Low Water Mark
To give him credit Cllr Nigel Kay is correct in stating (Faversham Eye, Jan Issue, page 3) that RPI figures show that house prices have increased 17 times since 1967 or – from evidence of his own former home 13 times in the last 36 years. However, one must not assume that this rate of increase will continue. Price rise is affected by several factors one of which is the realisation that one has paid too much for something. Defending itself on Radio 4 recently a national house building firm representative stated that new houses were like new cars which in the first year depreciated by around 10%. In other words, they were overcharging by 10%.
But never mind the prospect of Negative Equity as the subject of Cllr Kay’s published statement – 12 Market Place, Faversham – is not residential. In some respects this is good news. As Cllr Kay points out, commercial property has increased in value since 1986 by an average of 10%.
But if this is the case why are there so many vacant units in shopping centres. All cannot be well in the commercial sector if a shopping centre with reduced occupancy can be put up for sale at a reserve price of £1 to fetch a mere £1/4m – a fraction of its worth a few years ago.
The principal reason is the change in shopping habits. With the ease of on;ine purchasing who needs a big showroom and vast storage facilities when a large company can operate successfully from a back bedroom. Which is why there are lots of empty shops about, and why investors are becoming increasingly worried about our old friend Negative Equity.
Faversham is a small town of small shops with few big names and is in a better position to survive than some neighbouring large towns. All of which should mean, as Cllr Kay forecasts, that in a few years time 12 Market Place should be worth considerably more than the Town Council paid for it.
Number 12 Market Place is a double-fronted shop of a type harder to secure a tenant than a smaller shop. Possible uses for retail space of this size might be as tea shop, beauty parlour, charity shop, betting shop, or funeral parlour. Faversham has enough of these already.
At no stretch of the imagination is an empty, double-fronted former shop with glitzy offices above going to perform at 10% increase in value each year. One hopes an annual 10% reduction can be avoided. Quite possibly, if the Town Council had waited a few years, it might have got te freehold considerably cheaper.
One of the problems of 12 Market Place is usage or, to be precise, lack of it. I was one of those who had hoped Number 12 would provide a home for Faversham’s Magna Carta and the town’s ancient charters, but with the project short of £800,000 this is unlikely to happen in the near future.
Surely the Town Council could have found some use for the building on a busy Saturday to attract customers. They could have had a ‘Meet your local Councillor’ day, or possibly a coffee morning in aid of the depleted funds of the Cottage Hospital.
But no, the place was shut.
And what made it worse was that in front of the doorway of the White Elephant a couple of clients set up a table on which were copies of a salacious newspaper that they couldn’t sell and ended up having to give away.
Contributed by Hugh Perks
Thank you for your recent letter and sending me copies of the Faversham Eye.
In general, I support local journalism – however I also think transparency about the production of any media important. I was glad to see that this has improved in the second edition with by-lines, though I couldn’t see any information about funding for the paper.
Please do keep me on the distribution list as I would be interested to receive further editions.
Helen Whately MP
Member of Parliament for Faversham and Mid Kent
Ed: We couldn’t agree more about the importance of transparency. So we wrote to Helen asking who paid for her infamous trip to President Trump’s inauguration in 2017. We received an acknowledgement from an assistant but no answer.
I will miss Brenda Chester in so many ways: her intelligence and humour, her straight talking –never afraid to speak her mind! – her insight, ideas, strategic thinking, perseverance, work ethic, and commitment to our community, which she always put first. Most of all I’ll miss her friendship.
I worked with Brenda on many campaigns. She was a founder member of Faversham Creek Trust and contributed greatly to our strategic planning, helping us to get where we are today. We were on the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group together; we mounted the Alternative Plan Exhibition together. We were Independent candidates four years ago at the last local elections. When Brenda set up the Brents Community Association I became a founder member, and have supported their work ever since – most recently the Community Hub on Barnfield Road, which Brenda has been working so hard to achieve. She was on the Nautical Festival Committee with me for two years.
Brenda’s commitment to helping disadvantaged people inspired her to organise four “Back to Work” courses for local long-term unemployed people, which she ran with Jude Sach, Alan Thorne and others. Over 40 people attended the four courses, gaining confidence and learning skills for life and work.
An important project for Faversham’s long term future is the opening Bridge. Brenda was instrumental in setting up the Bridge Steering Group and Technical Group, acting as convenor and secretary. I served with her on the Steering Group, and I know how hard she worked to keep this project moving.
Brenda was instrumental in vital campaigns to save the Cottage Hospital, and to ensure we have local, accessible, high quality NHS services, through Faversham Health Matters and CHEK.
I can’t think of all Brenda’s work without remembering Hilary Whelan, who was key to many of these campaigns. We miss our friends so much.
Contributed by Sue Akhurst
Chairman, Faversham Creek Trust
In your “Lest We Forget…” article the photoshopped picture gave me an idea. We need to get Banksy interested in using the ridiculous lump of concrete as a canvas for one of his masterpieces which we could then sell which would give the town three advantages, one - to show the towns contempt of what has been done in the garden, two - sale of the work would raise money to return the garden to it’s former glory and thirdly - its purchaser would take the previously hideous object out of town.
Peter Rawlings via email
Your excellent reportage on the ghastly new war memorial left me a bit puzzled. In my childhood in the 1950s there was a children’s television comedian called Mr Pastry. Can anyone tell me why the council has seen fit to put his portrait on the big stone slab? Is it because he too is dead? Did he live in Faversham?
Olive Twigg Sierras Rest Home, Faversham
It is apparently clear that all of those responsible for commencing this project did not have any respect for the fallen of the two great wars. They also forgot who they were representing in their various roles as councillors. Having consistently denied any information and data of the plans they were intending to use, to the people of Faversham.
The only good thing to come out of this now is the people of Faversham particularly those that lived through the second world as l did, now know the way these public servants operate and to be aware of any other schemes they are hiding for the future.
Faversham people you now know what you have to do at the next elections, be it County, Swale or Faversham. Use your democratic right wisely. A Faversham man of 1933.
Dear Faversham Eye,
It looks as if our “head office“ failed to circulate your questionnaire. I wonder why!
Thanks for a most useful exercise in helping candidates to focus our minds on the various issues facing us and to marshal our arguments. In particular it is important to highlight decisions taken that affect the town without giving the towns people a proper consultation. I very much approve of that. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s a good idea to create dissention and conflict by suggesting that decisions have been taken in a shroud of secrecy when those decisions are taken for the good of the town and mostly, at least, are not secret.
I am surprised that you haven’t asked any questions about such items as Affordable Housing, CLTs, or CICs and the numerous social enterprises that exist around the town. Is that too much like good news? By omitting that area, you make it look as if Fav Eye is a political organ and that seriously diminishes its impact. A town wide genuinely independent and objective paper as the eye claims to be would be an immensely valuable asset to Faversham, but if it is just seen as a means to knock the establishment, it is will be disregarded by all except those who have written it and a few hangers on.
Please find attached my replies to your questionnaire.
Cheers, Peter Flower
Thank you for taken the time to write, I hope more Councillors will do so in future.
We are not attempting to create dissension and certainly not conflict by suggesting decisions have been taken in a shroud of secrecy. We are merely reporting that some very major decisions have been made in secret. It is remarkably patronising of the Council, in such circumstances, to take it upon themselves to decide what is good for the people of Faversham.
Our questionnaire could have asked about many other important issues. But we felt that, if we asked too many questions, fewer candidates would respond. However we have given respondents opportunity to contribute more if they wished.
We are a genuinely independent Faversham newspaper and will celebrate many of the good, positive and enterprising things taking place in our very special town. However, some recent decisions and actions of the existing conservative dominated Town and Swale Councils have been highly contentious – to put it mildly – and require close examination. The responses of some councillors have been contemptuous and dismissive and have needed exposing.
When the “establishment” is acting in an undemocratic way it needs “knocking”.
We hope very much to become a widely appreciated local newspaper and continue to increase our “hangers-on” – currently over 10,000 visits to our website and 2000 copies of the paper distributed per edition.
Sincerely, Brian Pain