December/January Newsletter 2012/2013
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 are 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
Next meeting – Wednesday January 16th 7-15pm at Whitstable Castle
We are pleased to welcome Lara Murphy from the Dogs Trust.
Annual General Meeting February 20th 2013
The Annual General Meeting of the Society will be held at the Castle on Wednesday 20th February 2013. The whole of the executive committee and all Officers will stand down and all
positions are open for nomination. Please send your nominations to Mark Davies, Hon Sec: 68 Queens Road, Whitstable. CT5 2JQ before Wednesday 6th February 2013. The nominee a proposer and a seconder must all sign the nomination form.
Meeting Wednesday November 21st
We had a very interesting talk from Gary Johnson, Chairman and secretary of Whitstable Town Football Club (nicknamed The Oystermen). Gary was a former referee, who has always had a passion for football and became chairman this last year.
Although the first recorded football match in Whitstable was in 1885, the first record of Whitstable Town’s existence was the following year. After a couple of years playing in a field behind the railway station, the club relocated to The Belmont Ground in 1888, where they play to this day. The Belmont Ground boasts a seated stand along one side as well as covered terracing behind each goal. Within the last ten years the dressing rooms and clubhouse have been completely refurbished, a new snack bar built and floodlights.
In 1909 the Oystermen joined the original Kent League, where they played until it folded in 1959, winning the Division Two title three times. They also lifted the Kent Amateur Cup (now Kent Senior Trophy) in 1929. After the collapse of the Kent League, the club played for a while in the Aetolian League, but this meant long trips to play London teams and this was a period of financial struggle for the club, which dropped into the amateur leagues for a number of years.
In the late 1960s the Kent League reformed, with the Oystermen among the founder members. They remained members of the Kent League until their promotion to the Isthmian League in 2007. The 2006–07 season marked the best in the club’s history.
Whitstable Town are the best supported Kent team in the Isthmian League. Their major local rival is Herne Bay. When the two teams were most recently in the same league, their matches regularly attracted 400 or more fans. More recent matches against Margate in the FA Cup and Dover in the Isthmian League* have attracted more than 1,000 supporters.
There are also youth leagues for under 18’s and under 15’s and a reserve team.
The club is owned by the members and governed by the board, run in the same way as the big league players and self funded.
Moving into the Isthmian League means a requirement to further improve the ground facilities and in the event of a move into the Premier League, which Gary is aiming for, then even more improvements will be needed.
The club is run as a business like any other football club and money is raised by supporters, sponsors and events. Recent events have been a firework display and a concert. Gary is looking at ways in which to attract more supporters and run more events. Players get expenses for training, travelling and playing a game, but no salary. Sometimes players are bought from other clubs. Recently a 4-figure sum was needed to purchase a player.
At the time of our talk, the club were advertising for a new manager and on 2nd December. Nicky Southall was appointed the new Manager of Whitstable Town FC alongside current interim manager Richard Langley.
Gary’s aim for the future is to bring pride and passion to football in Whitstable via schools, clubs and the youth of the town.
*(sponsored by Ryman and officially known as the Ryman League)
Kath thanked Gary for an interesting evening and wished him and the team luck for the future.
Kent Federation of Amenity Societies Presidents Lunch
Maureen & Angela recently represented our Society at The KFAS President’s lunch. The event was hosted by the Ramsgate Society and gave us the opportunity to meet with other Civic Societies in our area to discuss & raise awareness of what they and we are doing as the representatives of our towns. Laura Sandys, as President of Kent Federation of Amenity Societies (also a Thanet M.P.), gave a brief but meaningful address in which she implored Civic Societies to do something, anything, rather than do nothing regarding Neighbourhood Planning. She also said that there was funding available for this work and that societies should get their MPs involved as they are able to work from within the Government. The new Director of Civic Voice, Steve Graham, spoke of his job lobbying government and is currently chasing them regarding development rights planned relaxation that is due to be implemented shortly. He said the more members of the society the more sway and the bigger our voice. He is also keen to get useful ideas and pointers used by some societies, out to others, so that all can benefit.
At our November meeting, a member expressed concern that the Whitstable Society always seemed to object to planning applications. We are sorry if that is the impression we give, but, the reality is that we don’t publicise the applications that we don’t object to. For instance, during November we received a total of 36 plannig applications to review, of which we only objected to one; an application to extend the opening of Alberta Caravan Park, from 10 to 12 months. The reason for this was that that the site is very low lying and in danger of seasonal flooding during those two months of January and February and, remembering the floods of 1953 where there was loss of life, we did object as also did the Environment agency. For other applications we may make recommendations for changes but not object. Very occasionally, this is done pre-application by negotiation. Then only other recent objections were to the the lack of parking provision for the proposed development next to the Bear and Key site, as lack of parking will contribute to more congestion in the High Street and (see below) our new objection to the development proposed for the Paddock in support of the Old Thanet Way residents.
There followed a discussion on whether Whitstable would benefit from a Town Council. The debate was mainly about whether a council would have a stronger voice at CCC and be cost effective in view of the fact that, nowadays, a town council has only the same powers as a Parish Council and, bearing in mind, that the average cost to each household would be around £95 per annum. It was suggested that we invite a speaker from an existing Town Council, such as Ramsgate or Deal to speak at one of our meetings.
Wherever possible we do consult with members regarding decisions, but often a decision has to be made at short notice. Regarding future developments, members felt that there should be an overall picture kept in mind to ensure a correct mix of housing, industry and open spaces. This is exactly why Neighbourhood Plans may prove important.
The Local Plan
With the advent of the new planning laws and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Canterbury City Council are in the final stages of producing the new Local Plan. We have asked that when doing so they consider including Westcliffe and Prospect Field as “Local Green Space” the new, but tighter definition of “Protected Open Space”.
The draft Local Plan will be out in about March 2013. Ahead of that will be the officers’ assessment of all the re-zoning applications; which include a re-attempt by George Wilson to build down the slope of Bogshole Valley into pristine countryside alongside the Crab and Winkle Way; despite the empty units which are around very locally and also large tracts of land available for this purpose 10 minutes away in Herne Bay.
The Paddock – planning application CA//12/00160
We have weighed in against the proposed development of The Paddock, diagonally opposite Tesco across the roundabout. Originally submitted in March, various changes have had to be made, due to the deficiency of the original, with more information revealed. Part of the site would be for units as seen in the George Wilson estate behind Tesco and part for a church from Tankerton. This is no church in planning terms though. It is like a leisure centre with space being used for non-church activities 7 days a week. External events will include weddings with amplified sound. Those coming by public transport would have to cross the Old Thanet Way on a new uncontrolled crossing literally on the exit of the roundabout.
The applicant has chosen to apply when the old local plan is still 100% applicable. The land is hence still legally Protected Open Space and development of such space has to pass various tests. We have focused on the hurdle which requires there to be no alternative site. Research has established that there are large numbers of alternative sites (especially for the unit) but that one site in particular would suit the developments proposed far better than The Paddock and both sites are owned by the same owner: George Wilson. The second site is between the Estuary View and the Chaucer office park and has been put forward for residential development (‘Shlaa 192’). It is obvious, in pure planning terms, that the church and units would be far better sited near Long Reach with its far superior road access, frequent bus services and generally quiet section of the Old Thanet Way for vehicular entry and exit. The church would be only the second in Seasalter and would be easily accessed from all directions. The applicant claims that the site is for ‘office use only’ and yet is applying to build houses there. How much better to have the church and units there, rather than forcing them onto green Protected Open Space, located between residential areas.
In addition to local plan considerations, we object as well because the pedestrian crossing is likely to lead to injury or even death (as drivers focus on the busy traffic on the roundabout) and there is inadequate drainage, which will certainly lead to flooding for local residents.
The policy for this stretch of coast is to protect it with beach re-charges for about 50 years and then stop fighting. It is judged not worth public money to fight the rising sea level indefinitely and certainly not to raise the sea wall.
Whitstable Digital Map Project
We appear to be making good progress on the technical side, researching the possibilities
After our recent meeting at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) we now have a confirmed team of 4 keen volunteers there. Geography lecturer Alexander Kent, GIS Technician John Hills and two 2nd year geography students. CCCU we are told are keen on community projects. In addition to time and advice, they have offered us use of their mapping software. They also appear to be a very community orientated university. New WS volunteer Gordon Vincent joined Kath Gill and Graham Cox at this meeting.
The ultimate scope of the project is expanding whist still firmly within the objectives of the WS/WIT. The current sketch of current and possible objectives is as follows:
- A layered database which will enable the WIT and possibly the WS, to create physical maps. This could be available to all non-profit entities on some basis and can ‘automatically’ include groups who contribute (eg the Historical Society).
- An interactive map on the internet for all to use.
- Community layer(s). The public would be permitted to contribute educational data, perhaps with Wikipedia style policing.
- Private community layers. We may wish to permit other non-profits to create their own layers which are not visible to the public (eg schools).
The initial goal may be to get up on the internet a simple but up to date map using a few layers with limited data. This is a very extensive and interesting project and we are now looking for people to get involved with the map. Help is needed in different fields, from suggesting ideas for content or layout to data collection and anyone interested is very welcome to come along to our next map meeting which we plan for early in January next year.
Please phone Graham 01233 645520 or Kath 792974.
Whitstable Society Walks
There are no walks in January or February.
To all from the committee