Category Archives: Neighbourhood Plan

Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan

The Trust’s Regeneration Plan for the Basin in 2013

The Regeneration Plan for Faversham Creek Basin

has not really changed since 2013

Read how we saw the Bridge then

Summary

Since 2011 the Faversham Creek Trust has been working towards a regeneration plan that focuses on the upper part of Faversham Creek above the Brents Swing Bridge. The plan was first submitted to the Local Plan forum of the Creek Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group in November 2012. What appears here is a brief overview, revised for submission to the Faversham Town Council in November 2013.

We believe there is a unique opportunity for change 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.

The plan will be a team effort, with combined effort from several stakeholders including a charitable trust, a community association, identified private investors, and local and regional authorities.

The key elements

1. The regeneration of Ordnance Wharf as a single-storey marine workshop with office 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 Nov13

2. The existing 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 Nov13

3. The restoration of the BMM Weston Creek frontage outside the existing car park with the co- operation of the owner, on a long lease in exchange for the restoration cost. The resulting wharf (with back filling of a new piled frontage from the waterside) will provide moorings for up to ten sailing barges and smacks and a green amenity space along the current footpath. A private company will meet the cost of the operation to commence when the KCC has replaced the current swing bridge.

Basin drawings 1 Ben White Nov13

4. The replacement of the existing swing bridge by a new, opening bridge – by Kent County Council as a collaborative project in partnership with the Borough Council and the Town Council.

5. The repair or replacement of the sluice gates by Medway Ports and their subsequent management and dredging by the Faversham Creek Trust under licence by the authority.

The Lifting Bridge opening at High Tide for an awaiting barge, with another waiting to come out.Basin drawings 4 Ben White Nov13

These objectives are in line with feedback received from the May 2012 Creek Neighbourhood Plan exhibition and the June 2013 exhibition, and also with feedback from the Urban Initiatives consultation in 2009. They conform to Neighbourhood Plan objectives 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 13, 15.

The benefits

The benefits arising from the regeneration are:

  1. Economic: the generation of new business turnover in marine workshops, training school and mooring fees, with a total annual value of £425,000 excluding indirect benefits.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 repaired or replaced sluice 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

We envisage that construction could begin in 2015, preceded by a planning application in 2014. The continued commitment of the KCC to a working bridge to the basin and confirmation of the existing zoning are key conditions to the success of the plan.

Board of Trustees, Faversham Creek Trust – 25 November 2013

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SWAN QUAY Judicial Review Decision

We are very pleased to pass on the news that we have just received. Today the decision of the Judicial Review into Swan Quay was announced, and Mr Justice Dove dismissed the case of the applicant.
The judgement enables Swale Borough Council to take the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan to referendum, with no housing on Swan Quay. If the people of Faversham vote to accept the referendum, Swale Borough Council will release their contribution of £200,000 towards the new Swing Bridge, and the Swing Bridge construction will be able to go ahead.
The full judgement is shown below.

“London’s High Court ruled today on the planning future of the historic Swan Quay at Faversham.

Mr Justice Dove, one of the country’s top judges, dismissed a challenge by developers to a planning inspector’s ruling which blocked residential development at the creek.

The inspector’s decision came after leading conservation group, Historic England and local campaigners argued that residential development would lead to “gentrification” of the area, be “harmful to the historic character of Faversham Creek” and hit small business owners locally.

Swan Quay LLP’s lawyers argued that the inspector was not entitled to take the stance he did in a bid to protect the area from “gentrification” through residential redevelopment.

The inspector had been called in to approve the development plan for the area. He approved it but sided with the conservationists and wrote in the ban on residential development.

The plan had been due to go to a public referendum in October, but the action taken by the land owners has thrown the referendum timetable into disarray.

Swan Quay had argued when the case was heard earlier this month that a neighbourhood development plan expressly banning residential development on the site was unlawful.

However, Mr Justice Dove ruled today that the inspector had explained his reasons for imposing the ban, and held that the inspector’s decision had been a clear exercise of “planning judgment”.

He refused Swan Quay’s request for the ban on residential development to be removed from the development plan before it goes to a local referendum.

The judge said that the inspector had “fully explained” his reasons, which included concerns about potential loss of employment land at Swan Quay and increased residential development being “harmful to the historic character of the Creek”.

He said that while the term “gentrification” was not an official planning use term, it did not need to be. The inspector could take into account its meaning as “erosion” of traditional uses by the introduction of “historically unprecedented and inconsistent use that would bring with it a different aesthetic which would harm the historic character”.

Neighbourhood Plan Consultation Ends Monday 22nd

The Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan is in its final stage of Statutory Consultation before being presented to the Independent Examiner.

The consultation ends at 5 p.m. on Monday, 22 December 2014.

You can read the Submission Plan, Consultation Statement and Basic Condition Statement online through Swale Borough Council’s Website:

http://favershamcreektrust.us2.list-manage2.com/track/click?u=2c99a8cc80d59b8ac0435b826&id=4fee3b0e04&e=91931253db

Faversham Creek Trust and the Brents Community Association are jointly submitting a detailed document, which you can read here: 

http://favershamcreektrust.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=2c99a8cc80d59b8ac0435b826&id=e8c70cf65a&e=91931253db

We are not opposed to a Neighbourhood Plan for this area. We have always tried to work with the statutory bodies to achieve a plan that will truly benefit the Creek and the town, and will have the support of the community. We fear that the Plan that has been submitted would not deliver the kind of regeneration of the Creek that our members and many other members of the community have said they would like to see.

Our response addresses many procedural and statutory deficiencies in the way that the plan has been compiled. A major defect is that the opinions and constructive suggestions from members of our two organisations and many other people in the community have been largely ignored. The Basic Conditions Statement which accompanies the Plan claims ‘That the plan has broad local support from the residents, notwithstanding specific objections to certain aspects.’ Yet in the official consultation, under 30% of respondents said that they agreed with the plan as it stands.

The points under contention have not been changed. If you were one of the 70% who said they did not agree with the plan, now is the time to tell them again that you disagree.

For example, on Ordnance Wharf, the Consultation Statement says there was ‘overwhelming support for Option B’ (non-residential use). Yet the Submission Plan allows residential use on this site. People’s strong views on other sites, particularly Swan Quay and Standard Quay, have also been ignored.

Please either send your own comments on this Submission Plan, and/or endorse our document (the link is above) if you agree with the points that we make.

Email:   planningpolicy@swale.gov.uk

or write to the Planning Policy Manager at Swale Borough Council.

Your comments must be received by Monday, 22 December at 5 p.m.

Thank you for your support.

ORDNANCE WHARF AND THE CREEK NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN

EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF THE TOWN COUNCIL

MONDAY 13th 7pm QE SCHOOL

Many of you will know that at the meeting last Tuesday, the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group signed off the final draft of the Creek Neighbourhood Plan. It is better than the original but there are some flaws, the most crucial being that residential development on Ordnance Wharf is still permitted.

Ordnance Wharf stands at the focal point of the Creek Basin where the centre of the marine hub will be when the bridge opens. A residential element would contribute little to the housing shortage and would severely hamper the Purifier project. The Council’s consultant appears to believe that housing, a community centre, and shipbuilding can all be accommodated on one small site, and seems not to recognise that a designation that permits housing will raise the commercial value of the land to a level that effectively prices out all other uses.

So as it stands, the Plan puts much of the work carried out by volunteers on the project, together with the contributions of well-wishers throughout the Town, at risk. Would it not be better if the Council supported their efforts? What would it cost them to amend the designation for one site?

The Mayor has called an Extraordinary Meeting of the Town Council to approve the Plan. It will take place at 7 pm on Monday 13 October at the Queen Elizabeth grammar School. I know we all have other things to do, but this time the whole Town Council will be involved, and they can’t be wholly insensitive to the implications of what is being proposed.

The meeting will also consider the question of an opening bridge, which could unlock the potential of the Basin and increase the flow of private investment into the project. We don’t know what the Mayor is going to propose and it could be vital.

It is important that as many people as possible attend this meeting, to ensure that the Town Council understand that the issues are important to a broad cross-section of the residents of Faversham, regardless of their particular views.

Chris Wright  –  Chairman Faversham Creek Trust

Extraordinary Town Council Mtg at QE Monday 13th 7pm

This meeting is an Extraordinary meeting of the Faversham Town Council, at

the QE School, not the Guildhall

To consider the minutes of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group meetings held on 25 September and 7 October and its recommendations for the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan (minutes of 25 September attached; draft Plan and minutes of 7 October to follow).

To consider the future of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.

To consider the Creek Bridge.

The revised Draft Plan is on the previous post.

Tuesday’s Neighbourhood Plan Public Meeting at QE School

The venue for the NP meeting is now at the QE School.

The following revised documents are available for review, and will be discussed at that meeting.

7 October 2014 Agenda

119_Q_141005_Consultation-Statement_DRAFT

119_Q_141005_Revised-Plan_DRAFT

119_D_141005_Morrison-ShepherdNeame_DRAFT.JPG119_D_141005_Morrison-ShepherdNeame_DRAFT

 

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