A new group has formed to give people living and working in the Brents area a voice in the development of the Neighbourhood Plan and other local issues. At the inaugural meeting of the Brents Community Association on September 3, Angie Simmons – landlady of the local pub, the Brents Tavern – was elected as Chair, and Brenda Chester, a long-time resident on the North Preston estate, was elected as the association’s representative on the Neighbourhood Plan steering group.
The idea was triggered by comments that Angie Simmons was hearing from local people. The creek was very important to them, probably more so than in any other part of the town, but they were concerned about its future and didn’t feel they had been consulted or know how to get involved. When the Town Council agreed to expand the steering group, it was suggested that various organisations might be invited to join, but there was no mention of local residents. So people on the Brents got together to set up the new association, and asked for a place on the steering group.
At the first meeting of the expanded steering group, on September 12, Brenda Chester itemised the priorities expressed by the people she was representing: “We want the Creek treated in the Plan as a waterway and not as a residential street, with full maritime activity, and Standard Quay as a boat repair/ restoration and mooring quay, which would provide skills training and job opportunities for local people; we do not want more housing on the creekside (we need affordable housing); we are concerned about flood risk; we want to see open public spaces, free access to the waterfront, natural areas and wildlife; we want to see facilities on the creek for local people, including a community boatyard with activities for young people and youth groups; we would like to see visitor facilities – public toilets, showers, and better signage and information for people arriving by boat. In addition, there is a need for community facilities and a meeting place, and it was suggested that the disused church could be an ideal site. The Association supports a new opening bridge, and the work the Faversham Creek Trust is doing at the Purifier building.”
The Brents Community Association will continue to consult with members, and is working to get more local people involved. The next public meeting will be at the Brents Tavern at 7:30pm on Tuesday 8 October. There is also an ideas box in the pub and an email address for anyone wanting to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org