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.


AGM 2012

The meeting was opened by our Chair, Kath Gill, who welcomed all present. The minutes of the 50th AGM were accepted without amendment. There would be several changes to the executive committee this year as Kath Gill is standing down as Chairman, Henry Lewis as (Acting)Hon Treasurer and Ken Davies as Hon Secretary. Kath thanked all the committee members for their valued contributions throughout the year. And also all the members who have given valuable help this past year, Ann Hill as membership secretary, the newsletter distributors, and the ladies who help with the tea at our meetings.

Treasurer Henry Lewis presented this years figures. There was an excess of expenditure over income. Largely due to the special event to celebrate our 50 years of existence and £250 for last years Christmas party. This year we managed to make the Christmas party self funding by means of a raffle. Other expenditure was largely due to affiliation fees, insurance and room hire.

Chairman’s Report – Kath explained that she had started last year as a temporary chairman, for supposedly a few weeks, but in actual fact lasted the whole year. She had enjoyed the year and would have continued as chairman, but for personal reasons. She thanked all those who had supported her, both the committee and members. She emphasised the need for new committee members and followed with a brief description of vacancies and the individual roles for each post.
(see below for full report)

The Executive Committee nominees for 2012 are:
Mark Davies – Hon Secretary
Graham Cox – Hon Treasurer
Maureen Smith – Publicity Officer

Committee Members:
Planning Sub Committee: Graham Cox, Peter Hewitt, Angela Boddy
Newsletter Editor: Carole Pethers
General Committee Members: Richard Johnson, Roger Pethers, Evelyn Smith
The above were elected and welcomed to the committee.

There was no other business and the meeting ended at 9.50pm.

Chairman’s Report

I came as Temporary Chair supposedly for a few months and am still here at the end of the year. I was very much a novice and certainly could not have fulfilled this role without the support I have received from the committee and the membership. I would specially like to thank all the committee for their valuable work, Ann Hill as Membership Secretary and Newsletter Distributor plus all those who help with distribution of the Newsletter. A special thanks to Ann, Margaret and Jo, who have helped with tea and coffee, And in doing so always miss the end of questions after our speakers. Also to Doug Alexander who helps with the website, Julian Blades who has been liaising with the council regarding the trees outside the Library and all those members who have offered help and advice over the last year.
So it is with great regret that I am unable to stand as chair for the coming year, due to family illness making more demands upon my time. I still wish to stand as a committee member and hope to continue to serve in a lesser capacity.

Similarly Ken Davies has to stand down after many years as Hon. Secretary due to his wife’s illness and Henry Lewis is standing down as Hon. Treasurer.
Yet in spite of all the help and support the biggest problem over the last year has been that we have had such a small committee and I would really like to urge people to come forward and join the committee or offer skills , especially as we now have Localism, the Big Society, Neighbourhood Planning, and the Jubilee fields projects.

Below we have spelled out the Role of each committee member
Chairman – Chair meetings, liaise with Whitstable Society members and with the team, drive the Society forward.
Treasurer – Day to day expenses, report to committee, put together accounts (external help could be provided for this)
Secretary – Take minutes at meetings, and write up minutes and official letters.
Social Secretary – Organise typically 2-3 events each year, including Christmas Social, (all decided by the committee as a whole) this role lends itself to be done as a couple or team of volunteers
In addition we need:
Newsletter Editor – Put together newsletter from contributions and news from committee members and anyone else who has a relevant contribution. Update website.
Newsletter Distributor Organiser – Receive Newsletter from Printers and to distribute to our team of Distributors.
Roles could be shared posts, so those members new to the committee may not feel so daunted. Being a committee member may not be necessary for all roles, ie Newsletter Editor/Distributor, Treasurer, Social Secretary and people in those roles could come to meetings as and when necessary and at other times just have feedback from committee.
If you are not able to join yourself, do you know someone we could approach? In addition you do not even have to be a committee member. It would be useful to have a list of people with special skills that we could call on for advice if needed.”

During this past year we have looked hard at ways to raise the profile of the Society. Newspaper coverage where possible, Maureen with her regular column in the Whitstable times and by updating the website. Next year we plan a leaflet drop to householders as part of a membership drive.
Congratulations to both Neil Baker and Ashley Clarke on their success at the local councilelections. Both Neil and Ashley are on the renamed Development Management Committee
(DMC), Ashley Development Management Committee Vice Chair, and Neil is on the Executive Committee, with responsibilities for: Communications, Contact Centre Clients and Foreshore (incl Beach Huts). It is nice to know that two such active members of our society will now have a voice on behalf of Whitstable at Canterbury City.

We have had a varied programme in this our 50th Anniversary year with a mix of current affairs, a wonderful talk by Geoffrey Pike on the history of Whitstable, a guided tour of historic Sandwich, the forthcoming visit to the Turner Contemporary at Margate and Social events: the usual Christmas Social and our Special 50th Anniversary Quiz evening. Thank you to all those who helped with questions and also on the night.

Our Society has for 50 years worked with councils making comments and suggestions, and along with the formal role of official planning consultee for the town. Some of the issues addressed this past year were:
The Red Spider Café
Crab and Winkle Bridges
Joy Lane planning issues
Millstrood Road
Beach Huts on Tankerton Slopes
Tankerton Road car Park
Proposed Extension The Oyster trail Cycle Track
Library Forecourt
National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Many of these issues are still ongoing but whatever the outcome you can be sure that the Society is working hard to maintain the integrity of Whitstable and to do our best for the future of our town.

Some issues are now completed i.e.
Red Spider café Planning permission not granted.
Crab and Winkle Bridges – Planning permission granted
Tankerton Road car Park – planning permission not granted to close it and build houses on it.

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

Kath Gill –Chair 2011/2012

Annual General Meeting 2011

The meeting was opened by our Chairman, Neil Baker, who welcomed all present. The miinutes of the 49th AGM were accepted without amendment. There would be several changes to the executive committee this year as Ashley Clark and Neil Baker are standing down, as they are both standing for electuion to Canterbury City Council and consequently are unable to hold office in the society as we are a non political amenity group. They remain as members and we wish them luck in the forthconing elections. Cliff and Anne Willoughby are having to give up helping with the teas due to other commitments.

The Executive Committee nominees for 2011 are:

Kath Gill – Temporary Chairman
Ken Davies – Hon secretary
Henry Lewis – Hon Treasurer (acting)
Maureen Smith – publicity officer
Committee Members – Graham Cox, Peter Hewitt
Ann Hill continues as membership secretary

Treasurer John Pettmen presented the year’s figures. We have a healthy balence of £6,487.61pence, but there was an excess of expenditure over income of £211.84pence and our main expenses were Affiliation fees, Speakers and room hire, and the Christmas Social.

Chairman Neil Baker, gave his report:

I would like to start by thanking everybody for the valued contributions during my period as chairman of the society, from those on the Committee to members and also those from other groups and members of the public who have given input into what’s happening in the town we all care so much about.
Kath Gill and her team will now take things forward and work on expanding our membership, gaining us more publicity and ensuring we have as much influence as possible, while trying to ensure our discussions take into account the differing views of as many people as possible.
Groups like the Whitstable society have an increasingly important role to play. With the national government looking at giving more opportunity to communities to get involved in the planning process, for instance, monitoring what ids being planned in terms of future development is as important as ever.
Fortunately, as I mentioned during our Christmas Social, we are luck in Whitstable in thet we have a long tradition of people volunteering and offering their time. We’ve had a big society before the phrase “Big Society” was being thrown around by those in Westminster – from those who clear their neighbours driveways of snow in the winter to those who spend time enriching the lives of others, young and old, all the year round.
How much power communities will get remains unclear, but the Whitstable society has worked with councils for half a century and will continure to make comments and suggestions, raise questions and give the odd nudge whenever it is appropriate. Along with the formal role of official planning consultee for the town, acting as a forum of scrutiny for the decision makers is also important, and trying to be a voice for those who want to get involved in the local government process but feel uncomfortable doing so for whatever reason.
The society has achieved much throughout its history – and there is a valid argument that much more should be made of our proud history – but there remains so much more to do. If any members have any suggestions, be they big or small, please get in touch. and if any members hear any comments from non-members that could be useful, please don’t hesitate to pass them on.
Best wishes to Kath, the committee and members in trying to exert as much influence as possible to make our great towen even better. With as many caring people as we have, I’ve no doubt there will be enough eyes and ears focussed on any future developments in the town to jump on problems before they begin. let’s hope the increasing pressures brought upon our little oasis by the sea can be managed as well as possible.
Neil Baker

Annual General Meeting 2010

Our Chairman, Graham Cox, opened the 49th AGM by welcoming the 47 members present.
The minutes of the 49th AGM were accepted without amendment.
There would be several changes to the Executive Committee for the year ahead.
Chris Byers and John Reed were standing down and were thanked for their more than useful contributions to the work of the Society. The new members were :
Ashley Clark, Kath Gill, Henry Lewis and Maureen Smith. That meant there were still vacancies available and anyone who would like to help without making
the commitment of committee membership would also be very welcome.

The Executive Committee for 2010/11 therefore would be :
Chairman – Graham Cox,
Vice-Chairman – Neil Baker,
Hon Sec – Ken Davies,
Hon Treasurer –John Pettman,
Membership Sec – Ann Hill,
Committee Members –
Ashley Clark, Kath Gill, Peter Hewett, Henry Lewis, Maureen Smith, Kath Williamson.

Treasurer John Pettman presented the year’s accounts which showed an increased balance despite a fall in subscriptions and a marked fall in Bank interest payments, to which there seemed to be no solution at present.

Rita Collet, for the Walking Group, reported a good year with good numbers on walks.
She always encouraged walkers to join the Society and they would be well-represented at the Annual Dinner.

Our Chairman then spoke about several issues across the town, particularly about traffic management, in view of a proposed new plan and associated consultation in which he was sure the Committee and membership would take an active part.

Under A.O.B. Concerns were raised about the lack of convenient public transport to
the new Estuary View medical centre. While members believed the facility was a
great positive for those able to access it, it was hoped some form of agreement could be reached between the various parties involved, to ensure those less mobile could also benefit more easily from the services on offer.
The ongoing Local Development Framework process was raised and the document currently being consulted on was praised as being of very good quality and Whitstable appeared to have avoided large-scale development. Any member interested in getting involved with the process could do so, either directly or through the Committee.

A discussion was then held about the Society’s role and whether any changes needed to be made in terms of scope and communications. Views were aired and it was widely agreed the Society’s broad range of subjects discussed in meetings and the various views given by experts in their fields who are invited to talk each month, reflect the mix of interests and activities the Society should be focused on. It was agreed that the Society needed to communicate its objectives and activities much better to the wider public and this would be be a key objective of the next year for the Committee. The possibility of moving meetings back to the Castle was discussed and a trial agreed. Moving meetings back to Tuesdays was also discussed but did not receive majority backing.

Our Chairman thanked members for their attendance and formally closed the meeting.

Annual General Meeting 2009

Our Chairman, Graham Cox, opened the 48th AGM by welcoming the 51 members present.
The minutes of the 47th AGM were adopted without amendment.
There were two changes to the Executive Committee, Esther David was standing down, while John Reed, who had been doing invaluable work in the past few months, would join as a new member. Our Chairman thanked Esther on behalf of the Society for her 22 years of devoted service – and the members present gave her a much deserved round of applause. Our Secretary reminded members that there were places still available for active members on the Committee particularly in the social and secretarial areas.

The Treasurer, John Pettman, presented the year’s accounts which showed a reasonable balance in hand. He mentioned that, unlike certain local authorities, all our money was held in a UK-based bank, though at a pitiful low interest rate. It was asked what the money could be used for and the chairman and treasurer explained that it was basically kept as seed corn for any project that might need kick-starting.

For the Walking Group Rita Collet reported that the Group met at least 10 times a year and currently were attracting more than 20 walkers each time. This year some friends from Stuttgart in Germany had joined the walk around Chilham and Godmersham.
Some members of the Group were not yet members of the Society and she collected some membership application leaflets to pass on to them.

In her first AGM as Membership Secretary, Ann Hill reported that total membership for the year was 322. Subscription rates were unchanged and members were already renewing, especially that evening.

Programme Co-ordinator, Chris Byers, was unable to attend and give a summary of the likely programme for the coming year. An exact timetable had not yet been finalised, but a wide range of varied yet relevant speakers had been lined up.

In his review, our Chairman outlined the various successes and disappointments of the past year with probably more successes than disappointments. He was pleased the Society had managed to help convince the city council’s planning to reject applications for developments in St Anne’s Road and Dempsey’s Yard. Just two occasions where a not insignificant amount of time and effort was invested to ensure the best decision was taken for the nearby residents and wider population of the town.
Planning applications, while down in number, continued to be submitted. Objections were currently being made to a proposed development at 75, Joy Lane which ran contrary to the Joy Lane Development Guideline, produced by the city council only a few years ago.
The Society would continue to monitor any future activities at the Harbour where the current economic climate was not very favourable to plans for its development.
Our Chairman concluded by thanking all the volunteers for the work they had done for the Society throughout the year.

Under Any Other Business, it was asked whether maps could be displayed at future meetings in order to help members who were recent residents to understand the location of places spoken about during discussions. Our Chairman thought that this was a good idea which might also help some members who might not necessarily be newcomers to the town. It was a suggestion well worth some thought.

After the refreshment break, our Chairman introduced our speaker for the evening, Cllr John Gilbey, Leader of Canterbury City Council.
Cllr Gilbey started off with some details of his background and how he came to be involved in local politics though he didn’t see himself as a politician. He gave an insight into how and why decisions are made at the council. He believed that all areas of the district should be treated equally with no unjustified preference given to Canterbury. He conceded that the economic downturn would create some problems for future council budgets but the council
was confident (?) of recovering a significant portion of the £6 million invested with Icelandic banks.
To prove his district-wide credentials he spoke on the many issues concerning Whitstable, traffic-flow, the closure of the Visitor Information Centre, the restoration of the Castle, possible purchase of the beach and redevelopment at the Harbour. He readily answered questions from members on these topics
Our Chairman thanked Cllr Gilbey for attending and answering as many questions as possible, especially as he had to deliver the city council’s budget the following evening and expressed his hope that the Whitstable Society and Canterbury City Council could continue to work together for the benefit of the town in future.

June 2005 Newsletter

June Meeting: Change
to Current Affairs
The June event as planned has been moved. There is a restricted numbers
trip to Broadstairs on the evening of Mon June 27th  with a few places
left. Call Kath on 275802.
Please amend diaries. The June Meeting will be held on Tuesday June 21st
at 7.30 as a current affairs event; with differences. The venue is the
Castle and refreshments will be served. Amongst various topics, Council
representatives will be there to present the plans and options for community
facilities off Church Lane to help us form our opinion of the competing
proposals (see later)6 and a representative for the Castle will update
us on the lottery bid. Please add to your dairies Tuesday August 16th
as a social event at the Castle gardens.The Harbour Board’s consultation on their plans will be on display
at the Horsebridge Centre between 25th of June and July 1st, so it is
too late for our current affairs meeting. We will therefore review the
plans and form our final opinion of the proposals at our meeting on July
19th. Please look at the plans if you can.
Field Trip Walks

We hope as many members as
possible can make these events for in addition to enjoying the walking
and scenery, that some have not been through, and reacquainting with boundaries;
we need to form our views about the relative attractiveness of tracts
of countryside that may be proposed as building land in the next planning

June 10th: change of starting point
Our intrepid pioneers Rita Collett and Kath Gill have been checking out
the countryside and to ensure the reality on the ground matches the maps.
The path from the original starting point at Honey Hill is blocked. The
starting point is now changed to Tesco car park, meeting at the bus stop
by the side of the car park at 6.30p.m. on Friday June 10th. The route
will follow the Crab and Winkle and return via Clowes Farm so we can look
at all the country side on the east of the road to Canterbury.

July 1st : Advisory of starting point and time
Please meet by the Seasalter Yacht Club at 6.30 p.m. on Friday July 1st.
We will view from the sea wall bank the routes of the various boundaries
across the marshes. We will then go by convoy to a location near Yorkletts
from where our circular walk will traverse the paths between there and
Pean Hill.

Trees We hope to put in a
first grant application to the Tree Council this week to cover 75% of the
cost of planting trees at the first two sites suggested by members: Priest
and Sow corner and Cornwallis Circle. These are expensive sites as trees
planted there face extreme challenges from vandals and gales, so the individual
planting may be up to £250 each. The Whitstable Improvement Trust
has agreed to fund 25% of the cost.
Tea Gardens For reasons which are rather difficult to fathom, the Tea Gardens has
so far been left out of the landscaping / planting examination and proposal
process for the lottery bid for the Castle. This is being rectified and
the area will benefit from the same examination as the rest of the Castle
Grounds. We hope amongst other things that the hut can be repaired and
expanded, a watering system installed, walls repaired excessive tree growth
cut back and appropriate plantings of perennials made. The Tea Gardens
are currently managed by the Whitstable Improvement Trust on a two year
renewable lease and they then license the ‘tea and cakes’ operation
that we all value. Mary Lerigo from the Trust is advising the council
on the needs of the site on the basis of her experience of looking after
them for many years.
Red Spider Café As you may remember the Society support planning permission for re-building
the Red Spider on West beach on the basis that many local people would
like the facility back that so many families grew up with. We swung round
to the opposite camp recently on the issue of licensing which the Whitstable
Oyster Fishery Company decided to apply for. The Red Spider was a café
and just that, but the Company applied from an extensive liquor licence…
even asking for a licence for hours when the conditions set down for planning
permission required the café to be closed.  The Beach Campaign
fought this application with considerable energy and the papers report
it as losing since the licence was granted. However, the detail indicates
otherwise.  The planners’ hours of operation restriction are
to be respected. The facility can only serve up to 6PM in summer and hardly
at all at other times of the year, and will be restricted to waiter service
to the inside and to the front veranda. This should assuage the fears
of the local community.
Church Lane Community Facilities Many were pleasantly surprised by the extent of the community land and
facilities proposed under a section 106 agreements with the developers
of the land surrounding the old Seasalter church.  The large field
to the east and north of the church is to be given to the community and
a pot of £150,000 made available for community facilities such as
playing surfaces, changing rooms, community centre and / or a medical
centre.A consultation exercise in the community will be carried out over the
next couple of months as to which facilities we would prefer. This will
be one item under discussion at our Current Affairs meeting on June 21st
at which maps will be available. Councillors at the Whitstable Area Members
panel  last Monday asked that the consultation be extended from the
proposed 15 minute walk perimeter, as the sports facilities at least would
be used by people from all over the town.
Middle Wall Car Park Good news on the Tesco
106 money in that some of it will be used to improve the street scene for
the exits from car parks. Knights Alley will be a particular focus. The
Society created the present attractive arrangement years ago but vandalism,
overgrowth and general deterioration mean that a re-vamp is needed. Hopefully
it can be made as vandal proof as possible.
Members Membership has now passed
400, up approximately a hundred as a result of the leaflet drop on the centre
of town. We welcome these new members :
Ms Arrowsmith; Mr & Mrs Blades; M r& Mrs Bridges; Mr Colls ;Dr &
Mrs Cwynarski; Mr & Mrs Dukes; Ms Dunn;  Mrs Faulkner; Mr &
Mrs Leigh; Mr &Mrs Metcalfe; Revs Must; Mr & Mrs Newcombe; Mr &
Mrs Palmer; Mrs Ramelson; Ms Richardson and Mr Whaley; Mr & Mrs Rogers;
Mr Rowe; Mr & Mrs Verwijs.
Community Coordination As most people know,
community coordination has been poor in Whitstable, not unconnected with
the fact that we have no council and no Canterbury City council officers
/ function taking this on. The Council doesn’t even have a proper list
of organisations in the town. Officers were limited to SRB activities in
‘deprived wards’. This can now and will change.  Now all
Council funded, officers Amanda Sparks and Marie Royle for the coastal towns
and Amy Zawislak for the CCC district have now been given formal responsibilities
in this area and will assist in engendering town level information exchange
and cooperation amongst their other community development work. Amy is currently
working with the Community Centre to review their situation and see if their
grant can be restored to last year’s level. The Society has written
in the Centre’s support.
Sunday Walks (
Rita Collett 264574)
Sunday 6 June 2005
Meet 10 a.m. St Nicholas at Wade Church, Thanet. Local walk
approx 5 miles, could be muddy. GR ref 266 666. The village will have its
open gardens scheme both Saturday and Sunday which can be enjoyed after
the walk.
Sunday 3 July 2005 Meet 10 a.m. bottom of St Thomas’s Hill, Canterbury,
near Cherry Garden Road to walk around the city and river during the morning
– about 2-3 hours with a 1û2 hour coffee stop included, possibly Dane
John area – if wet, stop under cover. No walk in August.
May Meeting Report:
Boat Building in Whitstable
Many old salts and
seafarers came aboard the good ship St. Alphege School for an evening which
brought to life the art of boat building which for so many years was at
the commercial heart of Whitstable. Our speaker, Alan Staley, had the distinctive
roll of the tongue we associate with those who have lived and worked in
the town and by the sea all their lives. Alan focussed on the history of
Anderson, Rigden and Perkins, which was started in 1917 when The Whitstable
Shipping Co. disappeared. Once there were 165 ships registered in Whitstable.
The trade was mostly in coal and salvage with boats working from the North
East of England. Interestingly only one Thames barge, the Northdown, and
two oyster dredgers were ever built here; the last in 1955.Alan painted a colourful picture of the life of an apprentice. The working
day was 7am to 9pm and the conditions working out in the open among the
forges and winches up and down the beach must have been very demanding.
We were taught the art of riveting and how to prepare a slipway for a launch
and realised why restoring the shape of the shingle after a boat had been
dragged up on wooden sleepers was such a thankless task especially in 1963
when the sea froze and the pick axes had to break up the ice.

We could imagine the young apprentice feeding the boiler with driftwood
while the experts used the steam to bend the timber to the shape required;
every inch took an hour. Oyster yawls had a rudder trunk in a fan shape
with tapered stays and the splitting out of the old and replacing it all
had to be done before the tide came back in. There were special skills to
lift a ship or insert a new mast. We imagined what it was like at the top
of a flagpole after it had been carefully fashioned from a single tree.

Photos of some of the graceful wooden boats were passed around the audience.
We could see why the 18s and the Essex 1 class were so prized by their owners.
Everyone associated with the art of boat building seemed to be great characters
and we heard a little about people such as Jack Stephen, George Richards,
Harry Beale, Bob Andrews, Ron Barton and Roy Rigden.

As we walked out into the town afterwards it was as if quite suddenly we
were back on dry land. It was sad to think that those skills, which once
flourished in Whitstable, had been swept away by time and change. But in
the car park was our speaker’s van, and on its side was written “Alan
Staley, Boat Builder, Faversham”. The tradition lives on.

Chris Byers

Community Information Whitstable
Health Centre and Chestfield Medical Centre Practice Users Group

Not our usual area, but members might like to note the Practice Users Group
that was set up four years ago so that patients can contribute views and
ideas on CT5 healthcare services based at Whitstable Health Centre and at
Chestfield Medical Centre. If you are interested in becoming a member of
the Group and for further details please ask at the reception desks or contact
Lesley King – Practice Manager – Tel: 594570. Alternatively remember the
suggestion boxes.
Since August 7th 2004, it’s been a criminal offence to let off fireworks
between 11pm and 7am and anyone breaking the curfew risks a fine of up to
£5,000 or six months imprisonment. Exceptions are Bonfire Night (when
there’s an extension until midnight), Diwali Day (which has an extension
until 1am), New Year’s Eve (1am) and Chinese New Year (1am).  Complaints
should be directed to the police and not the Council

December 2003 Newsletter

Christmas party at
the Castle, Wynn Ellis Room, at 7.30 on Tuesday December 9th
The Social Committee is laying on light refreshments, including a fruit punch. Music of various kinds will be on hand and a stimulating game is planned! Members are encouraged to bring along any Christmas tipple
they wish to drink themselves or hand round. Licensing laws prevent us providing alcoholic drinks. Please call Kath on 274802 by Dec 6th to advise
if you are coming. £2.50 on the door or email.For those who cannot make the party, Eddie Oldfield and Graham Cox wish you all a Happy Christmas. We look forward to an active new year for the Society and more of the energy and forward progress that we have been
noticing in the recent past in CT5.
Notes from the Committees The Society has recently represented its views to decision-makers in two areas.A request from ourselves jointly with the Whitstable Improvement Trust was made to councillors regarding the substantial increase in all car-parking charges proposed by the Council after consulting with officers on alternatives.
We requested that the short stay periods be excluded from the rises and indeed that the shortest stay be made free if possible in order to support activity in the High St at a time when the expansion of Tesco may be damaging.
The Whitstable Area Members Panel passed a recommendation along these lines on Nov 17th.The Society has also sent a recommendation to policy-makers and an appeal to all interested parties to push for a 50 MPH limit to start between the slip road off the New Thanet Way and the junction with Church Lane; which would cost around £5000 and take three to six months until implementation. Expensive schemes (of the order of £0.5m) to improve
this junction and eliminate the problem may take years to be approved and sanctioned, if at all. In the meantime more people could be injured or killed at this junction. A speed limit of 50 MPH will reduce the risk of accidents even if only a proportion of motorists respect the speed limit. If you agree with this proposal, we encourage you and your friends
to contact your local councillors. The present arrangements are a menace to everyone in Whitstable. The police have a blanket objection to any new 40 or 50 MPH speed limits that are not self-enforcing (for resource availability reasons). However, we are advised that in a case like this, a unanimous view from all concerned may be enough to have this limit adopted.
Until then, we need to keep an eye out for hesitant drivers crossing at the Church Lane junction, especially in bad weather conditions. The Society’s
submission is available on request.We remind members that they have the opportunity to go along to the exhibition of the Castle Lottery scheme from. Dec 1st for 2weeks at the Woolwich
premises in the High St. Comments back to us to help form the Society’s opinion are welcome. Please note also that the public enquiry on the footpaths to the beach has been postponed for several months.
Annual General Meeting It gives us great pleasure to announce the 43rd AGM: to be held at St Alphege Infant School Hall on the 17th of February 2004 at 7.30. The whole of the Committee of the Society has to stand down and all positions are
open for nomination: Chair, Vice-Chair, Hon. Secretary, Hon. Treasurer and the Head of the Planning Committee. If you or someone you know is
interested, please have the nomination sent or delivered to Ken Davies, 54 Newton Rd., CT52JA or faxed to 07005802691 before Tuesday 10th February
2004.Present members of the Committee, in addition to Ken, who are intending to put themselves forward again at the AGM are: Eileen Hargreaves, Esther
David, Judith Pope, Christopher Byers, Mike Bush, John Petman, Phil Willis, Peter Hewitt and Graham Cox. This then leaves four seats vacant at the
AGM to be filled without a contest being necessary.Any nomination should contain the names and signatures of the nominee, the proposer and the seconder; all three of whom should be paid-up members of the Society. Any position or positions listed above for which the nominee wishes to put themselves forward should be stated on the nomination. All Committee members must be prepared to be actively involved in the running
of the SocietyMembers are invited at any time to put themselves forward to serve on any of the sub-committees (in no particular order, Transport, Planning, Social, Rights of Way and Townscape) by advising any member of the Committee of their interest. Currently we would also welcome helpers to take on the specific functions of editor, press liaison and Council business
researcher.The annual dinner will be at the Chestfield Golf Club on February 28th. More details in the next issue.
The Horsebridge Arts
and Community Centre (HACC)
The Board
of the trust company overseeing the centre are sending out a communication,
effectively its first newsletter to the town. As their methods of communication
are not yet developed and this issue includes the invitation to become voting
members of the HACC, the newsletter is reproduced in full below. The editor
is the Treasurer of the trust company and takes this opportunity to assure
interested readers that finances are being planned prudently, in the light
of uncertainty about how quickly the centre will take-off and the need for
subsidy. He shares his view that he is impressed by the professional skills
of the members of the board and their dedication in the preparation phase. HACC Newsletter How is the Centre run?
Although the day-to-day operation of the centre is the responsibility of
the centre manager, Will Forrest, the centre is run by a non-profit making
company with charitable status. At present the company has eleven trustee/directors,
two of whom are local councillors and the remaining nine are all local people
whoresponded to an appeal in the local press for volunteers to help set
up the centre. All trustees are unpaid and are not allowed to benefit in
any other way from their position. They come from a variety of backgrounds
and include experts in education, the visual and performing arts, finance,
disability issues, project management and the law. After an initial period
of two years one third of the non-councillor trustees will automatically
stand down and replacements be democratically elected by members of the
company.What can I expect to see at the Centre?
The building contains an art gallery, an education centre, a café,
and a performance space together with a number of smaller rooms that are
suitable for small classes, functions or workshops. The gallery, performance
space, and smaller rooms will be available for hire and there will be discounts
on hire charges for local residents and local groups. We hope to have a
wide variety of shows, classes and events to suit every age, taste and pocket.
One of the earliest exhibitions will feature the winners of the highly successful
Horsebridge Open Photographic Competition.How can I become involved?
Anyone living within the CT5 postal area can apply to become a member of
the company. This will entitle them to attend the company annual general
meeting and to vote for replacement trustees. However, the centre is open
to everyone, members and non-members alike and the easiest way to get involved
is just to turn up and see what is going on! The centre will be open from
early in the morning until late at night and as many events as possible
will be either free or at reduced rates. As the centre only has limited
funding, the trustees will be grateful for any volunteers who are willing
to give their support by assisting in the practical aspects of running the
centre. A ‘Friends of the Horsebridge’ society will be set up
for people who want to become involved in supporting the centre on a more
permanent basis, and for members who really want to show a commitment to
the centre it is anticipated that the board of trustee/directors will be
enlarged to include member trustees.When will the centre be open?
It is hoped that the building will be fully fitted out and ready to open
by Easter of next year. Before that time, Will Forrest will be running a
series of open days so that anyone who wishes to can inspect the building
and its facilities. The trustees are very proud of Whitstable’s new
Art and Community Centre. They hope you will be too. If you wish to attend
an open day, consult about hiring space, or raise any other queries please
contact Will Forrest on 01227 263495 (Mon to Thurs) or william.forrest@canterbury.gov.uk
The Canterbury and
District CPRE
Esther David introduced the speakers from the CPRE of which the Whitstable
Society is a member. The CPRE now stands for the Campaign to Protect Rural
England. Jean Crane, Committee member and past Deputy Chairman, and David
Symons, Chairman of Canterbury District (whose other interests include
Bio-psychology).Jean began the talk by saying that she hoped to illustrate the aims,
hopes and needs of the CPRE together with its problems and successes.The CPRE used to be known as the Council for the Protection of Rural England
but Campaign is now the key word as 90% of their work is campaigning to
challenge, criticise and advocate solutions regarding the very many developments
and changes in our countryside today.It is important that arguments regarding local planning matters are based
on facts. It is important to get people with special interests, knowledge
and expertise involved in the campaign. For example, KCC wants to build
a waste incinerator that has been vigorously opposed by local residents.
As a result KCC has postponed its decision. The CPRE does not campaign
solely for rural areas but also to make life pleasant for those who live
and work in the countryside and towns.The countryside in Kent is easily accessible but the CPRE is concerned
with the edge of town developments that encroach on to the green spaces
– golf courses, sports centre, shopping centres, and industrial units.
The green spaces between our towns and villages are diminishing and the
increased use of the car to access the countryside must not be allowed
to destroy the quiet lanes, which should be for the enjoyment of walkers
and cyclists but are spoilt by traffic. Noise is increasing and the quiet
areas in East Kent are diminishing. Using quiet, narrow lanes in the countryside
for heavy traffic for whatever reason causes damage and disruption.

The Campaign is involved in traffic management, road building, water resources,
housing/low cost housing. Many developers now are building large houses
with two or three garages with little sign of low cost or affordable housing.
As a result local young families cannot afford housing in villages where
they have lived all their lives. The CPRE does not oppose development
that provides affordable housing and is sensitively designed. It protects
areas, which are vulnerable so that building is confined to areas where
it is beneficial.

Telephone masts are becoming more of a problem and road building is scarring
the countryside. There are vast cement quarries (we do not have a policy
of re-using aggregates in this country). As a result the countryside is
left with large areas which are filled with developments such as Bluewater,
creating more traffic and environmental pollution.

A slide show of various offending sites from across the county followed
– road building, chalk pits, missing hedges, orchards being grubbed
up, mobile phonemasts, industrial buildings on the outskirts of towns
encroaching on to the countryside, old rural buildings in a state of disrepair
despite funding being available for repair, disused collieries which were
closed 20 years ago and could be used for new industry instead of green
fields. One success story is Samphire Hoe where a natural feature has
been created from the spoil from the construction of the Channel Tunnel.
Evidence was shown that ancient and other woodlands, marshland, grasslands,
and estuarine areas are still under threat from continuing building and
construction work.

The CPRE can put local people in touch with experts and give advice on
campaigning and objecting to local plans.

David then held a question and answer session suggesting that local people
who wished to object to inappropriate developments should think about
how the CPRE can help Whitstable residents and organisations such as the
Society. For example, the Canterbury Local Plan encourages development
of the green gap between Whitstable and Herne Bay. This threat and others
in the Plan that both organisations are campaigning against are issues
that the two can work hand in hand on at the public enquiry into the Plan.
The CPRE would be pleased to co-opt one or more members of the Whitstable
Society to attend CPRE meetings and everyone interested is encouraged
to join the CPRE. David believes we can make Whitstable a better place
to live. Some issues will prove a real challenge illustrated by shared
views on country lanes and the frustration that speed limits cannot be
imposed due to a regulation that makes development of an area a pre-requisite
for a speed limit. But then if a country lane were developed, it would
not longer be a country lane. The special Quiet Lanes initiatives using physical restrictions are unlikely to be applied in our area as only beauty spots are targeted.

The Chair thanked the speakers for an interesting and thought-provoking meeting and hoped that the WS and CPRE would work together over common interests in the future.

Next Society meeting 7.30 January 20th at St Alphege School Hall

Water sports in Whitstable are in the spotlight at this meeting with speakers from the various activities. The focus will be on water sports using wind power.

Whitstable Museum 13th December – 13th March 2004 : Douglas West
A special exhibition to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the renowned
Whitstable photographer. Includes previously unseen photographs from the
West family albums and a wonderful display of studio portraits of weddings,
babies and even pets, generously loaned by the people of the town.20th March 2004 – 24th April 2004 : Wildlife Photographerof the year
Prize-winning images from the prestigious annual international competition
organised by BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum: a split-site
exhibition showing at Whitstable and Herne Bay Museum & Gallery.Whitstable Museum is open daily from 10am to 4pm. Admission free. The
latest information about exhibitions and events is posted on the Museum
website www.whitstable-museum.co.uk