Protesters aiming to scupper Faversham Creek luxury flats plan
WOMEN are threatening to chain themselves to railings to stop these luxury flats from being built.
Griselda Mussett, chairman of the Faversham Creek Trust, warned: "If the plans went ahead old ladies would be chaining themselves to the railings. It means that much to everyone."
She said the block of 11 luxury flats – built to look like a ship – would wreck plans to return Faversham to a traditional shipyard town.
The flats, the brainchild of Colin Strickland, would be built next to the old purifier building, if councillors give them the go-ahead.
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Developer Lee Evans Planning was poised to reveal the design, which includes a small museum, at a meeting of Faversham Town Council last night (Wednesday) – but 400 people have already signed a petition opposing it.
Faversham Creek Trust, which took over the purifier building in North Lane in December, staged a meeting in the town's Assembly Rooms last week.
The trust wants to turn the derelict building into a school for maritime apprentices in a £150,000 scheme which could create jobs and stimulate tourism – but it warned that the flats could sink the project.
Mrs Mussett insisted any housing was incompatible with a working shipyard.
She said: "If you are living in a flat with a balcony 50 feet away from huge barges with all the smells and noise of a working shipyard, you would have every reason to object and call for the apprentice centre to be closed.
"Mixed developments never work. This is an historic site that has been used by industry for hundreds of years."
It is hoped apprentices could learn to restore Thames sailing barges and qualify for City & Guilds qualifications. Mrs Mussett added: "The whole economic soul of the town is at stake. Boatyards all along the Thames Estuary have closed, but Faversham still offers a unique service for moorings and repairs.
"An overwhelming number of people support our plans and are horrified by the thought of these flats. If the plans went ahead old ladies would be chaining themselves to the railings. It means that much to everyone."
She added that the block of flats would be too big, and overlook homes and gardens in Flood Lane and West Street.
Residents staged a protest at the site on Tuesday.
Plans for homes there have been rejected twice before by Swale planners.
To view the proposals visit www.ukplanning.com and type in SW/12/0490. Comments must be received by May 16, and should be sent to Claire Dethier, Swale Borough Council Planning, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, ME10 3HT or by e-mail to email@example.com
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