Creek-side path at Faversham Reach and Waterside Close
The Group fully supports the proposal for a Creek-side path along the waterfront of the Faversham Reach and Waterside Close housing developments, which it believes will eventually form a crucial part of the English coastal path through Faversham.
There is a complicated history to the recent attempts to secure a Creek-side path at Faversham Reach and Waterside Close. Briefly, public footpath ZF5 runs through Faversham Reach but was obstructed, first, by the building of the estate and, second, by the construction of iron railings to stop access in front of numbers 13-15 Faversham Reach (the three houses nearest to Crab Island). The footpath runs under those three houses, along the promenade and then ‘clips’ two more properties before exiting by the main entrance to the estate.
At present those wishing to follow Faversham Creek out to the Shipwright’s Arms and round to Oare have to take a substantial, and partly unsightly, diversion round the back of the Faversham Reach development and the Brents Industrial Estate before re-joining the Creek at the marsh end of the Waterside Close development.
Faversham Town Council, with the support of the Faversham Society, the Faversham Municipal Charities, Bensted’s Charity and the Faversham Creek Consortium, sought to overcome the obstruction by proposing in 2012 a diversion which would have seen a ramp constructed behind numbers 13-15 Faversham Reach and then a slight re-routeing inside the estate. The Faversham Reach Residents’ Association tabled a counter-proposal to extinguish this obstructed footpath and to create the existing route round the back of the estate as a public footpath.
The Town Council’s proposed diversion order was supported by KCC’s officials but was surprisingly rejected by three votes to two by KCC’s Regulation Panel (a panel of five councillors from outside Faversham) in November 2012. Orders to abolish the footpath were made in accordance with the Panel’s decision but Faversham Town Council and other bodies and individuals objected to the Orders and a public inquiry was held in May 2014 to determine the issue.
The independent planning inspector’s report ruled that that the path round the back of Faversham Reach (ZF 42) was already a public footpath and could not therefore be created as such. (An order was subsequently made adding the path to the Definitive Footpath Map.) She also rejected the proposed abolition of the obstructed footpath within Faversham Reach, saying that if the obstruction could be overcome ‘it would be likely to be used extensively’. She also concluded that ‘there appears to be no reason why it would not be feasible to divert the route from beneath the houses’.
KCC issued an informal consultation document on 2 June 2015 in which they proposed that the obstructed footpath should be diverted to run along the Creek-side of the Faversham Reach estate and then proceed round and along the front of the Waterside Close estate, with ramps constructed at the Crab Island and marsh ends to provide access and some work at the slipway between the two estates to connect the existing paths. There was a s.106 agreement at the time the Waterside Close development was built providing for such a footpath there but, for various reasons, it has not been possible to implement it to date. However, planning permission has already been given for a ramp at the marsh end of the development. The Group’s response to the consultation document can be seen here.
A KCC panel subsequently met on 22 February 2016 and unanimously approved officials’ proposal to divert footpath ZF5/create a footpath along the front of the Faversham Reach and Waterside Close estates subject to assurance that the necessary funds (put at £92k or less) were available. The paper prepared for the panel is Regulation Committee Member Panel-22022016-1500-Agenda-PublicDocPack (2). The FFG’s statement to the Panel is FFG – letter to KCC Panel – February 2016. The minutes of the Panel meeting are here: Footpath ZF5 – report of KCC panel meeting on 22.02.16
On 13 June 2016 KCC issued for formal consultation the Orders to give effect to the Panel’s decision: ZF5 and ZF43 Notices, Orders and Statement to accompany Any representations had to be submitted to KCC by no later than 18 July 2016. A copy of the Group’s representations is here: FFG – response to formal consultation July 2016
KCC submitted the Orders to the S of S in early May 2017. They wrote to the various parties: KCC letter covering response to objections to Orders . Their comprehensive and persuasive response to the objections is here: KCC comments on the objections to Orders
A public inquiry has been ordered concerning the Orders. This will begin on 16 January 2018 and will take place at the Alexander Centre in Faversham. The relevant documents are: Notice of public inquiry; Details of public inquiry; Creation Order; and Extinguishment Order KCC had to submit its statement of case by 3 October 2017. They have decided that it is not necessary to add to their previous comments. Other statements of case have a deadline of 14 November 2017.
The Faversham Footpaths Group has submitted a statement of case and will be represented at the public inquiry.