December 2003 Newsletter

Christmas party at
the Castle, Wynn Ellis Room, at 7.30 on Tuesday December 9th
 

The Social Committee is laying on light refreshments, including a fruit
punch. Music of various kinds will be on hand and a stimulating game is
planned!  Members are encouraged to bring along any Christmas tipple
they wish to drink themselves or hand round. Licensing laws prevent us
providing alcoholic drinks. Please call Kath on 274802 by Dec 6th to advise
if you are coming. £2.50 on the door or email.
   
For those who cannot make the party, Eddie Oldfield and Graham Cox wish
you all a Happy Christmas. We look forward to an active new year for the
Society and more of the energy and forward progress that we have been
noticing in the recent past in CT5.

     
Notes from the Committees  

The Society has recently represented its views to decision-makers in
two areas.
 
A request from ourselves jointly with the Whitstable Improvement Trust
was made to councillors regarding the substantial increase in all car-parking
charges proposed by the Council after consulting with officers on alternatives.
We requested that the short stay periods be excluded from the rises and
indeed that the shortest stay be made free if possible in order to support
activity in the High St at a time when the expansion of Tesco may be damaging.
The Whitstable Area Members Panel passed a recommendation along these
lines on Nov 17th.
 
The Society has also sent a recommendation to policy-makers and an appeal
to all interested parties to push for a 50 MPH limit to start between
the slip road off the New Thanet Way and the junction with Church Lane;
which would cost around £5000 and take three to six months until
implementation. Expensive schemes (of the order of £0.5m) to improve
this junction and eliminate the problem may take years to be approved
and sanctioned, if at all. In the meantime more people could be injured
or killed at this junction. A speed limit of 50 MPH will reduce the risk
of accidents even if only a proportion of motorists respect the speed
limit. If you agree with this proposal, we encourage you and your friends
to contact your local councillors. The present arrangements are a menace
to everyone in Whitstable. The police have a blanket objection to any
new 40 or 50 MPH speed limits that are not self-enforcing (for resource
availability reasons). However, we are advised that in a case like this,
a unanimous view from all concerned may be enough to have this limit adopted. 
Until then, we need to keep an eye out for hesitant drivers crossing at
the Church Lane junction, especially in bad weather conditions. The Society’s
submission is available on request.
 
We remind members that they have the opportunity to go along to the exhibition
of the Castle Lottery scheme from. Dec 1st for 2weeks at the Woolwich
premises in the High St. Comments back to us to help form the Society’s
opinion are welcome. Please note also that the public enquiry on the footpaths
to the beach has been postponed for several months.

     
Annual General Meeting  

It gives us great pleasure to announce the 43rd AGM: to be held at St
Alphege Infant School Hall on the 17th of February 2004 at 7.30. The whole
of the Committee of the Society has to stand down and all positions are
open for nomination: Chair, Vice-Chair, Hon. Secretary, Hon. Treasurer
and the Head of the Planning Committee. If you or someone you know is
interested, please have the nomination sent or delivered to Ken Davies,
54 Newton Rd., CT52JA or faxed to 07005802691 before Tuesday 10th February
2004.

Present members of the Committee, in addition to Ken, who are intending
to put themselves forward again at the AGM are: Eileen Hargreaves, Esther
David, Judith Pope, Christopher Byers, Mike Bush, John Petman, Phil Willis,
Peter Hewitt and Graham Cox. This then leaves four seats vacant at the
AGM to be filled without a contest being necessary.
   
Any nomination should contain the names and signatures of the nominee,
the proposer and the seconder; all three of whom should be paid-up members
of the Society. Any position or positions listed above for which the nominee
wishes to put themselves forward should be stated on the nomination. All
Committee members must be prepared to be actively involved in the running
of the Society
 
Members are invited at any time to put themselves forward to serve on
any of the sub-committees (in no particular order, Transport, Planning,
Social, Rights of Way and Townscape) by advising any member of the Committee
of their interest.  Currently we would also welcome helpers to take
on the specific functions of editor, press liaison and Council business
researcher.
 
The annual dinner will be at the Chestfield Golf Club on February 28th.
More details in the next issue.

     
The Horsebridge Arts
and Community Centre (HACC)
  The Board
of the trust company overseeing the centre are sending out a communication,
effectively its first newsletter to the town. As their methods of communication
are not yet developed and this issue includes the invitation to become voting
members of the HACC, the newsletter is reproduced in full below. The editor
is the Treasurer of the trust company and takes this opportunity to assure
interested readers that finances are being planned prudently, in the light
of uncertainty about how quickly the centre will take-off and the need for
subsidy. He shares his view that he is impressed by the professional skills
of the members of the board and their dedication in the preparation phase.
 
HACC Newsletter
How is the Centre run?
Although the day-to-day operation of the centre is the responsibility of
the centre manager, Will Forrest, the centre is run by a non-profit making
company with charitable status. At present the company has eleven trustee/directors,
two of whom are local councillors and the remaining nine are all local people
whoresponded to an appeal in the local press for volunteers to help set
up the centre. All trustees are unpaid and are not allowed to benefit in
any other way from their position. They come from a variety of backgrounds
and include experts in education, the visual and performing arts, finance,
disability issues, project management and the law. After an initial period
of two years one third of the non-councillor trustees will automatically
stand down and replacements be democratically elected by members of the
company.
 
What can I expect to see at the Centre?
The building contains an art gallery, an education centre, a café,
and a performance space together with a number of smaller rooms that are
suitable for small classes, functions or workshops. The gallery, performance
space, and smaller rooms will be available for hire and there will be discounts
on hire charges for local residents and local groups. We hope to have a
wide variety of shows, classes and events to suit every age, taste and pocket.
One of the earliest exhibitions will feature the winners of the highly successful
Horsebridge Open Photographic Competition.
   
How can I become involved?
Anyone living within the CT5 postal area can apply to become a member of
the company. This will entitle them to attend the company annual general
meeting and to vote for replacement trustees. However, the centre is open
to everyone, members and non-members alike and the easiest way to get involved
is just to turn up and see what is going on! The centre will be open from
early in the morning until late at night and as many events as possible
will be either free or at reduced rates. As the centre only has limited
funding, the trustees will be grateful for any volunteers who are willing
to give their support by assisting in the practical aspects of running the
centre. A ‘Friends of the Horsebridge’ society will be set up
for people who want to become involved in supporting the centre on a more
permanent basis, and for members who really want to show a commitment to
the centre it is anticipated that the board of trustee/directors will be
enlarged to include member trustees.
 
When will the centre be open?
It is hoped that the building will be fully fitted out and ready to open
by Easter of next year. Before that time, Will Forrest will be running a
series of open days so that anyone who wishes to can inspect the building
and its facilities. The trustees are very proud of Whitstable’s new
Art and Community Centre. They hope you will be too. If you wish to attend
an open day, consult about hiring space, or raise any other queries please
contact Will Forrest on 01227 263495 (Mon to Thurs) or william.forrest@canterbury.gov.uk
     
The Canterbury and
District CPRE
 

Esther David introduced the speakers from the CPRE of which the Whitstable
Society is a member. The CPRE now stands for the Campaign to Protect Rural
England. Jean Crane, Committee member and past Deputy Chairman, and David
Symons, Chairman of Canterbury District (whose other interests include
Bio-psychology).
 
 Jean began the talk by saying that she hoped to illustrate the aims,
hopes and needs of the CPRE together with its problems and successes.
 
The CPRE used to be known as the Council for the Protection of Rural England
but Campaign is now the key word as 90% of their work is campaigning to
challenge, criticise and advocate solutions regarding the very many developments
and changes in our countryside today.
 
It is important that arguments regarding local planning matters are based
on facts. It is important to get people with special interests, knowledge
and expertise involved in the campaign. For example, KCC wants to build
a waste incinerator that has been vigorously opposed by local residents.
As a result KCC has postponed its decision. The CPRE does not campaign
solely for rural areas but also to make life pleasant for those who live
and work in the countryside and towns.
 
The countryside in Kent is easily accessible but the CPRE is concerned
with the edge of town developments that encroach on to the green spaces
– golf courses, sports centre, shopping centres, and industrial units.
The green spaces between our towns and villages are diminishing and the
increased use of the car to access the countryside must not be allowed
to destroy the quiet lanes, which should be for the enjoyment of walkers
and cyclists but are spoilt by traffic. Noise is increasing and the quiet
areas in East Kent are diminishing. Using quiet, narrow lanes in the countryside
for heavy traffic for whatever reason causes damage and disruption.
 
The Campaign is involved in traffic management, road building, water resources,
housing/low cost housing. Many developers now are building large houses
with two or three garages with little sign of low cost or affordable housing.
As a result local young families cannot afford housing in villages where
they have lived all their lives. The CPRE does not oppose development
that provides affordable housing and is sensitively designed. It protects
areas, which are vulnerable so that building is confined to areas where
it is beneficial.
 
Telephone masts are becoming more of a problem and road building is scarring
the countryside. There are vast cement quarries (we do not have a policy
of re-using aggregates in this country). As a result the countryside is
left with large areas which are filled with developments such as Bluewater,
creating more traffic and environmental pollution.
 
A slide show of various offending sites from across the county followed
– road building, chalk pits, missing hedges, orchards being grubbed
up, mobile phonemasts, industrial buildings on the outskirts of towns
encroaching on to the countryside, old rural buildings in a state of disrepair
despite funding being available for repair, disused collieries which were
closed 20 years ago and could be used for new industry instead of green
fields. One success story is Samphire Hoe where a natural feature has
been created from the spoil from the construction of the Channel Tunnel.
Evidence was shown that ancient and other woodlands, marshland, grasslands,
and estuarine areas are still under threat from continuing building and
construction work.
 
The CPRE can put local people in touch with experts and give advice on
campaigning and objecting to local plans.
 
David then held a question and answer session suggesting that local people
who wished to object to inappropriate developments should think about
how the CPRE can help Whitstable residents and organisations such as the
Society. For example, the Canterbury Local Plan encourages development
of the green gap between Whitstable and Herne Bay. This threat and others
in the Plan that both organisations are campaigning against are issues
that the two can work hand in hand on at the public enquiry into the Plan.
The CPRE would be pleased to co-opt one or more members of the Whitstable
Society to attend CPRE meetings and everyone interested is encouraged
to join the CPRE. David believes we can make Whitstable a better place
to live. Some issues will prove a real challenge illustrated by shared
views on country lanes and the frustration that speed limits cannot be
imposed due to a regulation that makes development of an area a pre-requisite
for a speed limit. But then if a country lane were developed, it would
not longer be a country lane. The special Quiet Lanes initiatives using
physical restrictions are unlikely to be applied in our area as only beauty
spots are targeted.
 
The Chair thanked the speakers for an interesting and thought-provoking
meeting and hoped that the WS and CPRE would work together over common
interests in the future.

     
Next Society meeting   7.30 January 20th at
St Alphege School Hall
 
Water sports in Whitstable are in the spotlight at this meeting with speakers
from the various activities. The focus will be on water sports using wind
power.
     
Whitstable Museum  

13th December – 13th March 2004 : Douglas West
A special exhibition to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the renowned
Whitstable photographer. Includes previously unseen photographs from the
West family albums and a wonderful display of studio portraits of weddings,
babies and even pets, generously loaned by the people of the town.

20th March 2004 – 24th April 2004 : Wildlife Photographerof the year
Prize-winning images from the prestigious annual international competition
organised by BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum: a split-site
exhibition showing at Whitstable and Herne Bay Museum & Gallery.

Whitstable Museum is open daily from 10am to 4pm. Admission free. The
latest information about exhibitions and events is posted on the Museum
website www.whitstable-museum.co.uk