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Thread: A rallying call to river access!

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default A rallying call to river access!

    Dear Brethren,

    Down here by the Medway estuary in Kent there’s just one, all tide, public slipway(owned by Medway Council) - and it's in a poor state.

    Sailing clubs, water sports companies, scout groups and individuals have been trying to get the local authority to make repairs to improve the slipway and make it safer to use.

    They/we also wanted the council to improve the approach road with resurfacing, parking bays and a turning circle.

    It's also the only access point for canoeists at any time of the day (or night) regardless of tides.

    So, I'm asking for like minded canoeists to sign a petition or even better send a brief letter/email giving your support for the slipway to be repaired and improved.

    We're trying to build the momentum to get action, especially as we know funds are available for upgrades to the surrounding leisure area know as The Strand, Gillingham, Kent.

    I believe if we can make our canoe access needs known and make them listen - they'll act.

    So... if you send an email, please keep it positive but insistent...


    Please send letters/emails to:

    Chief Executive Neil Davies
    Medway Council
    Gun Wharf
    Dock Rd
    Chatham
    Kent
    ME4 4TR

    or

    email neil.davies@medway.gov.uk and cc in rodney.chambers@medway.gov.uk





















    ...Sometimes it's good to put the paddle down and just let the canoe glide...


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Canterbury, Kent
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    Default

    Adam, what exactly do you want Medway council to do re- the slipway?
    You mention to make it safer but I fail to see what is unsafe, looks very similar to the Harty Ferry slipway which is in regular use by many types of craft and people with no reports of problems that I have heard of.

    Rob

  3. #3

    Default

    Maybe organise an event involving all of the mentioned groups? Inform the local papers of the event....draw attention to the cause, put it in the public eye?! Just a suggestion

  4. #4
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    Default

    Hello Rob,

    Thank you for your comments, I fear my message might not have been very clear, so...

    I'm asking Medway Council to make repairs to the slipway and improve the access road with a new surface and turning circle making it easier for everyone to use, safer because disabled people who use the slip sometimes struggle with the surface

    The council are poised to receive several hundred thousand pounds of section 106 funding from the Chatham Waters development, this money is to make improvements for the entire Strand leisure area.

    I, and many other users of the slip want the council to spend some of this money on the slipway.

    I agree it's not impossible to use safely and it's very similar to the slip at Oare (although much narrower), my point is; it's the only all tide, public slip for the estuary and it needs attention before it further deteriorates.

    Historically, Medway Council have spent very little on river access and since the creation of Medway Council in 1998 - zero spending on Commodores Hard.

    The surface on Commodores Hard is uneven and has several pot holes, if you're disabled, the slipway can be difficult to use and even dangerous.

    Perhaps my photos don't show this very well, all I'm asking is for a few sentences in an email asking Medway Council to make repairs to the slip and improve access for canoeists.

    We've a golden window of opportunity before the council allocate the monies on play areas and tennis courts - we've plenty of those , but only one public slipway for the estuary which can be used regardless of tide.

    Why not send an email of support, what's the worse that can happen?
    ...Sometimes it's good to put the paddle down and just let the canoe glide...


  5. #5
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    Hello spr1985,

    Thank you for the suggestion, we're working on getting user groups to make waves (pun intended) with the council and have a councillor on side, public eye through papers and tv is an excellent idea!
    ...Sometimes it's good to put the paddle down and just let the canoe glide...


  6. #6
    Join Date
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    near Newcastle
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Admiral D'Ascoyne View Post
    Hello spr1985,

    Thank you for the suggestion, we're working on getting user groups to make waves (pun intended) with the council and have a councillor on side, public eye through papers and tv is an excellent idea!
    Honestly, the way to get councils to sit up and take notice, is by "trapping them in the headlights". Getting the local TV, Radio and press involved against a local council, is the equivalent of using Kryptonite against Superman!

    They really don't like scrutiny, of any kind, as it all too often exposes the ignorance and arrogant indifference, with which the vast majority of elected councilors, view the people they "represent".
    As long as they're getting their expenses and swanning about like they actually own the place,thinking they are better than you, they're like pig's in poo.

    As soon as the wider world starts to take notice of them they panic, like rabbits in headlights and run about, in a panic, hurling blame.

    It's possible that your local council is deliberately allowing your access to the river to degrade, to a point where they can close it altogether, then sell it off to some faceless corporation, who will then do it up, keep it private and make a fortune from launch fee's. The councils, "get out" will simply be that they could no longer afford to keep it safe and serviceable.

    I wouldn't put too much store in the fact that you seem to have a councilor "on board" either. It's possible that they have been "dicked",to fob you off for as long as possible, just nodding or shaking their heads, at the appropriate times and never saying anything controversial or attributable

    forget the email angle and go straight for the throat.

    Carpe Jugulum!

    Steve


    Now paddling a Gumotex Palava 400 and LOVING IT! (I should have bought one years ago!!! )

  7. #7
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    Hello Rancid badger,

    Thank you for the advice.

    Perhaps that approach has worked elsewhere, however, from personal experience of working in local government, I found going to the papers rarely had much impact.

    When I used to work in housing, I lost count of how many times people would ring up and threaten 'if you don't do what I want - I'm going to the papers' to which the stock reply was 'and that's entirely your right Mr Angry'.

    Nine times out of ten people wouldn't make the effort of going to the papers, on the rare occasion someone did, it was a case of 'today's news, tomorrows chip paper', if it was a bigger issue then going to the papers or trying to shame councillors/officers into acting would often be counter productive.

    The slipway is a small part of a larger leisure area (play park, outdoor swimming pool, crazy golf) which is protected by a legal covenant, so there's no risk of it being sold off for development.

    What I have been evidence of is people who draw the councils attention to an issue in a positive way, tends to illicit a positive response from officers (and councillors if there's potential for good publicity).

    So the council aren't wasting time and effort departments tend to ask for further input from complainants/campaigners to prove there's a public interest.

    I fear my communication skills are lacking, replies or lack of, to this thread indicate this cause mightn't be relevant to most forum members and it's not worth sending an email asking for improved river access.

    If so, I think that's a shame, but it's a learning process for me so I'll try local clubs/groups/associations who may feel it's more or an asset.

    Thanks for reading

    et deinceps
    sursum versus!

    Cheers

    Admiral D
    ...Sometimes it's good to put the paddle down and just let the canoe glide...


  8. #8
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    Default

    You could be right of course Admiral,particularly about chip wrappers but I've seen the "Headlights" work quite nicely a few times up around here.

    We campaigned for years, to get a simple foot path extension of about 40 yds, to allow people, bikes and horses to get into our local woodland, without running the gauntlet of walking/riding up and around a steep left hand bend, on a sunken, single track road.We even offered to go halfs on the cost! The council just kept dodging, until eventually we contacted the media and got a radio team out, then a TV crew.

    We contacted the relevant people at the council to tell them that the radio people were coming along and when. They weren't too fussed, indeed quite dismissive, till we mentioned that we also had a TV crew coming! Sure enough, the council turned up all smiles, excuses and assurances.

    It still took another 18 months or so but we got our "safe passage corridor", as I think it was eventually termed. Had we not involved the media,in particular the local
    TV, it would never have been completed.

    I'll email your Mr.Davies regardless, I think


    Steve

    ps: I've just emailed the two "villains of the piece" Basically pointing out the fact that the access needs a good stiff looking at and inviting Mr.Davies to get of his arxe and drive the 2.3 miles from his office, to the slip and have a look for himself-I didn't actually mention "arxes" mind you
    Last edited by rancid badger; 17th-October-2014 at 05:36 PM. Reason: PS


    Now paddling a Gumotex Palava 400 and LOVING IT! (I should have bought one years ago!!! )

  9. #9
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    Just goes to show, you never can tell:

    Thank you for your email concerning the Commodores Hard and the forum articles.

    The matter has also been brought to my attention by Mr XXXXXXXX and a site visit has been arranged for 27 October to meet with Mr XXXXXX, and to hear his suggestions for the slipway and approach road.

    Kind regards

    Robin Cooper
    Director of Regeneration, Community & Culture
    Medway Council
    Gun Wharf
    Dock Road
    Chatham
    Kent
    ME4 4TR


    Now paddling a Gumotex Palava 400 and LOVING IT! (I should have bought one years ago!!! )

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