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 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.
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.
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.
Tel: 01227 262307
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