November 2012 Newsletter

Next meeting: Wednesday 21st November 7.15pm at the Castle
Our speaker is Gary Johnson, Chairman of Whitstable Football Club. This should be an interesting evening and is open to members and guests. Children and grandchildren are welcome.

Christmas Party: Wednesday 12th December:
This year’s Christmas Party is on Wednesday 12th December. The venue is to be at Whitstable Castle, which is so suitable for the Christmas atmosphere. Food and games are provided and this year the Castle is providing a bar to supply beers, wines, spirits and soft drinks. We do have to remind you that if you bring your own alcoholic drinks there will be a corkage charge of £2.50 per bottle. Please join us for what promises to be a pleasant and enjoyable social evening at the Castle

October meeting – Wednesday 17th October
We were pleased to welcome Graham West and his parents Derek and Jean of West Whelks. Graham has been running the company since 1994 when he took over from his parents and grandparents before that. They have fished for both whelks and oysters depending upon availability.
Oysters have been an important food source since prehistory, and during the Roman occupation, British oysters were exported in large quantities back to Italy. They provide iron and protein, together with essential minerals such as zinc and B vitamins. Whitstable Natives are not to be confused with farmed oysters, which are a combination of Pacific and Portuguese oysters, and are ready for harvesting after 3 years as opposed to 5 years for the Native oysters. Native Oysters are not farmed and the supply varies from time to time Oysters migrate and cannot be relied on. There was a time when 150 oyster smacks sailed out of Whitstable. Nowadays, only 12 fishing boats operate from our harbour.
Native oysters are gregarious animals, and start their lives as males. They mature sexually as males between 8 and 10 months old. From then on, oysters will change sex regularly, depending on the water temperature. If the temperature reaches 16°C, they become females every 3 or 4 years. If the temperature reaches 20°C, they will change to females each year. They only revert to being males during the cooler intervening periods. Oysters may live for as long as 15 years but the usual lifespan is thought to be around 6 years Eggs are stored and fertilized in the gill cavity of the female and remain there for a week before becoming free-swimming larvae and being released. The sperm is passed through the gills as part of the normal feeding process. The oyster larvae join the plankton in the open sea until, after 10 or 20 days, they find a surface to attach themselves. Adult oysters feed by filtration, sieving out the plankton using their gills.
Oysters aren’t “caught” so much as simply collected. They’re found on inter-tidal beaches, usually in groups, attached to one another or a solid object like a rock or shell.
Local Fishermen are finding it harder and harder to survive as there are so many problems. In competition with the Native Oyster is the Portuguese Oyster which is neither native nor commercially viable. They are expanding rapidly and need to be controlled. One oyster can produce 12 million young. As with other fish there are EU quotas for oysters and regulations governing size. Foreign boats raid the oyster beds, damaging them in the process. Oysters may only be taken from approved waters and are then purified under Ultraviolet light before being sold.
Most fishermen now fish for whelks rather than oysters as there is a larger market. West Whelks now operate as retailers, as wholesaling has become too risky.
Derek and Jean had brought along to the meetings to show us samples of various types of oysters including some of the pearls that they had harvested and also a wonderful collection of photos, pictures and memories of their business and the historic oyster fleet.

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Fields in Trust at Tankerton
On the 12th October, in between heavy showers on a cold blustery day, the official ceremony was held to unveil a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the Tankerton Coastal Park
The plaque which was donated by the SITA Trust was unveiled by the beacon on the slopes, by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Viscount De L’isle and the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Robert Waters and attended by local councillors and representatives of interested organisations. Kath and Angela represented the Whitstable Society, who had promoted the choice of Tankerton Slopes to Canterbury Council as a suitable site of consideration as a Jubilee Field in Trust. This was followed by a reception at Whitstable Castle. The plaque will be set in stone at a later date and a second plaque will positioned at the eastern end of the park. The Future development of the Coastal Park will now be decided by Local Groups and the public working together with Canterbury City Council and The Whitstable Improvement Trust.

Membership Renewal fees
With the present financial climate, we are, along with everyone else, experiencing a considerable increase in our costs. There has been no increase since 2004 and now due to rising costs and inflation our income is less than our expenditure. Members will be offered a choice of payment methods. Consequently the committee is proposing to increase the membership fees for 2013, subject to approval by members.
1. £8 single and £12 joint: Cash or Cheque annually:
2. £8 single and £12 joint: Standing order annually:
3. £45 single and £65 joint: Five year single payment at a slightly higher rate to allow for future inflation.
The committee would appreciate suggestions for future fund raising events to raise money to help fund future projects such as the Whitstable Map and new WS information leaflets.

Whitstable Society Leaflet
This coming year 2013 we plan to have a membership drive, the last one was five years ago, and we feel that there is a need to redesign and update our current leaflet. In order to do this and achieve the best possible and professional result, we are asking members for support with both content and design. A copy of the existing leaflet can be seen on the website. All suggestions will be welcome.

Planning Matters

Mapping Project
Progress on this project in its research stage is being made. A delegation, including Roger Livingstone from the Historical Society, went to meet map-makers at Kent County Council and contact has been established with Christchurch University at several levels. We have two confirmed student volunteers who study geography information systems as part of their geography degree and use mapping software. Advice from their mapping technician has been received. We hope to meet mapping people at CCC. The objectives of the project have been validated by these various expert contacts. Much more will have to be researched and careful thought given to how to run the project in later stages. A meeting of all interested parties is likely to be held to map out a plan. The initial conclusion is that volunteers will assemble data from various sources with more expert volunteers engaged in later stages.
It is likely to be both workable and very low cost. The actual mapping software that organises the data for the maps however comes from only 2 suppliers (a duopoly) and is expensive. Joint ventures may be necessary for this and other reasons.

Beach Huts
The campaign to get the new huts being built on Tankerton Slopes rented is effectively lost by a CCC decision not to rent; but in practice the council is considering allowing all hut owners to rent; for an extra fee. This may achieve access for all at a reasonable prices, but may not since the Council’s irresponsible decision to permit effective sales of public hut sites (a long-standing matter of concern) at high prices mean that many hut owners are investors and will look for high rental income. We will see.
In the meantime, there is the matter of the 2 extension huts that the Council applied to itself to build despite promising not to. We have made an official complaint and once that has gone 1 or 2 rounds without satisfaction it will be sent to the Local Ombudsman, for in our view there are a variety of mal-administration aspects. The last time this happened, at the western end by the triangle of paths, the Council gave in; but this is less likely this time round. CCC has however agreed to our request to build these 2 huts last so there is nearly 2 years to sort this out. The 11 huts we do not object to, as they are genuine infill in the back rank, will have shrub planting behind to replace the privet there now.

5, High St. Next to Bear and Key
This is a large scheme for flats and houses and we are proposing to object on the basis that there is not even parking for one vehicle per unit. The last government changed the rules in 2001 so councils must grant permission for development in the centre of towns with few or even no parking spaces to encourage bus use. The current government has scrapped that rule and the new National Policy Planning Framework gives planners flexibility to set local policy. Para 23 specifically lays down a duty to protect thriving town centres. The current site provides considerable parking. The consequences of the old rule has been more pressure on public car parks and the street, to the detriment of existing local peoples. It has been damaging to the economy as customers from the suburbs of the town have to go more to out of town shopping places because of the worsened parking situation in the town; even for short visits. Our car parks and streets are now full at most times of the year. The damage of under-provisioning for car parking cannot be reversed but it can be stopped from getting worse.

Peter Cushing – Wetherspoons
A planning application from Wetherspoons to have a Beer Garden at the rear of their premises was turned down on the grounds that:

1. By virtue of its size, location and the lack of supervision from the main public house premises at 16 – 18 Oxford Street the use of the beer garden hereby proposed would be likely to cause an unacceptable level of noise and general disturbance to the surrounding area that due to its proximity and relationship to the surrounding dwellings and business premises in Oxford Street, Nelson Road and Shaftesbury Road would result in an unacceptable degree of noise and disturbance to the detriment of the amenities enjoyed by the occupiers of those properties. The proposal is therefore contrary to Policies BE1 and TC10 of the Canterbury District Local Plan.

2. The application fails to demonstrate that adequate provision can be made for deliveries to the public house and can be provided across land within the applicants ownership and control. The application proposes to route all future deliveries through adjoining car parks which are outside of the application site and not within the applicants control. As a result, the proposed routing of deliveries through adjoining car parks would be likely to restrict and prevent access to, and from, these adjoining car parks to the inconvenience and detriment of users therefore, the development is contrary to Policy BE1 of the Local Plan and BE1 of the South East Plan.

3. The application proposes the re-routing of an existing right of way that runs across the rear of the site. However, the proposed alternative route proposed would be impractical and inconvenient to users and that due to proposed route crossing private land cannot be permanently secured. The route proposed would therefore not accord with BE1 and C1 of the Local Plan.

A Town Council for Whitstable?
“Do we want a town Whitstable Town Council?” To quote Councillor Alex Perkins, leader of the Lib. Dems on CCC. “It is all about Whitstable having its own say in what happens in the town and now we want to know whether Whitstable people want this” Consequently CCC have set up an e petition to gauge the level of interest amongst Whitstable people. If lots of people want it, there will be a public meeting to press the council to provide one

Whitstable Calendar 2013
The Whitstable Improvement Trust have produced an attractive calendar with some stunning photographs of our coast and harbour. They are now on sale at the WIT shop in Harbour Street.
An Ideal gift for family and friends- both locally and overland and A4, spiral bound, with writing-friendly matt paper, the calendar contains 12 unique full colour photographs of Whitstable. Both the Photographer and printer are local. All proceeds to support the WIT’s improvement projects and the visitor information service provided by volunteers in The Whitstable Shop in Harbour Street. £6 (£5 to WIT members) including a free envelope in which it is sold.
Please support the work of the Whitstable Improvement Trust and give a high quality, limited edition calendar this Christmas.”

Whitstable Society Walks
December no walk

Sunday 9th December 12.00 noon. Meet at The Monument P.H. Whitstable for a Christmas meal. Book early as this was very popular last year. Enquiries: Ann T. Tel: 277671