Category Archives: Apprentice School

Thai students visit the Purifier

A group of language students from Thailand visited the Purifier Building today, and met our Shipwrights Simon Grillet and Alan Thorne.

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They are scholarship students sponsored by the Thai Govt. They come from all over Thailand and are put into competitions by their schools, usually eventually being international olympiad medal winners in maths and physics. Their govt then pays for them to be educated in Europe or the US and they are contracted to return to work for their country for twice as long as they have been educated. So the Thai govt gets 20 years of work from top brains.

Our Regeneration Plan for Faversham Creek Basin

Summary 

Since 2011 the Faversham Creek Trust has been working towards a regeneration plan that focuses on the upper part of Faversham Creek, the Basin above the Brents Swing Bridge. This plan is an updated version of the plan first submitted to the Stakeholder Workshop of the Creek Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group in November 2012, and then to Faversham Town Council in November 2013.

We believe there is a unique opportunity for restoration and development in the centre of this historic town with significant economic and social benefits for residents and visitors alike. Our plan is based on the creation of a viable maritime economic facility, with workshops, moorings and a training school to serve the existing fleet of traditional vessels in the Thames Estuary.

This plan, which now has backing from Swale Borough Council and Faversham Town Council,  will integrate the effort of several stakeholders including a charitable trust, a community association, identified private investors, and regional authorities.

The Key Elements

The replacement of the existing swing bridge by a new swing bridge – by Kent County Council as a collaborative project in partnership with the Borough Council, the Town Council and this Trust. This is the key to the Basin, and the Trust actively supports the public subscription funding opportunity that has been initiated by KCC to ensure that the bridge opens rather then remain a fixed bridge.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The regeneration of Ordnance Wharf as a maritime workshop, small boat yard and community centre, with access from Flood Lane, in conformity with the current local plan, the existing conservation area, and the plan now under preparation by the Brents Community Association. A potential purchaser has been confirmed subject to Ordnance Wharf not being re- zoned for housing. Implementation mid-2015.

Basin drawings 3 Ben White Nov13The Restored Purifier Building to be a training centre for students and apprentices to be run in conjunction with the Ordnance Wharf workshop. The five year plan envisages 18 students with an eventual capacity for 36 students per year. Implementation late 2015. There are also two specialist workshop units and a room for community activities.

Basin drawings 2 Ben White Nov13The restoration of the BMM Weston Creek frontage outside the existing car park with the co- operation of the owner. The resulting wharf will provide moorings for up to ten sailing barges and smacks and a green amenity space along the current footpath. A Community Interest company will manage the operation, when KCC has replaced the current swing bridge.

BASIN ROGER LOW 1The repair or replacement of the sluice gates by Peel Ports and their subsequent management, in conjunction with the operation of the new swing bridge.

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Dredging of the Basin and the Creek by the Faversham Creek Navigation Company, a new Community Interest Company. A Maintenance Dredging licence has already been issued by Peel Ports, for the creek downstream from the bridge.

For the Basin, a Capital Dredging licence has been applied for,  to the Marine Management Organisation. This involves negotiation with the Environment Agency, Natural England, Peel Ports and other agencies who look after the waterbodies and the environment in the UK.

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All these objectives are in line with feedback received from all the Neighbourhood Plan exhibitions and they also conform to the relevant Neighbourhood Plan Objectives.

The Benefits

The benefits arising from this regeneration are comprehensive:

Economic: the generation of new business turnover in marine workshops, training school and mooring fees, with a total annual value of around £500,000 excluding indirect benefits.

Job creation: the plan will create at least 50 new jobs including students and apprentices, but excluding tourism spin-off related employment in the town.

Social: the regeneration of the Creek basin would remove an eyesore from the centre of the town. It replaces a derelict and unsafe area adjoining a public footpath, by a safe waterfront and public space with a view over barges and the town skyline. The Gates would permit water retention in the basin and therefore a safe water area for community activities, sea scouts and sail training not normally available in a tidal creek. IMG_1083

Heritage: the plan as a whole provides a significant location in the Purifier Building and Ordnance Wharf workshops for a living maritime heritage centre where schoolchildren and visitors to the town can see shipwrights at work and engage with Faversham’s history.

Visitor numbers: the annual number of visitors to Faversham (15,000 in 2011) would rise by at least 25% as a consequence of a revitalised basin. The experience of Maldon with its smaller resident population but a fleet of ten Thames Barges and 30,000 visitors supports this contention.

Implementation

The future of the Basin is entirely dependant upon the continued commitment of KCC, SBC and the Town Council, to an Opening Bridge and Gates. That policy and financial commitment, along with public subscription to the Bridge Fund, is currently the main focus of the Faversham Creek Trust, to ensure that the plans for the Basin are realised, for the benefit of all.

 

Boatbuilding and Joinery in the Purifier

Simon Grillet is progressing with setting up the Mayhi ready for the first two apprentices to start soon. Here, Simon is transferring the complex shape of the stern frame onto a jig for laminating the frame, which cannot be steamed into place, like the others, due to its compound curves; not a task for an apprentice. In this way the tooling and the course are being developed to suit the level of apprentices that will eventually take their City & Guilds at the end of their course.

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The keel has already been laminated, allowing the building jig, the moulds, around which the planking will be fitted, to be assembled ready for the apprentices to start planking. At the end of their course, they will be in a position to set up the frames for the next course.

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The course is as much about learning to use the tools and machinery as it is about the process of building a boat. Due to the continuously changing layout of a boatbuilding shed, depending on what is being worked on, machinery has to be easy to move.

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Upstairs, Alan Thorne has turned his hand to making all the windows for the Purifier. They will be double glazed, some with opening lights, and fitted from inside behind the original cast iron frames. Painted the same colour, Green, they should hardly detract from the original Victorian industrial windows.

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The Present and the Future for Creek and Town

This film is a taster for a new film being produced by Mike Maloney.

This is what it is all about for this Trust, for the future of the Creek and the Town.

Mike’s other work, such as the famous ‘A Sideways Launch’, can be seen at;

http://www.cwideprods.co.uk/productions/

I make no apologies for also reproducing an updated, related, editorial here,  from last June after Alan Staley, Boatbuilder at Chambers Wharf, won the Craft Skills Award for ‘Encouraging Craft Skills in the Workplace, from the same organisation [Heritage Crafts Assoc.] that awarded Sixer his  for volunteering.

Go to: http://ccskills.org.uk/news/story/craft-skills-awards-winners-announced, and watch the video, Alan and his staff star at 3minutes along.

It is interesting to summarise the recent past, the current, and the developing crafts and skills presence on the Creek;

Ironwharf supports several self-employed boatbuilders, and a Chandlery, and accommodates large craft, including Thames Barges, alongside the Quay and in their floating dock for repair. It is a rare reasonably priced onshore store for dozens of craft, where owners can repair and maintain them.

Chambers Wharf is Alan Staley, Boatbuilder, with a slip and moorings for small to medium sized craft, and a history of successful projects; famously quoted above, on UNDINA for Griff Rhys Jones.

Standard Quay, over a period of 18 years, up to 2011, supported up to 10 craftsmen, and many others, several of whom were highly respected Shipwrights, and included a nascent apprentice scheme, a Block Maker, a complete £m1.4 restoration of a historic craft, but more importantly, developed by a knowledgeable, co-operative and supportive management style and with resources that attracted large traditional craft to the Quay, for berthing, maintenance and restoration.

Swan Quay has been the home of the Sail Maker, Wilkinson Sails, for several years, where they have trained young sailmakers,.

Faversham Creek Trust is developing a maritime trades centre at the Purifier, with a specific mandate to develop the training of Apprentice Shipwrights; it is also home for two craftsmen; one displaced by a developer from Standard quay.

Another important near-creek success story is Creek Creative, maybe not maritime, but certainly craft and small business oriented and supportive.

And yet, some still argue that because there is a lack of maritime businesses rushing to take up the available spaces on the Creek now, the only viable way forward is for these spaces to be given over to speculators and developers of upmarket exclusive housing, or to convert the simple quayside workshops and storage sheds in to bijou restaurants, or worse, museums of the maritime glory already forced away.

These are the same people who flatly refuse to investigate any alternative economic case, and have failed to consider intelligently, a major  positive economic report freely presented to them, because it told them something that they did not want to hear.

They are wrong, of course; if we ignore the history of success above, by failing to build on it and create the waterside space needed for its future, then we must all carry the blame in the years to come. What is needed now for the success of that future, is the time to develop small businesses, supported by an infrastructure of affordable space and a network of complementary crafts and businesses.

That is sustainability. That is what the Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development quoted in the National Planning Policy Framework is all about. It is certainly not about banging up a few more houses on every available tired industrial site, extracting some small penalty, or is it a bribe, ostensibly for the benefit of the community, which will disappear into some distant pot.

Amongst the site owners, are long standing businesses that have prospered in Faversham, but who, due to changes in the commercial opportunities, have been left with sites that need regeneration; they are not developers themselves, and generally have been in no hurry to sell off to speculators.

It is to these owners that we should turn, in humility, ask them to remember when and how they started, and ask for their support for the future of the Creek as a thriving busy waterway, with relevant businesses, and community areas. That is the compromise that we seek. They should be reminded that the case for developing maritime businesses on the creek has been researched and proven.

Morrisons took the risk when they agreed to give the Purifier to this Trust, a six month old and unknown group then, but with an interesting proposition about the maritime future of the Creek and training of shipwright apprentices. It took two years for the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group to accept the Trust as a representative body with a significant membership.

As Arthur Percival reminds us, Henry Hatch gave his fortune to the benefit of the Town, and the Creek – not a Street. Surely Henry would approve of the development of the Creek and Creekside for the sustainable benefit of maritime trade and employment.

R Telford, Editor.

Boatbuilding Skills in Faversham Recognised

Alan Staley, Boatbuilder at Chambers Wharf, recently won the Craft Skills Award for ‘Encouraging Craft Skills in the Workplace.

Go to:  http://ccskills.org.uk/news/story/craft-skills-awards-winners-announced, and watch the video, Alan and his staff star at 3minutes along.

It is interesting to simply summarise the recent past, the current, and the developing crafts and skills presence on the Creek;

Ironwharf supports several self-employed boatbuilders, and a Chandlery, and accommodates large craft, including Thames Barges, alongside the Quay and in their floating dock for repair.

Chambers Wharf is Alan Staley Boatbuilder, with a slip and moorings for small to medium sized craft, and a history of successful projects.; more on that later.

Standard Quay, over a period of 18 years, up to 2011, supported up to 10 craftsmen, several of whom were Shipwrights, and included a nascent apprentice scheme, a Block Maker, a complete £m1.4 restoration of a historic craft, but more importantly, developed a supportive management style and resources, that attracted large traditional craft to the Quay, for berthing and maintenance.

Swan Quay has been the home of the Sail Maker, Wilkinson Sails for several years, where they have trained 2 young sailmakers,.

Faversham Creek Trust is developing a maritime Craft Centre at the Purifier, with a specific mandate to develop the training of  Apprentices Shipwrights, starting in August.

Another important near-creek success story is Creek Creative, maybe not maritime, but certainly craft and small business oriented and supportive.

And yet, some commentators have recently argued that there was a lack of maritime businesses rushing to take up the available spaces on the Creek, and that therefore the only viable way forward is for these spaces to be given over to speculators and developers of upmarket exclusive housing, or to converting simple sheds in to bijou restaurants, or worse, museums of past maritime glory for the titilation of tourists.

Wrong; if we ignore the history of success above, by failing to build on it and create the waterside space needed for its future, then we must all carry the blame in the years to come. What is needed now for the success of that future, is the time to develop small businesses, supported by an infrastructure of affordable space and  a network of complementary crafts and businesses; that is what hubs are all about.

That is sustainability. That is what the Presumption in Favour of Sustainable Development quoted in the National Planning Policy Framework is all about. It is certainly not about banging up a few more houses on every available tired industrial site, extracting some small penalty, or is it a bribe, ostensibly for the benefit of the community, which will disappear into some distant pot.

Amongst the site owners, are long standing businesses that have prospered in Faversham, but who, due to changes in the commercial opportunities, have been left with sites that need reviving; they are not developers themselves, and generally have been in no hurry to sell off to speculators. It is to these owners that we should turn, in humility, and ask for their support for the future of the Creek as a thriving busy waterway, with relevant businesses, and community areas.

As Arthur reminds us, Henry Hatch gave his fortune to the benefit of the Town and Creek; we must make sure that we can build on that legacy.

R. Telford

Griff Rhys Jones visits the Purifier

Griff Rhys Jones visited the Purifier on Friday afternoon as part of his Kent tour for Civic Voice [see previous post], looking at local projects and meeting volunteers; He spent the morning at the Faversham Society and then came down to the Purifier. He was shown the progress on renovating the building, and introduced to the first business to take space there – the Blockmaker Colin Frake, and shown the plans for using the yacht Mayhi as the basis for the Apprentice scheme.

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Later, he gave an invigorating speech in his inimitable style which was well received. He was obviously familiar with all the problems encountered by organisations attempting to restore and preserve with too few funds and overcoming the hurdles of development and planning.

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Gryff then circulated and met members and volunteers from the Trust .

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STANDARD QUAY STORY

THE WAY IT WAS IN HISTORY

5_HISTORY S.QUAY

THE WAY IT WAS UNTIL 2011

STANDARD QUAY

THE WAY IT WAS PLANNED – AND STILL COULD BE

10_SQ VISION

THE WAY IT IS PLANNED – AS A CAR PARK

SQ Parking Drg-9609256