[Moderator’s note: we do our best to report impartially but, honestly, there are times when it’s just not humanly possible. Sorry.]
It was unanimously agreed that representatives of the Faversham Society, FATA (Faversham Area Tourism Association) and the local traders’ group should be invited to join the steering group [note: the group already includes a leading member of the Faversham Society].
Mike Cosgrove wanted Shepherd Neame to be invited on the grounds that their property might be affected by the bridge [note: this has nothing to do with the steering group]. There was no agreement on this and it was referred back to the Town Council.
The Faversham Enterprise Partnership had apparently declined an invitation to join, but it was suggested that it might be asked again.
There was a discussion about having a representative from the Brents Industrial Estate, and it was suggested that they could make a representation if they wanted to be included.
The Faversham Creek Trust
It was grudgingly acknowledged that the Trust might be considered. Mike Cosgrove incorrectly described it as a landowner and argued [in defiance of any known logic] that if it was to be admitted to the steering group, there should also be a representative of other landowners. Mike Henderson disagreed, saying that if landowners were included it would be difficult to get an objective outcome.
When it came to the vote, Andrew Osborne insisted that the Trust should only be allowed to join if there was also a landowner representative.
This was agreed.
In the open session before the meeting, a member of the public, Teresa Luck, told the group that residents on the Brents side of the creek were setting up a Community Forum, and requested that they should be represented on the steering group.
Mrs Luck was treated with gross disrespect by Nigel Kay, who throughout the meeting admonished members of the public as though they were naughty children.
The idea of residents wanting to be represented had clearly not occurred to any of the steering group and seemed unwelcome to some. Mike Cosgrove questioned the membership and constitution of the Forum. Mike Henderson said this was not helpful and the steering group should welcome residents’ representatives from both sides of the creek. John Sell agreed, and said there should be a presumption of openness.
It was eventually agreed that there should be a representative from the Brents Community Forum, even if it didn’t yet have a constitution, and that the Abbey Street and Belvedere Road residents’ associations should be invited to put forward a joint representative for their side of the creek.
Natalie Earl, noting that the steering group, and also the majority of respondents to the June consultation, tended towards the mature end of the spectrum, suggested that some younger people should be involved. There was also discussion of Amicus Horizon housing association and schools. It was noted that these groups may be represented within the Brents Community Forum.
The planning consultant, Tony Fullwood, has resigned, following the results of the public consultation. A brief is to be drawn up for the recruitment of a replacement. There is some uncertainly over future funding by Swale Borough Council, and some debate about the level of influence exerted by Swale upon the plan.
No other changes to the existing membership were proposed.
There was some discussion of when and how new members should join the group. Mike Cosgrove suggested that there should be an induction session for new members to bring them up to speed, because it was all very complicated.
Something was probably agreed but, frankly, most of us had lost the will to live by this stage.