On Friday 10 December, I met representatives from Kent County Council, Faversham Town Council, the Faversham Society and the Faversham Creek Trust to discuss progress since their last meeting in June.
The Town Council kicked off the meeting with an update on their legal advice. It said the Secretary of State has the power to issue an Abatement Notice under section 43 of the Medway Ports Act 1973 to compel the party with obligations to maintain this bridge, sluice gates and associated works so as to permit navigation again. The Town Council has written to the Secretary of State for Transport asking him to issue this notice.
The meeting agreed that supporting the Town Council to achieve this objective was the best way forward. Money currently pledged by Kent County Council, Swale Borough Council, and Faversham Town Council and raised from the community by the Faversham Creek Trust, is not enough to cover the cost of restoring the bridge. We need Peel Ports to play their part to get the bridge back into working order, this would go a long way towards plugging the funding gap for making the creek basin usable again. KCC confirmed that the Faversham community funding is safely held in a separate account except where individual donors have requested and received their donations back.
Kent County Council is helping the Town Council to provide the Department of Transport with further information about the bridge and creek. I will press the Secretary of State to take this course of action. While this is a positive step forward there is still a long way to go.
KCC confirmed that design work on the bridge and sluices is completed and tender documents are ready.