The Trust’s First Members’ Evening

Members meeting held Friday evening November 11th at Creek Creative, Abbey Street, Faversham

 It was standing room only at the first members’ meeting with more than 80 people in attendance.

Following a welcome and introduction from the Chairman, Griselda Mussett, Trust Director Simon Foster, and member Simon Grillet, a local shipwright gave presentations on the Apprenticeship scheme the Trust is developing to enable young people to gain a City and Guilds qualification up to NVQ level 3. Members were told of meetings held with all creek side landowners and the progress on obtaining a building and funding.  An exhibition was on display which detailed the history of the creek and traditional barges and the Trusts’ vision for the future.

Brenda Chester then informed members that a project was in place, led by Faversham Town Council and the Creek Consortium to develop a Development Plan Document, and that an important element of this Government funded initiative was community consultation, and she urged members to make sure their views were made known as the outcome would be a site specific plan, which would become the planning document against which all planning applications for the creek would be assessed in the future.

Some members informed the meeting that Friends of the Earth and other organisations had requested the future of Faversham Creek as an agenda item at the next Local Engagement Forum, to be held at QE School, 7pm on November 28th. They asked that Trust members attend.

The floor was then handed over to members for views and a Q&A session:

  • A member stated that the St John’s Church Upper Brents would make an excellent creek side community facility.
  • A member asked if the Trust had made contact with Michael White, owner of Standard Quay and other sites.

Simon Foster replied that he had several meetings with Mr White and was pleased to see that more traditional vessels were now mooring there.

  • A member observed that there were ‘no mooring’signs in the basin
  • Important to encourage landowners to join the Trust
  • Apprenticeships in traditional maritime skills important for skills and  jobs for local people, and would bring life to the basin.
  • Would there be jobs for apprenticeships once qualified?

Simon Grillet stated that in his 40 years as a shipwright every apprentice had been employed and that there was a demand for these skills.

  • A member reported that Peel Ports had been present at the creek this week surveying and that it was important have a dialogue with them.
  • A member asked that all Trust members were kept up to date on the website and in newsletters about important dates – Town Council meetings, consultation on the neighbourhood planning project for the creek.

Members were then asked to say what their priorities were for the creek:

  •  Key is the opening up of the basin, sluice gates and bridge
  • Dredging to allow access by boats
  • The apprenticeship scheme will help retain the traditional maritime heritage of Faversham Creek
  • Need to engage with developers and landowners
  • Creek side walkway
  • Appropriate signage to the Creek from the town
  • Involve the schools and young people
  • It’s got to be economically viable –bringing boats in will make money
  • A full basin will enable youth and other activities for local people
  • An attractive creek will improve tourism and the local economy
  • Contact Peel Ports so that sluicing is carried out regularly – this is vital

The members were thanked for attending and encouraged to network with other members before leaving. Several offers of help were made on the night and covered a whole range of skills, including communications, charitable fundraising, graphic design, heritage.

Members were reminded of some diary dates:

  •  Local Engagement Forum, November 28th 7pm Q.E School, Abbey Place
  • A showing of Red Sails, a film made by local film maker Michael Maloney at the Royal Cinema, 1pm December 7th. Free with donations invited.

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