TIARA for Standard Quay

Following its report on reactions to Swale councillors giving the go-ahead for the Baltic House wine bar, the Faversham News invited contributions to the debate on the future of Standard Quay. This is one of them:

Dear Editor

Your article (Activists’ disgust at council green light for quay bar) unfortunately repeated the description of me as the ‘former owner of Standard Quay’. I can assure you that had I or any of the former directors of Standard Quay (Faversham) Ltd had the opportunity to buy the Quay, we would have done so. Unfortunately, it was bought from under us in 2003 at an inflated price by Quayside Properties (QP) who paid £1.4 million for the whole site (including the the grade II listed Quay buildings, Bus depot and grade 1 listed warehouse).

QP at the time was listed at Companies House as being a company for the development and sale of land. QP issued an immediate notice to quit to the boatyard management company with no negotiation based on a clause in our lease which justified this on the grounds of their intention to redevelop the site. We fought off this threat for the subsequent 8 years refusing to give in to unremitting pressure such as claims for huge rent increases and allegations of neglect of the buildings. QP won one court case against us which argued that the sadly woolly wording of our lease and the smudgy lines on the maps did not allow us to use the Quay land area beyond a very narrow strip alongside the water. Nevertheless, we struggled on at huge legal expense for another year and a half until the end of the lease in summer 2011 when all the buildings were emptied of the boatbuilders, the apprentices, the marine block making and the sail and rigging loft.

Now labelled ‘activists’ and ‘protestors’ I would be grateful if occasionally it could be remembered that before 2011 we were positive contributors to a vibrant Creekside maritime environment at the Quay and demonstrated for eighteen years that There Is Another Realistic Alternative to just becoming yet another town dependent on kitsch and the crumbs dropped from the table of champagne diners. Faversham Creek is a working asset for a working town. Given just a little bit of guts and imagination we could still keep it and stop those who seek to simply profit from what they see as under-priced land ripe for their own gain.

Sue Cooper

If you have something to add to the debate, you can add a comment here or write to the Faversham News (favershamnews@thekmgroup.co.uk).

3 thoughts on “TIARA for Standard Quay

  1. David Walker

    I can only agree with the above comment. How Swale councillors could have acted in the way they appear to have done is beyond comprehension. Is there another way in which it can be challenged?

  2. Visions of a Creek Post author

    Another letter on the same subject:

    Dear Editor,

    I am the Director of Flash of Splendour, a national organisation specialising in groundbreaking collaborative educational and heritage projects.

    With our partners, the Royal Geographical Society (who are passionate about the Creek as a traditional maritime heritage environment, producing a recent Creekside walk; see http://www.discoveringbritain.org) and Exeter University, we have recently been awarded a major Heritage Lottery grant for our Children’s Poly-Olbion project focusing on 17th century cartography, poetry and drama.

    In relation to Standard Quay, we have already offered to fund an annual scholarship, in the name of Dr Ronald Avery (1915-1996), the Faversham-born Naval Historian and D-Day Naval Strategist, to enable young people to train in traditional maritime skills at the Purifier Building and would be very keen to work with local people, groups and Swale Council to secure funding and investment for further training, jobs and opportunities within a sustainable maritime heritage context.

    However, we have been horrified and deeply saddened by recent planning decisions and unilateral, exclusionary strategic planning, which seem to be threatening the survival of Standard Quay and Faversham as one of England’s most vitally important maritime heritage sites. The slew of retrogressive approvals for commercial ventures without community benefit is particularly worrying.

    Outside cultural agencies and investors like us want to work with Faversham towards a real, sustainable future for the town, based on traditional maritime business, education and engaged, intelligent tourism, but are being put off by seemingly out-of-control, short-sighted planning decisions that are threatening an historical maritime environment that is treasured on an international level, but not, it seems, by local administrators.

    Yours sincerely,

    Anne Louise Avery

  3. Phil Stein

    Nice one; must be on the record, not buried away.
    No point in putting such to Fat-Boy Pickles and his [arguably] less corpulent cronies right now.
    Just await 2015 ‘top’ ‘selections’ – with just as much resistance as it needs.
    This sort of shit starts at the ‘top’ – effluence and recent floods put things in our favour.


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