Whitstable Beach Campaign

Many of our members will remember how Ann Wilkes tirelessly campaigned to make our beach a public space for all local residents and visitors to enjoy. She and Peter Steel, as members of Whitstable Society Public Rights of Way committee, successfully claimed Village Green status for some sections of the beach, but not for all of it.

The Whitstable Beach Campaign, headed by Nick Dewhirst, continued with Ann’s lifelong dream to claim a public footpath along the beach and in 2004 an application was made to Kent County Council for a 5 mile long public footpath starting at Reeves Beach and ending by the Sportsman Public House. Historic maps show a footpath along this stretch.

Now 9 years later, in 2013, KCC are considering the application with a view to making an order to create this path as a public right of way. Most important to the claim are witness statements from people who have regularly walked along the beach. Statements are needed from people who walked along any stretch of the beach, not necessarily the whole of the 5 mile stretch and the beach campaign are asking for people to come forward as witnesses. If you feel that you can help and have walked along the beach at any time over the last 60 plus years please contact Nick Dewhirst at dewhirst@btinternet.com

Treasurers Report February 2013

Treasurers Report for 2012

Again the expenditure exceeds the income, which has been the pattern in recent years. This can be attributed to the decline in membership and therefore a decline in subscriptions, which are the Whitstable Society’s main source of income. Membership in 2007 was 354, 2012 was 190. At the same time expenditure has continued to increase. We have looked at ways to reduce costs, one being the newsletter, which is now printed locally cutting the printing costs by half. This saving will reflect fully in 2013. The posting of the newsletters has also been greatly reduced, saving on postage, so thank you to the team of distributors who deliver them around the Whitstable area.Eve advised that membership fees had not risen since at least 2004 and have now been revised to £12/couple and £8/single membership, in order to bring costs more into line.We need to keep the membership numbers up. We are open to suggestions as to what you as members would like to get out of the society, how to raise funds and what would encourage new members. Suggestions included WS greetings cards, lottery grants for specifics such as the map project, standing order membership, walks and asking for donations rather than a set fee.If you have already renewed your membership for 2013/14 thank you for your support. If you have not yet done so, please do so as soon as possible and also encourage family and friends to join. The accounts for 2012 have been checked by an accountant and these together with the financial statement are available to view on request, so please contact us accordingly if you wish to do so.

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Treasurers Report February 2012

General Financial Position(to be read in conjunction with the financial statement)

The society has had what for the last few years has been a ‘normal year’ with the exception of additionally having a special event costing around £500 to celebrate its 50 years of existence. (with £250 carried over into this years expenditure for the previous years Christmas bash we have ended the year with assets around £750 less than a year ago).
To maintain a balanced budget for next year the committee may wish to look at an upward revision of annual subscriptions and/or achieve an increased membership.
Many of our costs are rising e.g. printing of the newsletter and savings may be achievable if more members were to accept their newsletter by e-mail rather than a hard copy through their letterbox(perhaps subject for future discussion). Room hire remains constant at £30 per meeting at the Castle and seems well recived as a venue.

Affiliation Fees
The society by way of maintaining its role as a ‘civic’ or ‘amenity’ group both within the Town and more broadly this year subscribed to the following organisations:-
Civic Voice £286 (includes insurance that would otherwise
cost the society).
KFAS £10
Open Spaces Society £40
Whitstable Improvement Trust £25
Whitstable Castle Trust £15

The Future
The Society remains as always as strong as the membership it enjoys. Changes and departures (most notably the elevation of 2 committee members to the role of Canterbury City Councillors) have left a somewhat depleted committee. What the Society is involved in and provides for members (and by default its expenditure) is limited by the ideas and skills of its membership as I am sure your outgoing chair will duplicate in her report. I , due to other commitments, would like to find a replacement treasurer; I did after all take on the role in a temporary capacity about ayear ago. Any takers?
The only threat to the Society is not being able to maintain its membership and thus income over the next period. Any projects beyond running costs would need to be from reserves and not taken lightly unless alternative funding could be achieved.

Henry Lewis Treasurer.

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

November 2012 Newsletter

Next meeting: Wednesday 21st November 7.15pm at the Castle
Our speaker is Gary Johnson, Chairman of Whitstable Football Club. This should be an interesting evening and is open to members and guests. Children and grandchildren are welcome.

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 is 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

October meeting – Wednesday 17th October
We were pleased to welcome Graham West and his parents Derek and Jean of West Whelks. Graham has been running the company since 1994 when he took over from his parents and grandparents before that. They have fished for both whelks and oysters depending upon availability.
Oysters have been an important food source since prehistory, and during the Roman occupation, British oysters were exported in large quantities back to Italy. They provide iron and protein, together with essential minerals such as zinc and B vitamins. Whitstable Natives are not to be confused with farmed oysters, which are a combination of Pacific and Portuguese oysters, and are ready for harvesting after 3 years as opposed to 5 years for the Native oysters. Native Oysters are not farmed and the supply varies from time to time Oysters migrate and cannot be relied on. There was a time when 150 oyster smacks sailed out of Whitstable. Nowadays, only 12 fishing boats operate from our harbour.
Native oysters are gregarious animals, and start their lives as males. They mature sexually as males between 8 and 10 months old. From then on, oysters will change sex regularly, depending on the water temperature. If the temperature reaches 16°C, they become females every 3 or 4 years. If the temperature reaches 20°C, they will change to females each year. They only revert to being males during the cooler intervening periods. Oysters may live for as long as 15 years but the usual lifespan is thought to be around 6 years Eggs are stored and fertilized in the gill cavity of the female and remain there for a week before becoming free-swimming larvae and being released. The sperm is passed through the gills as part of the normal feeding process. The oyster larvae join the plankton in the open sea until, after 10 or 20 days, they find a surface to attach themselves. Adult oysters feed by filtration, sieving out the plankton using their gills.
Oysters aren’t “caught” so much as simply collected. They’re found on inter-tidal beaches, usually in groups, attached to one another or a solid object like a rock or shell.
Local Fishermen are finding it harder and harder to survive as there are so many problems. In competition with the Native Oyster is the Portuguese Oyster which is neither native nor commercially viable. They are expanding rapidly and need to be controlled. One oyster can produce 12 million young. As with other fish there are EU quotas for oysters and regulations governing size. Foreign boats raid the oyster beds, damaging them in the process. Oysters may only be taken from approved waters and are then purified under Ultraviolet light before being sold.
Most fishermen now fish for whelks rather than oysters as there is a larger market. West Whelks now operate as retailers, as wholesaling has become too risky.
Derek and Jean had brought along to the meetings to show us samples of various types of oysters including some of the pearls that they had harvested and also a wonderful collection of photos, pictures and memories of their business and the historic oyster fleet.

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Fields in Trust at Tankerton
On the 12th October, in between heavy showers on a cold blustery day, the official ceremony was held to unveil a plaque to commemorate the official opening of the Tankerton Coastal Park
The plaque which was donated by the SITA Trust was unveiled by the beacon on the slopes, by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Viscount De L’isle and the Lord Mayor of Canterbury, Robert Waters and attended by local councillors and representatives of interested organisations. Kath and Angela represented the Whitstable Society, who had promoted the choice of Tankerton Slopes to Canterbury Council as a suitable site of consideration as a Jubilee Field in Trust. This was followed by a reception at Whitstable Castle. The plaque will be set in stone at a later date and a second plaque will positioned at the eastern end of the park. The Future development of the Coastal Park will now be decided by Local Groups and the public working together with Canterbury City Council and The Whitstable Improvement Trust.

Membership Renewal fees
With the present financial climate, we are, along with everyone else, experiencing a considerable increase in our costs. There has been no increase since 2004 and now due to rising costs and inflation our income is less than our expenditure. Members will be offered a choice of payment methods. Consequently the committee is proposing to increase the membership fees for 2013, subject to approval by members.
1. £8 single and £12 joint: Cash or Cheque annually:
2. £8 single and £12 joint: Standing order annually:
3. £45 single and £65 joint: Five year single payment at a slightly higher rate to allow for future inflation.
The committee would appreciate suggestions for future fund raising events to raise money to help fund future projects such as the Whitstable Map and new WS information leaflets.

Whitstable Society Leaflet
This coming year 2013 we plan to have a membership drive, the last one was five years ago, and we feel that there is a need to redesign and update our current leaflet. In order to do this and achieve the best possible and professional result, we are asking members for support with both content and design. A copy of the existing leaflet can be seen on the website. All suggestions will be welcome. www.whitstablesociety.info

Planning Matters

Mapping Project
Progress on this project in its research stage is being made. A delegation, including Roger Livingstone from the Historical Society, went to meet map-makers at Kent County Council and contact has been established with Christchurch University at several levels. We have two confirmed student volunteers who study geography information systems as part of their geography degree and use mapping software. Advice from their mapping technician has been received. We hope to meet mapping people at CCC. The objectives of the project have been validated by these various expert contacts. Much more will have to be researched and careful thought given to how to run the project in later stages. A meeting of all interested parties is likely to be held to map out a plan. The initial conclusion is that volunteers will assemble data from various sources with more expert volunteers engaged in later stages.
It is likely to be both workable and very low cost. The actual mapping software that organises the data for the maps however comes from only 2 suppliers (a duopoly) and is expensive. Joint ventures may be necessary for this and other reasons.

Beach Huts
The campaign to get the new huts being built on Tankerton Slopes rented is effectively lost by a CCC decision not to rent; but in practice the council is considering allowing all hut owners to rent; for an extra fee. This may achieve access for all at a reasonable prices, but may not since the Council’s irresponsible decision to permit effective sales of public hut sites (a long-standing matter of concern) at high prices mean that many hut owners are investors and will look for high rental income. We will see.
In the meantime, there is the matter of the 2 extension huts that the Council applied to itself to build despite promising not to. We have made an official complaint and once that has gone 1 or 2 rounds without satisfaction it will be sent to the Local Ombudsman, for in our view there are a variety of mal-administration aspects. The last time this happened, at the western end by the triangle of paths, the Council gave in; but this is less likely this time round. CCC has however agreed to our request to build these 2 huts last so there is nearly 2 years to sort this out. The 11 huts we do not object to, as they are genuine infill in the back rank, will have shrub planting behind to replace the privet there now.

5, High St. Next to Bear and Key
This is a large scheme for flats and houses and we are proposing to object on the basis that there is not even parking for one vehicle per unit. The last government changed the rules in 2001 so councils must grant permission for development in the centre of towns with few or even no parking spaces to encourage bus use. The current government has scrapped that rule and the new National Policy Planning Framework gives planners flexibility to set local policy. Para 23 specifically lays down a duty to protect thriving town centres. The current site provides considerable parking. The consequences of the old rule has been more pressure on public car parks and the street, to the detriment of existing local peoples. It has been damaging to the economy as customers from the suburbs of the town have to go more to out of town shopping places because of the worsened parking situation in the town; even for short visits. Our car parks and streets are now full at most times of the year. The damage of under-provisioning for car parking cannot be reversed but it can be stopped from getting worse.

Peter Cushing – Wetherspoons
A planning application from Wetherspoons to have a Beer Garden at the rear of their premises was turned down on the grounds that:

1. By virtue of its size, location and the lack of supervision from the main public house premises at 16 – 18 Oxford Street the use of the beer garden hereby proposed would be likely to cause an unacceptable level of noise and general disturbance to the surrounding area that due to its proximity and relationship to the surrounding dwellings and business premises in Oxford Street, Nelson Road and Shaftesbury Road would result in an unacceptable degree of noise and disturbance to the detriment of the amenities enjoyed by the occupiers of those properties. The proposal is therefore contrary to Policies BE1 and TC10 of the Canterbury District Local Plan.

2. The application fails to demonstrate that adequate provision can be made for deliveries to the public house and can be provided across land within the applicants ownership and control. The application proposes to route all future deliveries through adjoining car parks which are outside of the application site and not within the applicants control. As a result, the proposed routing of deliveries through adjoining car parks would be likely to restrict and prevent access to, and from, these adjoining car parks to the inconvenience and detriment of users therefore, the development is contrary to Policy BE1 of the Local Plan and BE1 of the South East Plan.

3. The application proposes the re-routing of an existing right of way that runs across the rear of the site. However, the proposed alternative route proposed would be impractical and inconvenient to users and that due to proposed route crossing private land cannot be permanently secured. The route proposed would therefore not accord with BE1 and C1 of the Local Plan.

A Town Council for Whitstable?
“Do we want a town Whitstable Town Council?” To quote Councillor Alex Perkins, leader of the Lib. Dems on CCC. “It is all about Whitstable having its own say in what happens in the town and now we want to know whether Whitstable people want this” Consequently CCC have set up an e petition to gauge the level of interest amongst Whitstable people. If lots of people want it, there will be a public meeting to press the council to provide one

Whitstable Calendar 2013
The Whitstable Improvement Trust have produced an attractive calendar with some stunning photographs of our coast and harbour. They are now on sale at the WIT shop in Harbour Street.
An Ideal gift for family and friends- both locally and overland and A4, spiral bound, with writing-friendly matt paper, the calendar contains 12 unique full colour photographs of Whitstable. Both the Photographer and printer are local. All proceeds to support the WIT’s improvement projects and the visitor information service provided by volunteers in The Whitstable Shop in Harbour Street. £6 (£5 to WIT members) including a free envelope in which it is sold.
Please support the work of the Whitstable Improvement Trust and give a high quality, limited edition calendar this Christmas.”

Whitstable Society Walks
December no walk

Sunday 9th December 12.00 noon. Meet at The Monument P.H. Whitstable for a Christmas meal. Book early as this was very popular last year. Enquiries: Ann T. Tel: 277671

October 2012 Newsletter

Next meeting
Wednesday 17th October 7.15pm at Whitstable Castle. Graham West from “West Whelks” is to talk to us about Whitstable Oysters

Last meetings

Saturday 8th September – Our visit to the open air picture gallery, “The Great Ramsgate Wall” was well attended and much enjoyed by all. We were welcomed on a lovely sunny afternoon by Janet Weir from the Ramsgate Society who was our guide to the exhibition of over 100 paintings. The artists were all local people, both amateur and professional. Local schools had also contributed. The theme of the exhibition was Ramsgate in all its aspects and the variations of styles, colours and imaginations made it a wonderful vibrant exhibition of everyday life in Ramsgate. The paintings are currently exhibited on the promenade but will not be lost, a permanent home will be found for them. We finished our visit with fish and chips at Peters Fish Factory.

Wednesday 19th September – We were pleased to welcome Mike Philips, Recording Officer for the Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group (KRAG), who promote reptile and amphibian (herpetoforma) conservation in Kent. They endeavour to record distribution and to build up long term records for key sites in Kent, in an attempt to safeguard them from development or mismanagement. They also welcome sightings from the public, and are happy to work together with gardeners to help create and improve habitats for our herpetoforma. Both reptiles and amphibians are cold blooded which means that in the UK they are at the extreme of favourable habitats and species are few compared to countries with warmer climates.

In Kent we have five species of native amphibians, Common Frog, Common Toad, Great Crested Newt and Smooth Newt. The Natterjack Toad, which was extinct in Kent, has recently been introduced along the coast at Sandwich. Marsh Frogs along the North Kent coast near Oare are not native. Amphibians like ponds, especially where there are no fish. The Great Creasted Newt is fully protected. It is illegal to handle or move them without a licence, or to disturb their habitat. In Whitstable they are to be found along the line of the Old Thanet Way. There is a fungal infection of amphibians in the Canterbury area, so they should not be moved around. Members noted that infected frogs had been seen in Whitstable.

There are five species of reptiles in England, the Viviparous or Common Lizard, Slow Worm, Grass Snake and Adder. The fifth, the Smooth Snake is not found in Kent. Of the reptiles, the Adder is the most in decline and there is concern as habitat is disappearing. Adders like rough grass and lizards prefer open spaces. In Whitstable there are few lizards and there is only one recorded sighting of an adder which is unconfirmed.

Kath thanked Mike Phillips for an interesting and informative talk.

Knights Alley

We apologise to Councillor Wratten for an ambiguity of terminology in our last newsletter re Knights Alley. The following is a more accurate representation of what was said:
Councillor Wratten advised us he would support us in a bid for funds to enable the necessary work to be undertaken but that we, as an official society, would have more chance of success if we made a bid to the WAMP ourselves for funding from the 10K fund, and he advised us to do so. We are now preparing our bid for submission.

Making Whitstable Maps

The first steps have been taken in a process to enable Whitstable community groups to create comprehensive, flexible and easily updatable digital online and printed maps. A meeting was held at the Umbrella Centre, with all invited. A rough draft was agreed for the different layers
which can be selected to be overlaid on a base map to create general, or specialist, printed or online/downloadable maps. The current draft can be seen on http://tinyurl.com/8ko4yyb. It is constantly being refined. Comments please, for the time being, to gdcox@clara.net or via any WS Committee member. Councillor Mike Harrison has introduced us to KCC mapping experts, who create layered digital maps. We have already consulted by phone, and a delegation will visit their department in the near future. We will continue in consortium to develop the layers desired and seek everyone’s input to suggest what should be available in each layer; simply building, for now, a written list (with addresses of each item where possible). In parallel, and starting with the KCC meeting, the technical side of the mapping process will be initiated. Software products will be researched and, as a first stage, the various ways in which associated information is transferred to a databank will be examined.

Greens Tiles Update

The site was purchased by the old Whitstable Urban District Council not Canterbury City Council as stated in our last newsletter. We have now found copies of paperwork that proves that it was the intention to donate the land occupied by the skating rink for public use. We have made the Council aware of this. There was apparently no covenant but there were written undertakings given by the WUDC as a condition for the intended purchaser dropping out in response to public sentiment.

[When in 1944 the abandoned open-air section of the old skating-rink was offered for sale (the indoor section, now the tile-warehouse sold earlier) a local firm, Ryebar Labs. entered into negotiations to purchase. There was public criticism for sentimental reasons arising from the history of the rink and so belatedly the Council put forward a scheme to purchase it for a public open space for the elderly. Ryebar, as a public-spirited gesture, agreed to withdraw on a clear understanding of the Council’s intention and the Council purchased for £300. This arrangement was recorded in Minutes but not in the Deed of Sale, there being Dr. Ryebar said “a gentleman’s agreement” (with a Council!). In 1993 CCC, now the owner of the undeveloped site, published a development scheme for the whole of the Reeves Beach site under the title ‘The Warehouse Site’, putting a deck over the whole area at the sea-wall level, car-parking underneath with building on the Sea Street side and with “open space for some boat parking and public sitting-out areas” on the sea-wall side. The latter did not reflect any legal requirement but was a general planning consideration].
Geoffrey Pike

Whitstable Signage

Thank you to Anne Willoughby, who recently spoke at the WAMP re the lack of signage in Whitstable for Public Toilets. Also thank you to the WAMP as we have now been informed by Councillor Mike Harrison that the new signs will be in place in early October. This just illustrates that our councillors are there to listen to public opinion and it is worthwhile to keep them informed of our thoughts and ideas for the benefit of Whitstable.

Tankerton promenade cycle track update

A copy of an Order has been placed at either end of Tankerton promenade by CCC stating that they are applying to the Secretary of State to alter the By-law regarding cycling. It was not published in Whitstable papers nor was a copy sent to ourselves, the Whitstable Society. By the time that we were aware of this Order it was too late to respond. We have voiced our concern to CCC, who have responded to say that it was available in the Whitstable Library and is still publicised on their web-site pages at www.canterbury.gov.uk/transportation.

Public notices are placed in Kent on Sunday as a newspaper circulating in our area following a tendering exercise which achieved significant financial savings. This is where they believe KCC also place the bulk of their public notices. We are not happy with this as the Kent on Sunday is not a paper that is delivered locally and have responded accordingly.

The Open Spaces Society and ourselves were unhappy with the order to convert the footpath alongside Gorrell Tank to a cycle track. The width was stated as 3 metres, but in reality it is less. CCC agreed to put up signs asking cyclists to dismount along the busy stretch between the car park steps and Tower Parade. Objections were withdrawn.

Planning Matters

The Paddock, Millstrood Road – Update

The Planning Officer is still waiting to receive further documents from the developer before a further consultation period of three weeks will take place. The latest revisions, however, include an idea to redress the lack of crossing facilities for the less able who cannot use the footbridge. This is by means of an uncontrolled road crossing to be sited at the island between the roundabout and footbridge rather like the one currently used to cross to Tesco from the Swale Park side.

There will be no controlled stopping of cars and we are concerned that this will lead to incidents involving the less agile and children from the school as they try to cross this busy road. Further details can be found on the council’s website and you can express your views in writing to the Planning Office direct should you wish.

Beach Huts

The plans for how the new beach huts will be managed are being put to the CCC Overview Committee imminently. It was claimed in the officer report that the Community Strategy Group recommended selling off all the Whitstable huts, but we (the Group) did nothing of the sort and the protests from ourselves and others in the Group have been sent to the Overview Committee. Officers may be sceptical of the commerciality of short-letting the huts, but they should let entrepreneurs decide and have no justification to jump straight to the total sale option ignoring all other options; such as seasonal/annual renting. After all, if the Harbour Board (a CCC Committee) can do it, why not others? We have suggested alternatives and indeed these are in the body of the officers’ report, but the conclusion suddenly jumps to sales only and, as an anathema to all groups, states an undifferentiated conclusion for all huts regardless of hut type or which town they are in.

The Council do not even need to fund building the huts for rent. The sale of about 15% would create the cash profits to build all the huts for rent (sale price £25000, build cost no more than £3500) which can then be leased to a renting business or organisation. The council could then use, for other purposes, the £120,000 reserve in the CCC capital budget. The gist of our recommendation, trying to assist CCC with its aims and maximise community access to those who can’t afford to buy a hut and others that want less commitment, is as follows:

1) Invite expressions of interest for short term letting of the huts (with winter seasonal).
2) If no interest, make the same invitation for seasonal/annual rental (no auto renewal if there is a queue) by an entrepreneur or an organisation, or CCC itself to rent the huts off in this way.
3) Only if all the above are unworkable, consider total sell off

Civic Voice

The following is the response of Civic Voice to the Governments latest announcement to further relax planning applications: “We are concerned that after an extensive debate and a thorough review of the planning system over the past year, leading to the introduction of the new National Planning Policy Framework, the Government has chosen to make further changes on an ad-hoc basis to the system which may well result in damaging not just the green belt, but other places and settings of our most attractive buildings, ancient and modern. We welcome the increased investment in housing and infrastructure and we recognise the need to get the economy moving, but we think that short-term measures to rush proposals through the planning system will be counter-productive”.

Support With Transport

If any Members living in the Whitstable area having difficulty attending meetings wish to have help with transport, please phone Kath on 01227 792974

Whitstable Society Walks

14 Oct Sun 10.00am Meet at the Hare and Hounds P.H. Blean CT2 9EF we have permission to park in the car park on the gravel section to the right. They do a nice Sunday lunch here at a sensible price. Tel: 471594 if anyone is interested.
Alan and Ann will lead this walk. Enq: Ann T 277671

4th Nov (1st Sunday in the month) 10.00am Meet at Woodland Estate, Blean. Ann Johnson will lead a walk through Blean woods and then back to her home for refreshments.
[Thank you Ann] Enq: Ann T 277671

9th Dec 12.00noon Meet at The Monument P.H. Whitstable for a Christmas meal book early. This was very popular last year. Enq: Ann T 277671

July 2012 Newsletter

August is the holiday season and as usual there will be no meeting. Let’s hope that the weather improves enough for all to enjoy the holiday

September meetings
Saturday 8th September – A visit to the “Great Ramsgate Wall”. Meet at 5.00pm at the Clock Tower Museum, at Ramsgate Harbour (where there are car parks) Car sharing can be arranged if required. This visit is to be hosted by the Ramsgate Society who will be our guides. The Great Wall of Ramsgate, is the largest open-air art gallery in the country consisting of more than 100 paintings, which have been produced by local artists, professional and amateur to celebrate Ramsgate, past, present and future. The viewing will be followed by Fish & Chips at the award winning Peters Fish Factory in Harbour Parade.
Booking is essential as we need numbers for the Fish and Chip Supper. Please phone Roger Pethers on 01227 770814

Wednesday 19th September – 7.15pm at Whitstable Castle -A talk from the Kent Reptile and Amphibian Group

Saturday 29th September – Whitstable Map Meeting 7-00pm downstairs at the Umbrella Centre
The Whitstable Society together with the Whitstable Improvement Trust is planning to produce up-to-date and comprehensive maps of Whitstable. The maps will be available both on the Internet and as hard copies. The map system will consist of a base map and then different layers, each representing a specific feature of Whitstable: eg. street names, history/archaeology, churches, public services, restaurants, accommodation etc. which can be combined as required when looking on the Internet or making a printed map. The purpose of the evening is to ask attendees to comment on / suggest the different layers of the map, how many and what subjects, and then to suggest as many places / things etc. that should be marked in each layer. The Whitstable History Society will be joining us.

Previous Meeting – Wednesday 20th June
Roger Seijo, chairman of the Whitstable Improvement Trust spoke to us about the aims, objectives and the past achievements of the Trust. Roger explained that he is a landscape architect and senior lecturer at Greenwich School of Architecture, with an interest in sustainable building technology and eco living. He has been a member of the WIT for 18 months and Chairman for one year.

Historically the WIT and the Whitstable Society were one until 1989 when The Trust was established as an independent Charitable Company’ with objectives to promote Whitstable and its regeneration through:

  1. seeking to retain and care for the unique nature of the locality and its buildings
  2. encouraging new developments to be in harmony with local character
  3. creating an awareness of the town’s historical past and the personalities who have
    contributed to it.

In 1989 Whitstable was a town in need of regeneration and the WIT initiated projects that would add to, and improve, Whitstable. Initial funding came from KCC and CCC. The WIT did an enormous amount of work which is now familiar to people in the town and now nearly 100 projects have been implemented by the Trust, including the WIT shop in Harbour Street, seating at starvation point near the Harbour, work on signage for alleyways, Heritage Boards, Whitstable in Bloom, tree planting, initiating the Tower Hill Tea Garden and publishing books about Whitstable.

The WIT is now the major outlet for visitor information in the town, since the council closed the official tourist information office? We provide this service FREE (no council money) and staff the shop with volunteers.

In approximately 1993 funding stopped and, nowadays, funding for each project has to be bid for and we are competing with big companies like Serco. The latest project was “The Deck” at Deadman’s Corner in the Harbour which was funded 25% by the Harbour Project, 25% WIT reserves and 50% lottery fund. There is a need to find other ways to source funds for projects and also to attract new volunteers especially younger people. Ideas are to work together with educational establishments, photographic competitions and to work together with colleges and universities.

The WIT has recently appointed a new part-time manager who will have, amongst other things, responsibility for researching projects and fundraising.
Current and future projects are:

  • Co-ordinating projects for Tankerton Slopes which have recently been granted QE11 status. This means that they are now protected as a public amenity. Grants are available for improvements. Some possible suggestions are for a bandstand, improved access to the beach for the disabled and barbecue areas on the beach, but there also a need to retain the integrity of the slopes.
  • Working together with the Whitstable Society to produce a new town map (see details above)
  • Working together with Transition Town who are setting up a tree bank at Stream Walk.

Kath thanked Roger for his very interesting and informative talk and said that the way forward for the future of Whitstable was for all amenity groups to work together and that the Whitstable Society was looking forward to an increase in future co-operation as we are already doing with the Mapping Project.
Tankerton Promenade Cycle Path.
The decision to not to use the Cycle Tracks Acts to enforce the 24 hours cycling path along the promenade, means that our complaint to the Ombudsman, after rewording, can be resubmitted. An event of significance occurred however at the General Purpose Committee in June. Set to ram through a revised bylaw with not a single reference to safety, the Committee was joined at the last minute by Ashley Clark. He took the meeting by the scruff of the neck and pushed through an amendment adding a phase from the Road Traffic Act to the by-law, that it is an offence to ”ride a cycle or skateboard without due care and consideration of other users of the promenade”. This should allow any member of the public to video bad behaviour and expect the Council to take action (if the person or persons can be recognised): much as happened with the motor cyclists who went along West Beach. Any complaint from the WS to the Ombudsman about the process can be weakened now that Ashley has achieved this amendment. The GPC Minutes incidentally include an absurd statement; ‘(ix) The promenade was not a highway and therefore was not covered by other laws.’ Most of the promenade is highway and we have asked for an amendment to the Minutes.

In order to complete the town section of The Oyster Bay Cycle Trail, there is now an order to convert to a Cycle Track, Footpath CWX24 which runs alongside Gorrell Tank car park from Tower Parade to Westgate Terrace, and CWX19 part (Cuckoo Down Lane) from Reservoir Road to Cromwell Road. A copy of the orders may be seen at Whitstable Library, on Tuesdays and Fridays. Any objections or support should be made in writing by 6th August.


The Local Plan
Canterbury City Council held a consultation meeting. Two representatives from Whitstable were permitted (one each from the WS and the WIT). They invited eight representatives from Canterbury Residents Associations but did not bother to invite the Thanet Way Residents Association!
It was made clear, for the first time, that we must have our neighbourhood plan in place quickly, otherwise developers will have a free for all, building anywhere they wish to. There were good presentations from various leaders, including welcome words on the necessity of infrastructure being in place for new developments, e.g. (a rail station for Hersden) and details of the consultant’s research carried out for the plan. Very unfortunately, all the work was on the District as a whole and none on the difference /constraints and opportunities inside the district which are key to deciding where to locate new residential and job sites.

In break out groups we were then asked to do just that and several tables refused point blank to engage in such an exercise without even the most basic information necessary. This spoiled the effectiveness of an otherwise well organised meeting and suggests that the council will not be properly briefed when choosing which developer’s plans to accept. We understand that the sustainability and transport parts of the plan, that should inform site decisions, are not finished. The councillors’ will hold a secret meeting in July where they will agree, or not, each site for re-zoning. So although there is public consultation later this year, in practice, based on the evidence for previous plan cycles, there will be no change however much people protest and all the more so because the council will be scared of developers taking them through an expensive enquiry using the new NPPF. So this pre-July consultation meeting was partly wasted. We were asked to set down principles to be followed and our table of residents groups representatives did a great job with suggestions such as building houses where the jobs are rather than automatically in dormitory locations like Whitstable and Hersden, which creates even more commuting into Canterbury and along the Thanet Way to other districts.

Other planning matters

There have not been any new noteworthy issues, or cases, in terms of development. A shift in government thinking re airport locations, takes the pressure off our area as expansion at London Airports is back on the table. But that may only be for the short term as an idea of a new airport on an island NE of Whitstable is apparently being considered by government. Thanet Council has voted against night flights at Manston but, since the airport’s recent sale, it is still legally possible to have night flights much to the disquiet of Herne Bay and nearby areas. Further efforts to move the western approach may be necessary. The Kent Federation for Amenity Societies will be holding a conference on airports, in Kent, in the autumn. A government consultation paper is expected in mid to late July.

At a KFAS meeting recently, members shared experiences like the sale of Tankerton car park. This phenomenon is confirmed as becoming more common with preparatory steps to sell off public space, conducted in secret.
Final steps are being taken on new beach huts. We have insisted on new sites that are genuine infill on Tankerton slopes and we are actively working with CCC to have the new huts available on short-term rental at modest rents, so all local people can afford to take advantage of this facility located on protected open space. Planning applications for the new huts have been posted.

Public Rights of Way
CW57 Seasalter – Sadly this path behind the Sportsman which crosses land behind the chalets and the sea wall is now extinguished. Anne Wilks originally claimed this path but, due to a mapping error, the path on the ground was incorrect. KCC initially refused to make the order but after an appeal by the chalet owners were ordered to do so. Unfortunately, the Inspector decided for the extinguishment.

Whitstable Society Walks
As it is the holiday season there is no walk in August.
Sunday 2nd Sept (1st SUNDAY IN THE MONTH)
10.00am Meet at Four Horseshoes Public House Graveney. ME13 9DE. Grayham and Joan will be starting the 2nd half of our year for us. Enquiries: Ann 277671

Newsletter June 2012

Next Meeting Wednesday 20th June 7.15pm at the Castle
Roger Seijo, Chairman of the Whitstable Improvement Trust, is to give us an update of the work and projects that the trust has achieved over the years.

Following Meeting Wednesday 18th July 7.15pm at the Castle
Dr John Puckett, from the Kent Bat Group is to talk to us about his bat conservation work.

Previous Meeting Wednesday 16th May

We were pleased to welcome Dr John Ribchester Senior Partner at Whitstable Medical Practice spoke to us about the new services provided by Estuary View Medical Centre

Whitstable Medical Practice is the 4th largest in England to provide medical services, and includes Estuary View, Whitstable and Chestfield Medical Centres. It employs 19 GP’s,and over 100 staff, serving the health needs of 33000 patients; 92% of Whitstable district, and it’saims are:
”to provide the best possible healthcare within the available budget whilst combining the best of traditional general practice with innovation and offering high quality general practice with a large range of integrated healthcare services”.
Investment in Estuary View Medical Centre, an innovative new building for general practice and integrated healthcare services, has led to the development of in-house consultant led clinics, diagnostics, day surgery, a practice run Minor Injuries Unit, plus a Co-located Ambulance Response Base and a Community Pharmacy and improved opening hours
Initially Whitstable Medical Practice had planned a partnership with a private healthcare company to supply new services, but that had failed and consequently the GP’s themselves, and with help from The Friends of Whitstable Hospital and Healthcare, have been able to fund the new digital x-ray equipment, ultrasound scanner, minor injuries unit with X-rays open 12/24 every day of the year, and day surgery.
Future plans are for the mobile MRI scanner to regularly visit the site.

Whitstable faces a growing healthcare and social care challenge associated with its ageing population and Whitstable Medical Practice has also developed the Whitstable Integrated Social and Healthcare Network Care Pilot for better management of key long term health conditions, which incude amongst others Asthma, Pain, Diabetes,and Mental Health. The patient user group and Friends charity are both involved in these developments and patient satisfaction has increased through these Services provided closer to home and with shorter waits.

Dr Ribchester then went on to tell us about the NHS reforms
The NHS is facing a major financial challenge. Official NHS sources suggest that, to meet rising demand, there will be a funding shortfall between 2011 and 2014 of £15 to £20bn. The Coalition Government has revealed its plans for reforming the NHS in England in the White Paper Equity and Excellence:Liberating the NHS
The main thrust is to develop decision-making in the NHS towards the front line, with the emphasis on competition, patient choice, contracting and public reporting of outcomes to achieve higher-quality care. GP commissioning consortia are the centrepiece of the reforms, who these will need significant support in several areas, including: Handling public funds on such a large scale, making intelligent purchasing decisions and managing demand.
We thanked Dr Ribchester for a lively and informative talk and were left feeling that we are very lucky to have such brave and inspirational GP’s in our town that have had the courage to take their dreams forward to improve and enhance our medical services.

Current Affairs

QE11 celebrations: Kath Gill then spoke of the the “party on the street” may not happen now. Shje apologised for misreporting in the May Newsletter that the proposed party on the street was to have been for Marine Parade residents only. Marine Parade Association were not organising it. Norman Fox and Jeanne Harrison had suggested it but wished that it should be open to all. The “Lighting of the Beacon” will go ahead on 4 June from 2pm with the beacon being lit at 10.15pm on Tankerton slopes.

Tankerton slopes QEII Fields Trust: Grants are available to enhance QEII sites for the benefit of the community and at our last meeting it was suggested that we provide vandal proof picnic tables and chairs on the picnic area. Since then it has transpired that the picnic area may not be included in the QEII fields Trust site. If so we may have to plan something else. We are still exploring the possibility of tidying the excess vegetation, that has grown up over the years, in the area in front of the Castle.

As a QEII Trust site the slopes are now safe from development and members agreed that any project should not detract from the natural charm and panoramic views of the slopes.

Loss of Amenity Space : Tankerton Road Car Park – There was concern from members that if the new coach park is to be at Swalecliffe Avenue,Hampton, it would mean that Whitstable would lose coach-loads of people because the coaches would not drop off people – but drive straight to the coach park. There was some concern over where the drop off points in Whitstable are to be but as yet we have no further news.
Green’s Tiles was up for sale and there was concern over the covenants for use of the site of the old skating rink at the rear of the premises. Kath is to check with the land registry.

Library Forecourt Trees: Julian Blades, on behalf of the Whitstablle Society, is still pursuing establishing the ownership of the land in front of the library forecourt with a view to negotiating more sensitive pollarding of the trees to provide a leafy canopy over the only open space in the town cwntre. Ownership of the land is divided between CCC and KCC but the boundaries are not clear. Meanwhile the council agreed to refrain from pollarding until things were resolved, but disappointingly some of the trees have already been pollarded.

The Paddock: A planning application to develop this formerely protected open space on the corner of Mistrood Road and the Old Thanet Way (A2990) has been submitted. The Whitstable Society have concerns over the volume of traffic that will be generated, entering and exiting the proposed access point with the A2990. We are asking for that to be more seriously examined, particularly in view of the new estate opposite and it’s traffic.
West Beach Village Green (VG28) The Oyster Fishing Company (OFC) have made an applcation to redefine the boundary of the Village Green to exclude the beach huts. We agree that the footprints of the of the huts there at the time of the original application should be excluded The footprints exclusion should be no further than the last westward hut that existed at the time of the original application, and we have objected accordingly to the order.
Canterbury City Council: have now announced that the draft timetable will be be available from April 2013, and it is to be finalised in 2014. .
Signage: Ann Willoughby informed us Tourists have difficulty finding public toilets in Whitstable due to a lack of signage. She agreed to speak at the WAMP.

Cycling on the Promenade

Changes to the byelaw will be made in accordance with the procedures laid down by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

There are two public footpaths along the affected section of sea wall/promenade. Kent County Council has recently determined that it will not be necessary to implement the Cycle Tracks Act (1984). This is because the city council is managing this project and the route will primarily be created on city council land (which is maintained by the city council as a sea defence) with a byelaw to permit cycling. As a result they indicate there will be no requirement to make use of the Cycle Tracks Act and the cycle route will not be dedicated as a highway. As a result there is no requirement for Kent County Council to be involved.

The draft new byelaw must be submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government for provisional approval subject to the consideration of any objections that may be received. Members of the public will, therefore, have a further opportunity to comment on the new byelaw when it is advertised in the local press, in accordance with the current procedures set out by the Department for Communities and Local Government.
There are more safety features now mentioned and references to safety and the need for more measures. Opposition has clearly had an effect.

Tower Hill – Parking.

We were delighted to see the other day when driving up Tower Hill, that there are now additional parking bays and also two disabled bays outside the Tea Gardens. Both of these are in response to representations made to CCC last year by the Whitstable Society.

Whitstable Area members meeting May 2012

Those of you who were at the last members meeting will recall Ann Willoughby speaking out and being concerned about the lack of signage for public lavatories and nappy changing facility. You may also recall me speaking to Ann and asking her if she would like to raise the matter at the WAMP which is attended by a panel of our 12 City Councillors and our 2 County Councillors for the Whitstable Area. Ann seemed to find this idea agreeable and we said rather than take up valuable current affairs time at the meeting we would get together to arrange a speaker slot for her at the next WAMP meeting.

This we duly did, the meeting took place, Ann spoke briefly, eloquently and to the point – which was that it is all very well having lots of conveniences (no pun intended) but we need the signage and information to tell people where they are. Ann added some poignant humour with one or two little stories to illustrate the situation and its frustrations.

She was so well received by the members on the panel, some came forward to greet her as they also recognised her as a valued volunteer at the W.I.T, she created much mirth and merriment alongside serious discussion, got total support, and those sitting noted to go off and make some enquiries. They also mentioned that this was a possibility for an application in the new money that city councillors have to award within their area – £10,000 in the case of Whitstable.

The latter will be on the next agenda for discussion in current affairs at the next members meeting on Wednesday 20th June 7.15pm at the castle as usual – hope to see you all there – you can have your say and bring forth ideas with which to approach our local councillors to see if we can win some of this money.

I thought it was good to see a member taking their own question forward and it not always being a committee member or other representative of the Whitstable Society taking it forward on behalf of the membership and as your Communications Officer, along with the Committee I would like to encourage members to become more active in this area and to feel that they do have a voice. Anybody wishing to make statements or ask questions both within our meetings and outside please do feel that you can, and whilst some people find it easier than others rest assured that all committee members are available, approachable and will always listen and endeavour to be helpful. This is the true way for democracy and healthy debate. It is surprising how one persons questions will help another or stimulate further discussion.

Thank you Ann. I hope you went home with the good feeling that you deserved and I feel I detected as we strolled down the hill on the way home.

Maureen Smith MBE
PUBLICITY / PR/ – Whitstable Society

Whitstable Society Walks

1st July Sunday 10.00 am (Note: this is the First Sunday in the Month) meet at RITA COLLETT’s house “THE COACH HOUSE” 20 GOLDEN HILL WHITSTABLE (off Millstrood Rd )
Rita will lead this walk and we will return there for refreshments after. Many thanks Rita.


May 2012 Newsletter

The next meeting is on Wednesday 16th May 7.15pm at the Castle Our speaker is to be Dr John Ribchester from Estuary View Medical Centre, who is to talk to us about the services provided from the new centre and the new NHS.

Meeting Wednesday 20th June 7.15pm at the Castle

Roger Seijo, Chairman of the Whitstable Improvement Trust, is to give us an update of the work and projects that the trust has achieved over the years.

2012/13 programme

We are still finalising details of the next programme, which will be distributed with the June Newsletter

Meeting 18th April Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge

Kath apologised that Richard Griffiths was unable to speak to us this night, but fortunately, she, Maureen and Henry had heard Richard speak earlier, so could speak to the subject

2012 is the celebration year of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge (known simply as The Queen Elizabeth Fields Challenge in Scotland), operated by Fields in Trust, is a fantastic campaign to protect outdoor recreational spaces in communities all across the country as a permanent living legacy of this great event. From sports pitches to woodlands, children’s play areas to gardens and bicycle trails to parks, the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge will protect a diverse range of outdoor spaces ensuring that there is something to appeal to everyone.

Whether you live in a dense city, or the middle of the countryside, recreational spaces are the heart of any community and the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge will ensure that these outdoor spaces are guaranteed for future generations. Securing access to grassroots sporting facilities is particularly relevant given the other milestone event taking place in the UK in 2012 – the London Olympics. What better way to mark the greatest sporting show on earth?

The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge will give communities an opportunity to vote for an outdoor space in their area to become part of the scheme and be permanently protected as a tribute to the Diamond Jubilee. Tankerton Slopes and Mariner’s Field, at Seasalter, have been nominated and selected for the Whitstable Area.

Projects are to be community-led and funds for projects are available from various sources. The Fields in Trust, Sport England’s funding programme, Protecting Playing Fields (PPF) and some county councils are participating. Communities are also expected to raise money locally.

Tankerton slopes QEII field site extends from to Whitstable to Swalecliffe and includes the grassy slopes and the playing fields at Swalecliffe. Some areas such as the Beach Huts are excluded. There was some discussion at the meeting as to what the Whitstable Society could contribute to improve facilities. Ranging from a bandstand, projects to create walks, a multi-gym, improved playpark at Swalecliffe, improved signage and updating interpretation boards. One thing that everybody agreed on, was that we like the slopes as they are and do not wish for excessive furniture. Our Society is already exploring the possibility of tidying the excess vegetation, that has grown up over the years, in the area in front of the Castle. The suggestion that was most welcomed by the meeting was for a picnic area at the Western end of the slopes. A suggestion that the area be made as tamper-proof as possible by making the seating of brick, or similar material, was also carried. It was also suggested that the Society should have an awareness event ie: a stand during the celebrations, but it was decided that due to the short timescale it should be at a later event

Queens Jubilee Celebrations

Thousands of beacons will be lit around the world on 4 June 2012 to commemorate Her Majesty The Queen’s 60 year reign over the UK and as head of the Commonwealth. Trevor Thomas is organising this event for Whitstable and the event will take place on Tankerton Slopes. The lighting is to be co-ordinated throughout the country, with our Beacon being lit at 10.15pm.

A second event, a street party on The Street, is being organised by the residents of Marine Parade. On Saturday 2nd June, between 4pm and 6pm. The spaces on the Street are limited and only available to Marine Parade Residents, however, there is plenty of room on the slopes for others to bring a picnic and join in. It is expected to be a unique event and to attract much publicity.

Unfortunately we have now heard that this event is unlikely to take place due to insurance problems. We are still waiting to hear from Canterbury City Council..

Honorary Members

The committee voted to make both Peter Hewitt and Ken Davies, Honorary Members of the Society, in recognition of all the years of service that they have given on the committee. Peter is our longest-serving member and, in latter years, has been on the planning committee and Ken has been the Hon Secretary for very many years.

Cycling on the Promenade

The Whitstable Society objected to the route submitted by CCC for the Phase II extension of the Oyster Bay Cycle Route section, along Tankerton Promenade, but did not object to CCC’s route for a Summer restriction on cycling, as in the local plan 2006, which was not included in the Public Consultation. Last month, both Graham at the Whitstable Area Members Panel (WAMP) and Kath, at the Executive, spoke with our reservations to shared use cycling and walking during the busy Summer months. Both our original letter of objection, and the presentations made at the WAMP and the Executive, can be seen on our website. We were not alone, there were four speakers against at both meetings. However, in spite of our combined concerns for the safety of pedestrians during the busy Summer months, both the WAMP and the Executive opted for the route with no seasonal restrictions. We were upset that councillors criticised Graham personally, for verbally attacking a named CCC Officer at the WAMP, when he was speaking on behalf of the Whitstable Society. At no point did we name any Officer. But we did express concern that, as Official Planning Consultees, we had had no advance consultation prior to the public consultation.
The next step will be for CCC to use the Cycle Tracks Act to convert this Public Footpath to a Cycle Track (As well as the current byelaw, against cycling on the promenade, it is also illegal to cycle on a Public Footpath) An order will be made by KCC and, if there are any objections, a final decision will be made by the Secretary of State at the Deptartment for Transport who may decide to call an Inquiry with an Inspector.

Other Planning Matters

1 Green Tiles – Sea Street

At our April meeting it was noted that the tile warehouse is up for sale. Members asked whether or not the old skating rink area would be included in the sale. Some thought that it had been donated to the town. We asked our councillors if they could enlighten us and the following was received from councillor, Jeanne Harrison “The old skate park bequest is one of those Whitstable Urban myths. It was never formalised with Dr Barnes”.

2 The Paddock

Richard Johnson reported that the Paddock problem was at a waiting point now. People could still raise objections up to mid-May. Richard thanked those who had helped to raise nearly 3000 signatures and said there had been no response from KCC, highways as yet. If the application gets refused we expect that Mr Wilson will be back with another proposal or modified versions of his original plan. Spokes have suggested a platform at the new junction so cycle route 1 can cross it without having to negotiate kerbs. They also requested that trees are removed to give better vision and a new pelican crossing installed across the Thanet Way on the North side of the roundabout.

Grasmere Pastures

This long delayed Public Inquiry which started on Tuesday 17th April at Whitstable Castle and was due to last a week, was heard by Planning Inspector, Lana Wood who listened to arguments for the future of the 42-acre field, known as Grasmere Pastures, between Grasmere Road and The Ridgeway. Local residents have campaigned and succeeded for two Public Footpaths crossing over this land and are now campaigning to have it designated as a Village Green so as to preserve it as a recreational open space for the local community.

Loss of Amenity Space : Tankerton Road Car Park

At a council executive meeting 29th March, it was agreed to sell the car park, with the original planning application approved for 13 dwellings, and it has subsequently been put on the market. The portfolio holder explained the proposal for the provision of a parking facility for coaches at Swalecliffe Avenue, Hampton. He mentioned also that he

had discussed with the Ward Members the situation regarding coaches and he referred to the need to designate a dropping-off point for coaches.

The Whitstable parkrun

This year of the Olympics and the QEII field sites seems a good time to mention the Whitstable parkrun which is a fun, free event every Saturday morning at 9am, on Tankerton promenade and slopes, organised by volunteers for the benefit of everyone. The course consists of 2 laps along the promenade, and the slopes, and is 5kilometres long. Whitstable parkrun is free but you must register in advance and it is for all abilities and ages

Whitstable Society Walks

6th May Sunday 10.00am meet at the QUEENS HEAD PUBLIC HOUSE HIGH ST BOUGHTON ME13 9BH Ann J and Sue will be our leaders for this walk

10th June Sunday 10.00am meet at RITA COLLETT’s house “THE COACH HOUSE” 20 GOLDEN HILL WHITSTABLE (off Millstrood Rd ) Rita will lead this walk and we will return there for refreshments after. Many thanks Rita.

1st July Sunday 10.00 am (Note: this is the First Sunday in the Month) Rita will also lead this walk so meet at her house AS ABOVE.