May 2012 Newsletter

The next meeting is on Wednesday 16th May 7.15pm at the Castle Our speaker is to be Dr John Ribchester from Estuary View Medical Centre, who is to talk to us about the services provided from the new centre and the new NHS.

Meeting Wednesday 20th June 7.15pm at the Castle

Roger Seijo, Chairman of the Whitstable Improvement Trust, is to give us an update of the work and projects that the trust has achieved over the years.

2012/13 programme

We are still finalising details of the next programme, which will be distributed with the June Newsletter

Meeting 18th April Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge

Kath apologised that Richard Griffiths was unable to speak to us this night, but fortunately, she, Maureen and Henry had heard Richard speak earlier, so could speak to the subject

2012 is the celebration year of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge (known simply as The Queen Elizabeth Fields Challenge in Scotland), operated by Fields in Trust, is a fantastic campaign to protect outdoor recreational spaces in communities all across the country as a permanent living legacy of this great event. From sports pitches to woodlands, children’s play areas to gardens and bicycle trails to parks, the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge will protect a diverse range of outdoor spaces ensuring that there is something to appeal to everyone.

Whether you live in a dense city, or the middle of the countryside, recreational spaces are the heart of any community and the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge will ensure that these outdoor spaces are guaranteed for future generations. Securing access to grassroots sporting facilities is particularly relevant given the other milestone event taking place in the UK in 2012 – the London Olympics. What better way to mark the greatest sporting show on earth?

The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge will give communities an opportunity to vote for an outdoor space in their area to become part of the scheme and be permanently protected as a tribute to the Diamond Jubilee. Tankerton Slopes and Mariner’s Field, at Seasalter, have been nominated and selected for the Whitstable Area.

Projects are to be community-led and funds for projects are available from various sources. The Fields in Trust, Sport England’s funding programme, Protecting Playing Fields (PPF) and some county councils are participating. Communities are also expected to raise money locally.

Tankerton slopes QEII field site extends from to Whitstable to Swalecliffe and includes the grassy slopes and the playing fields at Swalecliffe. Some areas such as the Beach Huts are excluded. There was some discussion at the meeting as to what the Whitstable Society could contribute to improve facilities. Ranging from a bandstand, projects to create walks, a multi-gym, improved playpark at Swalecliffe, improved signage and updating interpretation boards. One thing that everybody agreed on, was that we like the slopes as they are and do not wish for excessive furniture. Our Society is already exploring the possibility of tidying the excess vegetation, that has grown up over the years, in the area in front of the Castle. The suggestion that was most welcomed by the meeting was for a picnic area at the Western end of the slopes. A suggestion that the area be made as tamper-proof as possible by making the seating of brick, or similar material, was also carried. It was also suggested that the Society should have an awareness event ie: a stand during the celebrations, but it was decided that due to the short timescale it should be at a later event

Queens Jubilee Celebrations

Thousands of beacons will be lit around the world on 4 June 2012 to commemorate Her Majesty The Queen’s 60 year reign over the UK and as head of the Commonwealth. Trevor Thomas is organising this event for Whitstable and the event will take place on Tankerton Slopes. The lighting is to be co-ordinated throughout the country, with our Beacon being lit at 10.15pm.

A second event, a street party on The Street, is being organised by the residents of Marine Parade. On Saturday 2nd June, between 4pm and 6pm. The spaces on the Street are limited and only available to Marine Parade Residents, however, there is plenty of room on the slopes for others to bring a picnic and join in. It is expected to be a unique event and to attract much publicity.

Unfortunately we have now heard that this event is unlikely to take place due to insurance problems. We are still waiting to hear from Canterbury City Council..

Honorary Members

The committee voted to make both Peter Hewitt and Ken Davies, Honorary Members of the Society, in recognition of all the years of service that they have given on the committee. Peter is our longest-serving member and, in latter years, has been on the planning committee and Ken has been the Hon Secretary for very many years.

Cycling on the Promenade

The Whitstable Society objected to the route submitted by CCC for the Phase II extension of the Oyster Bay Cycle Route section, along Tankerton Promenade, but did not object to CCC’s route for a Summer restriction on cycling, as in the local plan 2006, which was not included in the Public Consultation. Last month, both Graham at the Whitstable Area Members Panel (WAMP) and Kath, at the Executive, spoke with our reservations to shared use cycling and walking during the busy Summer months. Both our original letter of objection, and the presentations made at the WAMP and the Executive, can be seen on our website. We were not alone, there were four speakers against at both meetings. However, in spite of our combined concerns for the safety of pedestrians during the busy Summer months, both the WAMP and the Executive opted for the route with no seasonal restrictions. We were upset that councillors criticised Graham personally, for verbally attacking a named CCC Officer at the WAMP, when he was speaking on behalf of the Whitstable Society. At no point did we name any Officer. But we did express concern that, as Official Planning Consultees, we had had no advance consultation prior to the public consultation.
The next step will be for CCC to use the Cycle Tracks Act to convert this Public Footpath to a Cycle Track (As well as the current byelaw, against cycling on the promenade, it is also illegal to cycle on a Public Footpath) An order will be made by KCC and, if there are any objections, a final decision will be made by the Secretary of State at the Deptartment for Transport who may decide to call an Inquiry with an Inspector.

Other Planning Matters

1 Green Tiles – Sea Street

At our April meeting it was noted that the tile warehouse is up for sale. Members asked whether or not the old skating rink area would be included in the sale. Some thought that it had been donated to the town. We asked our councillors if they could enlighten us and the following was received from councillor, Jeanne Harrison “The old skate park bequest is one of those Whitstable Urban myths. It was never formalised with Dr Barnes”.

2 The Paddock

Richard Johnson reported that the Paddock problem was at a waiting point now. People could still raise objections up to mid-May. Richard thanked those who had helped to raise nearly 3000 signatures and said there had been no response from KCC, highways as yet. If the application gets refused we expect that Mr Wilson will be back with another proposal or modified versions of his original plan. Spokes have suggested a platform at the new junction so cycle route 1 can cross it without having to negotiate kerbs. They also requested that trees are removed to give better vision and a new pelican crossing installed across the Thanet Way on the North side of the roundabout.

Grasmere Pastures

This long delayed Public Inquiry which started on Tuesday 17th April at Whitstable Castle and was due to last a week, was heard by Planning Inspector, Lana Wood who listened to arguments for the future of the 42-acre field, known as Grasmere Pastures, between Grasmere Road and The Ridgeway. Local residents have campaigned and succeeded for two Public Footpaths crossing over this land and are now campaigning to have it designated as a Village Green so as to preserve it as a recreational open space for the local community.

Loss of Amenity Space : Tankerton Road Car Park

At a council executive meeting 29th March, it was agreed to sell the car park, with the original planning application approved for 13 dwellings, and it has subsequently been put on the market. The portfolio holder explained the proposal for the provision of a parking facility for coaches at Swalecliffe Avenue, Hampton. He mentioned also that he

had discussed with the Ward Members the situation regarding coaches and he referred to the need to designate a dropping-off point for coaches.

The Whitstable parkrun

This year of the Olympics and the QEII field sites seems a good time to mention the Whitstable parkrun which is a fun, free event every Saturday morning at 9am, on Tankerton promenade and slopes, organised by volunteers for the benefit of everyone. The course consists of 2 laps along the promenade, and the slopes, and is 5kilometres long. Whitstable parkrun is free but you must register in advance and it is for all abilities and ages

Whitstable Society Walks

6th May Sunday 10.00am meet at the QUEENS HEAD PUBLIC HOUSE HIGH ST BOUGHTON ME13 9BH Ann J and Sue will be our leaders for this walk

10th June Sunday 10.00am meet at RITA COLLETT’s house “THE COACH HOUSE” 20 GOLDEN HILL WHITSTABLE (off Millstrood Rd ) Rita will lead this walk and we will return there for refreshments after. Many thanks Rita.

1st July Sunday 10.00 am (Note: this is the First Sunday in the Month) Rita will also lead this walk so meet at her house AS ABOVE.