This blog was launched in 2013 amid growing concerns about the future of Faversham Creek. Three years on, we’re still talking about the Creek and what it means to the town. But things are moving on.
The independent examiner of the controversial Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan concluded that it did not meet the legal requirements as it stood, but could do so if a number of modifications were made. These modifications addressed some of the major concerns of those who had questioned the original plan, particularly in terms of preserving maritime heritage and employment. The modified plan can now go forward to referendum, with a provisional date of 20 October 2016 – just over five years since the first meeting of the plan’s steering group, making this possibly the longest gestation for any neighbourhood plan.
UPDATE: The gestation period will now be even longer, since a dissatisfied landowner has applied for permission to bring a judicial review. Swale Borough Council is defending the claim, and is deferring the referendum until the outcome is known.
Meanwhile, a lot of practical progress has been made. After years of stalemate, a group led by Kent County Council is getting on with the project to replace the Creek bridge. A fundraising campaign by local community groups raised £125,000 to fill the gap between the cost of an opening bridge and what the local authorities said they may be willing to pay – a powerful demonstration of popular enthusiasm for an opening bridge and bringing the Creek basin back to life.
Shipwright training is in progress at the Purifier Building, along with other maritime activities. The Faversham Creek Navigation Company has been set up for maintenance dredging, and has been working on the basin, though this has stopped for the summer to avoid harm to nesting birds. The Environment Agency, KCC, Swale and Southern Water are working on flooding and drainage problems. And Faversham’s new mayor, Shiel Campbell, has emphasised the value of the Creek to the town, and has made the Faversham Creek Trust the official mayor’s charity.
This is not the end of the story, but it may be the start of a new chapter.
This website is an independent initiative by Faversham residents. It is not associated with any organisation and is open to comment from anyone with an interest in the Creek, whatever their views.
In addition to the website, a film Visions of a Creek was produced in 2013, based on interviews with members of the public who were concerned about what was happening with the Creek, in particular the development of the Neighbourhood Plan. Some clips can be seen on the website. The film had four free public showings at various community venues and is available on DVD. It was accused of “inaccuracies” by some of those associated with the development of the Neighbourhood Plan, but no such inaccuracies have ever been substantiated.