Q: As the council are asking for comments on the Development Plan Document [DPD], why is it, or is it important, that supporters of the FCT write in as individuals? Are the FCT proposals just being ignored?
A1: Councils always react more positively to ‘many’ individual replies, rather than one reply with many signatures. Even using a standard letter diminishes the effect. The more people that are seen to support the FCT’s vision, the more credibility it has.
A2: No the FCT proposals are not being ignored but they are just part of the response to consultation. In addition, FCT is composing a comprehensive response to the Fullwood report, to complement Anne Salmon’s FCC document.
Q: As a newcomer to the town, I feel that I need more information about FCT’s proposals, in order to compare it against the DPD.
A: The Fullwood report badly undermines the 2008 Faversham Creek Area Action Plan [AAP2], which sought to preserve the desirable attributes of the Creek and it’s environs. Even the Faversham Creek Consortium, an SBC sponsored group, chaired by Councillor M.Cosgrove, has issued a strong criticism of it, but SBC seem to press on regardless.
Principally, Fullwood dismisses the use of the Basin, opening the gates and the bridge, as not viable; just that alone is totally contrary to the vision of the FCT and those of us who wish to see the Creek active and flourishing. Rebuilding a Thames barge [Cambria] for 1.4£m is uneconomic, but we do it because we wish to maintain our heritage and it is part of the maritime fabric. The creek could bring economic returns, through employment and tourism, to Faversham, as seen elsewhere in Europe; rarely do they allow a waterway to a town, and access to it, to be degraded by design, like Milton creek; Sittingbourne’s maritime heritage is totally lost and gone forever.
The Trust is focussed on recovering the Creek and the creekside, and retaining the associated activities, mostly maritime. These have been gradually displaced by ‘development’, which has also resulted in the further exclusion of the public; so much for developing Tourism. The Fullwood report, upon which SBC could base the DPD, seeks to open the way for more development. One device especially, is the proposed change to the designation of the Flood Zone such that it could allow development and change of use where it is not allowed now due to the flood risk.
Visions are visions, not a function of economic expediency. It may take longer, and we may have to find external funding, but let’s try and stick to a vision. Just because the Council do not have the funds, does not mean that it cannot be done. This is where not-for-profit organisations such as the Trust, volunteers and the wider society take over.