The Outline Business Case for the repair and maintenance of traditional vessels in Faversham Creek. A report by Philippa Dickenson and David Irons.
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This report shows that Faversham has a unique opportunity to become a maritime centre again, taking advantage of a shortage of quayside mooring and dry dock capacity around the wider Thames Estuary, lost in the south-east generally, to waterside housing development. It emphasises the viable use of the capacity for larger vessels in the upper basin, and that income from moorings is significant and profitable.
This report also fills the large gap in the evidence base of the nascent Neighbourhood Plan being developed by the Town Council and its Steering Group; the need for a proper economic appraisal of the Creek had been ignored completely and a presumption made in favour of cramming more housing right up to the waters edge; it provides the sustainable element missing from the proposals and implies the need to leave room for business to develop; business that will also result indirectly in increased tourism in Faversham.
Exclusive Housing is an easy lazy exploitation of a social asset, the Creek, the Unique Selling Point, allowing speculative developers to walk away with the elevated one time profits. No affordable housing here; possibly a public footpath. None of the previous or existing successful creekside businesses could have succeeded without the availability of space at a fair commercial price. That resource will disappear forever if we fail to recognise the importance of the wider market and business potential, to the detriment of the future of the Creek and the Town.
As the report says: ‘There could well be a highly positive marketing opportunity for the Town from the presence of more historic vessels in the Creek…There is also potential for the cross-supply of customers and services between various local businesses, allowing for investments in specialisms for both skills and technology’… Faversham Creek Trust has already contributed by making affordable space available to two maritime businesses, and developing a training scheme for shipwright apprentices.
Let us hope that others will interpret this report intelligently, and make the concessions that will ensure that the Creek Plan succeeds for all. Editor.