Oyster Trestle Public Inquiry: Special Feature #5

On Monday 26th July, a Public Inquiry began to determine an appeal by the Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company against an enforcement notice made by Canterbury City Council in 2018 against the oyster trestle development, which was built without planning consent and which the council ordered the company to remove.

There have been numerous submissions made to the Inquiry by various interested parties, including local organisations and clubs, professional experts, scientists and local residents.

Here is the final Submission on the Whitstable Foreshore Oyster Trestles from Cllr Ashley J Clark:

Final Submission Whitstable Foreshore Oyster Trestles from Ashley J Clark

As you are well aware Madam (the planning inspector) planning is about the public interest and this has to be seriously considered against any private or commercial interest. It is about harm and minimising harm. Experts may say one thing but so often experts offer more in data than judgement and rarely reside in the areas about which they profess to know so much nor experience such issues on a daily basis unlike the hundreds of local voices that rightly must be considered in respect of any assessment of the public interest.

The heart and soul  of the Whitstable community has been ripped out by unfettered commercial and industrial interests and the one company that claims credit for a  phoney economic revival has become a commercial cuckoo in the Whitstable nest driving locals and those born here like myself away from the West Beach. That so called revival has been based on alcohol rather than the alien oyster that is exported back to its Pacific homeland in Hong Kong –  a bit like coals to Newcastle. The cost of that activity has been significant. The beach often resembles a landfill site with trash, smashed glass and black bands and the alcohol instigated anti social behaviour has meant that police dispersal orders are now regular events. The Council and stalwart volunteers clear the trash while the owners look on and count the cash. Offshore we have had the introduction of a “sea of underwater bayonets” only to be replaced by hooked mantraps destroying traditional maritime enjoyment that has existed since time immemorial.

In the first edition of the National Planning Policy Framework Secretary of State the Rt Hon Greg Clark said “ planning must be a creative exercise in finding ways enhance and improve the places in which we live our lives……planning policy itself has become so elaborate and forbidding  the preserve of specialists, rather than people in communities”.   In that respect this development fails abysmally.

Accordingly I would suggest to you that here we have significant harm to visual amenity, significant harm to the amenity and safe use of these waters that have been used by generations of swimmers and those in small craft ( a factor ignored by the Marine  Management Organisation) and significant harm to the marine eco system and for all those reasons would urge you to reject this appeal.

Ashley J Clark, Canterbury City Councillor for Seasalter, Vice Chair the Planning Committee, Chair of Licensing, Lead Councillor for Enforcement and Open Spaces.

August 2021

More on the Public Inquiry:

Oyster Trestle Public Inquiry: Special Feature #1

Oyster Trestle Public Inquiry: Special Feature #2

Oyster Trestle Public Inquiry: Special Feature #3

Oyster Trestle Public Inquiry: Special Feature #4

Whitstable vs Whitstable Oyster Fishery Company

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