Script for the Society's representation at the Swale Joint Transportation Board 06 September 2021
I speak this evening as Chair of the Faversham Society, and with the full support of the Board, to ask that further work is done to develop a pedestrianisation scheme for Faversham town centre
The results of the consultation favour the closure of the core of the town centre to vehicles by 51% to 46%
On average, one in seven shops is vacant in UK High Streets; Faversham has very few.
Faversham is prospering for three reasons
- growth in the local food economy during the lockdown
- the population is growing, there are more residents and more pedestrian space is required
- Faversham is also prospering because of the attractiveness of the commercial and heritage core. I have met Whitstable residents who come here to shop because of the traffic hazards in Whitstable High St. Our town attracts large numbers of day visitors who come to walk our streets and purchase from town-centre businesses. Our public realm is at the core of our town's tourism offer and it is important to the commercial success of businesses
The opportunity for many café's, restaurants and public houses to use the pedestrianised space has benefitted their businesses and encouraged people, visitors and residents alike to linger and spend.
I request that
1) there are discussions with key stakeholders about how to overcome the disadvantages of closing the town centre from 10:00 to 16:00 on some days. Discussions need to take place with all businesses, those in favour of pedestrianisation and those against, to develop a pedestrianisation plan acceptable to most.
Access for deliveries could be enhanced if a small investment was made in a Market Cart which could be kept behind the town hall.
2) There needs to be a discussion with the wide range of disability groups in the town and with AgeUK about how access for all those with disabilities can best be enhanced.
I am asking the JTB to pursue this matter further.