Category Archives: Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan

Time to shake more hands

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.

NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN REPORT WELCOMED

Introduction
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.

Purifier Building
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.)”

Ordnance Wharf
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.

Swan Quay
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.”

Other sites
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.

Thank you
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.

English Heritage’s Modifications to Creek Plan

FAVERSHAM TOWN COUNCIL TO DISCUSS
REVISED NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN
TUESDAY 7 APRIL 2015 AT 7 PM IN THE GUILDHALL

The Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan has been revised by Swale Borough Council, to take into account concerns raised by English Heritage. Although these are being reported as ‘minor’ modifications, the revisions are contained in a 12 page document, and they affect 33 pages of the Plan. They can be read here http://tinyurl.com/pnml6xl , and they make very interesting reading. Some of the main points are summarised at the end of this email.

The agenda for Faversham Town Council’s meeting on Tuesday, 7 April (7 pm in the Guildhall) – you can find it here http://tinyurl.com/nehuwt5 – includes item number 9, “To receive and approve the recommendations of the Town Clerk’s Report (copy enclosed).

Item Number 8 of the Town Clerk’s Report (page 11 of the above document) reads as follows:

“FAVERSHAM CREEK NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN: ENGLISH HERITAGE

Following discussions with English Heritage, the attached paper indicates minor amendments that can be accepted to the draft Neighbourhood Plan. The purpose of the attached is to reassure the Independent Examiner that English Heritage’s views, although submitted after the general consultation closed, have been considered and, where appropriate, taken into account. The Town Council, Swale Borough Council and the independent planning consultant, Richard Eastham have been in discussion with English Heritage and believe that the Plan, with those amendments, meets the basic conditions as required by independent examination as well as meeting English Heritage’s concerns. Are Members content for this to be presented as the Town Council’s final amendments to the Plan following the consultation as led by Swale Borough Council?”

We think it is very important for the people of Faversham to be involved in such  crucial decisions. If you are interested to hear what the Council are discussing, please come to this meeting on Tuesday evening. It is your last opportunity to question your Councillors before the Neighbourhood Plan goes to the Independent Examiner. Please arrive early – the doors may be closed to late comers.

WHY ARE WE NOT BEING TOLD?

Many people would expect something as important to the residents of Faversham as the Neighbourhood Plan to be shown as a specific item on the agenda for a meeting, and to have a proper discussion held about the amendments. Many would agree that the proposed amendments are not minor.

English Heritage has no record of having been consulted at the proper time (Regulation 14 stage, which took place in May and June 2014), which is why they submitted their document during the Regulation 16 stage (November and December 2014). The introduction to the document, or ‘Statement of Common Ground and Schedule of Minor Modifications 28.03.15’ recognises this fact (paragraphs 3 and 4).

WHAT DOES THE DOCUMENT SAY?

Evidence Base

On page 3 of this document, in the first major paragraph, it is stated that:

‘All sites allocated for development have been assessed initially through the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment 2011 conducted by Swale Borough Council, and in the Strategic Environmental Assessment (date) prepared for the plan by Swale Borough Council.’

FCT responded to the SHLAA 2011-12, requesting that all sites within the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan area should be excluded from the SHLAA pending the Plan. The response that was given to every site was:

“The purpose of the SHLAA is to assess potential housing sites. It forms part of the evidence base which will be taken into account when preparing the Neighbourhood Plan (which will balance all interests and cumulative impacts)”

In the SHLAA 2012-13, in the site specific sections, the Neighbourhood Plan is referred to as ‘advocating employment-led regeneration.’

It is questionable whether the Neighbourhood Plan did balance all interests and cumulative impacts. It is questionable whether the Neighbourhood Plan does ‘advocate employment-led regeneration’.

A search of Swale’s website for the Strategic Environmental Assessment yields nothing. The fact that no date is given for it in this ‘Schedule of Minor Modifications’ may be indicative of its existence.

Members of the Steering Group and other interested parties have repeatedly requested this document, which should have been prepared at an early stage of the planning process, but it had not been written. They still have not received a copy. It could not have been used to assess the sites allocated for development, as at that time it did not exist, and at this time it is not in the public domain. This document should, legally, have been written at a much earlier stage, and should have been available to the Steering Group and the public before the Plan was written.

Summary of Changes

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.

Notes on Policy Changes

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. However, they should be properly debated by a full Council Meeting in public, as a specific agenda item – they are too important to be subsumed into a vote on the Town Clerk’s words:

“Are Members content for this to be presented as the Town Council’s final amendments to the Plan following the consultation as led by Swale Borough Council?”

If you wish to show your interest and concern about these items, please come to this meeting next Tuesday, 7 April, at 7 pm in the Guildhall, if you possibly can.

 

Our Regeneration Plan for Faversham Creek Basin

Summary 

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.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

Basin drawings 3 Ben White Nov13The 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.

Basin drawings 2 Ben White Nov13The 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.

BASIN ROGER LOW 1The repair or replacement of the sluice gates by Peel Ports and their subsequent management, in conjunction with the operation of the new swing bridge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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. IMG_1083

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.

Implementation

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.

 

Our Response to the Swale Plan Consultation

Bearing Fruits – Faversham Creek Trust Representation PDF

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 sentencepriority 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 thecomplementary 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 notprovide 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…………..

Conclusion

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.

Swale Local Plan Consultation ends Friday

There are references to Faversham and the Creek throughout the Swale Local Plan, but this is the wording of the main section relating to the Creek and the Neighbourhood Plan. The deadline for comments on the Local Plan is 5pm on Friday 30 January 2015.

Comments should be made to;   planningpolicy@swale.gov.uk

or directly at;  http://swale-consult.limehouse.co.uk/

The Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan

6.8.8 The Faversham Creek area is part of the town’s extensive conservation area and contains a number of historic buildings, together with traditional marine related activities and a series of green spaces. All contribute to the character of the area and represent an important asset to the town.

6.8.9 The Creek is operating under a number of complex constraints. Navigation is restricted in parts by a loss of depth and width to the channel and there is no longer safe navigation for large craft in its Basin due to silting. Navigation into the Basin is also restricted by a defective swing bridge at Bridge Road. Navigation could also be improved by dredging, but in addition to its costs, there are likely to be limitations imposed on large scale industrial dredging of the Creek by the Swale Special Protection Area (SPA).

6.8.10 Flood risk, particularly in relation to the re-use of previously developed land within the 1:20 year flood zone of Faversham Creek, must be carefully assessed and managed, whilst a number of these sites are likely to be contaminated and require some remediation work. A further issue is that the attractive waterside environment of the creekside area has not had the same investment to improve the quality of its environment as the town centre. There are also a number of historic buildings needing restoration.

6.8.11 For these reasons, the regeneration of Faversham Creek, whilst protecting the rich maritime, industrial and landscape heritage for economic, environmental and educational purposes, is the principal objective. This has been strongly supported by local consultation.(6.4)* This analysis indicates that the Neighbourhood Plan should seek to regenerate Faversham Creek by focusing on: clusters of heritage assets and marine-related activities with regeneration potential; navigation improvements to the Creek through a combination of sluicing and smaller scale injection dredging; protecting and enhancing important green spaces and upgrading the public realm within the area; and maximising pedestrian links between the Creek and the town, along the creekside and to wider countryside routes.

*6.4 is: “Stakeholder Consultation and Options Report 2009. Urban Initiatives for SBC and Developing proposals and future planning policy options to deliver regeneration of the Creek area 2010. Tony Fullwood Associates for SBC.”

Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan Vision

The Creek at the heart of Faversham. Faversham Creek is leading the regeneration of the town; a place where we can celebrate its rich history and attractive appearance; a place where we enjoy spending time, both on and off the water; a place where boats, residents and visitors want to be. A place where developments integrate the needs of people and nature and where its distinctive character and identity is rooted in its traditional industries and enriched by new businesses.
[Note: This differs from the wording of the Vision in the latest version of the Neighbourhood Plan, which was changed in response to landowner comments.]

Land allocations for new development

6.8.12 Within the areas of heritage/marine-related activity adjoining the Creek, listed and other historic buildings and maritime uses, wharves and moorings important to the character of the Creek should be retained and, where necessary, restored alongside complementary redevelopment opportunities. Given the location of these areas within the functional floodplain, and the historic association with the Creek, workshops/business uses, facilities for moored boats (e.g. showers/toilets) and small scale retail and restaurant uses would be best able to address these issues and improve the visitor attraction to the area.(6.5) Dependent on design, amenity and flood risk considerations, residential development could be permitted above ground floor level to assist with the viability of mixed use schemes and to provide activity throughout the day and evening. On some sites, mixed-use development would be unsuitable and on these sites 100% residential development would be acceptable. New buildings should be of a sensitive design with their scale and context respecting the setting of the listed building and the adjoining creekside buildings.

6.8.13 A Faversham Creek Streetscape Strategy has been prepared and adopted by the Swale Joint Transport Board which seeks to extend town centre streetscape enhancements to the creekside area. The principal aim of the strategy is that improvements in the public realm around Faversham Creek should respond to and enhance the character and distinctiveness of the creekside area. The Strategy outlines the guiding principles regarding the improvements to the streetscape of the creekside area and establishes guidelines for the design of specific items in the overall streetscape. The Strategy also sets out guidance for creek streetscape enhancements for discrete areas of the creekside. The priorities for implementation will be set through the Neighbourhood Plan process.
[Note: In the pre-submission consultation, it was suggested by landowners that the Streetscape Strategy should carry less weight, as it has not been independently examined. This was accepted by the consultants and the wording was amended so that development should merely “have regard to” the strategy.]

6.8.14 The Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan will detail its strategy, guided by Policy NP1. It will include the allocation of specific sites and levels of development, the parameters for development as well as proposals for the improvement to accessibility and the public realm. Proposals will be delivered through the granting of consents and the implementation of improvements set out in the Neighbourhood Plan. Whilst Policy ST4 has indicated a level of new housing as arising from the Neighbourhood Plan area, this is soley [sic] for the purposes of demonstrating its potential contribution to the overall supply of housing in the Borough. It will be for the Neighbourhood Plan process to determine locally the final levels of employment, housing and other uses that will come forward.

Policy NP 1
Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan
Within the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan area, as shown on the Proposals Map, priority will be given to the regeneration of Faversham Creek by retaining maritime activities (including the retention and improvement of wharfs and moorings, including for large craft) with complementary redevelopment opportunities for workshops/business uses, residential, small scale retail and restaurant uses. Where relevant, development of the area will:

Accord with the Neighbourhood Plan (once it has taken effect);
Provide for the restoration of and enhancement to the settings of listed and other important historic buildings;
The protection of open space and nature conservation interests and upgrading of the public realm;
Navigation improvements to the Creek (subject to appropriate mitigation of the impacts on the adjacent International Designations and the Shellfish Waters);
The provision of a publicly accessible creekside walkway;
High quality designs which respect their context;
Proposals which are acceptable in terms of flood risk; and
The remediation of contaminated sites.

Where the Trust stands with the Plan now

Dear Members and Friends,

CREEK NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN – WHERE WE STAND NOW

Thank you to all who came to the Town Council Meeting on Monday 13th last week. You’ll know that our councillors voted to approve the Creek Neighbourhood Plan with some final amendments. So is the new Plan is better than the old one? Briefly:

1. The Plan now acknowledges the central role of the Creek, something we have always advocated; in principle at least, all planning applications must have regard for the function of the Creek as a working waterway.

2. Criteria for planning permission are now based on the size and shape of the buildings as well as the land use, and in particular, the views between neighbouring buildings must conform to an overall framework. This is intended to rule out a continuous façade along the waterfront and give better protection against schemes that would harm the creekside landscape.

But we are concerned that the principles are not reflected in the policies for individual sites such as Standard Quay, Swan Quay and Ordnance Wharf. At Ordnance Wharf, the criteria require that any proposal takes into account the scale and use of the Purifier building: the two sites shouldn’t be regarded independently. But the Plan still allows housing, which we believe is damaging to the Purifier project and the development of the basin generally as a marine hub and recreational resource.

What happens now? Swale Borough Council will undertake a final stage of consultation over the next six weeks before submitting the Plan to the government inspectorate. We shall continue to press for changes, for example, (a) no housing on Ordnance Wharf and (b) better protection for Swan Quay and Standard Quay. We call on the Borough Councillors to have the courage of their convictions and deliver what we all want to see by strengthening the site policies accordingly. If they support the residents, we will support them in return.

You can help by writing to the Leader, Cllr Andrew Bowles, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT.  To be considered as a response to the consultation, all correspondence should be sent within the six week consultation period, from the 7th November till 19th December.

Our colleagues in the Creek Trust and the Brents Community Association have worked hard on the Plan and I want to offer special thanks to three people who for many months have stood in the firing line and under a great deal of pressure defended the Creek and the interests of local residents. They are Sue Akhurst, Brenda Chester, and Hilary Whelan.

With best wishes,

Chris Wright
(Chairman)