Author Archives: Faversham Creek Trust

An Historic Day in the Basin – 11th February 2016

On Thursday 11th February a small dredger entered the basin under its own power; she passed under the closed Bridge, and through the Gates. This was the first time a ‘commercial’ craft had entered the Basin since the 1989, when the last coaster delivered its cargo of fertiliser to Agrano. That may also have been the last time the Bridge opened.

Working in cooperation with Peel Ports, one Gate had been opened fully and one half way. That was enough to allow the small dredger into the Basin,  where its first task  is to remove the remaining mud behind them and reveal whatever is jamming one half open.   12705470_825172380926102_7537453603998995077_n 12715338_825169670926373_4400939250740297764_n 12670228_825168084259865_7526552734825178083_n 12744444_825168044259869_3655312138593523956_n 12743881_825167637593243_958912982993080789_n 12729096_825167307593276_5204784393198214351_n 12734238_826055390837801_6502550121331456386_n12729135_826002117509795_5654994385708929060_n12669687_826131687496838_7512141812299822414_n12717258_826002110843129_7152338877695914194_n

As the Bridge is condemned and can no longer open, the wheel house had to be removed so that the hull could be floated under the bridge; on a falling tide, to ensure that it would not be jammed under the bridge, but also not wishing to be stuck on the bottom, a tricky operation; and then the wheel house lifted on and controls reinstalled at Morrisons Wharf.

This small water injection dredger is privately owned and the brainchild of Eric Green and Bob Berk [now part owned by Trevor Ryan]. It was a private initiative response to the withholding of financial investment in the creek by Peel Ports, the Harbour Authority, due to lack of commercial traffic and economic return; this removed any imperative to dredge the creek.

The long term effect of this was the progressive silting up of the Creek generally, [Peel Ports did dredge in 2012], and particularly the Basin; as the sluicing shutters  have not been maintained, and the gates leak, so do not retain a head of water, then the sluicing process does not occur and that added to the silting at the upper end of the creek,

Stringent procedures were introduced in 2012, deferred to 2014, for licensing all dredging, so the Faversham Creek Navigation Company, was formed in 2014, as a Community Interest Company, to manage this; even so, whilst it must recover its expenses, the benefit is that these will be considerably less than a commercial dredging contractor, that would cost tens of thousands of pounds more.

The Navigation Co has licenses for the Creek and the Basin. The former was issued by Peel Ports after lengthy discussions when it was recognised that unless the licence was issued to a single organisation, then every individual owner of creekside property who has the responsibility for their section of the creek, would have to go through the same application process. This licence is known as a Maintenance Dredging licence, and is limited to 1500 cubic metres a year.

The licence for the Basin, known as a Capital Dredging Licence is a much more detailed application involving the Marine Management Organisation [MMO] and the Environment Agency [EA] and specialised reports from an Environmental Consultant, and an Ecologist, drawings from a Civil  Engineer, and the laboratory testing of mud samples; it took 16 months to obtain, and cost almost £20,000. We are grateful to Swale Borough Council who agreed to fund this, on top of their contribution towards the Swing Bridge.

The work will be carried out over the next two years, and should be completed by the time the Swing Bridge is opened in 2018. Due to the conditions of the licence, the current work will cease at the end of March and restart in September. More details of the work will be published in due course.

It is a major achievement to access the Basin and make a start on its restoration; we hope that Faversham will continue to support us over the next two years and enjoy watching the progress.

2016 Talks with the Creek Trust

Thursday 18 February 7.30pm in the Fleur Hall

Alan Thorne
“Yours in a Boat”

Alan Thorne is one of the boatbuilders at the Purifier Building and specialises in building small boats. He is also one of the tutors on our ‘Back to Work’ schemes run with the Department of Work and Pensions.

Monday 7 March 2pm in the Fleur Hall

Gunpowder Explosion Film

Monday 11 April 7.30pm in the Fleur Hall

Creek Photographs
Peter Kennett

Monday 25 April 7.30pm
Please note this is in the Purifier Building

Northfleet, Dartford and Crayford Creek Restoration
Conrad Broadley

Thursday 19 May 7.30 pm in the Fleur Hall

“Space, Time and Faversham Creek”
Prof. Chris Wright

FREE entry and refreshments
We ask for donations for Creek Trust funds – thank you!
All our activities are run by volunteers
Presentations will start promptly on time
Please come early to secure a good seat

Riveting planks for Mayhi

Planks are gradually being added to the Mayhi; some need a little steaming to ease them around the curve at the bow. Each plank is riveted with copper nails and roves.IMG_3170
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2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 27,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Gates are Open

Last week, the Gates were opened in a joint exercise between Peel Ports and the Faversham Creek Navigation Co. A large amount of accumulated rubbish was removed from behind the gates enabling the right hand gate to be fully opened but the left hand gate can only be half opened due to a problem with the hinges.

However, this is enough space for the some dredging equipment to be brought through, so that we can start dredging operations in the next few weeks.

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Things going on in the Purifier

Our apologies for not posting for a while however things have been quietly going on in the Purifier.

Alan Thorne has been restoring a rather elegant, modern, rowing skiff, and the apprentices have started planking the Mayhi;IMG_3121 IMG_3120IMG_3118IMG_3117 IMG_3115

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Wishing all our Members and Supporters

a very Merry Christmas

and a Happy and Successful New Year

What an eventful – and event-full – year 2015 has been! Thanks to all our members and supporters for all your generous contributions to our very successful Swing the Bridge Campaign, as well as for your continued support for the regular work of the Trust.

We’ve achieved a great deal this year, in addition to raising the £125,000 public contribution towards a new Swing Bridge. For example, the first trainee shipwright has started work at the Purifier Building. Two more Creek Learning Programmes have been completed, organised and managed by the Brents Community Association and supported by Faversham Creek Trust. Work has continued on the Purifier Building, so that every part of it is now in active use. The Arthur Percival Room has been a welcoming venue for many community events.

We’ll be setting ourselves new challenges and targets for 2016, as we all wait while KCC puts the work of designing and building the new Bridge out to tender. We hope to see the new Bridge completed and in use by autumn 2017.

We’ll be in touch in the New Year with news of our activities and events for Members. You can find out more about our activites on this website:

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

Sue Akhurst