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Former Sadlers, 1 Market Place

23/504900/LBC and 23/504902/ADV: 1 Market Place, Faversham, Kent ME13 7AG

The Faversham Society formally and strongly objects to the proposals for internal and external alterations and to the proposed fascia advertisement sign for the following reasons:-

FASCIA ADVERTISEMENT

The proposed location for the sign is on the projecting front apron panel of a First Floor bay window that is clad in mathematical tiling.  This is a most inappropriate location on a Grade II* building.  In addition, the proposal is out of scale with the building and by being so, harms the setting of this and adjacent Listed buildings and damages the character of this central part of the Conservation Area.  We are also concerned that the fixing of the proposed signage would harm the mathematical tiling.  In this case, the correct location for signage is along the frieze of the shopfront cornice or in the framed panel immediately above the front doors.  The magnificent early 19th-century joinery at the head of this shopfront was designed specifically for that display purpose.

Further, the lettering proposed for the sign is of inappropriate font, weight and layout for the character of this prominent historic building.  The lettering design would cause further harm to the setting of this and adjacent Listed buildings and the character of this part of the Conservation Area.

INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL ALTERATIONS

The long-established use of 1 Market Place is for in-house catering, with the entire Ground Floor given over to public seating and a servery and cooking/staff facilities placed on the First Floor.  This application is described by the Applicant as a proposal for a chicken kebab takeaway and restaurant.  In our view, this description is misleading, for the proposal allocates some 80% of the Ground Floor to cooking/associated storage and provides a cramped area for a maximum of 8 seats, located in what will simply be the entrance/servery effectively creating just a waiting area for members of the public.  The proposal is effectively a simple kebab takeaway and Faversham already has a sufficient number of such takeaways and fast-food establishments. 

In this core historic area of Faversham almost all commercial properties have residential use on their upper floors, a number of Ground Floors are also in domestic use and a significant amount of semi-sheltered housing is present in Gange Mews.  Experience in other parts of Faversham strongly suggests that the location of a takeaway kebab shop in such a residential environment would be highly inappropriate.  There is already a night-time traffic and serious parking problem in Court Street, the Market Square, Market Street and Preston Street, restricting access for emergency vehicles. The area is already suffering from anti-social behaviour, noise and litter.  We believe the location of a takeaway at No. 1 Market Place will increase all these problems, which will also be exacerbated by the proposed late opening hours.

We also find the drawings misleading in that the ‘As Existing’ plan of the Second Floor shows its 3 rooms in use as bedrooms: we know this not to have been the case for decades.

The proposal is that the Second Floor should be used as 3 bedrooms.  We believe this would be illegal as that floor is served only a by a single winder stair and the application provides no alternative means of escape in case of fire.  We are concerned that the upper floors of this Grade II* building should not be turned into a house of multiple occupation without proper provision being made for the protection of those sleeping on the premises.

We are concerned that although the various proposed uses of spaces are indicated on the drawings, no information has been provided about fire protection measures that would appear necessary to walls, ceilings and doors.  Such measures would constitute significant changes to the underlying construction of the Grade II* building and, as such would require Listed Building Consent.   

It is proposed to instal an extract duct in the brick chimney: presumably this is to ventilate the fan canopy over the grill unit.  However, no information is given on how the fan and chimney duct are to be routed and connected, nor on the inevitable damage that forming such a connection will cause to the historic fabric of the Ground Floor chimney breast.  The proposed 300mm diameter extract duct is then to rise in the chimney from Ground Floor ceiling level and exit at the top of the stack some 750mm above the main roof ridge.  External inspection of the stack from ground level and an adjacent upper floor indicates this ‘double pile’ brick chimney contains at least 4 flues, each separated by brick withes and each unlikely to be more than 225mm square.  The number of flues indicates the presence of several fireplaces (no doubt blocked) inside the property.  In these circumstances the insertion of a 300mm diameter flue will involve wholly unacceptable destruction of the historic fabric of the chimney and may risk collapse.   

Although this Listed Building Consent application has been validated, we believe the drawings provide insufficient information about the proposals:-

a).        The various historic early 19th Century cast iron columns located at Ground Floor level inside the West Street and Market Street shopfronts are omitted from both the ‘As Existing’ and ‘As Proposed’ plans.  Yet the locations of such columns, which support much of the weight of the upper floors and roof, will impact on the internal layout of the Ground Floor.

b).        It is proposed to place a fridge display counter ‘end-on’ to the glazed shopfront facing West Street.  No details are provided of the design of what will be a substantial glass and stainless-steel unit: Nor are there any details of how this highly visible shop fitting will relate to the historically significant shopfront joinery.

c).        The new double sink unit against the West wall of the Ground Floor will require new water supplies, drainage and protection measures on adjacent surfaces.  The plans give no indication of how such interventions in the fabric of a Grade II* building are to be handled.

d).        The proposed grill unit against the North wall will actually consist of 4 hot/cooking units, plus and extractor fan and a high-level ventilation canopy.  In addition – but not noted on the drawing – there will have to be some sort of connecting duct between the canopy and extract flue in the chimney stack.  Again, no details or trade brochures are provided of what will be substantial stainless steel catering equipment that will be highly visible from West Street and Market Square. 

e).        The extractor fan and ventilation hood will need to be placed under the exposed historic timbers of the already low Ground Floor ceiling.  The 4 fryer/grill/hot units will be placed against the timber framed party wall that is shared with another with another timber framed Listed building.  The drawings give no information on the proposed relationship of these units with the ceiling or party wall.  Perhaps more importantly, there is no indication of any fire protection measures and how such measures relate to the historic fabric of No. 1.

f).         Given the height that the duct will have to rise to the top of the chimney it is inevitable that the extract fan will be powerful and noisy externally, particularly during evenings.  The submission makes no mention of proposed sound attenuation or odour control measures in this mixed commercial and residential area.

To conclude, we maintain that the proposed revised use and layout of No. 1 Market Square is highly inappropriate for that Grade II* building and for that location.  We are concerned that such use would add to existing behaviour, litter, traffic and parking problems in the surrounding mixed commercial and residential area.  We consider that insufficient information has been provided about the detailed effects of the proposals on the historic fabric of this signature building and are worried that this may indicate a lack of familiarity with the conservation issues that are involved.  For these reasons, the Society asks that permission for both the Advertisement and Listed Building consent be REFUSED.

December 7, 2023

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