A brand new presentation using beautiful wildlife pictures.
Fleur Hall, Gatefield Lane, Faversham. 7pm for 7.30pm
Admission free – donations please.
A brand new presentation using beautiful wildlife pictures.
Fleur Hall, Gatefield Lane, Faversham. 7pm for 7.30pm
Admission free – donations please.
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?
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.
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.
Faversham Creek Trust is collecting donations towards the new Swing Bridge.
The benefit of donating via the Trust is that donations can attract Gift Aid if donors agree. Members of the Trust generally have agreed for Gift Aid to be collected from HMRC, but new donors need to sign a BRIDGE GIFT AID FORM
THIS ADDS 25% TO THE VALUE OF DONATIONS
These donations will be forwarded to the KCC Bridge Fund, along with the Gift Aid when it is claimed from HMRC. The Terms and Conditions are exactly the same as those published by KCC; An important condition is that in the event that the target is not reached, all donations will be returned to donors.
For that reason, it is important that if you are not a member of this Trust for whom we have contact details, then you must give your Name, Address, Email address, Telephone Number. None of this information will be passed on by FCT or KCC to any third party.
Donations can be made by direct transfer to the Trust’s Bank account;
Bank: HSBC Sort-code: 40-21-35 Account number: 30076414
If possible, please add the transaction reference BRIDGE
if you are a Trust Member, please add your FCT Membership Number before ie 123BRIDGE. This will allow us to refer to your Gift Aid agreement.
If you are paying by cheque, please make it payable to Faversham Creek Trust and send to;
Faversham Creek Trust
A new fund has been launched by Kent County Council to support plans to replace Faversham Creek Bridge.
KCC has already set aside £400,000 for work to start replacing the fixed bridge in 2016/17. However, the bridge was originally designed as a swing bridge that opened to allow access for boats. KCC would like to raise the extra £500,000 to help meet the aspiration of bringing it back to its former glory rather than remaining a fixed bridge.
Mark Dance, KCC Cabinet Member for Economic Development says; We already have the money set aside to replace the bridge. The bridge hasn’t been able to be opened for at least 25 years and we think we should be more ambitious and return it to a fully-fledged swing bridge. This means not only will it allow access to larger boats; it will lead to further benefits for the Inner Basin of the Creek.
If the additional money is not raised, work will continue to replace it, except it will remain a static bridge. So we hope that local people and businesses will support the Fund via the website
and help us to raise the additional £500,000 required.
Our Chairman, Chris Wright, says ‘ the Trust has been pleased to be part of the steering group for the last year or two, which has worked hard to realise the aspirations of the town in having an opening bridge, so that barges and other craft can once more enter the basin and revitalise the whole area, providing a marine hub for traditional sailing vessels and shipwright training in the Purifier Building. The Trust welcomes the launch of the bridge fund and looks forward to helping raise the necessary amount of money needed’
Brenda Chester, who co-ordinates the bridge steering group added ‘ I look forward also to seeing the Basin opened and local people and groups such as the Sea Cadets being able to use it for recreational purposes; also the increased tourism potential for our historic Cinque Port town is exciting. An opening bridge and dredged Creek and Basin will enable the annual Nautical Festival and other events to expand and be even more successful which will be good for residents and businesses.’
A Faversham Town Council spokesperson said ‘ A swing bridge would be an important contribution to the regeneration of the Creek. The Fund, which would raise money in addition to that guaranteed by KCC would enable all interested parties in the private and public sector to demonstrate their commitment to such a worthwhile cause,
Councillor Mike Cosgrove, Swale Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said ‘this is great news, after chairing the Faversham Creek Consortium for 8 years, our dream of getting the funding to deliver this iconic project is almost there. Swale, I am sure, will also make a contribution and stand shoulder to shoulder with KCC and the Town Council’.
So there we are, and now it is up to all of us, individually and corporately, private and public sector, to put our hands in our pockets and offer a contribution, however small, towards something that would not just be the visible restoration of a major historic part of the Town, but also play a part in the future prosperity of the town.
TO DONATE GOT TO
After a public consultation and 70 Objections to the complete removal of the original Marina plan in favour of more houses, SBC reconsidered and reinstated an option for a Marina;
Just shows what can be achieved by pushing back…