LEF meeting tonight 7pm
At the Local Engagement Forum meeting tonight we intend to raise the profile of Standard Quay and get answers to a few questions. Or at the very least, get the message across that we believe Swale’s policies with regard to Faversham Creek need some careful reconsidering. The Council have issued their response to the epetition and we have posted a link to that on the Standard Quay website.
it can also be found here.
We await with interest their response to the following statement and questions that we will present this evening:
Notes on the Council’s response to the E-Petition to
Save Standard Quay as a Working Boatyard.
We would like to correct two misunderstandings on the Council’s introductory paragraphs in their response to the epetition. Firstly:
1. The landlord successfully brought a court case against Standard Quay in May last year. It was largely about organising car parking and removing activities which interfered with efficient car parking on the Quay.
2. The judgement did NOT demand major improvements to the buildings and the quayside, although it did restrict shipwrighting activities to 10 ft from the Quay edge.
3. The first notice to quit was served immediately following the purchase of the site by the current landlord, 7 years ago, and thus 7½ years prior to the end of our lease. We have been fighting notice to quit since then.
Secondly, The petition is NOT worded as a request for a Compulsory Purchase Order; a Swale officer suggested that the epetition may be the most efficient way of targeting our increasing concerns about Swale policy.
Since we were not objecting to a planning application it was, prior to this, impossible to know to whom or how to address our concerns about how Swale appeared to be altering policies which would affect the business that we have successfully used to regenerate the Creek at Standard Quay.
In summary, the e-petition makes clear that we at Standard Quay, hundreds of people in Faversham and a large number of well-informed and concerned visitors to the Town in general and Standard Quay in particular, want Standard Quay retained, protected and encouraged in its current form.
The questions for the council illustrate that the while Council’s words may reflect the wishes of the vessel owners and workers at Standard Quay, and of our visitors, its actions may achieve results which are contrary to them.
We urge the Council most strongly to resist inappropriate development and to protect this precious Creekside resource at Standard Quay.
Other links: LDF Panel Report Oct 2009
, LDF Panel Report Nov 2010
, Court Judgement May 2010.
Questions for Councillors and Officers of Swale Borough Council related to the E-Petition:
1. What does Swale Borough Council mean by ‘regeneration’ of the Creek?
At Standard Quay we take it to mean: bring the Creek back to life, make it work as a waterway to bring employment and use it according to its nature and its character. Not to change it, constrain it or hem it in, but to give it space and manage it so we can work with it.
Standard Quay has been regenerated in this way. Here the Creek works as a waterway and brings employment. The Quay is managed so that there are easily accessible moorings and additional safe moorings for the three large dry docks. Large scale dredging is not needed here. The working of the Quay has cleared the silt allowing operation of the boatyard in a sustainable way.
The Quay managed like this, provides water based employment and training. In addition, as is shown by the more than 1200 signatures on the petition and by the many comments on our website, it also promotes sustainable tourism. This very real regeneration has already happened at Standard Quay. It happened precisely because the Quay is located in what is now called the ‘functional flood plain’. Swale, however, appears to consider it requires to bring in new policies to encourage regeneration at the Quay.
2. Why does the Council want to change the Flood designation at Standard Quay to promote regeneration?
The Quay is, we believe, currently zoned as 3b, Functional Flood Plain in which only water related activities can take place. The Council (according to the report to the LDF of November 2010 and the subsequent minutes) suggests changing it to a new category) of 3a(i) which would allow cafes, shops and restaurants – just the things that 1200 people have signed a petition against at Standard Quay. This seems especially inappropriate given that there is a perfectly good pub in the immediate vicinity and there are shops and cafes dying on their feet in the Town which could do with extra support not more competition.
3. What has changed in the information the Council has about the owner of the land at Standard Quay?
In October 2009 (according to the report to the LDF Panel meeting of that date) the Council believed that: “At Standard Quay landowner aspirations for the long term future of the area are not well- aligned with the vision for a working Creek”. However, in to the E-Petition as part of the reasoning against Compulsory Purchase it is stated that: “The existing owner of the site is not indicating that he is likely to deviate significantly from the existing and proposed uses in accordance with the Council’s vision from a land use perspective”? What evidence is there to support this changed view?