A printable PDF version of this newsletter can be downloaded from HERE
The Faversham Society is reopening after lockdown.
The Visitor Information Centre in Preston Street is open Fridays and Saturdays between 10am and 4pm, and on Sundays from 10am to 1pm. We shall open on more days as our volunteers return or new ones join us.
The second-hand bookshop in Gatefield Lane is open Mondays, 10am-1pm, and Tuesday to Saturday, 10am-3.30pm. The heritage centre, gallery and Fleur hall remain closed.
More volunteers are needed to staff the VIC, welcoming visitors to the town and providing them with information. This is the society’s public face for members, residents and visitors alike. If you are interested in helping, please pop in or email firstname.lastname@example.org
As I mentioned last month, this year’s annual general meeting will be held virtually on the Zoom videoconferencing app. For those of you who live away from Faversham, this is a unique opportunity to take part. I am willing to continue as chair, and I am pleased to say that David Melville has also accepted nomination for a further year.
Pat Reid has chosen to retire and is not seeking re-election. Pat’s achievement in creating and developing our Archaeological Research Group has been outstanding and she and the group have planned for the group to continue with John Clarkstone in the chair.
Jonathan Carey, who has been organising and supervising the work of the Fleur roof (see the front page) has agreed to be nominated to the board and is up for re-election.
Jan West has decided to retire from the board although she is continuing to manage payments and a number of other tasks for the society. Over the past 12 years Jan has given outstanding service to the society. We all appreciate her continuing commitment. As chairman, I have particularly appreciated her support and will miss her untiring efforts on behalf of the society and her wise counsel. I was honoured when she nominated me to serve another term as a trustee and another year in the chair.
We have had a group beavering away at looking at all the sites which have come forward for development around Faversham. We have now published both the SHLAA (strategic housing land availability assessment) map and our site assessments on the website.
Please take a look and if you know anything about any of the sites please do let us know. We shall in the next couple of months need to come to a view about which are the least bad sites to see developed. More on this at the AGM.
It is central government that determines how many houses Swale needs – the figure is not based on a local assessment. The Community Land Trust has commissioned a local housing needs assessment and that should be published in September. The number of houses to be built is determined in London, Swale then has to allocate sites, the society will seek to influence that selection of sites.
Our submission to Swale planners with the grounds for our objection to the Ordnance Wharf housing plan can be seen below (please click on each image to view full size)
Many people have written objecting to it and there is a plethora of planning grounds for refusal. We continue to work against the Cleve Hill solar plan and are looking into the flight path and stacking consultation for the freight terminal plan at Manston Airport. We are pleased that Kent Couty Council is preparing to implement an experimental 20’s Plenty scheme across the town and we applaud the work of the group that campaigned for this.
Please attend the AGM if you are able, this is an important event in the society’s year. Hopefully next year we’ll be able to assemble together again in person.
Full details of the arrangements for the Faversham Society annual meeting on 24 September were in the last edition of the newsletter and can be found on our website, favershamsociety.org/AGM-2020. Please also see the AGM agenda on pages 10-11.
Please register there to participate in our AGM so that you receive the invitation and login details for to the Zoom meeting. We do not expect the meeting will last more than an hour so please put the meeting in your diary and register to attend on the link above. We shall send you details of how to participate by phone or online one week and a one day before the AGM.
The usual quorum is required – one twentieth of the total membership – which means 40 or more members.
Proxy forms will available on the website and from the Fleur from 8 September. They need to be returned by 7pm on Tuesday, 22 September, either by email to email@example.com or to the VIC in Preston Street.
Officers. Each year at the AGM the society elects its chair and vice-chair. Harold Goodwin has accepted nomination to continue as chair, and David Melville has accepted nomination to continue as vice-chair.
Trustees. Three board members are due for re-election this year. Pat Reid has decided to retire and is not seeking re-election. Jonathan Carey and Harold Goodwin have accepted a nomination.
We have received two new nominations for the board:
Mike Henderson. I have lived all my working life in Kent after being born in Edinburgh, at school in Yorkshire and university at Oxford where I took a BA honours degree in chemistry, subsequently a MA. I have lived next to Faversham Creek for the past 40 years with my family.
I have always been strongly involved in the community of Faversham and was a town councillor for 16 years from 1988-2004 including being mayor in 1995-96 and a Swale borough councillor for 22 years from 1989-2000 and 2008-2019 as a Liberal Democrat.
My main areas of interest and expertise are in planning and the protection and improvement of both the built and natural environments. I was a member of Swale’s Planning Committee for almost the entire 22 years on that council and in the late 1990s as chair of the Development Committee I led the development and implementation of the 1998 Local Plan. During all that time I continued training in planning and environmental issues.
My great interests remain to achieve sensible and sustainable development of Faversham while protecting and enhancing its natural environment, to focus on the provision of excellent infrastructure and to provide housing which is high quality and truly affordable for local people to buy or rent.
In addition to these priorities I have worked to protect specific listed buildings whenever the opportunity has arisen, chaired the steering group which is responsible for maintenance and improvement of Oare Gunpowder Works for the past 12 years, am vice-chair of the Faversham Swimming Pools Trust and, with others, I have restored or saved several public rights of way including the footpath around the creek basin, always without wasting public money.
Matthew Hatchwell. I have lived with my family in Swale since 2002, and in Faversham since 2011, after returning from working on the front lines of wildlife conservation in Central Africa and Madagascar. It’s only since semi-retiring in 2018 that I have become involved in local environmental issues here in Faversham, originally with a focus on European eel conservation – a critically endangered species right here on our own doorsteps – and more recently as a member of the Faversham Society’s Environment Committee, vice-chair of the Friends of the Westbrook and Stonebridge Pond, and chair of the Advisory Board of the Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology at the University of Kent. I have co-founded a Kent Wildlife Network for conservation professionals based in the county, and set up a working group of local experts to advise on the environmental and natural heritage aspects of the Faversham Neighbourhood Plan.
I work part-time now as a consultant on international wildlife conservation. My last full-time job was as director of conservation at the Zoological Society of London and I have experience, too, as a former trustee of other UK-registered charities, including a trust fund for African conservation and the UK branch of the US-based Nature Conservancy.
Work on the Fleur roof continues and good progress is being made under the supervision of Jonathan Carey, a Faversham Society trustee and conservation architect.
Tim Stonor, another of our trustees, and Anna Stonor have donated nearly 300 Kent peg tiles which has significantly reduced the cost of the repairs.
There is inevitably a risk of leaks when repairs on roofs are undertaken. There was short pause while the Doddington Library was packed up and moved to the Reading Room at 12 Market Place. It has taken a long-time to secure all the approvals necessary to move the books to more accessible and secure storage – more on this in the next newsletter.
In her summer 2020 newsletter, Mayor of Faversham Alison Reynolds wrote: “My consort and I were privileged to attend the production Our Beautiful Town, the story in music, words and pictures celebrating 50 years of the Faversham Society, which was instrumental in saving and preserving so much of the town’s history and heritage.
“This was beautifully written and performed and if you were unable to see one of the showings I hope this will be available on DVD.”
I am pleased to say that a DVD is now available and includes historical photographs from Peter Kennett’s unrivalled collection, as well as video clips and pictures from the society archives, provided by Chris Wootton. The DVD is accompanied by a studio-recorded CD of the songs.
The work is based on the book by Christine Rayner marking the society’s 50th anniversary in 2012.
The Faversham Society has agreed to sell the DVD and accompanying CD through the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre. If you would like to support this project please send an email to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, confirming that you will be willing to pay £10 on receipt of the DVD/CD, estimated delivery in October.
The board has agreed that the Faversham Society should campaign for the return of TS Hazard (above) and Town Quay – now owned by Swale Council – to Faversham’s ownership.
We shall also endeavour to encourage Network Rail to conserve and restore the engine and carriage sheds and the turntable that can be glimpsed from the Long Bridge. This an opportune time to conserve and repurpose these heritage assets.
If you would like to join us in these campaigns, please contact email@example.com
I wrote in last month’s Faversham Society Newsletter about the housing being imposed on Faversham by Westminster and Whitehall. Swale is grappling with a new Local Plan which must allocate sufficient sites so that these central government targets can be met.
There are also delivery targets, again imposed by central government. One of the problems is that developers will build houses only when they can make the profits they seek. So simply increasing the housing land made available does not increase the number of houses built.
Developers will hold on to land waiting for the market to recover. If Swale is judged by the Planning Inspectorate, central government’s enforcers, to have failed on either land supply or delivery, they are highly likely to permit other developments.
This is how the Perry Court development received planning permission, breaching the old presumption that Watling Street was the natural limit to Faversham. The society is engaging with the Swale Local Plan and the Faversham Neighbourhood Plan
Swale has published a map showing all the sites in and around Faversham where a developer or landowner has expressed interest in developing. There are a great many sites. Before discussions start about which sites might be developed – and there will have to be several – the society has had a group working to assess each of the sites.
The map and the assessments can be found on the Society’s website favershamsociety.org/the-swale-and-neighbourhood-plans/
The SHLAA (strategic housing land availability assessment) map provides the numbers and if you go the Site Assessments page you will find a link to our initial assessment of each of the sites in the Faversham area. The sites are listed in numerical order.
If you have additions, amendments or comments please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The campaign for a 20mph speed limit across Faversham has finally resulted in an 18-month experiment. Kent County Council will introduce the limit from 18 September.
At the end of it, KCC may make the scheme permanent or abandon it. The case for 20’s Plenty, which the Faversham Society has supported, is spelt out on the campaign website below.
The number of people killed by the Beirut Port explosions of 4 August has reached at least 180, with more than 6,500 injured. It was caused by the accidental ignition of more than 2,500 tons of ammonium nitrate, making 300,000 people homeless and causing damage estimated at up to $15 billion.
It was a devastating accident and will remind many Faversham people of the disaster at Uplees on 2 April, 1916, when empty sacks caught fire and ignited ammonium nitrate and TNT being stored at the Cotton Powder Company, killing 108 men.
The explosion was heard across the Thames estuary and as far away as Norwich and Great Yarmouth. In Southend, house windows and two large plate shop windows were broken. A further 3,000 tons remained in nearby sheds unaffected, a tribute to efforts to control the blaze.
The story is related by Arthur Percival in The Great Explosion, which is being updated to include papers since released its publication.
Ammonium nitrate is also used as a high-nitrogen fertiliser and global production was estimated at 21.6 million tons in 2017. It is also widely used as a commercial explosive and in terrorism and has often been used in improvised explosive devices and in the Sterling Hall bombing in Madison, Wisconsin, 1970, the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the 2011 bombings in Delhi and in Oslo, and the 2013 Hyderabad blast.
The bells of St Mary of Charity have fallen silent. All eight have been removed and taken to the John Taylor & Co Bell Foundry in Loughborough for refurbishment and retuning. This is the last firm in Britain that can undertake this work. The plan is for them to be returned to St Mary’s in time for Christmas with two additional bells.
I was pleased to read John Kirby recollections of his childhood in Faversham in the August newsletter which I have drawn to the attention of Norman Addy, his scoutmaster, and John Hawkins, one of his childhood friends. Both remember him well.
I last saw his uncle, Don Hogben, last year enjoying a pint at The Alma, Painters Forstal.
I knew his Aunt Gladys well. In 1944 she was waiting on Faversham railway station for her fiancé, Geoffrey Gallop, to come home on leave when his train was bombed as it approached the town and he was killed. Poor Gladys.
I also remember her in the cash desk at Kingston’s, the butchers, in Market Place where, incidentally, the name can still be seen on the tiled floor at the entrance to what is now a newsagents.
I found the August newsletter an impressively informative one. A comprehensive and definitive setting out of all the information required to understand the many developments and issues that are now facing us.
I have printed it out and read it thoroughly with gratitude for all the spadework put in by others to give members the well-researched facts. Many thanks to those concerned for the hours that must have gone in to putting all that together.
Ted Seal, who died 15 July, was an excellent museum steward, patient, knowledgeable and interested in all aspects of Faversham’s history. Last October, he gave my eight-year-old granddaughter Eolande a guided tour. She returned to Devon with happy memories of an afternoon at our visitor information centre.
Our thoughts are with Vanessa and the family.
Applications considered by the society’s Planning Committee can be studied at favershamsociety.org/creating-the-future/planning-committee/