Save Standard Quay
Standard Quay is one of just two remaining boatyards where Thames Sailing Barges can be repaired and restored. The quay, on Faversham Creek in Kent has a shipbuilding history going back more than 300 years.
But the local shipwrights, craftsmen and apprentices who keep traditional skills alive there will be forced to leave their quayside workshops on June 21 when their current lease expires. The property developer owner plans to turn the site into a tourist attraction with restaurants, shops and a boutique hotel.
Campaigners fear Standard Quay will not survive as working boatyard and Thames sailing barges will lose one of their last remaining havens to waterfront development.
The local planning authority, Swale Borough Council, seems unwilling to consider a compulsory purchase order to secure the quay's future for community ownership. Yet it is considering changing the site's planning designation to allow development to go ahead.
Lack of money is not the issue. The boatyard is a going concern. Its craftsmen's skills remain in demand, they have work on the books and funding is available to buy the freehold if it were to become available.
Allowing this working quay to die after hundreds of years is unacceptable. Swale Borough Council should rule out any future change of use, preserve the site for maritime purposes and pursue a compulsory purchase order.
Please see an excellent Guardian article on Standard Quay's plight here: www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/10/standard-guay-thames-barges
More info at standardquay.com and www.thequayfilm.net.