Author Archives: Faversham Creek Trust

Do you remember the Eye of the Wind

EYE OF THE WIND EBOOK pg1

EYE OF THE WIND EBOOK pg2

The Trust and friends have invited a group of people who have memories of the fitting out of the Eye of the Wind, in Faversham in 1973 for an evening of reminiscence about the Eye of the Wind: The Faversham Years, on Saturday February 21st.

The evening will consist of  a three part film showing;  The History of Eye of the Wind,  The Restoration in Faversham, the Departure from Faversham 
 Party and the Beginning of the Voyage to Australia

David Beavan, skipper for the Leila Trust 
 will talk about the the Continuing Relevance of Tall Ships in the modern world – they are just starting a project to take 400 people from Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth to sea, possibly leading to apprenticeships or training for the offshore windfarms. An inspiring role for a Tall Ships Trust. They have also offered a berth to an unemployed or otherwise disadvantaged person from Faversham. Watch this space!

The invitations for this event were limited by the capacity of the Fleur Hall, but the hope is to use the evening to start to gather more information about relatively recent history in the Creek. The Eye of the Wind restoration was a big event which has not really been documented in Faversham’s records and the Trust would like to start to gather up more memories, not only of the Eye but of other events on the Creek.

If you have any memories, photos or other mementos of the time the Eye was here in the 1970s or of any other interesting restorations or other events in the last fifty years or so, please let us know. We are hoping to run another Eye of the Wind evening later in the year in a larger venue and hope to be able to run others along the same lines, sharing and recording living memories.

Westbrook Stream & Stonebridge Pond Litter Clear & Punt Launch this Sunday

Friends of the Westbrook and Stonebridge Pond, Faversham

The Westbrook Stream is a historic watercourse in the heart of Faversham. Like many rivers and streams it suffers from problems including litter, management issues and invasive species.

The Friends of the Westbrook have a vision to improve the stream and the paths that line it as an important green space for the community and biodiversity. To achieve this vision, we need your support. We are organising a:

Westbrook Stream & Stonebridge Pond Litter Clear & Punt Launch

Sunday, 22nd February, 11am – 1pm

If you can come along on the day, please:

- join us at 11am at the duck feeding area by Stonebridge Pond

- hear a short welcome, briefing and collect equipment

- see the launch of the new punt and take part in a litter pick and vegetation clear, either in or out of the stream/pond

Bring strong gloves (waterproof if possible ), wellington boots or waders and secateurs, rakes, loppers, nets , wheelbarrow etc if you have them. Please name any equipment you bring.

We look forward to seeing you! Thank you very much.

WE ARE SUPPORTED BY MEDWAY AND SWALE ESTUARY PARTNERSHIP, SWALE BOROUGH COUNCIL AND THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY.

Find us on Facebook at Friends of the Westbrook, Faversham

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.

Boatbuilding and Joinery in the Purifier

Simon Grillet is progressing with setting up the Mayhi ready for the first two apprentices to start soon. Here, Simon is transferring the complex shape of the stern frame onto a jig for laminating the frame, which cannot be steamed into place, like the others, due to its compound curves; not a task for an apprentice. In this way the tooling and the course are being developed to suit the level of apprentices that will eventually take their City & Guilds at the end of their course.

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The keel has already been laminated, allowing the building jig, the moulds, around which the planking will be fitted, to be assembled ready for the apprentices to start planking. At the end of their course, they will be in a position to set up the frames for the next course.

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The course is as much about learning to use the tools and machinery as it is about the process of building a boat. Due to the continuously changing layout of a boatbuilding shed, depending on what is being worked on, machinery has to be easy to move.

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Upstairs, Alan Thorne has turned his hand to making all the windows for the Purifier. They will be double glazed, some with opening lights, and fitted from inside behind the original cast iron frames. Painted the same colour, Green, they should hardly detract from the original Victorian industrial windows.

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Neighbourhood Plan Consultation Ends Monday 22nd

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:

http://favershamcreektrust.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=2c99a8cc80d59b8ac0435b826&id=4fee3b0e04&e=91931253db

Faversham Creek Trust and the Brents Community Association are jointly submitting a detailed document, which you can read here: 

http://favershamcreektrust.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2c99a8cc80d59b8ac0435b826&id=e8c70cf65a&e=91931253db

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.

Email:   planningpolicy@swale.gov.uk

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.

Our Third AGM and look where we have got to

This Trust had so much to report at its third Annual General Meeting at the Alexander Centre on 25 November that speakers had to keep to a strict timetable to stop the meeting over-running.

Following a heartfelt minute’s silence in memory of Arthur Percival, a full house of over one hundred members heard a brisk round-up of the past year’s work from the leaders of the Trust’s various working groups.

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Tremendous progress has been made on the Purifier building, which now has a three-phase electrical system, sanitary facilities and kitchens, and houses a block maker, a dinghy maker, the Shipwright’s Hall for the apprentices, and a room for meetings and public events. Work on a new staircase and new glazing is under way. The value of the work has been recognised far beyond Faversham, with the project and its volunteers receiving a number of prestigious awards.

The building is now ready for the launch of one the Trust’s primary objectives, a training scheme for shipwrights. The audience was told that the long process of preparing course materials and modules, based on the classic yacht Mayhi which until recently could be seen in the Shipwright’s Hall, will soon be completed, and funding is in place.

Recruitment of the first trainees will begin in early 2015. Under the guidance of master shipwright Simon Grillet they will learn the skills of their trade by constructing a copy of the Mayhi, before progressing to work on other vessels. The Mayhi copies will be sold, helping to make the scheme self-funding – there are already buyers lined up for the first two.

The Purifier building is also becoming such a popular community venue that a formal booking system has had to be introduced. The past year’s events have included the Faversham Society’s Open House Scheme, the Let’s make the creek work for Faversham exhibition, the Nautical Festival, the Artists’ Open House Scheme, and most recently the Brents Community Association’s Picture the Creek exhibition which attracted nearly 450 people over one weekend.

It is also being used for Creek Learning, a six-week programme developed by the Brents Community Association, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and run in partnership with the Trust, with input from many other community groups and local businesses. The aim is to help local long-term unemployed people to develop employability, IT and life skills and to expand their horizons.

The Creek provides a valuable focal point for several aspects of the programme, including a project at the Purifier building for participants to design and build a punt for the Friends of the Westbrook to use for clearing weed on Stonebridge Pond – a great example of a joint community initiative.

Just four weeks into the first Creek Learning programme, four of the 14 participants have already been offered full time work, some are doing voluntary work and others are looking into setting up a new business.

The Trust is now reaching out to a wider audience, with public events including a Barn Dance, an evening of sea shanties, a sell-out series of ‘Tea and Talks’ during the winter and spring, which it plans to re-start in 2015, and a new project with the local secondary schools, Raising Heritage Awareness.

As a reminder of our recent maritime heritage, the AGM was brought to a lively close with an illustrated talk by Professor Hugh Perks about some of his dramatic and amusing experiences when working on Thames sailing barges in the 1950s.

After the meeting, chairman Chris Wright said: “Work is going on all the time and it’s easy to take it for granted. It’s only when you add it up like this that you realise how far we’ve come. We’ve faced up to the doubters and shown we can deliver the goods. Seeing how much we’ve done in just three years, with volunteers and virtually no public funding, it gives us great confidence in what we can achieve in the future.”