Category Archives: Standard Quay

Car wash planning refusal goes to appeal

An appeal (15/500077/REF) has been lodged with the Planning Inspectorate against Swale Borough Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for a car wash on the former Transport Depot site at Standard Quay. There will not be a hearing; the appeal will be determined on the basis of written representations.

Comments and/or representations already received in relation to this application have been forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate for consideration. Anyone who wants to add to, modify or withdraw their previous representations can contact the Planning Inspectorate by email to: or in writing to 10B Temple Quay House,2 The Square,Temple Quay,Bristol,BS1 6PN. The closing date is 7 JULY 2015.

The Planning Inspectorate’s “Guide to taking part in planning appeals” booklet is available free of charge from the Planning Portal at

The application can be seen here.


Standard Quay restaurant application – again

The latest planning application for Building 1 on Standard Quay, for change of use to a restaurant, goes before Swale Borough Council’s planning committee on Thursday 12 March. The planning officer’s report to the committee recommends refusal, largely on the grounds that the re-application is not significantly different from the previous one which was turned down by a planning inspector on appeal. The report says the application is contrary to the planning inspector’s decision and to more recent statements by English Heritage in its response to the Neighbourhood Plan.

Despite the unequivocal recommendation of refusal, the application has been referred to the planning committee on the instruction of the Cabinet Member for Planning, Cllr. Gerry Lewin.





Paper promises

From; Sue Cooper

At the meeting of Swale Borough Council’s Planning Committee on Thursday 30 October, where permission was granted to rubber stamp the building works at Baltic House and grant planning permission again despite ongoing enforcement matters (presumably the illegal work without planning permission or listed building consent to connect to mains drainage), another big issue for Swale was discussed which is of great relevance to the thinking behind our developer led Neighbourhood Plan.

The prime reason for allowing increases in land values is so that development cash can be injected into infrastructure projects for the Creek? Is that right? We all know that is tosh because any sums thought of in the first place would only ever be enough to fund cosmetics such as neat moorings, tidy paths and surfacing with maybe a mooring post or two and a few affordable houses.  Well, if the negotiations with the Paper Mill site in Sittingbourne are anything to go by this is pie in the sky in an improbable galaxy way beyond our properly researched and evidence-based hopes for a working creek.

The excitingly named Essential Land are negotiating and Swale are in a very very weak position and are having to agree to vast reductions in their promises. There are now only 5 affordable units (3% of the total), they are asking to be excused from education contributions, rescheduling landscaping, renegotiating underpasses, and – as for the heritage bits, well that was not apparently even worth discussing as the other losses outweigh them – arguing that their profit levels forecast in 2012 to be at a level which would allow all this loveliness have dropped below the 20% of final sale value that they are apparently entitled to. Gosh, who knew the housing market was sinking so fast?

When will Councillors learn not to trust developers’ promises?

What FTC said about Standard Quay planning applications

At its meeting on Tuesday 26 August, Faversham Town Council discussed the three new planning applications for the Standard Quay area: further alterations to Baltic House, new car wash for the former coach depot, and offices/storage for the former oil depot. It appears these applications were made some time ago but were stuck in the new Mid-Kent planning system and have now all come through in a bunch.

The Council objected to the car wash application on the grounds that it would generate noise and traffic, and to the oil depot application because of concerns about what might be stored at the site, about which there is no information.

At its previous meeting the Council had deferred comment on Baltic House because of lack of information, and this time it still would not give full approval because there was not enough information about the internal alterations. Its concerns were about design rather than principle.

Faversham Town Council is not a planning authority, but its comments may be taken into account by Swale Borough Council officers and councillors when they make their recommendations and decisions.

The planning applications are still open for comment here, where you can also see comments by the Town Council and others.



Car wash, take 2

A new planning application has been made for the use of the former coach depot at Standard Quay as a car wash. The application proposes an enclosed shed to reduce noise and spray. It says that the use of chemicals will be no different from people washing their cars at home, and that the car wash will generate no more traffic than the coach depot did. It also says that the car wash will be temporary, pending residential/commercial development of the site.



Faversham Creek: Its role in national and local history

Anyone who thinks that Faversham Creek is small and insignificant, and can’t understand what all the fuss is about, would do well to read this concise account of its long and distinguished history, written by Arthur Percival and published here with his permission.

Without its Creek, Faversham would not exist.

Without it, it would not have taken the form it has.

Without it, it would never have become an autonomous town and port within the Cinque Ports Confederation; and it wouldn’t have the Mayor and Town Council it has today, nor its priceless original copy of Magna Carta.

Without it, it wouldn’t have the highly-prized market we all enjoy today. This is the oldest in Kent, going back to before 1066.

Much of what we see in and around the town is the legacy of the Creek.

Geography, weather and climate have dictated Faversham’s shape and destiny

Its site was settled in prehistoric times. Successive waves of immigrants arrived by sea, and the Creek, from continental Europe.

Predecessors of the Romans were the Belgi. They recognised the importance of what we now know as Standard Quay for imports and exports and had a farm next door at what we now know as Abbey Farm.

The Romans replaced this with improved facilities, and after the Abbey was founded in 1148 it followed suit, building among other things the two fine barns we see today. At Standard Quay, picture vessels both loading cargoes of local produce for London and nearby ports in Belgium and France and unloading imports of wines and luxury goods.

The great Abbey Church was faced with stone shipped up the Creek from Caen in Normandy. When it was demolished much of it was shipped back to France to strengthen the defences of the pale of Calais, but some can still be seen in buildings like Arden’s House.

The Creek also saw stone imported for landmark buildings like Faversham Church and Davington Priory, only a few hundred yards from its present head.

The Creek made possible the establishment of a renowned oyster fishery, to which the town owed much of its prosperity. Witness to this are many of its fine medieval houses, the homes of dredgers, in Abbey Street in particular.

In the late 15th century flourishing Creek trade encouraged the Borough Council to build a town warehouse to provide transit storage for merchants who could not afford their own facilities. The building remains in existence as the T S Hasard, one of the few surviving examples of its kind in the UK.

The Creek bred fine seamen, good enough before the days of a Royal Navy to join with other ports (the Cinque Ports Confederation) in the south-east to provide a fleet for the defence of the nation. Without that fleet and the input from Creek seamen the nation’s history would have been very different.

One of the most successful admirals of the fleet was Faversham’s Henry Pay, whose early C15 grave can be seen in Faversham Church. He tormented both the French and the Spanish.

In the 16th century more wool was exported through the Creek than any other English port. This was the nation’s most valuable export and without it the nation’s history would have been very different. England’s economy would have been much poorer, and therefore also its people and its built fabric. It would have been a very backward offshore island.

Pioneering imports of hops were arriving in the Creek from at least as early as 1535.  It was the use of hops that made possible the brewing of beer, as opposed to ale. Beer kept better, had better flavour, and was cheaper to produce

Thomas Arden was comptroller of Customs in Faversham when be was murdered in his own home at his wife’s instigation in 1551. He can be pictured striding down to Standard Quay and other town quays to check that his staff were doing their jobs properly. His own home, Arden’s House, can still be seen and the crime was immortalised in the play Arden of Faversham which remains in the repertory and is currently in repertory at the RSC Theatre.

The nation’s private-sector gunpowder industry may have been pioneered in Faversham. It was in existence by 1573. The product was exported through the Creek. The industry grew to large and eventually huge dimensions, and lasted till 1934. Without the product the nation’s history would have been vastly different. It made possible the growth of the British Empire and also the defeat of Napoleon. The growth of the Empire made possible the emergence of English as a world language.

The gunpowder industry was also one of the main engines of the Industrial Revolution, providing explosives for the blasting of routes for canals and (later) railways. Its physical remains in Faversham include Ordnance Wharf, at the head of the Creek, Stonebridge Pond, Chart Gunpowder Mills, Oare Gunpowder Works, Saltpetre Store on Oare Creek and the central complex of the Marsh Gunpowder Works.

Exported through the Creek to London in the 17th century were more cargoes of wheat than from any other English port. Without these the growth of London could not have been sustained.

When more transit storage space was needed in the 1650s the owners of Standard Quay dismantled the old Abbey refectory and used the salvaged timbers to create a big warehouse there – the building now known as the Monks’ Granary.

Close to some of Kent’s finest hop gardens, Faversham was a main supplier of the crop to London breweries at a period, from the later 18th century, when they were rapidly expanding. The large and commanding Creek-side building now known as Oyster Bay House was built as a hop store in mid-Victorian times.

Cement, a building mortar which would set under water, making the construction of docks and bridges much easier, was one of the great innovations of the Industrial Revolution.   Without it the UK’s economy would never have forged ahead in the 19th century. One of the pioneer cement factories was established alongside the Creek in 1812 by Samuel Shepherd, of the local brewing family. In 1900 it amalgamated with others to form Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers (APCM, alias Blue Circle). It closed in 1917.

Shipbuilding on the Creek was an important local industry from at least the 18th century. Several yards were established, and many vessels built, including scores of sailing barges, without which London’s economy could not have survived. The most important came to be the yard at the far end of Standard Quay run by John Matthew Goldfinch. His sailing barges were some of the finest of their kind. He lived on site at the late Georgian Standard House (sometimes known as the Goldfinch House).

The exponential growth of Victorian London would have been impossible without the billions of so-called ‘London’ stock bricks which were made in brickfields on either side of the Creek and delivered from wharves alongside it to builders in the metropolis. Cooksditch – the stream – was diverted and widened to serve the Abbey brickfield and was originally known as Wythes’ Canal after the field owner: today it’s known as Chambers’ Dock.

The building of concrete sailing coasters and the use of Bolinder oil engines from Sweden were both pioneered in the UK by the Pollock shipyard opened alongside the Creek in 1917.

There can be few short tidal waterways which have contributed so much to Britain’s standing in the world and where that contribution is still reflected in its character, appearance and structures.

Arthur Percival, April 2014


The White way to go for the Creek?

Plans for an opening bridge and a working Creek basin, as proposed by the Faversham Creek Trust,  are “unrealistic”, says landowner/developer Michael White, according to the Faversham News (March 6).

A feasible proposal, he suggests, might be “a lock at Chambers Wharf, where funding and grants could be available and produce tremendous advantages to Faversham.” This might, he says, include flood defences for the whole town, a generator on the lock creating electricity, 24-hour access to water in the Creek, a wet habitat for birds, increased housing value and business opportunities. His business, Quayside Properties, would contribute to the funding, along with KCC, Shepherd Neame, BMM Weston and the Environment Agency. Furthermore, he says, “the time frame could be guaranteed, not like the bridge and basin that has been ongoing for years.”

Mr White also hasn’t given up on his plans to use Building No 1 at Standard Quay as a “destination” restaurant plus gallery and function room, despite having lost an appeal against refusal of planning permission. He says he hasn’t completely eliminated maritime use of the Quay: there are still moorings for 15 boats and barges, and four maritime businesses are working there (Faversham Ships, PSB, Masterweld and Faversham Joinery). He says there are 66 people working at the Quay, compared with 5 when he took over. He says he’s “restored and improved” every building that would otherwise have fallen into disrepair.

The paper invites comments on the relative merits of Mr White’s case compared with that of the Faversham Creek Trust.

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 (

Councillors to debate wine bar application

These are the email addresses of the Swale Borough Council planning committee, should anyone wish to contact them about the Baltic House wine bar application which comes before them at their meeting tomorrow night (Thursday 13 Feb):,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,