Last year I had planned to stand down as Chair, but then agreed to stay on with Angela Boddy as co chair and who will be chairing this year’s AGM this year in my absence. We have seen a lot of new faces on our committee who have brought new and innovative ideas to the society and I would like to thank them all for their support over this last year. I would especially like to thank our longstanding newsletter distributors who have over the years braved all weathers to deliver our newsletters. Thank you also to Rita Collett and the walking group who have provided the Society walks for many years and Ann who has provided refreshments. Mark Davies, our Honorary Secretary will be standing down this year due to other commitments, but he will remain to help us with our new website. I also shall be standing down as Chair, but hope to remain on the committee in my previous role for Public Rights of Way.
During this past year we have addressed many issues, some new and some ongoing. Looking back at last year’s report I am sorry to say that the Crab and Winkle bridges did not materialise due to lack of funding. The planning approval came too late for the funding to be approved. The planning permission for development of Tankerton Car Park was eventually granted by Canterbury City Council. Planning permission was also granted for a cycle path along Tankerton promenade. The Whitstable Society supported a seasonal route along the top of the slopes during Summer months, avoiding excessive traffic in front of the beach huts, but unfortunately this was not granted. Once the route is open we plan to monitor the usage during Summer months and to seek the opinions of those who use the route, promenaders, beach hut owners and cyclists.
We have also been supportive of the Thanet Way Residents Association in their bid to oppose the development on the Paddocks, on the corner of Millstrood Road and the Old Thanet Way. Which is proposing, in our opinion dangerous exits on to the Thanet Way close to the Tesco roundabout.
We are still working to maintain the integrity of Tankerton Slopes, especially to prevent encroachment of the protected open spaces by beach huts. Graham Cox, chair of the planning committee has also been representing us on CCC’s Beach Hut advisory committee.
As well as objecting to some planning applications, we also support many but may make some recommendations for improvement.
An exciting project this year has been the creation of a Whitstable digital map, which will provide information on many aspects of Whitstable from its history, geography and many local amenities eg. Public transport routes, accommodation, footpaths and open spaces, recreational facilities etc. This is progressing well, but is a long term project which will become available in stages. Users will be able to see these maps online or print hard copies.
In addition, this coming year Canterbury City Council will be publishing the new draft local plan, to which we will responding with the intent of retaining the integrity of Whitstable whilst recognising the need for future development.