Thankyou David Simmons for upholding democracy

Over 80 members of the public arrived last night at the Guildhall, to hear the debate on agenda item 6; the minutes of the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group meeting held last week, and specifically to approve the Land Uses for Sites and Streetscape Requirements document.

Before the meeting could start it was announced that the number of people upstairs in the Guildhall is limited to 50 by the Fire Regulations. Recognising that democracy would not be served by throwing out half the public, the Mayor offered the option of holding a special meeting at a larger venue, probably the Alexander Centre, at the earliest date possible.This was accepted, and agreed by the councillors. So wait for a further announcement for the that event.

Thankyou David, for resolving a difficult situation.

Reproduced below is a letter that our Chairman, Chris Wright, sent to the Mayor before the meeting ;

Dear Councillor Simmons,

FAVERSHAM CREEK NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

We understand that the proposals set out in the document ‘Land uses for sites and streetscape requirements’ are to be put to the Town Council for approval on Monday 21 October.

A key aim of the Creek Neighbourhood Plan is to stimulate regeneration of the area.  The Council will be aware that at present, there is one major project already contributing to the regeneration process.  It is one to which 500 townspeople have given their support, and it is based on the Purifier building at the head of the creek.  But the proposals contained in the ‘Land uses’ document, particularly as they relate to Ordnance Wharf, rather than supporting this process will damage it.

The document addresses a number of sites around the creek at present designated as industrial in land use planning terms.  On the grounds that commercial uses are ‘not viable’ or ‘not deliverable’ it recommends re-designating them as residential.  By doing this, it drives up land prices and excludes other uses.  It is a self-fulfilling argument.

For pedestrians, housing on the creek waterfront is sterile, characterless, and not much fun to walk around.  It contributes nothing to the sense of place that makes Faversham unique.  A bolder plan could generate sustainable income from tourism and marine craft, building on the Town’s historical role as a Cinque Port Limb.

The proposals are strongly opposed by local residents and are likely to fail when put to referendum next year.  If people are consulted, they expect their views to be taken into account, not ignored.  Finally, it is a stated goal of the Steering Group that all riparian owners of the sites concerned be consulted as part of the planning process.  No such consultation has yet taken place with the Faversham Creek Trust.  We therefore ask the Town Council to refer the document back for further discussion and amendment.

Yours sincerely,  Professor Chris Wright, Chairman

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