SQ Swale reactions-Vimeo SD from Richard Fleury on Vimeo.

SWALE COUNCILLORS POSTPONE VOTE ON STANDARD QUAY’S FUTURE

At a strange and at times shambolic meeting last night, Swale councillors decided it might be a good idea to take a look at Faversham’s historic former shipyard before turning it into a restaurant and car park.

Conceding that the application to turn the listed former shipwrights’ sheds into a waterfront eatery is ‘controversial’, they have arranged to visit the quay on Monday April 29th at 9.30am. Members of the public and media are welcome to attend but previous Standard Quay site visits have been poorly attended by councillors and, this being Swale Borough Council, it might be wise to confirm the date and time.

Planning officer Graham Thomas listed various arguments recently received by the council, the majority opposing the scheme. Yet oddly, he failed to mention criticism of his own highly controversial report backing the restaurant plan based on the extraordinary (i.e. demonstrably untrue) claim that no shipbuilding activities occured at Standard Quay prior to 2002.

Instead Mr Thomas read out an unsolicited email, allegedly from the ‘Head of Research and Strategy’ at tourism organisation VisitKent, which claimed “29 percent of Kent visitors are motivated by fine dining opportunities”. Cue laughter and groans from the public gallery.

Mr Thomas then revealed that Kent Highways did ‘not expect the proposed use to give rise to significant volumes of traffic’ and recommended limiting the number of parking spaces from 97 to 13. This would, he argued, address many of the concerns raised (apart from, you know, the concerns about the quay never being used by maritime industry again).

For reasons which remain unclear, given that he had already decided to postpone the vote, meeting chairman Coun Richard Barnicott then asked Brian Pain to speak for a maximum of three minutes, as per Swale council’s rules.

Mr Pain, whose company Standard Quay (Faversham) Ltd revived Standard Quay’s centuries-old shipbuilding tradition from 1993 to 2011, began to explain that part of his speech had related to the proposal for 97 parking spaces and was therefore no longer relevant but was rather rudely shouted down by Coun Barnicott.

Mr Pain began his timed speech but was interrupted halfway through by Barnicott shouting ‘thirty seconds!’.  Afterwards, realising he’d cut Mr Pain short, the bumbling chairman then allowed him a further minute.

The whole vaguely farcical interlude concluded with loud applause for Mr Pain and a shout of ‘We want people with vision, not greedy people!’ from the public gallery.

Mr Pain and others at the meeting give their reactions in the clip above…

By the way, VisitKent’s Head of Research and Strategy is Ruth Wood ruth.wood@visitkent.co.uk  tel. 01227 812919

 

 

 

 

 

 

Planners defer Standard Quay decision

3 Responses to “Planners defer Standard Quay decision”

  1. […] public planning meeting on Thursday was inconclusive – I gather from Richard Fleury’s report that the councillors postponed the vote until some of them have had a chance to see the site for […]

  2. Bob Telford:

    Good report, Richard. I have put a link to it from the Faversham Creek Trust if that is ok with you.
    Thanks, Bob.

  3. Graham Warner:

    I’ve had some correspondence with Ms Wood at Visit Kent, and posted info about this in the comments at https://visionsofacreek.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/standard-quay-planning-application/comment-page-1/ I think this is likely to be an important issue in deciding the application, and I’d suggest as many considered criticisms for Visit Kent’s position as possible.

    Meanwhile, Graham Thomas’s report also states that ” However, it should be noted that three applications made in the 1990s which had maritime purposes (sail-making, boat building and repairs) were approved by the Council. The Council has therefore been extremely supportive of proposed maritime uses here but, in each case the approvals issued were never implemented. It is therefore only reasonable for the Council to consider other sustainable uses for this building.”

    I’m not knowledgeable enough about the details of the recent history of the creek and these applications, but I’d say this is another key argument (no pun intended) that we need to refute to sway the planning committee.

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