10 January 2011
Jon Henley’s excellent article was in G2 today and online at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/10/standard-guay-thames-barges . The BBC were on the Quay today so presumably there will be something in the local news tonight. Many people ask what they can do, and perhaps the best thing at this stage is to try to ensure that Swale Borough Council are aware of just how much interest there is in Standard Quay and the activities there. Standard Quay (Faversham) Ltd’s lease is ending and there is nothing anyone can do about that. What we can do is make damn sure that there is never any question at all of the Quay being developed. Any owner will then have to run it as a maritime site with the only development potential being to ensure its continued survival to support Thames Sailing Barges in particular and large traditional vesssels in general. Any investment that needs to be made should have that intention at its heart and certainly won’t begin with double glazing or improved parking let alone with restaurants or gift shops. In the first instance what would be to allow the vessels to use more than the 10′ of quayside we are currently confined to so that garden centre customers can park on the rest of the Quay (not that there ever seems to be any particular need for such huge amounts of parking). To find a template letter and a list of possible people to write to to express your views please visit the excellent www.thequayfilm.net and scroll down to find a link to some suggested actions. We are working on a site for a petition which will hopefully be up soon. Thank you for all your interest and support so far.
7 January 2011
Standard Quay (Faversham) Ltd received the final notice to quit just before Christmas and media interest is hotting up. Look out for an article due to come out shortly in The Guardian written by Jon Henley. It should also appear on their website. A link will be attached as soon as it is published.
23 December 2010
The situation is currently very dangerous a new report out is worded in such a way as to give new hope to speculative developers who will wish to maximise profit from the land. Please visit the excellent site www.thequayfilm.net which shows a documentary about the Quay, what will be lost, or more optimistically, why it should be saved. Please do register your support somewhere. Either directly to the Council or on this site or the film site. The issue is that Standard Quay really is more than just a boatyard. It is a working Quay. It is a vital working link between the town of Faversham and the sea. It is part of a working waterway.
It is much more than just a tourist attraction. It is in many ways Faversham’s heart. Stop and talk to any one of the people who work on the Quay and you will find that they don’t just work here. They live and breathe Faversham with a passion. They are skilled craftsmen who work in a real life heavy industry. They will not be able to work in a chic setting of smart shops, restaurants and loft apartments. Real, working Faversham is not like that, which is where its unique attraction to visitors lies.
Thousands of people visit the Quay every year. They walk the Saxon Shore way, unobtrusively observing the vessels, the buildings and the work that goes on here. Artists quietly set up their easels and record the activities. They will not come to see just another bit of fake kitsch. They come because it is different and it is real.
The sad situation today is that the current lease ends in 2011. Despite protracted negotiations there seems little prospect of the current landlord granting an extension of the lease. There is no reason to believe that any alternative management would be as sympathetic to the unique requirements of a yard for traditional vessels. In our view the listed weather-boarded buildings and the quayside are ideally suited for their current use. Any alternative use would require substantial refurbishment and alteration of the buildings and would irreparably change the entire ethos of this unique area. This is not a site that can support significant commercial gain directly. It generates economic benefits for the surrounding area and the town, as the Creek always has throughout its history. Trying to make profits from it directly will simply not work without resulting in its destruction. This site sets out what has been achieved and what could be achieved. We have a few months left to save the Quay. A comment box below contains an email I have sent to Councillors today (3rd December 2010). It may explain our issues with the current council planning document. Please write to support us in opposing the unnecessary changes it suggests – most particularly that shops and restaurants will not only not add to the visitor appeal of the Quay but will actually kill it as it will simply be unable to work and certainly won’t be able to expand its activities.
If after viewing these pages you wish to comment in support of our aims, please do add comments to this blog or sign up for our newsletters to keep up to date with the campaign. Alternatively see www.thequayfilm.net or join the discussion at www.faversham.org (go to the Forum and find Hot Topics). We can use them to show support. Or write to us at email@example.com or write directly to AlanBest@swale.gov.uk at Swale Borough Council and the Faversham Creek Consortium via NatalieEarl@swale.gov.uk. If you could send us a copy of your email that would be much appreciated.