Update from the Oval Chalet Preservation Community

Please see the following request from the Oval Chalet Preservation Community (OCPC) concerning their urgent Petition to CCC about development of the ‘Oval’ former skating rink site at Reeves Beach.

The WS committee hope that many members will be strongly supportive of this cause and will be minded to sign and submit this petition as a matter of urgency.

A link to download the Petition document is at the end of the update.

Welcome to the Update Report of the Oval Chalet Preservation Community.

Since we last contacted everyone, the steering committee has been busy gathering information, identifying possible action proposals and outlining a community plan that will support a development of the Oval that secures the integrity and charm of Whitstable’s beach front as presented in the 1990 Horsebridge Area Redevelopment Study, maintains the conservation status of the site, and supports an open space that can be used and enjoyed by residents and visitors.

Given the civic challenges that exist, the steering committee has taken advice from elected members and officers of Canterbury City Council, the Whitstable Society, the Whitstable Chamber of Commerce and local residents who support the following plan of action:

  • A letter of explanation and concern has been drafted to the Leader of the CCC and will be copied to elected members and officers to outline the historic significance of the Oval Chalet site and express the deep regret that is shared by residents who were left out of the planning process and were not allowed to participate in the initial planning stages of this prized and loved community landmark. The letter states that throughout the years, residents and community organisations have opposed the neglect of the property and requested involvement to assist in the improvement and development of the site for public use and enjoyment.</ li>
  • A petition has been finalised that speaks of the basic concerns of the supporters of the Oval Chalet and will accompany the letter noted above. This petition to CCC will allow our concerns to be presented and minuted at the upcoming CCC meeting on 23 July. This petition requires a formal response from the Council. The steering committee has studied the petition process to insure that our concerns will receive the attention by CCC required for the following issues:</ li>
    • Best Value considerations have been met for the valuation and sale of this site – and that “best value” does not relate to money alone.</ li>
    • That the contract of sale reflects the spirit of the public open space as originally upheld by the local authority, and that has been requested by residents and organizations over many years.</ li>
    • Public consultation for the future of the site should take place separately and ahead of the planning process and before pre-applications are concluded with the prospective developer of the site.</ li>
    • Should contractual obligations prohibit other options from being pursued, that discussion with the developer take place to restrict the scheme to meet design principles as outlined in the Horsebridge Development Study 1990 and the Appraisal of the Whitstable Town Conservation Area 2010.</ li>

Here is the first BIG IMPORTANT action that needs your support: We need as many signatures on the petition attached as possible by this Saturday at midday! We will submit this letter and petition on Monday – so immediate action to sign and return as many signatures as possible is required. We will continue to circulate and collect signatures beyond Monday – but the support we can show on Monday is very important.

Please make copies of the petition and get your friends and neighbours who support this effort to sign it. Take your signed petitions to Copperfields at 93 High Street Whitstable by midday Saturday, and they will be included in the collection of petitions presented with our letter. OR – you can go into Copperfields and sign a petition there. You can also sign a petition at Oxford Street Books at 20a Oxford Street. NOTE: Petitions can only be signed on one side of the paper as shown. Make as many copies of the petition as you like – but please do not collect signatures on the back of the form as they are not considered valid.

Here is the second BIG IMPORTANT action that needs your support: We need as many supporters as we can get to attend the Canterbury City Council meeting on 23 July, at 7pm at the Westgate Guild Hall in Canterbury. No placards that night please – we will have flyers available that you can hand out. Our presenter for the petition is a Solicitor who lives in Whitstable with his family and will present our case professionally and passionately – but the more people attending in support, the better. We will meet in front of the Westgate Guild Hall 15 minutes before the meeting starts – so please come and join us.

Please note Supporters: The real emphasis for strong opposition will still be with the CCC Planning Committee and the planning process for the site. Everything we are doing now, is in preparation of the optimum requirement to oppose and reject the developer’s applications to the CCC as presented by Lee Evans Partnership. More actions will follow that will seek to oppose and reject developments that do not meet with the approval of the community as noted above.

Finally, we have two professional Chartered Surveyors valuing the property so we will have two independent professional valuations on the site eminently.

We continue to seek support and share information with all CCC members and officers, Whistable organizations and community groups, and I am please to report that our numbers are growing.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to receiving your full signed petition sheets back or your signature at one of the two sites above.

Please feel free to send on this letter and petition to your friends and neighbours who will support our efforts!

Thanks and Regards,

Hilary Jones and Suzanne Blaustone

Steering Committee Members

Oval Chalet Preservation Community

Download The Petition