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If you love Faversham, join us. We seek to Cherish the Past, Adorn the Present, Create for the Future

Pedestrian Crossing Mall/Forbes Road Junction

A group of residents along The Mall wrote to the Society seeking our support for a zebra crossing point to enable primary and secondary school children and others to safely cross at this busy road junction. With further housing development south of Watling Street (the A2) there will be a marked increase in the numbers crossing the road there. We are aware that traffic moves swiftly around the corner and rarely stops for pedestrians. The junction is complex with traffic coming from three directions.

The Society strongly supports efforts to improve pedestrian safety and to make Faversham more walkable. We support the aims of 20's Plenty to slow traffic and make the town more pedestrian and cycle-friendly. We support the 200 who signed a petition to KCC to install an appropriate crossing and urge KCC to install a zebra crossing before someone is injured or killed.

The Society hopes that the proposed Neighbourhood Plan will address some of these issues, and produce guidelines for how residents can engage to develop solutions and have them implemented. The Society broadly supports all community initiatives to develop solutions; residents are generally those most knowledgable about the issues and most likely to be impacted by proposed changes.    

Tim Stonor has assisted the group in putting together a design of what a potential crossing might look like.

The Society wishes to congratulate SBC for this strategy which has been correctly identified as a priority.  We welcome the additional resources allocated (£250,000) and the new “positive management” approach and commitment.  We particularly welcome the much needed, additional staffing.

The Society has long been critical of the lack of enforcement by Swale, and we are pleased that this has been recognised and that there are proposed remedies.  Article 4 Directions have been largely ignored, so allowing the degrading of vulnerable parts of the Faversham Conservation Area. There needs to be enforcement and a campaign to raise public awareness. We welcome the intent to introduce Special Advertising Control areas: these would be very useful in conserving the heritage of Faversham.
Radfield House is a prominent and embarrassing eyesore on the Watling Street and its condition clearly suggests a lack of concern for heritage in Swale. The conservation of this signature building probably now requires that SBC uses its compulsory purchase powers before the building lost and application is made for commercial or housing use of the land.

Pett Dane 15th century is a Grade II listed building. Needs to be on the heritage at risk register, SBC has not successfully protected this heritage asset for many years.

Our Common Heritage
As is pointed out in the strategy Swale has a remarkable richness of built heritage. This clearly is an asset. However, it also makes the presentation and communication of that heritage within and beyond Swale more difficult.

We would suggest that each year Swale has an annual tourism focus or theme in order to produce an experience of depth and quality. The defence of the UK is one such theme; it could be followed by brickmaking, barges, the railway and the Watling Street. The Watling Street provides a link to Canterbury and London, and in our view Swale needs to do a great more to connect its heritage nationally and to link with national and regional heritage centres.

Natural Heritage
Swale is defined by its shared natural heritage of chalk downs, fertile soils and marsh and the Swale. It would be desirable to see more linkage in the strategy between the built heritage and the natural heritage as is evidenced at the Oare Gunpowder site now also a country park. The Westbrook in Faversham made the development of the gunpowder industry possible and provides an excellent potential educational resource if interpreted from its source and down to the Swale. KWT’s ambition to re-wild Faversham has great heritage importance for the significance of our natural heritage and the part it has played in our history has been a neglected subject.,

Youth & Education
The Society is only too well aware of the importance of encouraging young people to appreciate and connect with our town’s heritage. The efforts of so many over the last 60 years will come to nought unless we instil in future generations. Appreciation of our built and cultural heritage Inheritance has to be an active and engaged process. We would urge SBC to include the creation and implementation of an educational outreach programme in its strategy

Community Celebration
The Society is very aware of the importance of connecting peoples contemporary lives with our heritage and that festivals are an important way of achieving this. We are working with the Hop Festival to introduce more heritage and heritage appreciation into that festival.

After 50 years of the pioneering Open Houses programme we are evolving it into two linked festival weekends in July each year. Plans for 2020 are to focus first on the coming of the railway and Victorian Faversham and on the second-weekend on gunpowder. We are seeking to engage as many community groups – music, dance, drama, food - as possible with us in these new annual heritage festivals.
We are working with HRGS through Historic Swale to mark and celebrate Beckett and Dunkirk.

Although a great deal of research has been done on Faversham’s history and much has been published by the Society, there is a great deal more to be done. The relocation of the Doddington Library into the Reading Room in the Town Hall at 12 Market Place has created a space where academics, students and others from Canterbury and elsewhere can work on the archives not only of the Faversham Society but also the other 14 or so heritage assets in Faversham, organised through Faversham Museums Together.

Creek Basin and Upper Creek
Swan Quay, The Faversham Creek Hotel (previously the Coal Exchange, the former pumping station (currently used by the Boxing Club), TS Hazard and the green quay) form a cluster of considerable heritage interest and about which there is currently public concern in Faversham. These buildings, along with the upper basin provide an excellent opportunity for a combined heritage and economic regeneration initiative.

TS Hazard
TS Hazard is a signature building for Swale, as it is for Faversham, and it is currently in use as the base for the Sea Cadets. A use for which it is in the C21st inappropriate and Illsuited. The Society wishes to see the building restored and used for a more appropriate purpose combining conservation, regeneration and tourism. If a maritime museum were to be developed there it would provide an entry point to the Cinque Ports and enable Swale and Faversham to develop a link with Chatham and the Historic Dockyard and the National Maritime Museum. In recent years Kent’s maritime and defence heritage has been largely ignored for tourism development and yet it is one of our county’s and Borough’s best assets.

Conservation Areas
The Faversham Society enthusiastically supports community engagement in the designation, appraisal and maintenance of Conservation Areas and is interested in remaining involved in this process including working with Swale BC on the Faversham Conservation Area Conservation Statements when Swale is ready to move on to these in 2021-2 as suggested. However, we are concerned about the proposed timescale which we believe is a). starting too late and b). is too short, given the processes involved.”
As part of the new Neighbourhood Plan process now commenced in Faversham the Society is likely to propose and press for some revision and significant extension of the conservation area in order to strengthen protection of the very varied town core at a time when it is facing considerable development pressures.” is likely to press for some revision and extension of the conservation areas in the parish. We are concerned that unless the CA appraisal has been updated issues may arise when the NP is passed to Heritage England for comment and problems may develop. The Society would like to see the Conservation Area Appraisal brought forward in the implementation plan and remains keen to assist in this process.

Local listing

§4.5 discusses the possibility of local listing. The Council commits itself to developing a local listing policy and the document discusses how they would work with owners to ensure that this is understood. We welcome this proposal and regret that its implementation is not seen as a higher priority

In the NP process the Post Office is emerging as a candidate for national listing as a heritage asset representing some of the best of sixties architecture and a rarity in Faversham

Areas of high townscape value.
The Society is pleased to see the references to the use of –“area of high townscape value”. Early thinking around the Faversham NP suggests that there are some areas we would like to suggest for this designation. We understand that this is not an immediate priority for SBC but we would like to be able to use this designation in the near future.

Abbey Fields
The Society has objected to the housing proposal on Abbey Fields because it will remove the last remaining view of Faversham for the marsh and from the creek. This iconic view is fundamental to Faversham’s sense of place and an understanding of its evolution as a rural market town and port on the edge of the marsh.”

Old Gate, Old Gate Road
This is a listed heritage asset of uncertain ownership and which some local residents are concerned may be in a dangerous condition.


§ 3.5 discusses the local brick industry in Sittingbourne and Faversham.

 ‘Excavation of brickearth made its mark on the townscape in Sittingbourne and Faversham which can still be read today. In Faversham, the height of the footpath through Dorset Place above the houses and gardens in Roman Road is evidence that the land to the west was excavated before it was developed.’

Suggestion: At the end of para 4 of the maritime section insert

‘At Faversham, there was also steel shipbuilding on the west side of the creek from 1917-1973 by James Pollock[1], Sons and Co Ltd building a range of tugs, coasters and lighters and vessels for WWII, and then by Southern Shipbuilders building trip boats for the Thames. The site is now partly occupied by housing and partly by a business area

The subsection on pilgrimages mentions Tonge and Sittingbourne but there is no mention of Ospringe which was a very important stopping place on the pilgrim route from London and beyond to Canterbury.

Suggestion: After the last para about Tonge (para 3 on page 38) add:

‘Ospringe was also important on the pilgrimage route from London and beyond to Canterbury and subsequently as a stopping off point for royalty. On both sides of the road was the Maison Dieu, a pilgrim ‘hospice’ with facilities for travellers of high rank. Part of this still exists as the Maison Dieu museum while the larger part has been excavated and lies under Waterstone Place on the north side of Ospringe Street.’

There is no mention of the Faversham Creek branch line built 1866 which served the industry at Faversham Creek including quays at Iron Wharf.

Suggestion: At the end of the first para on page 40 add:

‘Faversham also had an industrial branch line railway branching off the mainline close to the engine shed and carriage shed. This was built in 1866 and extended via a bridge over Whitstable Road and down Abbey Fields to Iron Wharf and then along Standard Quay to Belvedere Road. The steep bank alongside Faversham Recreation Ground is a reminder and there is other evidence in remaining tracks at Standard Quay and the line of the route through Iron Wharf boatyard.’ We understand that there is a turntable in this group of buildings.

Suggestion: Priority 2 about using heritage as part of regeneration is not included in any of the section introductions. It fits best here.

On page 68 there is no reference to the Maison Dieu museum at Ospringe. This is now run by a separate trust and has a museum containing finds from archaeological digs in and around the village.

Is it possible to add to the buildings at risk at this stage? Examples such as the complex itself and about local excavations on some brickmaking sites. Also 114 West Street, Faversham which is in a very poor state of repair?

On the items taken off the list since 2009 on pages 9-10, is it possible to complete the set of photos and also to say a little more about what happened to the buildings, perhaps with links to the relevant implemented planning applications/other works carried out.

We ‘wonder’ whether we might insert a mention of the agriculture-based businesses which flourished in the town from the mid-19th Century until the 1970’s and which arrived here because of the port.

[1] The Faversham Society is included in a National Maritime Museum application for funding to create a catalogued archive of the Pollock papers.

The Faversham Society writes to object to JB Planning Associates Article 13 Application for Planning Permission to develop 180 dwellings, “internal access roads, footpaths, cycleways, open space and landscaping, drainage, utilities and service infrastructure works.”
We have the following major concerns
The developer’s notice in the newspaper says that “All detailed matters are reserved for subsequent approval except for access to Abbey Fields”. Has this access already been agreed?
Access is difficult through Abbey Fields or requiring a new bridge over the railway line. Abbey Fields is narrow and in poor condition and exits on to Whitstable Road at an already dangerous junction with poor sightlines.
The setting of the town.
Faversham is a traditional market town set within an agricultural landscape. This setting has been lost to the south and west of the town through housing developments. FM7 lies to the north-east, from the Saxon Shore Way there are views of Faversham in its creek setting. The views across Abbey Fields to St Mary’s of Charity are important to Faversham’s sense of place.
Flood Risk
This area is reported to have flooded in 1953 with climate change and the plans for managed realignment the risk of flooding is heightened. The developer should not be permitted to develop housing leaving the costs of flood defences and post-flood restoration to the public purse or other householders through increased insurance changes
The site is adjacent to the Conservation Area, listed buildings and part of the site is within the locally designated Abbey Fields Local Wildlife Site. It lies within the Goodnestone Grasslands landscape character are and is adjacent to the AHLV – Kent Level within the Swale and surrounding marshes, a status re-confirmed in the 2019 study.
Landscape Sensitivity.
We dissent from the assessment of the site as “moderate-high overall sensitivity to future change from residential and employment development.” In our view, the site is highly sensitive and important to Faversham’s identity as a historic market town at the heart of a high-value agricultural area.
Development Constraints
In the unfortunate event that that permission is granted then all of the Guidance on page 342 of the Landscape Sensitivity Assessment on the agenda of the Local Plan Panel Meeting of 27 November, 2019 should be applied.

The Board of the Faversham Society on 26th November discussed the three conditions for which EKR have made submissions and which are currently the subject of public consultation.

The Faversham Society does not have any comments in respect of the following:

KCC/SW/0249/2019 Condition 53 Complaints procedure

KCC/SW/0248/2019 Condition 47 Landscaping.

However, the Society has concerns about the submission on condition 28 as below:

KCC/SW/0237/2019  Condition 28  Noise management

Condition 28 requires that the monitoring locations of noise generated by the plant reflect the nearest noise sensitive receptors to where the site operations will be carried out. The monitoring period shall be a minimum of two non-consecutive measurements of 15 minutes duration at each location. Noise monitoring shall take place during normal working periods and checked to confirm that the measurements were taken during normal working periods. There is a requirement in the condition to provide written reports to the Waste Protection Authority within one month of the date of each monitoring visit. If noise exceeds the permitted limits, there is a need to set out and implement the steps required to reduce the levels to those set out in condition 27.

There is also a condition about making sure the plant operates at the correct noise levels when it is in operation.

The sensitive sites for monitoring identified by the applicant include Pheasant Farm on Church Road, Oare and the Oare Lakes residential development. At present, the monitoring site for the Oare Lakes development is shown on Ham Road next to the nearest part of Goldfinch Close. There is a process set out for what needs to happen if the noise exceeds the required level involving working with KCC.

These are reasonable locations at present. It is stated that the applicant will move the Oare Lakes monitoring station when the site is completed and occupied. There is no indication where this will be moved to but the nearest houses to the active parts of EKR will be in phase 2 of the Oare Lakes development. The houses in phase 1 which are being built are a lot closer to the EKR plant than the initial location for the sound monitor in Ham Road and some of these houses are likely to be occupied within the next six months or so. It is recommended that KCC should ask for the location of the relevant noise monitor to be moved towards the further end of the present Evers Road as soon as phase 1 starts to be occupied and then again when the houses in phase 2 are built in the extension to Evers Road (or any closes which are nearer to the plant).

Prepared by
Anne Salmon BA  MCD  MRTPI

There has been controversy sparked by the report in the Faversham News.

We were represented at the meeting about the future of 12 Market Place. There was no discussion about selling the Magna Carta. The Society's view is, to quote William Morris, that “We are only the trustees for those who come after us.”

It is not for us to sell the Magna Carta.

The option of loaning the Magna Carta for exhibition for short periods abroad is worthy of serious consideration. This would raise revenue which could be used for heritage in Faversham and it could encourage people to visit Faversham.

This was submitted to the examiners today.

I am fully aware that all deadlines for submission have passed, but the submission below is based on an important recent official document relevant to the several references to the 2012 battery fire in Flagstaff Arizona, that have been made throughout the CHSP Examination. The relevant regulator - Arizona Corporation Commission has recently (2/8/19) published its determination in that matter and in the matter of a more recent  2019 BESS fire and explosion in Surprise, Arizona. Given it's authoritative, definitive and conclusive nature, I am requesting that for completeness this submission is brought to the attention of the Examiners before they make their recommendation to the Secretary of State.

Addendum to Deadline 7 Submission by the Faversham Society to the CHSP Examination Relevant to the Dangers Associated with Lithium-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems

Throughout the course of the CHSP Examination, the Faversham Society and others have raised serious concerns about the safety of Li-ion Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS) as evidenced by the incidence of runaway fires and explosions at BESS around the world. All such incidents involved BESS considerably smaller than that proposed by the applicants for CHSP. In our previous submissions and discussions during the examination, one of the more serious BESS fires - the 2 MWh battery fire in Flagstaff Arizona in 2012 was referenced, but at that time no conclusions had been drawn by the US authorities. 

2 Summary of the Determination
Commissioner Sandra D Kennedy of the relevant Regulator -  the Arizona State Commission, has now reported on the incident.
Her full report is here
Her conclusions are of great significance and include:

''The Flagstaff Fire Department report ''....references fires with ''10-15 ft flame lengths'' that grew into ''flame lengths of 50-75 ft'' with fire ''appearing to be fed by flammable liquids coming from the cabinets'' '. This highly significant piece of evidence shows how a fire can spread from one container to another and flatly contradicts the CHSP applicant's assertion that 100 containers are no more of a fire hazard than a single container and that any fire will be contained within a single container.
The Fire Department Report also states concerns about ''a serious risk of large scale explosion'' and ''the cabinets involved are full of lithium (sic) batteries that are extremely volatile if they come into contact with water.''
The Commissioner clearly states:
''Knowing now how easily a fire and/or explosion can evidently occur at these types of relatively small(2MW) lithium ion battery facilities, it appears that a similar fire event at a very large battery facility (250MW+) would have very severe and potentially catastrophic consequences, and that responders would have a very difficult time trying to handle such an incident.'' The BESS proposed for CHSP is even larger at 700MWh.
The Commissioner recommends that any large scale BESS  should be ''built in isolation'' and says ''an explosion could potentially flatten buildings at some distance''. She also draws the analogy that ''a 2MW battery facility is equivalent to 1.72 tons of TNT'' This makes the CHSP BESS equivalent to 602 tons of TNT. This is 1/20th of the TNT equivalent of the Hiroshima atom bomb. Moreover the CHSP BESS is within one mile of Graveney village and two miles of the town of Faversham.
The Commissioner  also reinforces our community's fears about batteries ''with chemistries that include compounds that can release Hydrogen Fluoride in the event of a fire and/or explosion and states clearly that ''those types of lithium ion batteries are not prudent and create unacceptable risks'' Moreover, contrary to the claims of the applicants  the Commissioner reinforces Dr Erasin's evidence stating that ''large amounts of hydrogen fluoride could be released and dispersed that would affect and harm the public at a substantial distance downwind'' and adds that ''There would be concerns about lingering hydrogen fluoride contamination in the affected areas.''
The Commissioner is clear that: ''water should not be used to suppress a fire such as a battery facility...'' - yet this was the method the applicants and their advisors favoured for CHSP.

The Commissioner also lays down stringent requirements for the protection of responders (fire and rescue services etc) to any incidents. None of these has been acknowledged by the proposers or by KFRS.
Given the absence of National Planning Statements on BESS, it is important that the Examination is guided by authoritative sources with experience of BESS projects. We would urge that the attached ACC Determination is the most thorough and up-to-date such source currently available.

3. Conclusion
This Determination by the Arizona State Commission clearly reinforces the view of the Faversham Society and others, expressed in evidence to the Examination, that the risks associated with Lithium-ion batteries are unacceptable at any scale and especially when close to habitation. It is clear that a  proposal for a Battery Energy Storage System close to Faversham, which will be over five times the size of the current largest in the world, poses unparalleled risks and must be regarded as recklessly dangerous and totally unacceptable.
Professor Sir David Melville CBE, BSc, PhD, FInstP, CPhys, Hon DSc, Sen Memb IEEE(USA)
Vice-ChairThe Faversham Society

Is it a roundabout? No.
Is it a traffic island? No.
So what is it?
It’s there at the bottom of Preston Street.

In 2017 the hexagon-shaped traffic island/roundabout/‘thing’ at the bottom of Preston Street looked a mess. No one Tim Stonor spoke to knew what it was for or even when it had been built. Where it had once been home to bollards and signposts, these had since been removed and patched up with dabs of tarmac. What was left was a sorry sight of granite blocks, blue bricks and blacktop. 

There was, quite reasonably, some talk about getting rid of the hexagon: either bricking it over or replacing the remaining granite blocks with tarmac. But it struck Tim that the island was there, that it was unusual, that it seemed to make some drivers pause and think about how they should negotiate it - and that it might perhaps stay. 

So it then seemed that the appropriate and perhaps obvious thing to do would be to restore the island. But given that there was no need for a central lamppost or bollards, the question remained as to what should go in the middle of the hexagon. Tim settled on the idea of a stone or, borrowing from the terminology of the cathedral-builders, a ‘boss’. Whereas bosses are typically seen high up in medieval vaulting, at the intersection of ribs, Preston Street’s boss would sit at ground level, at the meeting of the three brick arms.

What should go on the stone? It seemed the best, most appropriate device would be the crest of the town. The Faversham Society agreed to pay for the stone, and for Clive Sherwood to make it and Faversham Town Council had KCC install it.

If you love Faversham, join us. We seek to Cherish the Past, Adorn the Present, Create for the Future

Three representatives of Gladman attended a meeting co-organised by St Mary of Charity and the Faversham Society on 16th January. The meeting was well attended with over 170 people braving a cold wet evening to come and hear what Gladman had to say and to question them. The questions covered many topics including traffic, drainage & sewage, disruption to people’s lives, affordable housing and the degradation of Class 1 Agricultural Land. Gladman did say that the pace of house building would be dependent upon demand and that it could take up to 25 years to build the whole development.

It is fair to say that the current plans for 5000 houses are largely conceptual, they have not done the work that the Duchy has done to consult the community and develop their plans. If they are invited by Swale Borough Council to proceed to the next stage, they will begin that work. Gladman has agreed to come back to Faversham at our invitation later in the year to talk about where they have got to and to answer our questions.

Gladman was approached by Saville's to create a concept, a capacity plan, and promote it to Swale Borough Council on behalf of the four landowners. The landowners would hope to sell with planning consent to developers. Gladman recognised the need for new infrastructure but no detailed work has been done. They talked of a high street, surgery, dentists, convenience stores, and the creation of some employment - but emphasised that this would not be a new town to rival Favdersham.

Their promotional prospectus can be downloaded here

The PowerPoint presentation can be downloaded here

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  • The Solar Power Station is bigger than Faversham. The panels will be 3.9m/12.5 feet high: the height of a double-decker bus.
  • Just the electrical compound - the electrical substation and the batteries behind the bund will extend over 10ha - 20% bigger than the Faversham Recreation Ground which is a mere 8.1ha.
  • The batteries are unspecified this is an emerging and largely untested technology,
  • The Cleve Hill Solar power station will be built over land that has been part of the Faversham floodplain for hundreds of years
  • If built, we would have a huge industrial site on Faversham’s doorstep, changing the character of our historic town and reducing the amount of wildlife-rich amenity land available to us - just as the town grows rapidly.

Speak Up

East Kent Recycling Limited has applied for an environmental permit to expand their operation at Oare. You have until Tuesday 22nd January to comment. As the Environment Agency makes clear concern about increased traffic going to and from the site is not a matter for the Agency, Full details of what the Environment Agency can and cannot take account of is on their site. This is also where you comment

Helen Whately, our MP, has written to the Planning Inspectorate objecting to the expansion on planning grounds. There are some environmental grounds on which you can object, consider objecting about:

  • Noise and odour from the site affecting the neighbours, new housing is planned very close to the EKR plant
  • The site is on the edge of an SSSI, a SPA and RAMSAR area.
  • Noise and dust already emanates for the site disturbing residents, wildlife and the Saxon Shore Way- The new plant is likely to be  much noisier –an enforceable decibel limit should be included in the permit.
  • Many locals have reported seeing discolouration in the lagoon into which the East Kent Recycling plant discharges water
  • Light  pollution from the site, already an issue,  will become a more significant issue if the site  is allowed to operate from 05:00 to 20:00 hours

You may also wish to express concern about how much supervision and inspection the Environment Agency will be able to regularly undertake to ensure compliance with the permit if one is issued.  

Registered Charity  Number 1135262 - Company No 07112241
The Faversham Society - Registered Address: 10-13 Preston Street, Faversham, Kent ME13 8NS
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