There have been suggestions from a number of people that Swale Borough Council should invoke Compulsory Purchase Orders for Standard Quay and other sensitive waterfront sites along the creek – and suggestions from others that this is a ridiculous idea which Swale would not dream of considering in the current economic climate.
Is it really so ridiculous?
These are small sites. Swale has sizeable reserves. And councillors who recently awarded themselves a generous pay rise are clearly not too anxious about the borough’s finances.
Instead of viewing the CPO suggestion negatively as a drain on resources, there is a strong case for seeing it as an investment in the future of Faversham – or, at the very least, an insurance policy against the cost to Swale of expensive planning battles in the future. We’re told that a Neighbourhood Plan will protect us from that sort of thing, but that won’t be in place for another year – and anyway, isn’t this what the 2008 Local Plan was supposed to do? If that plan can be so easily overruled, then why should we have any confidence in this one? Who’s to say it won’t be swept away in its turn, in the next raft of planning legislation?