Faversham Society’s Response to 1st Round Consultation on Cleve Hill Solar Park

Cleve Hill Solar Park.

The Faversham Society’s response to the first phase of consultation 22 December 2017

The Faversham Society supports the development of renewable energy recognising its importance in reducing carbon emissions. However, the Society has some specific and serious concerns about the scale of the Cleve Hill Solar Park and its likely impact on wildlife, public amenity and food production.

Issues of concern

  1. Environmentally Sensitive Area.

The North Kent Marshes extending from the Medway along the Swale including Nagden, Graveney and Seasalter marshes are included in an Environmentally Sensitive Area. This is a national designation and there are only 22 in the UK. This is because the farmland is particularly good for wildlife and agriculture. This was not mentioned in any of the publicity material which states that the land is lower grade agricultural land, grade 3b.

The land within the site is a mix of arable over most of the area and some grazing marsh, but this mix of crops/habitat is particularly good for wintering ducks and geese and also for waders in summer such as lapwing which is a species that has been in major decline over the last 20 years.

After the marshlands were flooded in 1953 extensive field drainage was undertaken. This offered grazing for cattle and flocks of Romney and Suffolk sheep as well as land in which peas, beans, potatoes, mangolds, barley, wheat and mushrooms were grown.

(Source Farmer & Stock Breeder April 1958 and Lyn Powell who, together with her sisters were born at Nagden and whose father worked on the land for the then owner Arthur Frith).


  1. Wildlife Designations

The coast outside the seawall along the whole boundary of the site is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area. These are both national designations, indicating that this coast is of national importance for wildlife, in particular birds. This area is also designated under the Ramsar Convention, which means that it is of European importance for bird populations, particularly migratory birds in winter.  The birds, particularly ducks and geese also use the marshes and arable land inside the seawall for feeding, so that the loss of most of the land to solar panels would be greatly detrimental to the habitat available for migrating birds. Although only 60% of the land will be used, with the exception of the refuge area at the east end, all the other land will be gaps between the lines of panels and drainage ditches. This will result in a significant reduction in flat, open land.  There is only a small area set aside for birds at the east end and it is not likely that geese would overfly the panels and only land on this area. The geese fly along the Swale from the mud along the shore of the Isle of Sheppey or at Castle Coote and mostly land on the arable land which will be the site of the panels.

Lyn Powell whilst living at Nagden observed Brent geese, mallard ducks, Bewick swans, Whooper swans, curlews, reed warblers, owls and more.


  1. Swale Landscape Character and Biodiversity Appraisal

This is an important historic and cultural identity landscape.  At the least the landscape  west of a line drawn northwards from Nagden farm to the Swale coast (the landscape enclosing  the lower Creek and entrance)  should  be preserved.

The Swale Landscape Character and Biodiversity Appraisal (2010) which is used by Swale Borough Council as Supplementary Planning Guidance identifies the Graveney Marshes as intensively farmed land with straight drainage ditches. The ditches are of some interest for wildlife. The eastern end is grazing marsh. The whole area is very exposed. Parts of the area are important for corn bunting, which is a nationally declining species. The area is remote marshland enclosed by the sea wall. The land is described as being in moderate condition and of moderate sensitivity. It is considered that this would not justify the conversion of the whole of this area of land into a solar installation.


  1. Footpaths

There are two footpaths across the site. One is part of a footpath running from Seasalter Road onto the marsh. The main footpath affected is the track from Nagden Cottages to the seawall at Castle Coote. Although neither of these paths would be closed, the character of both would be substantially changed from paths across farmed land with an open character with wide views to paths through a dense landscape of solar panels. For the main footpath, this would be on both sides and as far as the eye can see until the walker reaches the sea wall. The Saxon Shore Way is also the England Coast Path and runs along Faversham Creek along the seawall and continues past Castle Coote on its way to Seasalter. This has open coastal view on the seaward side and at present open views over marshland fields inland. The character of this route would be changed substantially by introducing an extensive solar installation over the whole marsh area as far inland as Nagden Cottages and the Sandbanks ridge.


  1. Shoreline

The Environment Agency’s Shoreline Management Plan is relevant and has implications for the proposed Solar Park:

“Faversham Creek to the Sportsman Pub marks the interface between the eastern landward limit of the Medway Estuary and Swale SMP and the open coast (Policy Unit E4 24: Faversham to Nagden – Medway Estuary and Swale SMP. The preferred policy for the estuary frontage is to Hold the Line in the short, medium and long terms). The frontage comprises extensive tidal mudflats to the west and a narrow beach extending to a small sand, shingle and shell spit at Castle Coot in the east, A concrete seawall, extending along the majority of frontage, protects undeveloped low lying coastal grazing marsh. The intertidal habitats along the frontage and a small section of wetland (immediately west of the Sportsman Pub) is of international nature conservation value. Under rising sea levels and a limited supply of contemporary beach building sediment, it is anticipated that the sparse section of beach will become increasingly difficult to maintain in the future. If the current alignment were to be held in the long-term, coastal squeeze, together with a diminished supply of natural beach building sediment would lead to substantial hard defences and / or significant beach management. Managed realignment would avoid the need for such defences, possibly creating cost savings and environmental enhancement.

No specific realignment ‘line’ has been defined but a maximum extent has been identified (see map). Further studies will be required to investigate and define the extent, location and implementation of the realignment i.e. the best technical, environmental and economic option that best manages flood risk, as well as to investigate the exact standard and alignment of any defences for this frontage and any mitigation measures required for loss of designated habitat. However, it is recognised that the greatest environmental benefits would be realised if the non-designated areas underwent realignment first.

A set back here would involve the loss of agricultural land and freshwater habitats. Realignment would however, create a coast that will not require ever increasing expenditure to maintain in the coming centuries, negate the effects of coastal squeeze and create important brackish and saline habitats.(The loss of the designated freshwater habitats would normally require mitigation measures to be implemented – and this aspect will require a more detailed appraisal in the strategy study).

The short term plan therefore, is to continue protecting the low-lying assets, which include footpaths, agricultural land and freshwater habitats. There remain opportunities for managed realignment to be implemented, for habitat creation purposes, in the short-term; however, this will be subject to further studies. In the medium and long term the plan is to realign the defences, along the majority of this frontage, allowing the shoreline to respond in a managed approach. The potential environmental, engineering and coastal process benefits will then be realised under a policy of managed realignment.

There is the p potential for a loss of buried unknown heritage within realigned areas in the latter two epochs.”  Faversham Creek to Sportsman Pub (2010) p. 72

  1. Traffic

All traffic to the site to deliver the panels and all other materials will be brought from the A299 via Head Hill and through Graveney Village. The panels are large objects and will need to be brought by lorry. This will mean a period when there will be a large number of heavy vehicle movements through the village to the detriment of the amenity of the occupiers. A lesser number of vehicles will be required over the 25 years the installation is expected to be in place to service the site and/or bring in any replacements if necessary.



The panels will be set in pairs facing east and west with the ridge line running north to south. It is anticipated that these will be raised off the ground by at least 1 metre so that sheep can graze under them, but no section was provided to show whether or not this is the case. Since areas on the Isle of Sheppey across the Swale are higher than the coastal marsh, the large solar installation would be visible from parts of Sheppey. There is also higher land in Graveney which overlooks the marshes and the large solar installation would be visible covering an extensive area of open land. This includes views over the whole marsh area from the A299 Thanet Way at Wraik Hill as this road leaves the built-up area of Whitstable. It is likely that since the seawall around the Nagden side of the site is quite low that the top of the panels would be visible from the outskirts of Faversham instead of just the successive sea walls between Nagden and Castle Coote.


This first consultation has been on a tight deadline, and we have not been able to consult our members nor to consider the views of other groups with expertise in farming, wildlife and amenity. We look forward to seeing the results of this first round of consultation, and the developer’s proposed measures to mitigate or avoid negative impacts such as a) the intended construction process, b) the protection of existing footpaths and the creation of new ones c) flora and fauna and d) the landscape.

We would welcome the opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue with the developers and to consult our members before coming to a considered view on the scheme in the Phase Two Consultation.

History and Heritage

In early 2018 the Faversham Society is organising two Fairs with the Alexander Centre. The February one is for those with an interest in history and the one on heritage will showcase the natural and cultural heritage sites and attractions which can be visited locally.

The History Fair is on February 3rd and the Heritage Fair is on March 3rd. There will be a programme of talks and presentations alongside the stalls in both fairs.  The History Fair will be open to the public and anyone interested in history and archaeology including those researching their house, family history, buildings and detectorists. Come along take a stall and show others what you are doing.

For further information or to arrange a speaking slot please contact harold@haroldgoodwin.info 01795 532737. PowerPoint will be available. We are looking for “taster talks” of between 10 and 20 minutes on history and how to do history.

Tables cost £24 and can be booked with Alison at the Alexander Centre.


East Kent Recycling Oare

Comments on KCC/SW/0247/2017

Redevelopment of an existing waste management facility and inclusion of additional land into waste management use.

It is noted that this proposal seeks to increase the intensity of the existing waste transfer facility which was established in 1992 on the Faversham side of Oare Creek. This is in connection with the intended closure of an existing waste transfer station at Aylesham and consolidation onto a single site. The proposal involves the replacement of the existing buildings with taller and more extensive buildings, additional equipment including a crusher, conveyor, metal containers and stacked materials, extended storage area, night watchmen, weighbridges and more parking together with extended hours and a doubling of the number of lorries servicing the site. The planning application  is supported by site plans, elevations of the buildings and equipment individually but not in context and reports on traffic generation, noise, a visual appraisal and studies on wintering birds and on the impact on the adjacent RAMSAR site.


The noise appraisal seeks to demonstrate that there is no harmful or even significant increase in noise levels emanating from the site as a result of the new buildings and greater area over which waste is treated. This is because some of the noisy machinery is enclosed in buildings and the site would be enclosed to the south by noise absorbent bunds. However, the noisiest item, the crusher, is at the unenclosed area of the site and is expected to run for periods of two weeks out of every six weeks. The site is already relatively close to residential areas in Oare to the south of Pheasant Barn which is identified as the nearest residential property and the measuring point for noise. The new residential development at Oare Lakes starts at 250m from the site which is substantially closer than the houses in Oare. This is also used as a measuring point for noise impact. At present the hours of operation are 0700-1800 on Mondays to Fridays and from 0700-1300 on Saturdays. This represents a 13-hour day on weekdays. The proposal includes the prospect, with the approval of KCC, of working on Sundays after Bank Holidays, Bank Holidays and Boxing Day working. These are all days when residents and potential residents would normally expect the site to be quiet and as such, this element of the proposal represents a substantial intrusion into residential amenity and the relative quiet of the area for walkers and other users. Further, it is proposed that the hours of operation for the lorries would be extended to run from 0500-2000 daily and 0500-1500 on Saturdays and to include Bank Holidays. These extra hours and days are also periods when it is usually expected to be much quieter than business hours and would intrude on the amenity of the area both for residents and outdoor users.


The existing facility with the exception of some partly used buildings is relatively low in height. It has been used since 1992 for waste transfer and previously there were other industrial uses around Oare Creek including loading cargoes and the explosives industry. The areas around Oare and Ham Marshes have been used for gravel working but are expected to be restored and new housing added on the Oare Lakes site. The footpaths, marshes and lagoons form part of a countryside buffer zone between Oare and Faversham. Close by and directly adjacent to the roadway serving East Kent Recycling are areas protected for wildlife comprising the SPA which is also a RAMSAR site. The erection of three large-footprint buildings at 20, 25 and 30m long with two over 7.5m high and one at 12m high represent a much more visible and extensive built development which would be more prominent in views from Oare village including from the footpaths near the playing field, from Church Road across the creek, from Ham Marshes and across Oare Creek on the Saxon Shore Way as well as from the footpath across the lagoons adjacent to the site. The footpath adjacent to the site which runs along the service road is already at least a moderately sensitive use but would become a highly sensitive use when it becomes part of the England Coast Path. It is considered that for these reasons, the erection of more extensive and high buildings on this site would be an unwelcome development and would contravene the aims of the Swale Landscape Character and Biodiversity Appraisal.

Dust and other air pollution issues

In addition to the dust and diesel particulates associated with the increased traffic flows there are likely to be dust and other air pollution issues arising from the increased scale of operations. The marsh is a windy area and dust, and other airborne pollutants are likely to spread over a considerable distance on the wind. The prevailing winds are onshore and will carry airborne pollution to residential areas. An air quality  monitoring system should be put in place to ensure that there is  objective evidence on the emissions.


Conflict between traffic and the footpath

It is proposed to increase the number of vehicles from the present 80 per day (40 in and 40 out) to 160 per day (80 in and 80 out) In peak hours this would amount to 16 vehicles per hour. The hours would be extended in the mornings to 0500 from 0700 but also in the evening from 1800 to 2000 and from 1300-1500 on Saturday afternoons. In addition, Bank Holiday working including potentially on Boxing Day and some Sunday afternoons would be introduced. This means that not only would there be more vehicles at all the times the plant has been working up to now, but the road will be used for much more of the time when the public would want to use it as a footpath. The Traffic Appraisal refers to employees being able to access the works on foot or by cycle although there is no pavement but takes no account of the use of this roadway as a public footpath. Throughout the documents it is assumed that the footpath runs on another parallel line and not on the road but the map extract that they provide shows that this line runs through the water of the lagoon. The roadway is enclosed on the lagoon side by barbed wire fencing with very narrow grass strips in places. There are only three lorry passing places and these are more likely to be needed by passing lorries if there are 16 per hour. The creekside is open with no fencing and a drop onto either mud or water depending on the state of the tide with only approximately 450mm of bank which is sometimes muddy in winter. This means that a substantial increase in vehicles would make a walk along the footpath unpleasant and potentially dangerous.  Most vehicles would be skip lorries or rigid vehicles and these tend to have come from sites elsewhere so throw up dust. The trees along this road are already covered in dust and water sprayers also pass up and down to suppress dust on the road but make passage less pleasant for walkers. It is considered that the increase in the intensity of the waste transfer use on the site is not compatible with use of the roadway as a nationally designated public footpath such as the England Coast Path and this is the only route from the Oare Stray stretch of the footpath to the head of Oare Creek.

While the proposal would comply with KCC policies CSW2  (enhances the county’s ability to process waste) and CSW16 (is an extension of an existing waste transfer site) of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan,  with regard to policy CSW8, any extra vehicles have to pass through a road which is in an Air Quality Monitoring Area, so the site would not be particularly well-located with regard to sourcing and sending out materials. The advantages of extending the site to take in the activities from Aylesham are outweighed by environmental costs which demonstrate why this would not be a suitable site to extend.

The Society is concerned that this development reverses the whole thrust of planning policy for this area over the last twenty years which has been toward conservation and leisure use. This sets a dangerous precedent for industrial development whilst creating very few new jobs and jeopardising residential quality. We are concerned that there is already some evidence that vehicle movement numbers have been exceeded and obviously all vehicle movements must affect either Ospringe or Teynham and the village of Oare.

A plaice for everything

People, Plaice and Chips: Fisheries and sense of place,The management of fisheries tends to focus on economic and biological factors with cultural issues often neglected.

Dr Tim Acott FRGS, Director of the Greenwich Maritime Centre, puts forward the idea that sense of place can be used to make visible a range of social and cultural values that emerge from the process of marine fishing.

He will give a talk, People, Plaice and Chips: Fisheries and sense of place, at the Fleur hall at 7.30pm on Monday, 20  November.

“Sense of place” is an underused concept in resource management in general and within fisheries management in particular but it has potential to contribute to the evaluation of cultural services in a way that is accessible to a broader range of stakeholders, including policymakers and
those involved in developing sustainable communities.

Tickets are £5, or £3 for Faversham Society members

Tim Acott is a Reader in Human Geography at the University of Greenwich. He is Director of the Greenwich Maritime Centre and is currently the Chair of the Coastal and Marine Research Group at the Royal Geographic Society. Over the last 8 years he has worked extensively on understanding the social and cultural importance of fisheries through sense of place and cultural ecosystem services. He has co-edited two books, ‘Social Issues in Sustainable Fisheries Management’ (2014) and ‘Social wellbeing and the values of small-scale fisheries’ (2017) and has published numerous articles. His most recent research is leading a project exploring the socio-cultural values of wetlands.

Dr Tim Acott graduated with a BSc Hons in Environmental Science from the University of Plymouth in 1989. He subsequently completed a PhD at the University of Stirling and started to lecture at the University of Greenwich in 1993. His academic interests revolve around a social science perspective on environment and sustainability issues. To explore this subject area he crosses a number of subject boundaries including: environmental ethics, sustainable development, landscape, sense of place, environmental sociology, social and cultural dimensions of marine fisheries, GIS, actor network theory, hybrid geography, wildness, sustainability, allotments as hybrid spaces, and qualitative research methods. In addition to his academic portfolio Dr Acott also actively explores different environments through painting and photography.


Making better places for people to live in

Tim Stonor & Harold Goodwin – two trustees on their day jobs and their relevance to Faversham.

This event is in the Fleur Hall and is jointly organised with the Faversham Creek Trust. October 2nd 19:30

Tickets £5, for members of the Faversham Society and the Faversham Creek Trust there is a discounted price £3. Tickets available from the Fleur in Preston Street.

Life beyond yellow lines

The science of smart towns and cities

Tim Stonor is an architect and urban planner who advises public, private and community organisations worldwide. In the course of his career, he has pioneered the development and application of “predictive modelling” – using computer algorithms to forecast the impacts of design proposals on human behaviour patterns. His projects include the redesign of Trafalgar Square and the creation of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Tim is Managing Director of the strategic consulting firm Space Syntax Limited, which he established at University College London in 1996. He is a Trustee of the Design Council, a Visiting Professor at University College London, a director of The Academy of Urbanism, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and a winner of the prestigious Harvard Loeb Fellowship.

Closer to home, Tim is a trustee of the Faversham Society, a member of the Town Council’s Public Realm Group and a member of the Friends of the Westbrook and Stonebridge Pond. He is closely involved in the campaign for a 20mph limit across the town. In recent years he led a widely-supported campaign against the painting of yellow lines in the town centre. He is currently opposing the further painting of double yellow lines around the Guildhall, proposing instead a design-led scheme that includes planters and seats.

Using Tourism to Make Better Places to Live in

The aspiration of Responsible Tourism is to use tourism rather than to be used by it. Tourism can bring economic benefits, trade and jobs – there is little doubt that Faversham would not have such a rich variety of quality food and drink if we did not a attract tourists and day visitors. Overtourism is emerging as an issue in more and more destinations – what can we learn from problems elsewhere to ensure that in Faversham we maximise the positives and minimise the negatives.

Harold Goodwin has theoretically retired but he is now an Emeritus Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University where he leads on Responsible Tourism in the Institute of Place Management. He is managing director of the Responsible Tourism Partnership which organises a free Responsible Tourism programme at their trade shows in Dubai, Cape Town, Sao Paulo in November – ~ 2,000 people attend at of sessions over three days at WTM London in November. He chairs the family of global and regional Responsible Tourism Awards and an annual series of conferences on Responsible Tourism in Destinations in September this year in Iceland and October in Dublin.

Harold Goodwin has lived in Faversham for forty years, refusing to move for work he was a Professor in Leeds and Manchester but he did not relocate. He is Chair of the Faversham Society and of the Faversham Sea Cadets and a founder organiser of the Faversham Food Festival. He represents the Society on Visit Faversham and Historic Swale. He is President of the Timothy Taylor Appreciation Society based in Faversham and one of the organisers of Taste Faversham. www.haroldgoodwin.info

Arthur used always to repair to the Bear after his classes, for the Faversham Society lectures we plan to follow in his footsteps. We’ll repair to the Wine Vaults opposite.

Launch of the Arthur Percival Memorial Fund

Richard Oldfield, President of the Faversham Society, receiving a donation of £2,000 from Faversham Town Council Town Clerk Louise Bareham and thanked the Town Council for it on behalf of the Society.

The Arthur Percival Memorial Fund was formally launched on Saturday. The fund is to enable us to ensure the conservation and preservation of Arthur’s archive and his remarkable collection of images of Faversham’s built heritage and of the life and times of Faversham’s residents and visitors. It is a remarkable collection of images – slides, prints, negatives, postcards and old glass slides. They need to be properly conserved and catalogued so that they are available and conserved for the future. The Society is determined to take good care of this valuable bequest.

The Fund will enable us to recreate online Arthur’s lecture series with his original slides and based on his notes and presented by 20 different Faversham voices. Arthur’s annual lecture series introduced so many Faversham residents, newcomers and those born here, to the history of the town. These will be freely available for this and future generations on the internet and a fitting tribute to Arthur’s contribution to Faversham.

Photos from Chris Wootton. Brian Wintle-Smith and Harold Goodwin

Chair’s address at the AGM May 24th 2017

Chairman’s introduction to the Society’s Annual Report May 24th, 2017

First, thank you all for coming here this evening for the AGM, this is an important event in the Society’s year. We are here to look back on 2016, to receive and consider the Society’s accounts and our Annual Report; and to elect some new Trustees and the officers. I thought that it would be appropriate briefly to reflect on the last year and on recent developments. My review of the year is published as part of the Annual Report so I’ll be brief because we’d like to complete the business expeditiously – we have Will Palin at 8 o’clock who is speaking on Greenwich, the Battle of the Medway and the Sheerness Dockyard Church: an Historic Journey through Maritime Heritage to Faversham.

Our President Richard Oldfield, who sadly can’t be with us this evening, has commented on this year’s annual report. I quote his words: the “report is excellent – bulging with information and achievement. Many congratulations to you and the trustees and officers, all who take part in the work of the Society.” Many volunteers have contributed to the report. A new member and volunteer, Norma Beechey, has brought a fresh eye to the Annual Report and put it together for us. Norma has also taken on the task of minuting the Board meetings. Responsibility for the content of the Annual Report rests with the Board and those who wrote the various sections of it. There have been some omissions and on behalf of the Board, I apologise for that. There will be opportunity shortly to comment on the Society’s report and to ask any questions.

The Society employs no staff, we can only do what our volunteers are able and willing to do. Over the last few years, there have been fewer talks and social events – I would like to see more of both, but to deliver talks and events we need volunteers to organise them. What the Society does reflects the interests and enthusiasms of its active volunteers. The maintenance of the Society’s buildings and the activities which take place in them absorbs a great deal of voluntary effort. I’d like to thank the Board and the scores of volunteers for their work and to thank in particular Jan West and Brian Wintle-Smith who so often pick up the pieces with good humour.

Understandably our volunteers are committed to the team they work with, and the pressure on our volunteers’ time gets greater every year. We have many opportunities for volunteers, there are many more valuable things we could achieve if we had more volunteers interested in helping and giving up some of their time – your time – to make things happen.

There is more that could be done on listed buildings, organising events and visits, and sitting on the planning and environment committees. We would like to undertake some co-ordinated interpretation of the water course from the Westbrook to the Swale. We had a very successful meeting with local groups in the Fleur Hall about this, but we don’t have a volunteer to take it on. We need someone to work with the Bookshop to sell second-hand books online and we need additional volunteers to work with the Open House and Open Gardens teams.

The Trustees and all our Board members are volunteers too, willing to take collective responsibility for the Society – we need a range of skills on the Board to oversee the work of the Society, the built environment is particularly important to the town and to our Open Houses, Open Gardens and Town Walks work. At the beginning of the year Jonathan Carey kindly accepted co-option to the Board to strengthen our capability on historic buildings but unfortunately, he can’t be with us this evening as he has been in New Zealand for a few weeks.

The Society has been active in pursuit of its objects for 55 years: promoting high standards of planning and architecture, educating the public about the history, architecture, geography and natural history of the area and seeking to secure the preservation, protection and improvement of features of historic or public interest in Faversham and its rural hinterland. During those 55 years, the balance of our activities has reflected the interests of those active in the Society – in recent years we have been unable to sustain a regular talks programme and we have not had the capacity to organise any day trips or social events. I for one regret this but, as I have already said, we can only do what our volunteers are willing and able to do – our activities reflect the interests and enthusiasms of our volunteers. Our Open Gardens and Open House programmes are great examples of what our volunteers can achieve and we thank them for it.

We are celebrating the 55th anniversary of the Society’s founding in 1962 with a Tea Party on 18 June here in the Alexander Centre, we know it’s Father’s Day bring him along! We hope that you will join us to celebrate the work of the Society over the last 55 years, to enjoy a festive afternoon tea with our volunteers and members and to launch, with our President Richard Oldfield, the Arthur Percival Memorial Fund. The Fund will enable us to recreate online Arthur’s lecture series with his original slides and based on his notes. These will be freely available on the internet and a fitting tribute to Arthur’s contribution to Faversham. I hope that you will want to support this initiative. Jan is selling tickets – please buy yours tonight.

When the Society reaches out with market or festival stalls, to local organisations like the Faversham and District Camera Club and St Mary of Charity, as we did when we jointly organised the Paul Binski lecture last autumn of the wall paintings, we get an enthusiastic response – we are now working more closely with the Town Council and other heritage groups in Swale. As I outline in our Annual Report we re-organised our committees and formalised delegated powers to enable the Board to spend more time on strategic issues. Our financial position is now stronger and we have a premises fund which will enable us to undertake a programme of planned maintenance. We have made some progress in improving two-way communications both with our members and those with an interest in the town. The Board is committed to reviewing our communications strategy shortly.

I can’t conclude without saying thank you to all those who contributed to the Creek Neighbourhood Plan. The Society encouraged its members and the residents of Faversham to vote yes in the May 4th referendum. On a turnout of 42.28%, very nearly as many votes as were cast for our representatives on KCC, 5,418 voted for the Neighbourhood Plan and just 706 against. The Society joined with the Faversham Creek Trust with a stall in the Market Place on the Saturday preceding the vote to explain the Society’s thinking on the Plan, the referendum and the critical link with the Swing Bridge which should now go ahead.

The Society is pleased that the residents of Faversham voted in such large numbers in support of the Neighbourhood Plan. The Plan is a compromise between many competing interests and the Inspector made some major changes too. We are keen to see initiatives which create employment for local people and to secure a great deal more affordable housing for residents and their children. The planning policies in the Neighbourhood Plan will also assist the Society in making its case for the conservation of our heritage and providing leisure and recreational access for residents and visitors. We shall doubtless have to continue to campaign in responding to planning applications – the Neighbourhood Plan will provide some support for the Society in making those arguments for conservation, for our maritime heritage, for leisure and recreation for residents and visitors, for affordable housing and employment creation.

With the opening of so many new museums, including the Police Museum and 12 Market Place, the plans for the wall paintings in St Mary of Charity and the continuing success of the Best of Faversham Market, Faversham is attracting more and more visitors. Much of what they come to see is in the public realm, the historic fabric of our town. The Society and its members have done a great deal of work over the last 55 years to protect, interpret and present our heritage for the enjoyment of local residents and visitors. It is however critical that we engage with the next generations, if we fail to do this then our heritage is not safe. We need to redouble our efforts – working with conservation architects, archaeologists, conservationists, historians and planners to continue the work of our forebears – cherishing the past, adorning the present and creating the future. The future will be what we make it.

I’d like now to hear from you and to take questions…

There is a great deal more about the Society’s work in 2016 in the Annual Report http://www.favershamsociety.org/img/Annual_Report_2016.pdf

Bess Browning of Kent Messenger reported  that the referendum on the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan had approved it,

“88% vote in favour of the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan. 5,418 votes cast for yes with just 706 for no.”

Turnout figures…
Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan 42.28%
Faversham Local Elections  42.94%

The Society will remain vigilant and continue to scrutinise planning applications.