Whitstable Campaigns: Keep Whitstable Different!

Press Release: Keep Whitstable Different

Local residents have set up a campaign to ‘Keep Whitstable Different’ in response to the proposed development of the Gladstone Road Post Office – to protect the trade of our excellent local independent shops and to raise awareness of the negative impact it will have on the town: more town centre traffic and increased parking in an already congested zone in the heart of the town.

A petition to support these points has already gained in excess of 2000 signatures. Local Whitstable residents and visitors alike have signed the petition in support of the campaign to ‘Keep Whitstable Different’.

The campaign aims to highlight the strengths of the town and calls on Canterbury City Council to honour its commitment to a ‘strong independent retail presence’ – a statement taken from the Council’s own Local Development Framework - by allowing no further supermarkets in Whitstable. Further to this, the Local Development Framework also states that ‘Whitstable retains its distinctive character as a small fishing and sailing town’.

New Plans

New plans have been submitted by the developers in response to objections raised.

As a result of opposition from Southern Water the developers have now sited the building some 4.5 meters to the east.

This means that the building will be right on the boundary of William Street, with a consequent loss of light, privacy and access for Regent Street residents.

In moving the building the developers have also allocated the refuse point for the building next to a number of Regent Street gardens. The only access for collection will be along William Street – a private road and a Public Right of Way - deemed a footpath by Canterbury Council Highways department.

What are they thinking of?

William Street is an access path for Regent Street residents, who have right of access in the deeds to their properties. The developers propose to collect refuse along this ‘footpath’ and Public Right of Way, with the use of heavy lorries turning up daily to collect commercial refuse. Blocking a Public Right of way is in effect breaking one of the oldest laws in the country. Have the developers - and indeed Canterbury City Council - considered this?

Also many residents have small children, which raises concerns about safety issues with lorries reversing up William Street.

Design

The developers have heeded the councils concerns about the design and articulation of the proposed development, which is in a conservation area, by ‘tweaking’ it to ‘lift’ the appearance. However the building still does not sit within the vernacular of its location – Victorian buildings with all the features that encompass that era.

Is this a case of double standards? Residents seeking to make amendments to their properties in this area would be under scrutiny for precisely these concerns.

The new amended plans for the car park layout also leave a great deal to be desired. The developers have promised the Council that the car parking spaces will not be compromised. However currently there are 4 disabled spaces allocated in the car park. The new allocation, according to the amended plans, appears to allocate only one disabled parking space which is directly in front of the delivery access for the Supermarket.

In the original plans submitted by the developers, a pedestrian route was planned through the centre of the car park. Now, having moved the building to the east, this is no longer viable. The pedestrian access to the retail unit and Post Office now runs dangerously close to the delivery route, where the developers propose to reverse delivery vehicles for the supermarket.

The local shops, in particular those that access the rear of their properties in the immediate area, may also encounter difficulties. Car parking spaces have been allocated for the residents of the proposed housing units above the supermarket and Post Office. These are directly where the local shops deliver their goods.

Objections

The deadline for raising objections and concerns to the new amendments is 14th August 2009. Letters should be addressed to Steve Davies,Canterbury City Council, Council Offices, Military Road, Canterbury CT1 1YW.

The plans can be viewed on Canterbury City Councils website at www.canterbury.gov.uk/dc (select ‘Planning’ from the menu bar on the left hand side. Click ‘Start a new Search’ and enter the application number CA/09/00444/FUL.)

The plans are also available to be viewed at the Council Divisional Office at 57 Harbour Street, Whitstable between 8.45 am and 4.45 pm.

Contact

email: mjhigginson@bartoncourt.org

Tel: 01227 262307

Keep Whitstable Different Facebook page.

The Whitstable Gazette

  • The editor welcomes letters on any topical subject, but reserves the right to edit them. Letters must include your name and address even when emailed and a daytime telephone number. Send letters to:
  • The Editor, 5-8 Boorman Way, Estuary View Business Park, Whitstable, Kent CT5 3SE
  • fax 01227 762415
  • email kentishgazette@thekmgroup.co.uk

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Comments 7 comments

bubblelass profile image

bubblelass 7 years ago

I'm sure there are endless pros and cons depending on your opinion and interests...whitstable businesses want it kept twee to keep the image strong, tesco et al want money too. I love Whitstable for its shabby chic character but personally, if Whitstable ends up as a row of boutique shops and art galleries, I will start campaigning for a supermarket. If you don't drive it can be hard to get good value stuff the rest of us have access too - budgens is not good value. maybe close down budgens and turn it into an art gallery, and make the post office into a tesco. At least it will be off the high street and less visually offensive than budgens.


Whitstable Views profile image

Whitstable Views 7 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

Hi bubblelass, I'm thinking about Champs, Granny Smiths and Theobolds and the the other independent stores on Whitstable High Street, which I know would suffer if a Tesco opened, although I take your point about the boutiques and art galleries. Anyway, it wouldn't stay where the Post Office is: there are definite plans to extend into the High Street. Mainly, though, I just like giving the developers a run for their money, as they aren't in the slightest bit interested in our town except as a means of making profit.


bubblelass profile image

bubblelass 7 years ago

I do agree with you, but I think there will always be demand for the grocers and bakers even if there were a tesco as they target such different markets. I would struggle to afford a weeks bread entirely from the grocer, as I'm sure many others would, but there are now enough dfl's to keep the independents going I hope. I'd be v sad to see them go too.

And I agree about developers - they are often determined to use every trick in the book to get what they want, the planning people/council are too easily swayed, and too much is expected of the few people who keep track of these things.


2patricias profile image

2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Pat writes: I hope that loads of people did write to the council to give their views. A few years ago our County Council proposed an on-street parking scheme for our town. I live in the middle of town and if the scheme had gone ahead would have had to buy an annual permit to park in my road. The County Council held a 3 day public consultation and so many people tried to attend that it was difficult to move around the room. The Council then extended the consultation period, and eventually had more comments than from any other parking consultation ever held! The scheme was eventually greatly reduced in scale, and so far nothing has been implemented. We have had increased enforcement of the existing rules (which was what the majority wanted).

One of my pet peeves is people who say, 'I didn't want this' and when I ask 'what did you do to prevent it', can only answer 'nothing'.

Tescos is huge - but at the end of the day depend on us buying stuff from them.


Whitstable Views profile image

Whitstable Views 7 years ago from Whitstable, UK Author

I think a lot of people did Pat. Haven't heard the latest yet, but there are lots of posters in people's windows, which shows there is a great deal of interest in this.


Gemma 7 years ago

I signed a petition against this development- I think it would be a real shame to have the whole essence of the high street changed by a large supermarket. There is Budgens and the Co-Op already.


suzy 6 years ago

I love whitstable and don't want it to end up looking like every other high street. If supermarkets and developers get what they want, this is what will happen. Profit is all these people care about.Whitstable is special keep up the good.

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    Whitstable Views profile image

    Whitstable Views84 Followers
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    CJ Stone is an author and columnist. He appears regularly in the British press. Currently he has a column in the Whitstable Gazette.



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