On Friday 18 September Helen Whately MP brought together representatives from Kent County Council, Faversham Town Council, the Faversham Society and the Faversham Creek Trust to discuss progress restoring the swing bridge.
Kent County Council reported that they are making progress towards the restoration of the bridge, including detailed design work on a potential replacement. KCC is also meeting Peel Ports shortly and is hoping that Peel will engage and support the project team in progressing the restoration project.
Helen Whately made clear that she believes that Peel Ports had an obligation to keep the bridge and creek in good working order. She has discussed the situation with the Maritime Minister, and he has written to Peel Ports Chief Executive about Faversham’s bridge and creek. She confirmed to the group that she supports the bridge and creek being locally managed and operated in future, once they have been restored to good working order.
Faversham Town Council indicated that they also want to see the bridge and creek back in working order. Next steps included a meeting between the Town Council and KCC to discuss how the bridge could be operated and managed in future, and who would be best placed to take responsibility for it.
Sue Akhurst from the Faversham Creek Trust and David Melville from the Faversham Society drew on their knowledge from many years of planning the restoration of the bridge and creek, advising that opening the bridge would be no good without the sluice gates, and ineffective without dredging the basin and much of the Creek. They stressed there is lots of local support to restore the basin to use.
Next steps include further discussions between KCC and the Town Council about future operation of the bridge, KCC’s design work on the restoration of the bridge and discussions with Peel Ports, and Helen Whately’s ongoing engagement of the Maritime Minister to encourage Peel Ports to play their part. The group is due to convene again later this year.