June 2005 Newsletter

June Meeting: Change
to Current Affairs
The June event as planned has been moved. There is a restricted numbers
trip to Broadstairs on the evening of Mon June 27th  with a few places
left. Call Kath on 275802.
Please amend diaries. The June Meeting will be held on Tuesday June 21st
at 7.30 as a current affairs event; with differences. The venue is the
Castle and refreshments will be served. Amongst various topics, Council
representatives will be there to present the plans and options for community
facilities off Church Lane to help us form our opinion of the competing
proposals (see later)6 and a representative for the Castle will update
us on the lottery bid. Please add to your dairies Tuesday August 16th
as a social event at the Castle gardens.The Harbour Board’s consultation on their plans will be on display
at the Horsebridge Centre between 25th of June and July 1st, so it is
too late for our current affairs meeting. We will therefore review the
plans and form our final opinion of the proposals at our meeting on July
19th. Please look at the plans if you can.
Field Trip Walks

We hope as many members as
possible can make these events for in addition to enjoying the walking
and scenery, that some have not been through, and reacquainting with boundaries;
we need to form our views about the relative attractiveness of tracts
of countryside that may be proposed as building land in the next planning

June 10th: change of starting point
Our intrepid pioneers Rita Collett and Kath Gill have been checking out
the countryside and to ensure the reality on the ground matches the maps.
The path from the original starting point at Honey Hill is blocked. The
starting point is now changed to Tesco car park, meeting at the bus stop
by the side of the car park at 6.30p.m. on Friday June 10th. The route
will follow the Crab and Winkle and return via Clowes Farm so we can look
at all the country side on the east of the road to Canterbury.

July 1st : Advisory of starting point and time
Please meet by the Seasalter Yacht Club at 6.30 p.m. on Friday July 1st.
We will view from the sea wall bank the routes of the various boundaries
across the marshes. We will then go by convoy to a location near Yorkletts
from where our circular walk will traverse the paths between there and
Pean Hill.

Trees We hope to put in a
first grant application to the Tree Council this week to cover 75% of the
cost of planting trees at the first two sites suggested by members: Priest
and Sow corner and Cornwallis Circle. These are expensive sites as trees
planted there face extreme challenges from vandals and gales, so the individual
planting may be up to £250 each. The Whitstable Improvement Trust
has agreed to fund 25% of the cost.
Tea Gardens For reasons which are rather difficult to fathom, the Tea Gardens has
so far been left out of the landscaping / planting examination and proposal
process for the lottery bid for the Castle. This is being rectified and
the area will benefit from the same examination as the rest of the Castle
Grounds. We hope amongst other things that the hut can be repaired and
expanded, a watering system installed, walls repaired excessive tree growth
cut back and appropriate plantings of perennials made. The Tea Gardens
are currently managed by the Whitstable Improvement Trust on a two year
renewable lease and they then license the ‘tea and cakes’ operation
that we all value. Mary Lerigo from the Trust is advising the council
on the needs of the site on the basis of her experience of looking after
them for many years.
Red Spider Café As you may remember the Society support planning permission for re-building
the Red Spider on West beach on the basis that many local people would
like the facility back that so many families grew up with. We swung round
to the opposite camp recently on the issue of licensing which the Whitstable
Oyster Fishery Company decided to apply for. The Red Spider was a café
and just that, but the Company applied from an extensive liquor licence…
even asking for a licence for hours when the conditions set down for planning
permission required the café to be closed.  The Beach Campaign
fought this application with considerable energy and the papers report
it as losing since the licence was granted. However, the detail indicates
otherwise.  The planners’ hours of operation restriction are
to be respected. The facility can only serve up to 6PM in summer and hardly
at all at other times of the year, and will be restricted to waiter service
to the inside and to the front veranda. This should assuage the fears
of the local community.
Church Lane Community Facilities Many were pleasantly surprised by the extent of the community land and
facilities proposed under a section 106 agreements with the developers
of the land surrounding the old Seasalter church.  The large field
to the east and north of the church is to be given to the community and
a pot of £150,000 made available for community facilities such as
playing surfaces, changing rooms, community centre and / or a medical
centre.A consultation exercise in the community will be carried out over the
next couple of months as to which facilities we would prefer. This will
be one item under discussion at our Current Affairs meeting on June 21st
at which maps will be available. Councillors at the Whitstable Area Members
panel  last Monday asked that the consultation be extended from the
proposed 15 minute walk perimeter, as the sports facilities at least would
be used by people from all over the town.
Middle Wall Car Park Good news on the Tesco
106 money in that some of it will be used to improve the street scene for
the exits from car parks. Knights Alley will be a particular focus. The
Society created the present attractive arrangement years ago but vandalism,
overgrowth and general deterioration mean that a re-vamp is needed. Hopefully
it can be made as vandal proof as possible.
Members Membership has now passed
400, up approximately a hundred as a result of the leaflet drop on the centre
of town. We welcome these new members :
Ms Arrowsmith; Mr & Mrs Blades; M r& Mrs Bridges; Mr Colls ;Dr &
Mrs Cwynarski; Mr & Mrs Dukes; Ms Dunn;  Mrs Faulkner; Mr &
Mrs Leigh; Mr &Mrs Metcalfe; Revs Must; Mr & Mrs Newcombe; Mr &
Mrs Palmer; Mrs Ramelson; Ms Richardson and Mr Whaley; Mr & Mrs Rogers;
Mr Rowe; Mr & Mrs Verwijs.
Community Coordination As most people know,
community coordination has been poor in Whitstable, not unconnected with
the fact that we have no council and no Canterbury City council officers
/ function taking this on. The Council doesn’t even have a proper list
of organisations in the town. Officers were limited to SRB activities in
‘deprived wards’. This can now and will change.  Now all
Council funded, officers Amanda Sparks and Marie Royle for the coastal towns
and Amy Zawislak for the CCC district have now been given formal responsibilities
in this area and will assist in engendering town level information exchange
and cooperation amongst their other community development work. Amy is currently
working with the Community Centre to review their situation and see if their
grant can be restored to last year’s level. The Society has written
in the Centre’s support.
Sunday Walks (
Rita Collett 264574)
Sunday 6 June 2005
Meet 10 a.m. St Nicholas at Wade Church, Thanet. Local walk
approx 5 miles, could be muddy. GR ref 266 666. The village will have its
open gardens scheme both Saturday and Sunday which can be enjoyed after
the walk.
Sunday 3 July 2005 Meet 10 a.m. bottom of St Thomas’s Hill, Canterbury,
near Cherry Garden Road to walk around the city and river during the morning
– about 2-3 hours with a 1û2 hour coffee stop included, possibly Dane
John area – if wet, stop under cover. No walk in August.
May Meeting Report:
Boat Building in Whitstable
Many old salts and
seafarers came aboard the good ship St. Alphege School for an evening which
brought to life the art of boat building which for so many years was at
the commercial heart of Whitstable. Our speaker, Alan Staley, had the distinctive
roll of the tongue we associate with those who have lived and worked in
the town and by the sea all their lives. Alan focussed on the history of
Anderson, Rigden and Perkins, which was started in 1917 when The Whitstable
Shipping Co. disappeared. Once there were 165 ships registered in Whitstable.
The trade was mostly in coal and salvage with boats working from the North
East of England. Interestingly only one Thames barge, the Northdown, and
two oyster dredgers were ever built here; the last in 1955.Alan painted a colourful picture of the life of an apprentice. The working
day was 7am to 9pm and the conditions working out in the open among the
forges and winches up and down the beach must have been very demanding.
We were taught the art of riveting and how to prepare a slipway for a launch
and realised why restoring the shape of the shingle after a boat had been
dragged up on wooden sleepers was such a thankless task especially in 1963
when the sea froze and the pick axes had to break up the ice.

We could imagine the young apprentice feeding the boiler with driftwood
while the experts used the steam to bend the timber to the shape required;
every inch took an hour. Oyster yawls had a rudder trunk in a fan shape
with tapered stays and the splitting out of the old and replacing it all
had to be done before the tide came back in. There were special skills to
lift a ship or insert a new mast. We imagined what it was like at the top
of a flagpole after it had been carefully fashioned from a single tree.

Photos of some of the graceful wooden boats were passed around the audience.
We could see why the 18s and the Essex 1 class were so prized by their owners.
Everyone associated with the art of boat building seemed to be great characters
and we heard a little about people such as Jack Stephen, George Richards,
Harry Beale, Bob Andrews, Ron Barton and Roy Rigden.

As we walked out into the town afterwards it was as if quite suddenly we
were back on dry land. It was sad to think that those skills, which once
flourished in Whitstable, had been swept away by time and change. But in
the car park was our speaker’s van, and on its side was written “Alan
Staley, Boat Builder, Faversham”. The tradition lives on.

Chris Byers

Community Information Whitstable
Health Centre and Chestfield Medical Centre Practice Users Group

Not our usual area, but members might like to note the Practice Users Group
that was set up four years ago so that patients can contribute views and
ideas on CT5 healthcare services based at Whitstable Health Centre and at
Chestfield Medical Centre. If you are interested in becoming a member of
the Group and for further details please ask at the reception desks or contact
Lesley King – Practice Manager – Tel: 594570. Alternatively remember the
suggestion boxes.
Since August 7th 2004, it’s been a criminal offence to let off fireworks
between 11pm and 7am and anyone breaking the curfew risks a fine of up to
£5,000 or six months imprisonment. Exceptions are Bonfire Night (when
there’s an extension until midnight), Diwali Day (which has an extension
until 1am), New Year’s Eve (1am) and Chinese New Year (1am).  Complaints
should be directed to the police and not the Council