Creek Consortium – it’s unquestionable!

Thursday 28 March: both the Faversham Times and the Faversham News report on a rather lively AGM of the Faversham Creek Consortium – though possibly not lively enough to require police intervention, as reported in the News. We sincerely hope that Mike Cosgrove will be able to confirm that his opening remark about needing a police presence to maintain public order was not meant to be taken seriously.

Coverage of critical questions about the Neighbourhood Plan – and about consultation in general – is unfortunately overshadowed by reporting on the debate about the ZF5 footpath, which was summarily cut short. As well as denying residents a right of reply, this also deprived other Consortium members of the final question-and-answer session they had been promised – which rather underlines the problem about consultation.

Were you at the meeting? What do you think?

2 thoughts on “Creek Consortium – it’s unquestionable!

  1. Nathalie Banaigs

    I was at this meeting and I witnessed a worrying lack of democracy and contempt for other opinions to be expressed. I wasn’t alone to feel that way, with other calling the event a disgrace. On one occasion, comments from members of the audience were disregarded; on another occasion their requests to speak were ignored.
    An important point to make here is that it is the very people concerned by what was – in my view wrongly – presented (footpath / Faversham Reach) that were simply not allowed to speak, not given a chance to respond about something happening on their own property. There were at least 4 of them.

    We have democracy in this country because people fought and died for it over the past centuries. Not all countries have succeeded in their fight, so we have to value what has been achieved here. Today – it is our ancestors’ legacy – we do have this precious right that too many take for granted: we can have a say, we can tell the authorities what we want and we can choose who represents and leads us. This applies to our local area as well as to a national level. The place we live in can be shaped by us, the residents, if we care sharing our views. It is important to get involved, it is important to say what you agree with and what you don’t agree with, it is such an important point to realise. It does matter very much indeed. We – the people of Faversham – have a voice. There might be different ones but they must all be heard. If not, others will decide for us, things will be lost and there won’t be a way back.

    The price of democracy is that you may face consequences that are not what you wish, but that is the price to pay.
    As Voltaire famously said: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

    1. Robert Telford

      This is the heart of the issue. We are asking for inclusion, involvement, full and open consultation and so on, but it is up to the many, not us the few, to take advantage of the few available opportunities to do that.

      Ironically, whether we like it or not, and we should in principal, the whole basis of the new planning regime, under the localism movement, now the law, is the reinforcement of ground up involvement of people, everyone. It is described in some detail on government websites.

      So we must encourage everyone to join in the debate, especially where it appears that some of the peoples’ representatives that should be encouraging this process, do not appear to understand it themselves, nor the need for credibility through public support for it.

      It may be that it was assumed that the previous consultations with ”Stakeholders’ resulting in the Urban Initiatives Report, and the subsequent Fullwood Report that reinforced the views of the landowners and developers, already covered that part of the consultation process. If so, that assumption was not made clear, and has certainly not been accepted by many people. It deserved a fresh public consultation from the start.

      I think that message has been understood now, with a recent exception, and will be acted upon; the NP schedule has been delayed to include further consultation, and alternative methods of consultation are being arranged.

      However, it is still up to the many to fully exploit these opportunities, and it is imperative that the NP Team proactively assist the many to do that, otherwise there may be a nasty shock at referendum time.

      Lower Halstow recently conducted a village referendum to resolve the dispute about whether the Barge Westmoreland should be allowed into the dock to be restored; a major project like Cambria, and following on from the Edith May, completed there 2 years ago.

      The Parish Council made the decision, without consultation or debate, claiming to represent the silent majority. They were defeated 2 to 1 on a 50% turnout.


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