15th October 2019
FAVERSHAM CREEK BRIDGE – UPDATE # 3 – October 2019
We are writing on behalf of all of the relevant community organisations with a keen interest in the restoration of an opening Bridge across Faversham Creek to thank you for your positive and encouraging update on progress.
We are especially pleased to note your enthusiastic commitment to the project and the indication of your continuing support and interest beyond 17th October when you stand down as Leader of KCC.
We appreciate your identification of the development and regeneration of the whole Creek as being potentially unlocked by the opening bridge and we are encouraged to note that the technical appraisal embraces the opening sluices and dredging of the creek and basin. Increasing optimism on the future of our bridge is already catalysing further community developments and we can already report that the Faversham Town Council is currently considering a proposal to renew the town jetty below the bridge. It is with all of this in mind that our organisations, with support from local Councillors, have come together under the umbrella of The Heritage Harbour Group.
It is encouraging that your technical team is progressing work on the design and procurement of a new bridge and we look forward to the forthcoming lift of the bridge for inspection purposes. Whilst we quite understand why your officers wish to consider all options we do however, all have serious reservations about repairing and reinstating the existing bridge.
The current bridge has a narrow carriageway and very narrow pavements which are dangerous, and barely the width of a pram. The bridge is the link to the town centre for the part of our population with the largest proportion of young children. Today’s volume of road traffic and the size and number of lorries make it especially hazardous for young families as well as the elderly.
We are also concerned not only about the long-run costs of maintaining a repaired old bridge mechanism, but also the ease of operation and the ability of the community to take over its future management. The future management by the Faversham community of the bridge and sluices as well as the whole creek is, as we have discussed, an important objective in ensuring the sustainability of this project. An automated lifting Dutch or bascule style bridge with traffic control, by its nature, will overcome all of these drawbacks as well as being fail-safe in relation to road traffic.
We appreciate that there might be cost advantages in the repair option. However, we fear that this may be short-sighted and sincerely hope, having got this far, that the safety, sustainability and improvement advantages will weigh heavily in your decision making.
Sir David Melville CBE, Chairman Faversham and Oare Heritage Harbour Group
Sue Akhurst, Chairman Faversham Creek Trust
Professor Harold Goodwin, Chairman The Faversham Society
Marion Barton, Where is Our Bridge Campaign