Abbey Fields abuts the east boundary of the Faversham Conservation Area. The character of the landscape immediately within the Conservation Area here is one of historically and visually significant open space (itself a rare feature within the Conservation Area as a whole). Among other things this space provides part of the historic setting of the nationally important group of Grade II* and Grade I listed house and barns, built for the monastic community of Faversham Abbey. The Conservation Area landscape here remains essentially medieval in origin - all of it, including the Cooksditch Stream, related to the workings of the former Abbey. This gives the area a unique special character.
Prior to the mid c19 with the arrival of the railway branch to the Creek, this agricultural land around the former Abbey site extended eastwards as further fields - Abbey Fields, once the 'Great Field' - to the horizon. Notwithstanding the narrow incursion of the railway line (now a road), this remains so today - the open agricultural land of Abbey Fields forms the east side setting of this part of the CA. Nowhere else, apart perhaps from in a small way at Standard Quay, does the historic town retain its pre-industrial, pre-C20, relationship with what was its millennial agricultural surroundings. Everywhere else in the town the link with the countryside has been severed by later developments of varying quality.
That Abbey Fields was exploited for brickearth and that scrub has grown up along the line of the old railway makes no difference to the fact that this is literally the last major place in Faversham where the historic and aesthetic relationship between the ancient town and its countryside survives, can be seen, can be experienced and understood. The urbanisation arising from the residential development of Abbey Fields will destroy the Conservation Area's last major, historic, link between town and country. It will thus severely damage the setting of the Abbey Farm buildings and of the Conservation Area and greatly reduce the potential for 'understanding' in what is left.
For these reasons the Application should be refused.
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