Stream Walk Community Garden Open Day

The Stream Walk Community Garden Open Day is taking place this Saturday, the 19th October 2013, from 12-4pm.

There will be produce on sale and a woodcarver amongst other activities and it will give the public a chance to see what the garden is all about and meet those involved.

They also have a Facebook page – Stream walk community garden Whitstable. (Bear and Alan were our speakers at last nights members meeting).

Whitstable Museum

Many Whitstable Society members will be aware that the Council plans to cut the operating hours of Whitstable Museum. A public meeting has already taken place, where possibilities as to how the museum could be run in future were discussed. A further public meeting has been arranged for Friday 27th September at St Alphege Infants School, Oxford Street, commencing at 7pm, which organisers would like as many people to attend as possible.

A letter to the Council, from groups within Whitstable, is currently being formulated requesting a halt to the process and further consultation before the planned cuts take place. We have been asked to sign and hence we discussed the plans at this months members meeting and those present voted unanimously against the planned reduction in hours.

We are proposing therefore that the Whitstable Society’s stance should be against the planned reduction in hours. Can any Society members please let us know by Monday 23rd September 2013 at the latest, if your view is different to this, i.e you are for the reduction in hours.

Should you have any queries or wish to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Many thanks
Angela Boddy
Chair The Whitstable Society

Programme of Events & Membership Card 2013-2014

All members of the Society should shortly be receiving their Membership Cards for 2013 and if we have your email address you should already have received an electronic version.

The programme of Events for 2013-2014 has been finalised and is printed on the card – it can also be seen on the Events Tab of this website.

New members always welcome – see the Membership Page for details of how to join.

Crab and Winkle Line Update March 2013

During our last members meeting Robin Townsend of the Crab and Winkle Trust gave a short presentation on recent progress regarding the long running saga surrounding the proposed extension of the cycle route route between Station Road and Clare Road.
The text of his speech follows :

We are delighted to speak to you tonight about the C & W and the great opportunity provided to us now that the land has been transferred to the Trust .
The aims for the Crab & Winkle Trust are similar to your own in some respects, heritage, transport so I feel we have much in common.
As you see we are promoting Public access and the heritage of the C & W. and this transfer of land and rights of way will be a huge increase in safe green access for Whitstable.

Firstly, Friends a little history, because as Confucious said 2,500 year ago. “Study the past if you would devine the future”
How appropriate then that we are here in the Castle to-night.
As I’m sure you know Charles Pearson who built this in the early 1800s was the main investor in the Crab & Winkle Railway. He owned land and was clearly the ‘big guy ’of his day..

One part of his story from the Castle’s website could be called, “The Train that missed the Station”! and I feel his experience 200 years ago says much to us today.:-

“….Charles Pearson now embarked on a new venture “The Canterbury and Whitstable Railway” to link Canterbury traders with the Harbour. A company was formed with Pearson as one of the owners and main investor together with notable pioneers of the railway age, including George Stephenson, the railway was planned to end on land Pearson owned to the east of the harbour where he built a station, but there was opposition to this and the line finished at the harbour instead. Pearson, always eager not to miss an opportunity turned his station into a hotel. This became the first “Pearson’s Arms”. The building of the railway ran into delays and financial difficulties”

This story of ‘the Train missing the Station’ would be typical of how many railways were built amidst much opposition and controversy, as indeed we still see today with HS2.

Opposition.

Yes, we must always expect some opposition but the Trust rather like Charles Pearson has been sorely tested to a degree that is sometimes hard to understand.

In 2007 we were delighted when Sustrans the national walking and cycling charity won a national lottery bid for £50 mill. The Whitstable Bridges and extension of the C&W to the Harbour was chosen as a ‘flagship project’ among 69 projects across the nation.
We were hopeful then, but a few objectors were to dash these hopes. Their crucial and successful tactic was to submit a planning application on the middle of the line, (on land they did not own!)

The Council initially refused to accept this application. However they eventually validated the application which was then subsequently refused by the planning Comm. The objectors then took this to appeal and sadly for us the funding ran out of time, due to the success of their tactic.

However our biggest consolation, indeed compliment was when Sustrans decided that we were a suitable community group to be entrusted as custodians of this land and to proceed with the project. This was a surprise because the Trust has never had an ambition to own anything.
Charity rules allowed a transfer between charities of similar aims so this was not a normal commercial transaction.
In accord with our constitution “to promote public access” the land is safeguarded and the 1km route with bridges to the Harbour is destined to become part of the public highway under KCC

State of the Land. In the past, as many of you know, this land has been targeted by developers; many times for housing and garages. In the early 60s a proposal was even planned for a road to go along the line to provide a bypass joining with the Thanet Way, so that Bretts & HGVs would avoid the High St.
Sad to say, this land today it is neglected and used by some as a tip! As custodians we are having a Clear-up on the land tomorrow starting at 10am, with help from the Community payback team and Chaucer Insurance.
Event. We will be holding a celebratory event to mark the new status of the land Sat. 7th. Sept. and will welcome any help in making this a success.

Costs and funding. Costs are related to benefits and risks. One example: In a recent case 16 year old Bethany Probert was walking on a grass verge. She was struck by a speeding car and suffered brain damage. Churchill Insurance appealed against a High Court ruling that she be compensated £5. mill, on the grounds that she was partly to blame and should have been wearing hi-vis clothing. Ref: ETA 14.2.13
(This case indicates the value of young lives, and how off-road routes, especially in towns are essential)
Many schemes to improve traffic have been proposed locally, but after surveys and consultations, the expenditure has so far shown a nil return.
With the land secured and planning permission in place much of the cost for C&W 1 km route is covered already. Our Project Manager is obtaining quotes now and a professional fundraiser is advising us.
After the massive disappointment of losing our core funding, we are now looking everywhere for support in all shapes and sizes.

Motor transport has brought great benefits but it is clearly no longer fit for purpose in many places. Problems are clearly worse in densely populated areas like towns centres and this is where the Crab & Winkle provides a unique alternative as part of the solution. Many parts of London and Countries like Holland would be unbearable now, were it not for leg-powered movement of walking and cycling.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson announced today a 10 year investment £93mill in cycling to double the numbers of cyclists and described the proposals as ‘transformative’ for the City. (The Times 7.3.13)

Leg- locomotion The aim of the Trust, with the cooperation of the community, is to bring this land back into public ownership, to serve public transport, powered by leg power and not steam power as in the past.
The C&W provides an ideal environment to use those locomotive organs of the body known as legs!
We believe that such a ‘rolls Royce route’ will bring about a radical re-evaluation of how legs can once more be used to combat congestion and pollution and benefit individual and environmental health.
The C&W will be a direct, traffic-free, clean and safe for children, like Bethany Probert.

Politics and paradox. Politics has been both essential and useless. (thro’ no fault of the politicians!) We used to have Trustees from all parties as reps, but this failed when in Council meetings they had to declare their interest. Just when they were most needed they had to leave the room and we risked losing the vote. Our best support became the victim to unintended consequences. Also around election times when ‘purdah’ should prevail we tended to lose support when re-elections could take precedence.
On the other hand politicians are essential as our elected reps in making policy and setting budgets.

The Future. As inheritors of the C & W we can all influence what future generations will inherit.
It’s a universal idea to leave things better than we found them.
Once the C&W is seen as part of the ‘family silver’ it will not be squandered.

I sincerely hope that with the help of groups like yourselves, this precious asset will never again be squandered.
The Steam-powered C&W ran for.125 years and the Trust is confident that a new leg-powered C&W will also have a great future..
Our children deserve no less.

Thank you

Whitstable Society AGM – 2013

The Whitstable Society AGM for 2013 will take place at the Castle on Wednesday 20th February following the regular monthly members meeting which commences at 7.15pm.

The Agenda for the meeting is as follows:

Agenda for the 52nd Annual General Meeting

1. Welcome to members present and any apologies received.

2. Any matters arising from the 2012 minutes (attached).

3. Officers’ Reports and Chairman’s Review.

4. Retirements of Officers and Committee members.

5. Election of Officers and Committee members for 2013/14

The following members have been nominated and are willing to serve:

Chairman: Angela Boddy
Vice-Chairman: Kath Gill
Hon Secretary: Roger Pethers
Hon. Treasurer: Evelyn Smith
Membership Sec: Richard Johnson
Committee Members: Graham Cox
Maureen Smith

As the total of Officers and Members nominated is less than the maximum allowed under the Constitution of the Society (15) there is no requirement for an election and the above-named are deemed to form the Executive Committee of the Society for 2013/14.

6. A.O.B.

December 2012 Newsletter

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.

Planning Issues
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.

Faversham Rd
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:

  1. 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).
  2. An interactive map on the internet for all to use.
  3. Community layer(s). The public would be permitted to contribute educational data, perhaps with Wikipedia style policing.
  4. 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.

Merry Christmas
To all from the committee