THE WAY IT WAS IN HISTORY
THE WAY IT WAS UNTIL 2011
THE WAY IT WAS PLANNED – AND STILL COULD BE
THE WAY IT IS PLANNED - AS A CAR PARK
THE WAY IT WAS IN HISTORY
THE WAY IT WAS UNTIL 2011
THE WAY IT WAS PLANNED – AND STILL COULD BE
THE WAY IT IS PLANNED - AS A CAR PARK
Standard Quay in happier times – filmed by Simon Evans - not surprising that Justin says much the same as the previous post.
After the Beeching Axe, many groups set out to recover the lost Steam Railway heritage, rebuild some lines and engines and stock and keep them alive, eventually turning them into successful and financially viable tourist attractions. Also, against similar resistance, many people kept the canals open, even digging out some that had been deliberately filled to stop them being used; another enormously successful holiday and tourist resource. In both cases the infrastructure was integral to their success.
Now compare all that with the last 40 Thames Barges, the sea-going equivalent of the canal boats and the steam engines, but now in a much more vulnerable state, and wonder why some people are so set on allowing Standard Quay, one of the last refuges for barges, to become unattractive to them, and that community to drift away. This is the essential infrastructure, like canals and railways, that the barges need to survive, a home where they can be restored and maintained.
An essential part of that infrastructure are the simple Black Sheds used as workshops and storage by the maritime craftsmen. The first of these is planned to be converted into a restaurant and public exhibition areas.
The challenge was publicly laid down in the Faversham Times Jan 17,” M White said he was confident the plans would be accepted on appeal even if they were refused by local councils. …. It would be hard for a planning inspector to ignore the benefits this project would bring to the town.” Apparently, local people and their representatives are of no consequence as they do not appreciate the desperate need for more Restaurants, more Car Parking, more Gentrification.
Unfortunately the much quoted Vision of AAP2 [below] is already fading, with a desolate Quay, home to top-hampered houseboats, symptom of an inert, tidied and urbanised waterfront, embellished with flowering window boxes and washing lines, and the last working barges waiting to go somewhere else for repair; one or two showpiece barges to attract tourists, but no repairs or work that might conflict with the sanitised quayside or the Car Parking. A pastiche of the working Quay that existed until recently.
The boatbuilders have left, along with their combined skills and experience and tools and floating docks and cranes and stacks of timber and drying sails. That total facility with its cooperative management that enabled large wooden craft to be repaired and restored at a single facility, by its many independent craftsmen, has already dispersed.
All the effort that went into regenerating the Quay over 18 years has been ignored by the constant and disingenuous reference to the need for regeneration of the Quay, as if had not already successfully happened. No amount of appeals to the Director of Regeneration and local councillors, who admitted the lost employment and training opportunities, seemed to have any effect. Regeneration seems to mean only one thing and that is Gentrification.
Of course, they could have been retained, and could even be re-assembled, if the infrastructure, the sheds and access to the Quay side, were made available on acceptable conditions, but it would also require experienced management that has the skill and empathy with those trades. A comparable scenario is Gweek Quay in Cornwall where the ownership and management has changed but the site remains an attractive and prosperous place to work.
So, is conversion of basic affordable craftsmens’ workshops and storage, into the expensive fabric of a public access building, with restaurant and exhibition areas, a sustainable move or simply commercial exploitation, concomitant with an increase in the value of the property, putting it forever out of reach of craftsmen; the start of a program of change of use, upgrade and revaluation; the steady gentrification of Faversham’s last working Quay,
Well, already many people are worried; just how many worriers will influence the direction of development of not just the Quay but also for the whole of the remaining developable Creekside, through the Neighbourhood Plan process. These will not just be a few “people who object to everything”. The last petition on this subject quickly raised over 1500 signatures.
The attack on AAP2 started when the Fullwood Report was published, which reduced everything to a visionless pragmatism based on a narrowly defined economic viability, focused on ‘a presumption in favour of the development of more creekside housing’; even succeeding in changing the flood risk rules to enable development where it would previously have been refused; it wrote off the Basin and Bridge as uneconomic and unwanted resources and considered there was no economic justification for dredging the Creek.
The Trust’s acquisition of the Purifier Building and the plans for its use for Maritime Trades and Apprentice School, include a dredged Basin and opening Bridge, and showed that the assumptions of the Fullwood plan were flawed.
Then came the opportunity of the Creek Neighbourhood Plan, which enables local representatives to create a plan based on local consultation. This plan is not due to be put to a Referendum until later this year.
The application for the change of use of the No1 Black Shed, SW/12/1523/4, has the potential to improperly influence the Neighbourhood Plan. Therefore, this application should be rejected, as was the application last year to develop Ordnance Wharf, at least until the Neighbourhood Plan has been agreed by common consent at referendum and adopted into the Swale Plan.
Of course, it is possible that the Plan may be rejected; the much threatened result would be a ‘Presumption in favour of sustainable development’, widely interpreted as meaning that development anarchy would prevail. However, this may not be true, and it may be that the planning framework would revert to the current Swale 2008 Plan, which incorporates AAP2.
Policy AAP2 - Faversham Creekside
An Area Action Plan is designated for Faversham Creekside, as shown on the Proposals Map. Within this area the Borough Council will seek to ensure that it continues to function as a place of special interest and activity with strong associations with the water, and will specifically encourage the regeneration of the creek basin for commercial and tourism purposes, including use of the basin and its wharfage for historic craft. Planning permission will not be granted for proposals that would result in the loss of land or buildings suitable for employment uses or, on appropriate sites, would not involve active use or management of the creek itself. All development proposals will:
The Borough Council will expect development to:
A Supplementary Planning Document will be prepared and adopted by the Council to guide matters relating to the Area Action Plan.
for Standard Quay
Standard Quay: safeguarding this historically outstanding enclave of water-related and business activity; encouraging commercial uses that continue to sensitively occupy historic buildings; and promoting new employment uses to occupy appropriate sites, such as that allocated at Standard House (see Policy B16). Ensuring that traditional and other vessels continue to have access to the creekside, and that the facilities and services essential to their upkeep are maintained here, is essential. Residential development will not be permitted as it is considered likely to harm the historic interest of this area, both in terms of the existing buildings, and as a place of commercial activity.
A planning application has been made for a change of use of the No 1 Black Shed on Standard Quay. This changes the use from Workshops and Storage to a Restaurant and Cambria Visitor Centre downstairs and an Art Gallery/Function Room upstairs.
If you wish to comment on this development you can do so directly on the UK Planning website (www.ukplanning.com/swale); use Reference SW/12/1523
A copy will also be available for inspection at the Council Offices at Preston Street, Faversham Monday to Thursday 9.00am – 12.45pm; 1.30pm – 5.00pm and Friday at 9.00am – 12.45pm; 1.30pm – 4.30pm.
THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS IS NOW Tuesday 12th FEBRUARY
The principal issues that should be considered are;
1. that the application is premature in that it attempts to pre-empt the Creek Neighbourhood Plan that is being developed,
2. that it does not meet the criteria laid down in the current Local Plan and AAP2 for the use of Standard Quay.
Does the Town need another restaurant and can Abbey St and the Quay cope with the additional traffic and parking. It is clearly another nail in the coffin of the Quay as Maritime Heritage center. Once a restaurant is open in such a central position, it is virtually the end of boatbuilding and associated maritime trades. Gradually, working craft are being replaced by Houseboats. There are no boat repair facilities remaining nor the relevant craftsmen.
The modifications required to convert these simple buildings will irreversibly change them from simple artisan workshops and storage into modern and expensive buildings, putting them forever out of reach of tradesmen and other maritime uses.
In February 2011 a Petition was signed by over 1500 people ;
Faversham Creek has been a centre for ship building and repair for more than 300 years.
In recent years Standard Quay has regenerated the heritage, skills and apprentice training of Faversham’s maritime craftsmen. It is the last stronghold of traditional barges in the South East of England. Standard Quay, on Faversham Creek’s unique historic waterway, is of national and European importance. This industry, jobs and heritage is now under immediate threat.
We, the undersigned, petition Swale Borough Council to protect, preserve and enhance Standard Quay and the Creek environment for the building, restoration, maintenance and berthing of traditional vessels by all means possible including:
1. Helping to secure the quayside, land and buildings at Standard Quay so that local maritime craftsmen can continue their traditional boatbuilding and apprentice training activities, and Faversham Creek can expand as a national centre for Thames Sailing barge berthing, repair and restoration.
2. A Guarantee that any future Faversham Creek Development Plan will specifically rule out any possibility of the historic Standard Quay site being developed inappropriately in future – for example for housing, restaurants, cafes, hotels, licensed premises and retail use.
3. Rejecting any proposed change of use for Standard Quay’s quayside buildings, so they can continue to be used for their traditional purposes by maritime craftsmen.
THE DEADLINE FOR COMMENT IS Tuesday 12th February
This is an extract from the Trust’s response to the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan Initial Proposals and Options presentation at an exhibition on 5th May.
FCT Comments on individual sites
Site 1. The Purifier Building - Now leased to the Trust for 35years to be used for Maritime Trades and the training of Apprentice Shipwrights. This should set the direction for other uses of the Basin. This facility will need access to the water to enable movement of craft to and from the side of the building [there being no access from Morrison's Quayside]. Inevitably, there will be noise from the activities in the building, which make it incompatible with any immediately adjacent residential development such as on Ordnance Wharf.
Site 2. Ordnance Wharf - The current application to build a 4 storey block of flats on this site has met with vigorous resistance from the Trust, Faversham Town Council and large numbers of the local population. Importantly, if this planning application is given the go ahead, it will set a precedent for further residential development in the Basin. Policy B17, designating the Basin employment sites, must remain in force.
There is no doubt that this application will conflict with the activities of the maritime trades in the Purifier, as well as compete for access to the wharf side, potentially being blocked out by the rigid application of riparian rights.
The ideal use for this site is as a space for maritime activities, including cranage and storage and repair of medium sized craft.
Site 3A. The BMM Weston Car Park and Basin frontage - This should be reinstated as a wharf side, by piling and back-filling, to be used as moorings and include a public slip. The Car Park should be used as an open public access area, partly as a small craft parking area but also as grassed open space open onto the wharf side, and the slip.
Site 3B. Brent Hill shown as Site 3 - This is not of direct interest to the Trust except that residential development should not be allowed so close nor so high as to conflict with the leisure activities of Site 3A.
Site 4. Quay Lane/Belvedere Rd - The proposals presented recently, appear to be attractive and integrate existing buildings without interfering with access, use or visibility of the Creek itself. However, the Trusts’ view is that the successful Creek Creative facility should be continued on that site.
Site 5. Swan Quay - This site with its important Creek frontage should be centered on maritime uses, a working quayside available for mooring and access to the town centre. Maritime businesses such as the existing Sail making should be accomodated and the Old Chandlery could even be returned to its original purpose.
Any new building should be set well back from the frontage and restricted to single storey, so as not to dominate the Old Chandlery. Behind that and fronting onto Belvedere Road, separate residential or mixed use development should fit in with the proposed development opposite.
The existing slip adjacent to the Town Quay should be extended for use as a light public slipway and the access and view widened. The fencing barriers should be removed so that public access is linked from Town Green along the front as far as possible.
Site 6. Former Oil Depot - There is an opportunity for some berths similar to those on the opposite bank. The quayside should be usable and accessible to boats to tie up alongside and access the town or Standard Quay. In addition there should be open public access that will continue to Standard Quay.
Any development should be set well back and not obscure the views of the Creek for the Abbey Street residents.
It would be helpful for continuity of design & planning if this site was designed and planned in collaboration with Site 7.
Site 7 – Coachworks and offices - The proposal for a mixed use development with ground floor quay side facilities, including toilets and showers, should remove any need to convert the Black buildings for other uses, guaranteeing that they are reserved for maritime trades.
The scale and alignment should be kept to that of the Black buildings and the style should be complimentary. Full public access should be maintained along the creek frontage to the existing moorings.
Site 8 – Standard Quay - The Quayside Properties’ proposals for this site are confusing and contradictory. Despite the stated aims to maintain the Quay as a centre for Barge and large traditional craft repair, the quay continues to lose the interest of the traditional barge community. Restrictions on use of the quayside and access to the barges by crane; loss of dry dock facilities and the lack of resident shipwrights’ skills are at odds with the claimed aims.
Features of the plan, including a turning circle for cars, a leisure area alongside the quayside where there may be Barge Blocks and therefore boat building activities, parking along the quayside, but a complete lack of a proper working area for shipwrights’ activities, for such things as Masts and spars and large timbers, and heavy equipment, all contradict the claims.
Any change of use of the Black buildings on the basis of needing to subsidise the quayside and boatbuilding activities should be rejected completely because that will inevitably accelerate their downgrading as a maritime heritage asset, and their use for maritime trades. The insertion of a restaurant in the middle of workshops is not feasible and upgrading the sheds will result in them no longer being affordable workshops.
Site 9 – Standard House – Site 10 – Fentimans – agree with Vanguard.
Sites 11 – Upper Brents & 12 – Iron wharf and Chambers Wharf – Agree with Vanguard – must be preserved as industrial employment or maritime uses.
To See the Full Text click here: FCT Response to Neighbourhood Plan Initial Proposals