If you were lucky enough to have one of only 32 tickets for last year’s Swing the Bridge Dinner at the Brents Tavern
You won’t want to miss this year’s Summer Dinner!
Last week, Councillor Shiel Campbell was appointed the new Mayor of Faversham, and a very popular Mayor she will be, judging by the reception she received, especially for her speech.
In her speech she highlighted three things that she wants to promote in her Mayoral year and the first is reprinted here;
– “to build on and extend the levels of communication and co-operation with town residents and businesses. It is a natural progression of the digital age that we live in that information can be quickly and easily sourced via websites and I would like to see this encouraging more people to come along to the Town Council meetings and take part, in a co-operative, collaborative way. I believe we can get much more done by working together and building bonds. So much more is achieved with a congenial conversation over a coffee than a correspondence clash via the local papers”.
This is especially important for this Trust because we have been in the centre of the debate over the Creek Neighbourhood Plan, along with the Brents Community Association, for the last four years. It could not be avoided.
During this time, we have carried out a policy of avoiding the use of the local press as the forum for debate, and keeping to the principal of constructive discussion; there have been challenging moments, and unfortunately this Trust has inevitably been associated with some of the more unpleasant events, even though they were absolutely outside our jurisdiction.
It was recognised a long time ago that, as Shiel said, much more is achieved over a cup of coffee, so a number of local people with different views in relation to the NP, but agreeing that more open discussion was needed than had been available, decided to meet on an informal basis to do just that.
These meetings were not secret, although they were by invitation, and without agenda, or minutes, but chaired by an acknowledged independent. The dialogue as it was referred to, was free ranging and allowed participants to speak their mind, and debate the issues surrounding the NP; it was not always without passion.
In that respect they were very successful even though there were no specific conclusions that directly affected the very formal NP meetings. How much people’s views were changed is not known but this author’s feeling is that some were; at the very least, people with opposing views were able to walk out smiling, together and not walk on opposite sides of the street.
So now we have a formal opportunity, with support from the Mayor, to mend bridges that were damaged and reach out and openly accept the compromise that the NP will be. It must be approved at Referendum, the consequences otherwise are unthinkable, so we must promote that.
The Trust and its many supporters also have the opportunity to benefit from the Mayor’s decision to make us her principal charity. The good work that has being going on all this time, not always realised by the Town Council and others, should get the recognition that it deserves, and that will go a long way to mending bridges and building new ones.
This Trust accepted the responsibility to raise £125,000 at short notice, in a short timescale, much from the people of the town, as affirmation of our commitment to the future of the Creek. We are all in this together now; Councillors at all levels, local representative groups and businesses; it is time to start shaking more hands.
Bob Telford, Trustee and Board member.
The Faversham Creek Trust and the Brents Community Association welcome the Independent Examiner’s report on the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan.
As you, our Members and Supporters know, we worked closely together to present an alternative view for the regeneration of Faversham Creek, including representing our organisations at the three day Public Hearing in October 2015.
We welcome the Examiner’s recommendation that, subject to the incorporation of all his amendments, the plan may go to referendum with the whole of Faversham being given a vote.
We trust that Faversham Town Council and Swale Borough Council will agree to incorporate all the required changes so that the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan may be brought to referendum without delay. Swale has stated that the referendum will take place in September or October this year.
The Examiner’s Report can be downloaded as a pdf here: Faversham-Creek-NDP-Report-Final
What happens next
The amendments required by the Examiner’s Report will be discussed at the Swale Borough Council Local Development Framework Panel Meeting on Thursday 19th May (7 pm at Swale House). The agenda and papers can be seen here: LDFP Meeting .
This meeting will also discuss proposed modifications to the Swale Local Plan, including significant additional housing development sites for the Faversham area, raising the possible total for the plan period (to 2030) from 905 houses to 1,708, and increase of 89%.
The Planning Officers’ report can be seen here on Page 6.; Public reports pack 19052016 1900 Local Development Framework Panel
Main recommendations in the Report
The Examiner, Mr Timothy Jones, clearly listened carefully and objectively to all sides, and took time to study the Creekside area at all states of the tide, in order to understand it. While he has not accepted all the changes we had put forward, on the whole we believe he has been fair to everyone.
We consider that the changes he has recommended will enable the plan to be seen as a defining document for Faversham’s future, in particular by requiring greater attention to the archaeological importance of the Creek and robust protection of existing important buildings, waterside features and employment opportunities.
It was especially useful to have the Neighbourhood Plan set in the context of the strategic policies B1 and AAP2 of the adopted Swale Local Plan 2008, which focus on employment and protection of the maritime character of the Creek – for which we had consistently argued during the development of the plan.
We are delighted with the Examiner’s recognition of the work being carried out by the Trust at the Purifier Building. This is what he said:
“I was impressed by the use for boatbuilding and for training in maritime skills to which the Purifier Building is being put. I was also impressed with the building itself. This use contributes to sustainability and should be protected both from development on the site and from nearby development that might cause problems for the building continuing its present use. That use is a mixed use that includes B2 use, some of which is in the open air. Bearing in mind my accompanied site visit, I accept Ms Akhurst’s evidence in respect of use.”
Mr Jones has required that the existing policy for the Purifier should be replaced with this one:
“P1: The building and its curtilage are to be used for small business workshops, together with associated educational uses (mixed use B1, B2 and D1.)”
While we are disappointed that Mr Jones has accepted residential development on Ordnance Wharf, we are pleased that he has specified policies which will protect both the Purifier and our archaeological heritage.
Mr Jones has not ruled out any development on Swan Quay, but he has rejected housing. An extract from his recommended changes is:
“Land uses could include offices/workshops (Class B1), maritime general industrial (B2 limited by condition) and a gallery (Class D1) and some limited car parking, but not dwelling houses (Class C3). It may be possible to permit new building consistent with the site’s current character. If so, they should be constructed in yellow stock brickwork and slate roof with metal framed windows.”
The policies for the remaining sites have been accepted, with some changes to Standard House. This will permit housing on the Oil Depot and Coach Depot. Standard Quay is unchanged. Stronger requirements for archaeological investigations apply to these sites.
For the Brents Community Association, Chairman Mike Palmer said: “Working as we do to improve job opportunities for local unemployed people, we are encouraged by the importance the Examiner placed on employment uses. We also appreciate his comments on the Purifier Building, which we have used on our employment courses and where many local residents have worked as volunteers, and his recommendations for Swan Quay, which will help to protect the character of our local area.”
Our two organisations would like to thank the many people who have contributed to our efforts to present alternative ideas for the potential development of the Faversham Creek area, including Dr Pat Reid, Ray Harrison, the Faversham Society, Historic England – and the many hundreds of people from Faversham and further afield who have contributed to the consultations and the debate, and who have given their time and money towards the new Swing Bridge, which is such a vital part of regenerating Faversham Creek.
We are continuing to work with Kent County Council, Swale Borough Council and Faversham Town Council to ensure that Faversham gets an opening bridge again. Both our organisations have a representative on the Steering Group for this project and are closely involved.
The mini Mouseboats, built by amateurs for fun use
Another Successful Creek Learning Programme
for unemployed Faversham people
On Wednesday, 14 unemployed people hosted a networking event for local businesses at the Trust’s Purifier building. They have just completed a six week course which provided 1 to 1 support and team work to help them move into further training, employment, self-employment, or volunteering.
The group were able to proudly show off the four canoes they had built, designed by local boat designer Gavin Atkin, under the tutelage of local boat builder Alan Thorne and his son Mark. There was a rolling visual presentation of their course and also the results of the survey work they had done for the Creek Volunteer Warden scheme being set up by the Brents Community Association.
Jude Sach, lead tutor said “ this programme has all been about working with the participants as individuals, giving them 1 to 1 support and guidance, helping them to overcome their barriers to moving into employment, and at the same time giving them confidence and skills through team work. I am delighted to see how people have progressed, and that one person has a fulltime job, two are entering self- employment, with another three working towards it. Three have benefitted from work experience and a further three now have permanent voluntary work”
Alan Thorne said “ I am pleased that boat designer Gavin Atkin has shown such interest in the Trust’s work and has allowed us to use his design. These small boats will be a great community resource for leisure use in the upper basin for local residents and youth groups such as the sea cadets, and can be put to good use now – we don’t have to wait for the new swing bridge and dredging!”
In the meantime the group will be launching their boats on Stonebridge Pond Tuesday morning at 11am. The punt built by the last group will also be on show.”
The Trust and the Brents Community Association are grateful for the support from local businesses, especially Macknade Fine Foods and Morrisons for contributing to lunches and refreshments, and to the Faversham Business Partnership and its members.
The next programme starts Monday November 9th and will run Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9.30am to 3pm for 6 weeks. If anyone is unemployed or a lone parent wanting to get into work, please
Contact Jude on telephone: 01795 342400 mobile: 07971 490462, or e- mail her on: firstname.lastname@example.org
i) The Creek Learning Programme is funded by the DWP Flexible Support Fund for small local projects which help the longterm unemployed and lone parents into work.
ii) Alan Thorne is a boatbuilder and one of the tenants of the Trust’s Shipwrights Centre
Press Enquiries to:
Creek Learning Programme Faversham Creek Trust
Tel: 01795 531849 mob: 07711961266
Since 2011 the Faversham Creek Trust has been working towards a regeneration plan that focuses on the upper part of Faversham Creek, the Basin above the Brents Swing Bridge. This plan is an updated version of the plan first submitted to the Stakeholder Workshop of the Creek Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group in November 2012, and then to Faversham Town Council in November 2013.
We believe there is a unique opportunity for restoration and development 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.
This plan, which now has backing from Swale Borough Council and Faversham Town Council, will integrate the effort of several stakeholders including a charitable trust, a community association, identified private investors, and regional authorities.
The Key Elements
The replacement of the existing swing bridge by a new swing bridge – by Kent County Council as a collaborative project in partnership with the Borough Council, the Town Council and this Trust. This is the key to the Basin, and the Trust actively supports the public subscription funding opportunity that has been initiated by KCC to ensure that the bridge opens rather then remain a fixed bridge.
The regeneration of Ordnance Wharf as a maritime workshop, small boat yard 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.
The 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.
The restoration of the BMM Weston Creek frontage outside the existing car park with the co- operation of the owner. The resulting wharf will provide moorings for up to ten sailing barges and smacks and a green amenity space along the current footpath. A Community Interest company will manage the operation, when KCC has replaced the current swing bridge.
Dredging of the Basin and the Creek by the Faversham Creek Navigation Company, a new Community Interest Company. A Maintenance Dredging licence has already been issued by Peel Ports, for the creek downstream from the bridge.
For the Basin, a Capital Dredging licence has been applied for, to the Marine Management Organisation. This involves negotiation with the Environment Agency, Natural England, Peel Ports and other agencies who look after the waterbodies and the environment in the UK.
All these objectives are in line with feedback received from all the Neighbourhood Plan exhibitions and they also conform to the relevant Neighbourhood Plan Objectives.
The benefits arising from this regeneration are comprehensive:
Economic: the generation of new business turnover in marine workshops, training school and mooring fees, with a total annual value of around £500,000 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 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.
The future of the Basin is entirely dependant upon the continued commitment of KCC, SBC and the Town Council, to an Opening Bridge and Gates. That policy and financial commitment, along with public subscription to the Bridge Fund, is currently the main focus of the Faversham Creek Trust, to ensure that the plans for the Basin are realised, for the benefit of all.
Here are some extracted paragraphs….…….
As there is much in this Plan that was not included in the previous consultation version, we wish to make comments beyond the limitations specified for this stage of the consultation, and outside the strictures of the consultation portal.
The section of the plan which we are most concerned about is 6.8.8 and following, The Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan (FCNP). In its earlier consultation version in 2012, Bearing Fruits contained only a short reference to the then unwritten FCNP, and therefore this is the first opportunity to comment on this part of Bearing Fruits 2031.
We would like to remind you of the display box in Section 2, Taking a Journey Through Swale, entitled What’s in a Crest? Most of the nine points are relevant to Faversham, but two have a specific relevance to the importance of Faversham Creek:
Waves to signify ports, boat building and ancillary trades and, of course, The Swale.
Red lion/blue ship shows Faversham’s link to the Cinque Ports.
The FCNP seriously fails to address the importance of these specific points to the future of Faversham.
Statement 7 – Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan Vision
The Plan as it stands cannot deliver this vision, as it does nothing for the regeneration of the town; it focuses almost entirely on housing, with very little said about developing business, maritime or tourism uses.
6.8.10 – This paragraph relates to flood risk. Paragraph 4.3.100 also comments on the “challenge of climate change, flooding and coastal change … Around the developed areas of Faversham Creek, a flexible response to the issue of flood risk will be necessary to enable regeneration to take place.”
Firstly, the Faversham Creek Trust is horrified by the phrase “flexible response to the issue of flood risk”………….
The FCNP does not comply with Policy NP1 in the following ways.
It does not comply with the first sentence “priority will be given to the regeneration of Faversham Creek by retaining maritime activities (including the retention and improvement of wharves and moorings, including for large craft)”. We fully support this policy, and would like to see much greater focus given to it within FCNP.
It does not specify the “complementary redevelopment opportunities for workshops/ business uses”. Although some mention is made of these, there is nothing specific in it which enables the FCNP to comply with this sentence.
Policy 2 – it does not “provide for the restoration of and enhancement of the settings of listed and other important historic buildings”. In fact, it recommends the removal of at least one important historic building on Swan Quay, and the proposed density and size of development on this small site would do nothing to enhance the settings of the listed and important buildings on Swan Quay and Town Quay.
Policy 3 – It does little to protect open space and nature conservation interests…………..
The letter from English Heritage in response to the recent consultation on the FCNP makes clear the wide gulf between what could be done for the Creek area, and what the FCNP proposes should be done. This letter should alert SBC to the fact that very few statutory consultees responded to the earlier consultation stage of the FCNP, in May – June 2014. The reason given by English Heritage for their late response was that they had no record of receiving an invitation to respond to the previous consultation. It is quite possible that other statutory consultees also have no record of their invitation, perhaps because it was not sent to the appropriate person within the organisation. We believe that SBC should re-consult those organisations who have not responded, taking care to discover the correct person to approach.
In view of the responses which have been forthcoming for each stage of the consultation of the FCNP, and in particular the one from English Heritage, we feel there is a considerable risk that the FCNP will not be approved as it stands by the Independent Examiner. Even if it is passed to go to referendum, there is doubt whether it would pass a referendum.
In the event that the FCNP is not approved, what contingency plan does SBC have? Will Policy NP1 be used to determine planning applications, and what power will it provide SBC Planners to “retain maritime activities (including the retention and improvement of wharves and moorings, including for larger craft)”? Will the policy AAP2, which we understand is a “saved” policy, be relevant still? Will the policies outlined elsewhere in this plan be extended to cover the Creek area? There are many discrepancies between Policy NP1 and the FCNP as it now stands.
The Faversham Creek Trust would like to re-state that it supports Bearing Fruits 2031 in general, with the caveat that we endorse all the comments made by the Brents Community Association in their submission. However, we have grave concerns about the section of the Plan relating to the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan, which we regard as a seriously flawed document, which does not represent the wishes and views of a significant number of people in Faversham. Many of them took the time to attend our Exhibition “Making the Creek Work for Faversham”, which we ran concurrently with the Faversham Town Council statutory consultation in May and June 2014. Over 840 people attended and over 460 completed our questionnaire.
We believe that this part of the Bearing Fruits 2031 is, in many ways, an improvement on the FCNP as it appears to place greater importance on maritime activities, but it may be ineffective in implementation terms without the FCNP, and SBC Planners may find it difficult to deal with planning applications if the FCNP is not ratified.
The Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan is in its final stage of Statutory Consultation before being presented to the Independent Examiner.
The consultation ends at 5 p.m. on Monday, 22 December 2014.
You can read the Submission Plan, Consultation Statement and Basic Condition Statement online through Swale Borough Council’s Website:
Faversham Creek Trust and the Brents Community Association are jointly submitting a detailed document, which you can read here:
We are not opposed to a Neighbourhood Plan for this area. We have always tried to work with the statutory bodies to achieve a plan that will truly benefit the Creek and the town, and will have the support of the community. We fear that the Plan that has been submitted would not deliver the kind of regeneration of the Creek that our members and many other members of the community have said they would like to see.
Our response addresses many procedural and statutory deficiencies in the way that the plan has been compiled. A major defect is that the opinions and constructive suggestions from members of our two organisations and many other people in the community have been largely ignored. The Basic Conditions Statement which accompanies the Plan claims ‘That the plan has broad local support from the residents, notwithstanding specific objections to certain aspects.’ Yet in the official consultation, under 30% of respondents said that they agreed with the plan as it stands.
The points under contention have not been changed. If you were one of the 70% who said they did not agree with the plan, now is the time to tell them again that you disagree.
For example, on Ordnance Wharf, the Consultation Statement says there was ‘overwhelming support for Option B’ (non-residential use). Yet the Submission Plan allows residential use on this site. People’s strong views on other sites, particularly Swan Quay and Standard Quay, have also been ignored.
Please either send your own comments on this Submission Plan, and/or endorse our document (the link is above) if you agree with the points that we make.
or write to the Planning Policy Manager at Swale Borough Council.
Your comments must be received by Monday, 22 December at 5 p.m.
Thank you for your support.
To make an entry into this event, use this link; http://picturethecreek.wordpress.com/
Use this link to enter; http://picturethecreek.wordpress.com/
Various options for the Swan Quay, Coach Depot and Oil Depot sites together with alternative strategies were recently excluded from the consultation draft of the Neighbourhood Plan. However an undertaking was given (both at a Steering Group meeting and a Faversham Town Council meeting) that alternative proposals would be sought as part of the consultation process.
The Brents Community Association and this Trust felt it was difficult for people to make informed and meaningful responses without knowing what the alternatives were, and the reasoning behind them. We also wanted to consult our membership (as we are required to do by the Steering Group’s Terms of Reference) before putting forward our own responses to the consultation.
We therefore decided to mount an exhibition for our members and for the public. It set out a different strategy together with alternative options alongside those in the draft Plan. BMM Weston joined us to consult on the company’s plans for redevelopment of its sites and regeneration of the Creek basin.
Throughout, we encouraged the public to engage with the Town Council’s consultation and complete the Questionnaire, partly through flyers that gave links to the Council’s website and details of the Council’s events.
With the help of an independent expert we developed a questionnaire survey which people were invited to complete before leaving our exhibition (copy attached). An online version is also available. As of 28th June, 840 people had attended the various exhibition sessions and just over half (450) had completed the survey.
Our survey analysis, to be carried out in accordance with independent professional advice, will not be completed until after the final exhibition session on 28 June; however the interim findings show some striking trends. In particular, the large majority (86%) of respondents favoured a regeneration strategy based on business, boats and community facilities, compared with under 2% in favour of a strategy focused on housing and footpaths. The remainder were uncertain or suggested various combinations.
This reflects previous consultations in 2012 and 2013, when the majority of people were clear that they did not want a plan for the Creek that prioritised waterfront housing.
What remains is for the Town Council to decide whether to reinstate our two organisations into the Steering Group, along with our evidence based mission to ensure that these findings are reflected in the Neighbourhood Plan, or whether to continue to reject alternatives to the current Draft Plan.