Category Archives: Steering Group

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.

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The Truth about the NPPF

A STATEMENT FROM THE FAVERSHAM CREEK TRUST AND THE BRENTS COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION

In a letter to the Faversham News about the Neighbourhood Plan (June 12), steering group chairman Nigel Kay complained that people were given misleading information about what is possible and what is not.

Unfortunately, the information he himself provided was misleading.

DELIVERABILITY

Before it is allowed to go to a referendum, the Plan will have to be approved by an independent examiner. Mr Kay says that alternative proposals cannot be considered by the steering group without business plans and financial information, because theses will be required by the examiner as evidence that the Plan is deliverable.

This is not correct. A study of successful neighbourhood plans shows that examiners do not ask for such evidence, nor are they entitled to do so. “The legislation does not permit me to examine the soundness or quality of the plan,” says one of them. (And if Mr Kay truly believes that such evidence is necessary, why has he not demanded it for all the “official” proposals? There is much less information on those in the public domain than there is on alternative options.)

WHAT THE NPPF SAYS

This is how the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), paragraph 173, explains deliverability: “The sites and the scale of development identified in the plan should not be subject to such a scale of obligations and policy burdens that their ability to be delivered viably is threatened.”

So, for example, a plan may have policies on affordable housing quotas, or sustainable building standards, or financial contributions that developers have to pay: if these are too demanding, it could be deemed undeliverable.

VIABILITY

There is a distinction between:

(a) viability in the context of MAKING a plan, which is what concerns us now. This applies to the plan as a whole rather than individual sites: in principle, the policies should not hinder the kind of development that would be needed to achieve the desired outcome – eg, by imposing conditions that would make development so difficult or expensive that it would be unlikely to happen), and

(b) viability in the context of USING a plan, which is what happens when a specific planning application is made for a particular site: in practice, if the development is in general accordance with the plan but policy conditions make it impossible for a “reasonable” landowner/developer to make a fair return by current market standards, those conditions may be relaxed – for example, developers may be allowed a lower proportion of affordable housing than is laid down in the plan.

LANDOWNER AGREEMENT

Independent examiners of Neighbourhood Plans do not demand agreement from each individual landowner. Some neighbourhood plans have barely consulted landowners at all; the examiner of the plan for Thame (Oxfordshire) points out that there is no statutory requirement to do so. Some plans that were actively opposed by landowners and developers have nevertheless succeeded at examination – and, in the case of Tattenhall (Cheshire), at a subsequent judicial inquiry.

Examiners have accepted that delivery may involve future negotiations with landowners during the lifetime of the plan. For example, the plan for Kirdford (West Sussex) has a 15-year table showing timescales and priorities and what actions will be needed at various stages, including landowner negotiations.

PLAN PERIOD

The Faversham Creek plan has no such sense of timescale. The staging of delivery has never been discussed. It doesn’t even say what period it’s meant to cover, though this is a legal requirement (section 38B of the 2004 Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act) and examiners can get quite stroppy if it’s left out.

Without timescales it’s impossible to judge feasibility. Something that might be not be achievable in five years may well be achievable in ten or fifteen.

MISINFORMATION?

Mr Kay and some other members of the steering group frequently assert that those proposing alternative ideas for the Creek are an unrepresentative and ill-informed minority who do not understand the realities of neighbourhood planning.

In fact, these alternative ideas are in line with the majority views expressed at public consultations, and their proponents have done a great deal of research into the rules and regulations, and to what is happening in practice with neighbourhood plans elsewhere (there are lots of them in progress and, at the time of writing, 17 have succeeded at referendum).

The Faversham Creek Trust’s steering group representative took the trouble to attend a three-day planning camp to understand more about the process – how many other steering group members have shown such commitment? Others have studied successful plans and their examiners’ reports to see what can be learned from them. They are all different, but there are common themes.

One thing examiners consistently look for is evidence that there has been open and meaningful community engagement and properly considered responses to consultation feedback.

It will be interesting to see their reaction to the Faversham Creek Plan.

 

How to have your say on the future of Faversham Creek

The Town Council’s Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan has reached the Consultation Stage of the Pre-Submission Draft Plan. This is the opportunity for every resident in Faversham to have their say about the future development of many sites along the Creek.

The Town Council has an exhibition this Saturday afternoon, 7 June, from 1.30 pm to 5.30 pm in the Assembly Rooms, Preston Street. They are also holding a drop-in event at The Vaults in Preston Street on Wednesday, 11 June from 7 pm to 10 pm, and a Market Stall on Saturday, 21 June from 10 am to 4 pm. We encourage you to visit one of these events and study the Draft Plan.

You can see the printed draft plan at the Library or by contacting the Town Clerk, and also online at http://favershamcreekneighbourhoodplan.org.uk/consultation/
You will find a link to the Town Council’s questionnaire here too, and we urge you to fill it in with your views before the deadline of 5 pm on Monday 30 June.

We have a different vision for the Creek, which will regenerate our maritime heritage as well as providing many of the other things that the town needs, including footpaths, community facilities and housing. We have joined with the Brents Community Association and BMM Weston to create an exhibition which shows some of these ideas.

Many members of Faversham Creek Trust were among the 506 people who came to our Private and Public Exhibitions last Friday and Saturday in the Alexander Centre, and many contributed to the 281 completed questionnaires which will enable us to analyse your views and wishes. We will publish the results once the consultation period ends.

You can see some of the responses to our exhibition in this video on Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuQLe1EaoIc

For those of you who were not able to come last weekend, we have moved our exhibition to the Purifier Building in Morrisons car park, and we are opening it to the public every Saturday morning in June from 10 am to 1 pm. Please come, and bring your friends, family and neighbours!

We will be happy to arrange special visits at other times for groups of people who cannot come on a Saturday morning, for example school groups or local business owners. Please email us ( favershamcreektrust@yahoo.co.uk ) with a phone contact and we will call you to arrange a suitable time and date.

Our exhibition displays some ideas about how the maritime heritage of the Royal Port of Faversham could be revived and enhanced, with space for repairing and restoring traditional vessels, moorings and storage space for boats. We plan to dredge the Basin (and continue dredging the Creek), and have an opening bridge with gates and sluices to control the water flow again. We will restore the wharves alongside BMM Weston for moorings and boat repairs.

Our vision includes workshops, skilled jobs, education and training, community facilities, a ‘living museum’, and the opportunity to make our town a much greater attraction for visitors who will bring money to the town. It also includes almost as many residential units as the Town Council’s plan, but ours will be homes to suit local people, mainly houses rather than apartments, with a large percentage of them being affordable – and they will not be on the flood plain beside the Creek, so they will not prevent the revival of our maritime heritage.

If you care about the future of Faversham, how it will look and feel for your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, please take the time to visit the exhibitions and make your views known by completing the Town Council’s questionnaire, and also ours.

You can find most of the information displayed in our exhibition on this website:

http://favershamcreekalliance.com/info.pdf

and complete our questionnaire online here:

http://surveymonkey.com/s/J3C2TNB

You can complete our survey from the link on this website, or print it and deliver it or post it to:

The Purifier Building
Morrisons Wharf
Faversham
ME13 7DY

Don’t miss this chance to shape the future of our Creek and our town for generations yet to come.

Neighbourhood Plan Public Consultation – 19th May – 30th June 2014

The consultation on the pre-submission draft of the Town Council’s Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan starts today (19 May) and runs for six weeks until 30 June.

The plan, with details of consultation events and how to respond, can be found here.

http://favershamcreekneighbourhoodplan.org.uk/consultation/

It is vital to the future of the Creek that everyone makes the effort to look at the proposals and complete the Survey. This is the last chance to affect the outcome of the Neighbourhood Plan.

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.

Good Reason to go to the Council Meeting Monday 7th

At its meeting on 25 March, the steering group voted to approve a first draft of the Neighbourhood Plan which, for a small number of sites (Ordnance Wharf, the Oil Depot and the Coach Depot) included alternative options – either predominantly housing, as proposed by the respective landowners/developers and supported by the steering group majority, or industrial/training/community use as proposed in the Business Case and by the Faversham Creek Trust and the Brents Community Association, in line with feedback from previous consultations. Discussion of alternative options for Swan Quay was deferred until the following meeting on 1 April.

At the April 1 meeting, diverging from the published agenda, steering group member Andrew Osborne proposed, seconded by Councillor Mike Cosgrove, that all decisions to include alternative options for site uses should be overturned. Votes were taken site-by-site and all alternatives were deleted except for Ordnance Wharf.

Mr Osborne said it would be open to anyone to put forward alternative proposals during the consultation process.

The revised draft of the Neighbourhood Plan will be put before Faversham Town Council for approval at its next meeting on Monday 7 April. There will be an opportunity for questions from the public before the meeting.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OPPORTUNITY TO ASK WHY THEY WENT THROUGH THE 25 MARCH CHARADE AND WHAT POSSIBILITY IS THERE OF ALTERNATIVES TO THE DRAFT PLAN BEING ACCEPTED AT THE NEXT CONSULTATION, GIVEN THE VOTING RECORD OF THE STEERING GROUP.

The Reconvened Town Council Meeting is now Monday 28th 7pm at the Alexander Centre

The re-convened Town Council meeting to discuss the Land Uses recommendations by the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group is set as below.

The Alexander Centre will accommodate 250 people; this is your opportunity, again, to show your interest in this issue.

You will notice that the Mayor will allow 30 minutes for registered electors to put questions to the council, before the meeting begins.

FTC mtg FCNPSG 28oct

FTC mtg FCNPSG 28oct