A new fund has been launched by Kent County Council to support plans to replace Faversham Creek Bridge.
KCC has already set aside £400,000 for work to start replacing the fixed bridge in 2016/17. However, the bridge was originally designed as a swing bridge that opened to allow access for boats. KCC would like to raise the extra £500,000 to help meet the aspiration of bringing it back to its former glory rather than remaining a fixed bridge.
Mark Dance, KCC Cabinet Member for Economic Development says; We already have the money set aside to replace the bridge. The bridge hasn’t been able to be opened for at least 25 years and we think we should be more ambitious and return it to a fully-fledged swing bridge. This means not only will it allow access to larger boats; it will lead to further benefits for the Inner Basin of the Creek.
If the additional money is not raised, work will continue to replace it, except it will remain a static bridge. So we hope that local people and businesses will support the Fund via the website
and help us to raise the additional £500,000 required.
Our Chairman, Chris Wright, says ‘ the Trust has been pleased to be part of the steering group for the last year or two, which has worked hard to realise the aspirations of the town in having an opening bridge, so that barges and other craft can once more enter the basin and revitalise the whole area, providing a marine hub for traditional sailing vessels and shipwright training in the Purifier Building. The Trust welcomes the launch of the bridge fund and looks forward to helping raise the necessary amount of money needed’
Brenda Chester, who co-ordinates the bridge steering group added ‘ I look forward also to seeing the Basin opened and local people and groups such as the Sea Cadets being able to use it for recreational purposes; also the increased tourism potential for our historic Cinque Port town is exciting. An opening bridge and dredged Creek and Basin will enable the annual Nautical Festival and other events to expand and be even more successful which will be good for residents and businesses.’
A Faversham Town Council spokesperson said ‘ A swing bridge would be an important contribution to the regeneration of the Creek. The Fund, which would raise money in addition to that guaranteed by KCC would enable all interested parties in the private and public sector to demonstrate their commitment to such a worthwhile cause,
Councillor Mike Cosgrove, Swale Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said ‘this is great news, after chairing the Faversham Creek Consortium for 8 years, our dream of getting the funding to deliver this iconic project is almost there. Swale, I am sure, will also make a contribution and stand shoulder to shoulder with KCC and the Town Council’.
So there we are, and now it is up to all of us, individually and corporately, private and public sector, to put our hands in our pockets and offer a contribution, however small, towards something that would not just be the visible restoration of a major historic part of the Town, but also play a part in the future prosperity of the town.
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