KFAS AGM – Saturday 18th May

The Whitstable Society is a member of the Kent Federation of Amenity Societies (KFAS) and all members have been invited to their AGM and a tour of Rochester organised by the Rochester Society. In the words of KFAS Chairman John Walker:
…the KFAS AGM and Woolford Lecture on Saturday 18th May at The Visitor Information Center, 95 High Street, Rochester, ME1 1LX. starting at 10am.
There is a good choice of excellent restaurants and pubs in the High Street for lunch after the meeting.

The Woolford Lecture will be delivered by Griff Rhys Jones, the well known actor, writer and TV Presenter who is also President of Civic Voice, the national organisation for Civic Societies in England.

Griff is starting a four day tour of Kent on Wednesday 15th May to promote the activities of Civic Societies in the county in his role as President of Civic Voice.

The tour will culminate at the KFAS AGM where Griff will deliver the 3rd Annual Woolford Lecture. As everyone will know from his TV programmes Griff is passionate about the built environment and about the role civic societies can play in protecting and enhancing our villages, towns and cities. His talks are always interesting, informative and entertaining so this is a great opportunity to meet Griff in person and discus matters of common interest.

The AGM is of course free of charge but we would ask for a small donation to cover the costs of the room hire for the Woolford Lecture

We very much hope you will support this meeting by attending on behalf of your civic society and would be grateful if you could confirm your attendance by telephoning our Hon. Secretary Crispin Davis on 01303 237831 or by email at crispinandsue.davies@talktalk.net

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.


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

2013 AGM Reports

The reports from the 2013 AGM are now available on this website on the ‘News’ page.

Click the ‘News’ tab near the top of this page to get to the News page and the reports are listed on the left.

Chairmans Report 2013

Chairman’s report

Last year I had planned to stand down as Chair, but then agreed to stay on with Angela Boddy as co chair and who will be chairing this year’s AGM this year in my absence. We have seen a lot of new faces on our committee who have brought new and innovative ideas to the society and I would like to thank them all for their support over this last year. I would especially like to thank our longstanding newsletter distributors who have over the years braved all weathers to deliver our newsletters. Thank you also to Rita Collett and the walking group who have provided the Society walks for many years and Ann who has provided refreshments. Mark Davies, our Honorary Secretary will be standing down this year due to other commitments, but he will remain to help us with our new website. I also shall be standing down as Chair, but hope to remain on the committee in my previous role for Public Rights of Way.

During this past year we have addressed many issues, some new and some ongoing. Looking back at last year’s report I am sorry to say that the Crab and Winkle bridges did not materialise due to lack of funding. The planning approval came too late for the funding to be approved. The planning permission for development of Tankerton Car Park was eventually granted by Canterbury City Council. Planning permission was also granted for a cycle path along Tankerton promenade. The Whitstable Society supported a seasonal route along the top of the slopes during Summer months, avoiding excessive traffic in front of the beach huts, but unfortunately this was not granted. Once the route is open we plan to monitor the usage during Summer months and to seek the opinions of those who use the route, promenaders, beach hut owners and cyclists.

We have also been supportive of the Thanet Way Residents Association in their bid to oppose the development on the Paddocks, on the corner of Millstrood Road and the Old Thanet Way. Which is proposing, in our opinion dangerous exits on to the Thanet Way close to the Tesco roundabout.

We are still working to maintain the integrity of Tankerton Slopes, especially to prevent encroachment of the protected open spaces by beach huts. Graham Cox, chair of the planning committee has also been representing us on CCC’s Beach Hut advisory committee.

As well as objecting to some planning applications, we also support many but may make some recommendations for improvement.

An exciting project this year has been the creation of a Whitstable digital map, which will provide information on many aspects of Whitstable from its history, geography and many local amenities eg. Public transport routes, accommodation, footpaths and open spaces, recreational facilities etc. This is progressing well, but is a long term project which will become available in stages. Users will be able to see these maps online or print hard copies.

In addition, this coming year Canterbury City Council will be publishing the new draft local plan, to which we will responding with the intent of retaining the integrity of Whitstable whilst recognising the need for future development.

Kath Gill

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