Public Meeting with the Duchy, Monday 15th October at 19:30

The Faversham Society and St Mary of Charity Church are keen that the people of Faversham have an opportunity to hear about plans for the future of our town from the developers and that there can be open public discussions about what is best for Faversham.

The open public meeting is in St Mary of Charity Church from 19:30 on Monday 15th October. The meeting will be co-chaired by
Rev Simon Rowlands and Dr Harold Goodwin

Representatives from the Duchy of Cornwall and Prince’s Foundation will be attending to provide an update following community and stakeholder workshops held across the Spring of 2018.

Swale Borough Council is currently undertaking a review of its Local Plan and has invited landowners and developers to submit proposals for New Garden Communities. As a local landowner, the Duchy of Cornwall is responding to this, putting forward a site on land south of Faversham which might be appropriate for future development.

 The Enquiry by Design workshops were established to work with the local community in Faversham and surrounding areas, to better understand the town, gain local knowledge and explore opportunities for the site. The Duchy will present the findings from the workshops and provide updates on the Housing Manual and next steps, within the Local Plan Process. During the meeting, representatives from the Duchy and Prince’s Foundation are keen to listen to your thoughts and answer questions you may have.

The Society is willing to organise similar meetings for all developers. Our interest is in encouraging informed engagement in the planning process as Faversham grows and in creating heritage for the future.

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Back in August the Duchy of Cornwall sent out this communication.

“As you know, Swale Borough Council is currently undertaking a review of its Local Plan and has invited landowners and developers to submit proposals for New Garden Communities.

As a local landowner, the Duchy of Cornwall is responding to this, putting forward a site on land south of Faversham which might be appropriate for future development. In the spring of this year, we held a number of Enquiry by Design (EbD) workshops and a drop-in exhibition, to work with the community to better understand Faversham and how the site should be developed, should it be allocated by Swale Borough Council in the Local Plan.

If you attended and participated in these events, we would like to sincerely thank you – the community’s input, insight and ideas have been invaluable.

A great deal of information was gathered throughout the EbD. The following main themes emerged early on and were reinforced throughout the engagement process. These provide a top-line summary and do not include every point raised, but rather ‘broad brush’ categories.

  • The importance of heritage – local people are proud of Faversham’s history and like that it’s reflected in the good mixture of architectural styles from different eras. Whilst participants would like any new development to reflect Faversham’s history and character, they were (on whole) more in favour of nods to existing architectural style, rather than replicating it.
  • Traffic congestion – concerns over traffic, in particular the A2 and Brenley Corner, resonated with people across Faversham who felt that it negatively impacted their lives, causing delays, reducing air quality and actually causing a safety hazard. There was a concern that any new development could make this worse, but also an optimism that a new development could create measures for improvement.
  • Affordable housing – it was almost universally agreed by participants that housing in Faversham has become unaffordable for local people. The concept of including genuinely affordable private and social housing was welcomed with caution, as long as the housing was available to local people.
  • Jobs and employment – participants felt that generally it is currently difficult to both live and work in Faversham. It was suggested new types of employment space would be welcomed to make Faversham more self-sustaining, environmentally friendly and less of a commuter town.
  • Countryside – the town’s relationship with the countryside was considered very important, both because of its agricultural roots and the beauty of AONB just to the south, it framed a key part of people’s identity. Although there was some concern about the potential loss of farmland, there was also support for any improvements that a potential new development could make to the ecology of the site, and connections into wider countryside to encourage people’s use and enjoyment of it.
  • Facilities and services – ensuring that any development supports and enhances services, rather than drains them was very important to the community. Strategically choosing types and locations of commercial uses was highlighted so not to impact the town centre. It was also generally felt that any new development should include supporting infrastructure – schools and doctors being particular examples.
  • Community spirit – there is a strong sense of community spirit in Faversham, with an active community involved in multiple social and sports clubs and activities. Any additional support to nurture this, through new development, was warmly welcomed.

The Duchy of Cornwall has now made its submission to Swale Borough Council in response to their New Garden Communities Prospectus. This will be reviewed by officers and councillors, before being made available to the public in the coming months. We will also ensure that we keep the community updated throughout the process, wherever possible.

A final output, currently being prepared by the Prince’s Foundation, is the Faversham Housing Manual, which will be based on the activities undertaken and feedback given at the EbD workshops. The document will set out simple but specific guiding principles of architecture and urban design for new development, using both illustrations and written descriptions. The Manual achieves this by setting out principles of good placemaking as well as a set of housing, public realm (streets and spaces), and block layout types that reflect Faversham’s individual character and the particular preferences of the community towards each of these.

Once the Housing Manual is complete, we will ensure it is made publicly available via our website, and we are happy to issue hard copies upon request. We will be in touch again shortly.”

You can find details of the Enquiry by Design work that the Duchy has been doing here http://www.favershamenquirybydesign.co.uk/

Published August 10th 2018

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