Growing small historic settlements is always challenging; even more so when the town has a valued historic core and lies in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. With its outstanding and extremely popular historic high street and its setting on an ancient creek, the Kent market town of Faversham also has very 21st century connections, particularly to London, through its proximity to the motorway network road and its high-speed rail station. This combination of character and connections is proving popular and there is a shared recognition that the town will have to grow to accommodate demand for new homes.
The challenge is to plan growth so that it reinforces the character of the existing historic settlement and contributes to its sustainability.
Swale District Council and Faversham Town Council agreed on the need for growth but wanted to develop a shared approach to how where and how growth should be accommodated, and to explore the need for any changes in infrastructure that would be needed to enable growth.
We proposed a collaborative approach and the delivery of two charrettes to provide an opportunity for the two councils, including officers and elected member, and the local community to work together. Our role was to manage and facilitate and to provide specialist expertise and guidance on heritage, planning, landscape and transport.
Through the charrettes the community itself defined how the town should grow and the necessary changes to transport infrastructure. As with all of our charrettes, we captured the process and summarised the outcomes in words, photographs and diagrams in an illustrated report.