Faversham Society: The Future will be what we make it?

This aerial photo, taken by Ian Montague, reminds us how the actions of our predecessors have made our town so attractive and a great place to live.


In the top right of Ian’s photograph, the Stonebridge Pond (aka the duck pond) is our inheritance from the gunpowder works and the Purifier Building from the former gas works, now refurbished and repurposed by the Faversham Creek Trust.

The almshouses on the left of the image were created in the mid-nineteenth century and extended in the twentieth, and they are still very much needed and used today. In the bottom right is our Cottage Hospital, built in 1888; a century later, the 24-bed Kent Wing was added and in 2015, the minor injuries unit. We benefit from the efforts of our forebears. Next to the Cottage Hospital, you can see the outdoor pool of Faversham Pools. The outdoor pool opened in 1964 after years of fundraising by our forebears. This year is their 60th anniversary.

This year also marks an important ‘political’ anniversary. Local government reorganisation in 1974 saw Faversham’s demotion from an independent Municipal Corporation to a parish council when we were absorbed into Swale. Our Town Council is still able to achieve things on our behalf, most recently the local Hopper Bus service, but much local power has shifted to Swale Borough Council in Sittingbourne.

Hence, the question mark is in the headline of this piece. We have less autonomy than we did, but we can still affect the history of our town and, to some degree, shape its future. The Faversham Society has since its creation in 1962 been concerned with the past and the future of Faversham our purpose stated in our strap line “We seek to Cherish the Past, Adorn the Present, Create for the Future”

In May and June, the Faversham Society is hosting a series of conversations in the Alexander Centre on four subjects of vital importance to our community and the future of our town. The conversations are open to all, and they are free to members and non-members – we hope some of you will join. If you are going to come along, please sign up in the VIC or register on the Live Events on our website.

  1. But Can It Be Safe? Cleve Hill Solar Park and the battery energy storage system, Wednesday 15th May, 7pm. Host: David Melville. The solar park is now under construction but the safety and management plan for the proposed battery energy storage system (BESS) has been turned down by Swale Council’s Planning Committee. As one of the largest such batteries in the world, it raises huge concerns about the danger of fires, explosions, and toxic fumes that threaten nearby communities.
  2. Medieval Heritage and Town Centre Regeneration: Town Quay and the Town Warehouse, Wednesday 29th May, 7pm. Hosts: Harold Goodwin and Jonathan Carey. The ownership of Town Quay and the Town Warehouse (TS Hazard) has just been transferred by Swale Borough Council to Faversham Town Council. A number of schemes are proposed for the land, including creation of a Cinque Ports museum and environmental education centre highlighting local features such as chalk streams and tidal marshes.
  3. The Future We Want: Faversham Neighbourhood Plan, Wednesday 5th June, 7pm. Hosts: Harold Goodwin and Matthew Hatchwell. Neighbourhood plans provide a powerful set of tools for local people to set the development priorities for their community. The Faversham Neighbourhood Plan will be the subject of a local referendum in coming months and, if approved, will give the town a degree of control over – among other things – the type and location of new housing that takes place.
  4. Faversham Healthy Futures. Acting locally to safeguard vital health and care services. The date and time are yet to be confirmed—please check the main Society website for details. Hosts: Laurie McMahon and Gill Wagstaff. The goals of the interactive Faversham Health Futures event are to review the way NHS and care services are delivered, explore the need to localise and integrate services, and give the people of Faversham and surrounding villages a say in how local health and care services should develop in the future.

These are conversations, an opportunity to share your views and hear from others – the conversations are about sharing views, not about making decisions.


CommunityAd Exclusive - Faversham Society: The Future will be what we make it?Harold Goodwin, Chair of the Faversham Society


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