The Draft Plan, the Alternative Plan, and the Town Council

Various options for the Swan Quay, Coach Depot and Oil Depot sites together with alternative strategies were recently excluded from the consultation draft of the Neighbourhood Plan. However an undertaking was given (both at a Steering Group meeting and a Faversham Town Council meeting) that alternative proposals would be sought as part of the consultation process.

The Brents Community Association and this Trust felt it was difficult for people to make informed and meaningful responses without knowing what the alternatives were, and the reasoning behind them. We also wanted to consult our membership (as we are required to do by the Steering Group’s Terms of Reference) before putting forward our own responses to the consultation.

We therefore decided to mount an exhibition for our members and for the public. It set out a different strategy together with alternative options alongside those in the draft Plan. BMM Weston joined us to consult on the company’s plans for redevelopment of its sites and regeneration of the Creek basin.

Throughout, we encouraged the public to engage with the Town Council’s consultation and complete the Questionnaire, partly through flyers that gave links to the Council’s website and details of the Council’s events.

With the help of an independent expert we developed a questionnaire survey which people were invited to complete before leaving our exhibition (copy attached). An online version is also available. As of 28th June, 840 people had attended the various exhibition sessions and just over half (450) had completed the survey.

Our survey analysis, to be carried out in accordance with independent professional advice, will not be completed until after the final exhibition session on 28 June; however the interim findings show some striking trends. In particular, the large majority (86%) of respondents favoured a regeneration strategy based on business, boats and community facilities, compared with under 2% in favour of a strategy focused on housing and footpaths. The remainder were uncertain or suggested various combinations.

This reflects previous consultations in 2012 and 2013, when the majority of people were clear that they did not want a plan for the Creek that prioritised waterfront housing.

What remains is for the Town Council to decide whether to reinstate our two organisations into the Steering Group, along with our evidence based mission to ensure that these findings are reflected in the Neighbourhood Plan, or whether to continue to reject alternatives to the current Draft Plan.

R. Telford

 

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One response to “The Draft Plan, the Alternative Plan, and the Town Council

  1. mike woodward

    In the past development of the creek ,from a newcomers view point to the area as i am, the new housing developments along the creek in the recent past are not visually appealing and are just boxes stuck along the creek, to maximise housing development. It was a shame that paths all along the creek were not a vital part of the past developments. We should learn from the mistakes of the past and this second stage of redevelopment should not make the same mistakes again. It is essential that a mix of building types and uses are the core to the rebuilding and rebirth of the creek for the future. Tourism is a very important part of the local economy and this must be protected and encouraged to grow. Faversham is a beautiful town with wide variations of property types which make it unique and one the people of Faversham are proud of and it is worth protecting for future generations. The developers are a vital part of the regeneration of the creek but not at any price, so a realistic compromise with a mix of building uses is the only way forward.

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