New year – new visions, or more of the same?

Just three weeks (and a bit) into 2014, and already lots going on down by the Creek.

On Standard Quay, Michael White lost his appeal against refusal of planning permission for turning the big black shed into a restaurant, but he says (according to the Faversham Times): “This is not the end. We will certainly be moving forward. It can’t be that the building has no use and is left to rot. It needs to be used and we need to find another use for it – that’s the next step.”

Let’s see now, can anyone help him out here? What other activities could the building be used for? Any ideas?

Also on Standard Quay, the owner of the business trading from the Baltic House building complains there is a personal vendetta against her and doesn’t see why her wine bar is a problem, especially as there are so many other non-maritime businesses there. She says people moor their boats and drink gin and tonics in St Tropez, so why not in Faversham?

The retrospective planning application for the wine bar is likely to go before Swale Borough Council’s planning committee on 13 February.

The car wash business at the former transport depot adjacent to Standard Quay continues to operate, even though it was legally required to close by 23 December last year, following the dismissal three months earlier of an appeal against refusal of yet another retrospective planning application. Swale Borough Council is reportedly taking legal action – but meanwhile a new application has gone in, this time for “change of use for part of existing transport depot to hand carwash plus construction of canopy to washing area” (application SW/13/1529, case 24724, any comments need to be in by 13 February).

On Ordnance Wharf there is digging going on – escape tunnel? shale gas exploration? digging for victory? (Answers on a postcard, please.)

The Neighbourhood Plan ploughs on, with two new working groups: one putting together a first draft of the actual plan, and another developing a programme for the next consultation, probably in late spring. The Faversham Creek Trust has put forward a business plan for the basin, and the Brents Community Association is developing its proposal for a community centre and boatyard. An independent Creek business plan, arguing the economic case for the Creek as an active maritime hub rather than a residential dormitory estate, has been carried out for Faversham Town Council – the outcome is imminent, but no-one yet knows if or how this may influence the plan.

If anyone has any questions about flood risk, representatives from the Environment Agency are due to attend the Neighbourhood Plan steering group meeting on 4 February.

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