trust’s proposals, and an announcement is soon to be made. We can only wait and see…
The question is often asked; what is the role of the Statutory Harbour Authority, Peel Ports, London and Medway, in all this. The SHA has rights and duties; it can collect Conservancy fees from all vessels in the Creek; it also has certain duties to maintain the waterway for the benefit of all vessels, especially those from whom it extracts dues. It is unreasonable for them to argue that as there is no commercial traffic now, they can simply walk away from the Port of Faversham, allowing the waterway and their assets, the bridge [shared with KCC] and gates, to become derelict.
The responsibility for dredging has already been taken over by a Community Interest company, the Faversham Creek Navigation Co. but there are other signs of degradation; Town Quay and the Hazard, a listed building owned by SBC; Swan Quay, deliberately degraded after failing the judicial review, in the absence of creative solutions for it future, even though that might not immediately return the same as two 4 storey residential blocks; the town stagings condemned through lack of maintenance, with no immediate plans for replacement. Ordnance Wharf, no published plans for it future… and until there is certainty of access to the Basin, it is not financially justifiable to dredge it, nor restore the BMM Weston Wharf.
So most of the top of the creek, apart from the Purifier Building and Morrisons, and some old converted and new buildings on Belvedere, continues in a state of dereliction.
Some members of the Trust have been working for the last 7 years to achieve its aims, with huge support from members and volunteers and others; sometimes against oppositions, official and unofficial; we have made friends and lost friends; some of the opposition has included the worst kind of political trickery. All of the support has been of the best kind; this Trust has tried to weave a path through all this for the benefit of the Creek and the Town.
The Trust will always benefit from new members and volunteers with new ideas, enthusiasm and energy. Faversham and this amazing Creek still needs you…
This article is a personal view and does not reflect the official views of the Truct.
as a street
2017 was a quiet year for Cambria, which caused some level of worry.
2018 is proving much better. Early in April the Sea-Change Sailing Trust started a charter of the barge for several months to be used for their work with young people and for other more unusual sails.
Top of the pile of such voyages must be the coming “Trading Mates on Cambria” weekend which will see Dick Durham and Phil Latham return to the barge where they spent long days as Mates in the last of the trading years in the 1960s.
And you can be part of that great experience by joining the barge for the weekend. See below for full details and how to book.
The Regeneration Plan for Faversham Creek Basin
has not really changed since 2013
Read how we saw the Bridge then
Since 2011 the Faversham Creek Trust has been working towards a regeneration plan that focuses on the upper part of Faversham Creek above the Brents Swing Bridge. The plan was first submitted to the Local Plan forum of the Creek Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group in November 2012. What appears here is a brief overview, revised for submission to the Faversham Town Council in November 2013.
We believe there is a unique opportunity for change in the centre of this historic town with significant economic and social benefits for residents and visitors alike. Our plan is based on the creation of a viable maritime economic facility, with workshops, moorings and a training school to serve the existing fleet of traditional vessels in the Thames Estuary.
The plan will be a team effort, with combined effort from several stakeholders including a charitable trust, a community association, identified private investors, and local and regional authorities.
The key elements
1. The regeneration of Ordnance Wharf as a single-storey marine workshop with office and community centre with access from Flood Lane, in conformity with the current local plan, the existing conservation area, and the plan now under preparation by the Brents Community Association. A potential purchaser has been confirmed subject to Ordnance Wharf not being re- zoned for housing. Implementation mid-2015.
2. The existing restored Purifier Building to be a training centre for students and apprentices to be run in conjunction with the Ordnance Wharf workshop. The five year plan envisages 18 students with an eventual capacity for 36 students per year. Implementation late 2015. There are also two specialist workshop units and a room for community activities.
3. The restoration of the BMM Weston Creek frontage outside the existing car park with the co- operation of the owner, on a long lease in exchange for the restoration cost. The resulting wharf (with back filling of a new piled frontage from the waterside) will provide moorings for up to ten sailing barges and smacks and a green amenity space along the current footpath. A private company will meet the cost of the operation to commence when the KCC has replaced the current swing bridge.
4. The replacement of the existing swing bridge by a new, opening bridge – by Kent County Council as a collaborative project in partnership with the Borough Council and the Town Council.
5. The repair or replacement of the sluice gates by Medway Ports and their subsequent management and dredging by the Faversham Creek Trust under licence by the authority.
These objectives are in line with feedback received from the May 2012 Creek Neighbourhood Plan exhibition and the June 2013 exhibition, and also with feedback from the Urban Initiatives consultation in 2009. They conform to Neighbourhood Plan objectives 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15.
The benefits arising from the regeneration are:
- Economic: the generation of new business turnover in marine workshops, training school and mooring fees, with a total annual value of £425,000 excluding indirect benefits.
- Job creation: the plan will create at least 50 new jobs including students and apprentices, but excluding tourism spin-off related employment in the town.
- Social: the regeneration of the Creek basin would remove an eyesore from the centre of the town. It replaces a derelict and unsafe area adjoining a public footpath by a safe waterfront and public space with a view over barges and the town skyline. The repaired or replaced sluice gates would permit water retention in the basin and therefore a safe water area for community activities, sea scouts and sail training not normally available in a tidal creek.
- Heritage: the plan as a whole provides a significant location in the Purifier Building and Ordnance Wharf workshops for a living maritime heritage centre where schoolchildren and visitors to the town can see shipwrights at work and engage with Faversham’s history.
- Visitor numbers: the annual number of visitors to Faversham (15,000 in 2011) would rise by at least 25% as a consequence of a revitalised basin. The experience of Maldon with its smaller resident population but a fleet of ten Thames Barges and 30,000 visitors supports this contention.
We envisage that construction could begin in 2015, preceded by a planning application in 2014. The continued commitment of the KCC to a working bridge to the basin and confirmation of the existing zoning are key conditions to the success of the plan.
Board of Trustees, Faversham Creek Trust – 25 November 2013
THE SPRING TALK by
PROF. CHRIS WRIGHT
Less than a century ago, great passenger liners such as the Queen Mary excited the imagination. Today, our attention has moved on, but ships remain vital to the economy, shifting far more cargo than railways or trucks.
As a Cinque Port and a centre for traditional wooden vessels, Faversham itself has maritime associations. It is close to the Straits of Dover, the busiest sea lane in the world, and the Graveney Boat reminds us how our ancestors grappled with the forces of nature to bring cargo to our shores.
In this talk, Chris Wright will sketch out the evolution of ships and shipping from an unusual point of view: looking underneath the hull and behind the propeller to see what makes them tick, and how the early vessels evolved into the sleek monsters we see today. But they move in mysterious ways and are often unstable or difficult to control. Sometimes battered by hurricane-force winds and rogue waves nearly a hundred feet tall, they are surprisingly risky to travel in. Among the topics raised will be:
How to get up the creek without a paddle (or an engine)
Ships make beautiful V-shaped wave patterns – why do they all look the same?
Are supertankers unstable?
How the Queen Mary helped to win World War 2, and …
Can goldfish be seasick?
Faversham Creek Trust were disappointed that KCC cancelled at short notice the long-awaited bridge meeting scheduled for this afternoon, as were other members of the Steering Group. This was due to serious illness of a family member of one of the KCC team – naturally we extend our best wishes to them.
We had expected to be shown their proposals for a bridge, as promised last October, being mindful of the budgetary difficulties they now face. We await a rescheduled meeting as soon as possible.
It is not surprising that Faversham people are expressing concerns about the continuing delay. Between us and with the support of the Town Council and the Borough Council we raised the money asked, and still we have no idea of when the bridge will be replaced.
Members of the Faversham Creek Trust have in the meantime come up with a different proposal. This is for a lifting bridge which is simpler and quicker to install, operate and maintain, and which will cost far less to build – probably close to the budget. An example can be seen working at the river entrance to Chatham Marina – it has been operated many times a day since 1996 and is thus well-proven. We have provided KCC and the Steering Group with detailed information about this design and we urge them to consider our proposal with the utmost seriousness.
We think a public meeting in the town as proposed would now be helpful to establish what the current position is and how we can best move forward.