PLANNING APPLICATION no 20/502408/FULL – ERECTION of DWELLINGS, OFFICE,
This application should be refused, because it is too tall. The applicants probably know this because they have made two attempts to decieve regarding the height. Firstly they describe the buildings as 2 – 3 storeys when they are 3 – 4 storeys. The ground floor storey may only have parking spaces and entrance lobbys but it is still a storey. Then there are another three floors with the top floor being attics in steeply sloping roofs. That makes 3 – 4 storeys. Also, on drawing no 2620/PL/20/14 according to their scale bars, they have drawn the adjoining Purifier building as having a ground to eaves height of 7.5 metres when it is only 6.2 metres on its longer wing. That's an exaggeration of its height by 121%. And all the trees stamped in the background make it look like a setting in the Chiltern Hills. That's a good enough reasion to reject it, but there is more.
The scheme is predicated on the need to justify building dwellings on an unsuitable creekside site. Therefore, some form of maritime use is required and they came up with - a dinghy sailing club! A less suitable type of maritime use for Faversham Creek is hard to imagine. A dinghy sailing club requires a waterside site looking over a large enough body of water to stage dinghy racing. The officer of the day needs to be able to supervise the racing, rescue boats, launching arrangements, etc from the clubhouse. So they are sited in places like Seasalter, Whitstable, or on the shores of largish lakes. None of that will be possible from Ordnance Wharf and the dinghys will impede the development of the Creek Basin for the use of larger maritime craft such as sailing barges, fishing smacks and the like.
The dwellings overlook the Purifier Building to the West and the car park to BMM Weston to the East. This will be prejudicial to the activities in the Purifier Building, which will increase once the new creek bridge is working and also prejudicial to any suitable maritime use of the BMM Weston car park for two reasons. Firstly, residents in the dwellings will complain about any noise from the Purifier Building and object to workshop development on the car park. Secondly, if this application is approved it will set a precident for residential development there, so the basin will be a lost cause and Faversham Creek will become irrelevant for maritime use. The reason for spending public money on the bridge is to develop the basin in a manner that will revive Faversham's maritime heritage. It is not for the benefit of greedy housing developers.
Vehicular access to the site is via Flood Lane and a dangerous junction with Brent Road/Brent Hill. There will be too many vehicle movements.
Ordnance Wharf was closely linked to the gunpowder works that were situated in the area now occupied by Stonebridge Pond and allotments during the 18th and 19th Centuries, hence its name. It was probably only used for unloading gunpowder ingredients for use in the adjoining mills then loading the finished products. After a short spell as a shipyard it became the site of the Guiseley purifiers in the town's expanding gas works, so is a very important part of Faversham's past heritage. After the gas works closed when North Sea gas became available three oil storage tanks were installed. These last two uses will have caused considerable pollution of Ordnance Wharf, making it unsuitable for housing. There will have to be extensive, and expensive, piled foundations for a building on the scale proposed, rather than the type of building illustrated on the cover of one of the Archaeological Reports showing the Cornelius Shipyard, a type of development which would be ideal for Faversham Creek Basin. The high expense is acknowledged in the architect's Design and Access Statement at the bottom of page 1 where it says, - “The most important element being the housing, which has to generate sufficient income to cover the very high costs of the site development.”
This is putting the cart before the horse with an unsuitable development for the site. On page 4 of the D & A Statement the architect states, - “The site is situated within an industrial and commercial area in close proximity to Faversham Town Centre.” The type of development favoured by organisations promoting the use of Faversham Creek for the benefit of the town, would be maritime workshops and the like. This would attract tourists, so close proximity to the town centre is very important.
The developer's agent suggests that, - “7 no residential units, to help housing needs and specifically to make the site a viable proposition, due to the high costs of the site development.” These dwellings do not provide for Faversham's housing needs, as they will be very expensive so will only be affordable to wealthy people. In any case there are well over a thousand new houses under construction in Faversham, very few of which are 'affordable'. Three bedroom houses should have private gardens, which these don't; because they can't, being a development unsuitable for the site.
I therefore very much hope that this planning application, like previous applications, will be refused.