The Oval – Latest Press Release

**BREAKING NEWS**

LEGAL PROCEEDINGS BEGUN AGAINST CANTERBURY CITY COUNCIL OVER MIS-SELLING OF WHITSTABLE LAND

Campaigners in Whitstable have formally begun legal proceedings against Canterbury City Council over their mis-selling of a prime piece of much-valued town centre, sea front land.

An application for a Judicial Review of Canterbury City Council’s decision to enter into a contract for sale, subject to planning permission, of the land known as the Oval, at Sea Wall, Whitstable was lodged on Wednesday 17th February in the Administrative Court, within the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice in London. A judge is requested both to declare that the Oval is legal open space and to quash the sale contract.

There are five grounds for this Judicial Review

  1. Failure to comply with the legal requirements for the disposal of open space land.
  2. Entering into a contract that failed to fully accord with the expressed instruction of the council’s executive committee.
  3. Excessive secrecy of the resolution-making meeting.
  4. Failure to obtain best value for the land sold.
  5. Breach of the public sector equality duty in regard to disabled access to the site.

Angela Boddy, the Chair of the Whitstable Society, said: “Together with The Oval Chalet Preservation Community Group (OCPCG), we have tried to sort this out with the Council, but to no avail. We have had no alternative but to ask the court to intervene.”

Campaigners also gave an initial comment on new planning application from Sea Street Developments Ltd. published on February 18th.

Suzanne Blaustone of the OCPCG said: “The developer promised extensive on-site public open space to the Council’s Executive meeting in Dec 2014, when the sale was authorised by councillors. But the developer then removed it all by the time of the developer’s public exhibition in May 2015. The Developer has not formally met with either of the campaigning groups to discuss the revised plans since they exhibited them and we submitted our objections. The new scheme published on Feb 18th offers only a small fraction of the usable public open space that was shown to those decision-making councillors (‘the Piazza scheme’) and still falls well short of the written promise to the Executive by the Council’s Estates Department in Oct 2014 that the open space would equal 90% of the Oval site.”

The WS Chair advised: “The council’s head of legal services, Sarah Bowman, told councillors last week that she is likely to spend over £20,000 on barrister fees to fight our claim, so nobody should assume we will win our case quickly or easily. Therefore, we urge the public to examine the new planning application for the site (CA//16/00375) and to send their views to the council’s Planning Department before the Friday 18th March deadline”.

A fuller statement from the Campaign on the new planning application will be released late next week after the Whitstable Society and the Oval Chalet Preservation Community Group have had the opportunity to examine the plans closely.

Footnote: The Claim and witness statements can be accessed at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/yfs02wpjuauhewn/AACG606q2qa-rC5Ki-kMW_mRa?dl=0 .

The planning policies covering the Oval and the Tile Warehouse combined site can be found under Tab 1, page 35, where they are detailed for the judge.

For further information about this press release, contact Graham Cox 01233 645520 / 077110 79369 from Feb 22nd, or planning@whitstablesociety.info before then.

Streetlight Consultation – Kent County Council

From the KCC website:

Starting on Monday, 21 September, residents, businesses and communities are being asked for their views on whether they would prefer the current level of service provided by part-night lighting, or all-night lighting.

This is a 10-week consultation which will help inform a new street lighting policy.

Matthew Balfour, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Light emitting diodes are significantly more efficient than the existing lights.

“Improvements in LED technology and reductions in prices mean that LED lights are now the first choice for street lighting. We already use LED lights as a matter of course when replacing our old or failed street lights.

“We are aware that some people have concerns about part-night lighting, in particular that it may lead to an increase in crime or the fear of crime.

“We have been working very closely with Kent Police, who have analysed their records and stated that they have found no correlation between crime rates and changes to street lighting.

“However, with the flexibility offered by the new technology we have an opportunity to review the way that we provide street lighting. We want to understand how residents would prefer their street lights to operate.

“I would, therefore, urge people to take part in the consultation.”

People are being asked to respond by visiting www.kent.gov.uk/streetlights and completing the online consultation questionnaire.

The consultation document and questionnaire are also available in Easy Read and Word formats on the website (above) or on request by e-mail alternativeformats@kent.gov.uk, or phone 03000 421553, or Text Relay:18001 03000 421553  (this number is monitored during office hours and there is an answering machine at other times).

For any other formats people can also use the details above.

The deadline for all responses is Sunday, 29 November 2015.

Victorian Society photographic exhibition – Saving a Century

The Victorian Society photographic exhibition Saving a Century, curated by noted architectural historian Gavin Stamp, will be on show, free of charge, at A W Pugin’s St Augustine’s Church, St Augustine’s Rd, Ramsgate, Kent, CT11 9PA, from 1 – 31 August, 10.00 – 4.00 daily.

Saving A Century Photographic Exhibition

The Victorian Society is the national charity campaigning for the Victorian and Edwardian historic environment. It fights to preserve important Victorian and Edwardian buildings and landscapes so that they can be enjoyed by this and future generations. It provides expert advice to churches and local planning authorities on how Victorian and Edwardian buildings and landscapes can be adapted to the way we live now, while keeping what is special about them. It also advises members of the public about how they can help shape the future of their local Victorian and Edwardian buildings and landscapes. It provides information to owners of Victorian and Edwardian houses about how they can better look after their precious buildings. It helps people understand, appreciate and enjoy the architectural heritage of the Victorian and Edwardian period through its publications and educational programmes.
The Victorian Society, 1 Priory Gardens, LONDON W4 1TT Telephone 020 8994 1019

The Victorian Society is a Registered Charity No. 1081435 and a Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered in England No. 3940996.

Patron: HRH The Duke of Gloucester KG, GCVO Life President: The Lord Briggs
Vice Presidents:
Sir David Cannadine, Harry Handelsman, The Lord Howarth of Newport CBE, Sir Simon Jenkins, Griff Rhys Jones, Fiona MacCarthy OBE

SAVING A CENTURY

EXHIBITION CONTENTS

VICTORIAN BUILDINGS LOST BEFORE 1958 – A photographic survey of some of the best Victorian buildings destroyed in the first half of the twentieth century, among them Crystal Palace (burnt down 30th November 1936), Trentham Hall, Staffordshire (abandoned by the 4th Duke of Sutherland in 1906 and demolished five years later) and Queen’s Park Church, Glasgow (Scotland’s worst architectural loss of the Second World War).

THE FOUNDATION OF THE VICTORIAN SOCIETY – Photographs and material from the opening meetings of the Society. Early members included architect Hugh Casson, architectural historian Christopher Hussey, Sir Nikolaus Pevsner and Sir John Betjeman.

THE EUSTON MURDER AND OTHER CASES – Photographs and text documenting the bitter battle for the Euston Arch, as well some of the Victorian Society’s other early defeats. There were early victories too, among them the Oxford University Museum, proposed for demolition in 1961 to make way for new science buildings. The Victorian Society also succeeded in getting the Broad Street Building of Balliol College listed, after it was threatened with a re-build in 1963.

VICTORY IN WHITEHALL – Photographs charting the heroic, ten-year campaign against plans to demolish much of the historic square mile, including nearly every building south of Downing Street and Richmond Terrace. Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Foreign Office, Richard Norman Shaw’s New Scotland Yard and Middlesex Guildhall in Parliament Square were among the buildings proposed for demolition.

PLACES OF WORSHIP – A photographic survey of some of the historic churches, chapels and synagogues with which the Victorian Society has been involved. As churches are exempt from the secular planning system, it can be particularly difficult to guard them against insensitive change. With falling attendance figures and a growing number of redundant places of worship, the future of our best churches is one of the biggest challenges facing heritage campaigners today.

RAILWAY BUILDINGS – Photographs of some of the key buildings the Victorian Society fought for, as the closure of many branch and other railway lines resulted in the redundancy of numerous stations, bridges and viaducts. That many pioneering and magnificent railway structures, such as St Pancras Station, survive today, often still in use, is very much owing to the efforts of the Society.

IRON, GLASS & STONE – Photographs of some of the most innovative nineteenth century buildings, among them Clevedon Pier, Islington’s Royal Agricultural Hall and Bradford’s Kirkgate Market, for which the Victorian Society has fought.

THE FUNCTIONAL TRADITION – Photographs of some of the most impressive industrial buildings for which the Society has fought. With the decline of the traditional industries of the North of England after the Second World War, many mills and warehouses became redundant while many Northern towns and cities became ashamed of their Victorian industrial legacy and anxious to replace it with something new. The Victorian Society, along with bodies such as SAVE Britain’s Heritage, argued that nineteenth century industrial buildings were evocative and substantial structures which were not only of historical importance but capable of gainful re-use.

THE PURPLE OF COMMERCE – Photographs of some of the most significant Victorian commercial buildings to have come under threat in the last fifty years. Built partly as self-advertisements and partly to inspire confidence, these ambitious and substantial banks, offices and warehouses too often fall victim to redevelopment schemes.

COUNTRY HOUSES – Photographs of some of the grandest country houses to have been the subject of Victorian Society campaigns, among them Shadwell Park, Tyntesfield and Highcliffe Castle. Rendered redundant by social and cultural changes, some of the most famous large houses were demolished between the wars while many more disappeared in the 1950s.

DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE – A collection of photographs of some of the Victorian villas and terraced houses for which the Victorian Society has fought. Often extravagant and fanciful buildings, these buildings are regularly demolished to allow higher density developments in their grounds or make way for flats.

PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS – A photographic survey of some of the best municipal buildings that have been saved or lost. Physical embodiments of the Victorians’ strong sense of civic pride and duty, many of these splendid town halls, libraries, swimming pools, museums, art galleries and post offices still add much to the rich character of British towns and cities today.

BEACONS OF THE FUTURE – A survey of some of the Society’s most recent campaigns, focusing on the battle for Victorian schools and swimming pools. Among the battles highlighted are the protest and funeral for Bonner School, the Public Inquiry for Easington Colliery School and the local campaign for the Moseley Road Baths in Birmingham.

THE VICTORIANS VICTORIOUS – Photographs of some of the most notable Victorian buildings used and valued today.

Planning Application – Residential Development 400 homes north of old Thanet Way

CCC Planning Dept have today published Devine Homes’ outline planning application CA//15/01296 for their proposed housing development north of old Thanet Way (east of Duncan Down). The consultation period is until 17th July.

You may view details (some 96 documents) on the CCC website (Planning section): https://publicaccess.canterbury.gov.uk

CCC advise that paper copies of these documents will be delivered to Whitstable Library around midday Thursday 18th June for public viewing.

The Future for Kent’s Libraries

There will be a PUBLIC MEETING: ‘What future 4 Kent’s libraries?’ in Whitstable on FRIDAY 15th May (10.30am to 12 Noon).

It will be at St Peters Church in Sydenham Street and all Kent’s library users/supporters are invited.

Author & Library Campaigner, Alan Gibbons, will be the guest speaker. KCC Leader, Paul Carter, has been invited to send a representative. Free including tea/coffee.

This will be an opportunity to share library stories and have a say in what should happen next now that the KCC consultation and the ‘Save our public libraries’ petition have closed and we await responses from Kent County Council.

Please invite friends and contacts from across Kent – this is a whole-county issue in which Whitstable has played a leading role.