Crab and Winkle Way on BBC Radio Kent


Today we met with Phil Harrison from BBC Radio Kent at the Penny Farthing on the Invicta Way, part of the Crab and Winkle Way. Phil rode with us to Canterbury to meet members of Spokes East Kent Cycle Campaign. The reason for Phil’s visit was to find out why less people are commuting in Kent by bicycle according to a census from 2001 to 2011. Since 2011 we have had some infrastructure improvements and with the impact of the Olympic games hopefully that trend has reversed. As we cycled up the old track bed to the winding pond Phil asked, ‘Why don’t more people do this?’. It was a lovely sunny morning and as usual an absolute joy to commute along the Crab and Winkle. We met at about 6:45 but we still saw other cyclists and passed dog walkers who said hello as they always do. When we reached the University Phil went on to meet Adrian Oliver from Spokes and CyclingAge to talk about their Dr Bike Lab and issues cyclists face. Many thanks to Adrian, Phil, Radio Kent, CyclingAge and Spokes for making this happen.

You can listen to the radio show for the next 7 days on the BBC iPlayer the main cycling features are at 1:53:00, 2:36:50 and 2:50:32.

September 2013 News

Join the Crab and Winkle Line Trust for a leisurely walk along the line.

We are meeting outside the Lifeboat station in Whitstable Harbour at 10am on Sunday 14th September.

It will be a 3 mile stroll following the ‘line’ to the winding pond taking about 2 hours and everyone is welcome.

July 2013 News

The Trust is pleased to announce that a new book on the Crab & Winkle Line has been published.  It is available on Amazon.


A ramble and rummage along the Crab & Winkle Line in Kent in search of what is left of the railway that once connected Canterbury and Whitstable. This book is the second in a series of such searches for Railway Remnants. It includes a section on the Trust dedicated to remembering and promoting the line. This book will be of interest to railway enthusiasts, railway historians, all walkers and those with an interest in how the British countryside has changed over time.

Buy Peter’s book on Amazon


June 2013 News

Good news for Crab and Winkle Way users.  The section from the winding pond to the start of the decent into Whitstable is to be re-surfaced in late July.  There may be a little disruption, look out for the warning signs that will be put up 2 weeks in advance.

April 2013 News

Land Bought

The Trust is now the official owner of the land along the Clare Road embankment.  Completion of the purchase of the land has taken place.  Ownership of the land will enable the Trust to proceed with the implementation of the planning permission for a sustainable transport route towards Whitstable Harbour. The land has a length of approximately 400 metres and an area of 2.0055 hectacres.

Litter Clear up

Big Clear up

A litter pick up and clear up of our newly purchased land has taken place on Thursday 21st March. CCC provided clearance of the debris collected through SERCO.  A large amount of rubbish was collected by our volunteers, and the land looks a lot more tidy now.  Many thanks to the volunteers for the hard and some times unpleasant work they undertook on our behalf.

Heritage Open Days

The Trust will participate in Heritage Open Days this September.  An organised walk from the Harbour to South Street is anticipated.

Tunnel visit

The Trust has organised a visit to the southern portal of the Tyler Hill Tunnel with kind permission of the land owner, Archbishops School and Kent Bat Group.  There are still places available to go in and see the tunnel which despite it’s age is in excellent condition.  There is a charge of £5.00 per member for the visit. The visit will take place on Saturday 18th May starting at 10.30. Please contact John Burden on 01227 769566 to participate.

2012 News


Whitstable Bridges

We have paid over the completion monies for the purchase of the Clare Road embankment land to our solicitors. Completion is said to be imminent and we hopeful that it will take place shortly. Meanwhile we have engaged an engineer Chris Rogers to help us move the project forward. Chris is looking at a number of options to reduce the overall cost of the project to make it more affordable for us. Bringing down the cost means that we will not have to raise such a large amount of money making our job easier.


Connect 2

Representatives of the Trust have attended meetings on the Trust’s behalf, The committee is made up of representatives of Kent County Council, the project leaders, Canterbury City Council, Sustrans, and ourselves. The vital link along Tankerton sea front is now in use and the work of the committee is now at an end as the funding and timescales are complete.


New Leaflet

Kent Stourside Country Project have secured funding for a new leaflet. A redesign of the leaflet to bring it up to date is to be undertaken. It is anticipated that the new leaflet will be available for the spring.


Tyler Hill Tunnel

The north portal of the Tyler Hill Tunnel has caused us concern for sometime. Renovation work had been undertaken by the University of Kent. The completed work now shows the portal in all it’s glory albeit behind galvanised fencing.



We are on Facebook so look us up and keep up to date.


Heritage open days

The Trust once again participated in Heritage Open Days last September. We were fortunate when in excess of 40 members of the public turned at Canterbury West Station. The walk showed visitors various relics relating to the Canterbury to Whitstable railway. The tour ended at the northern tunnel portal.


Tunnel visit 18th May 2013

We have permission to go in and visit the southern section of the tunnel on Saturday 18th May starting at 10.00. Members will be able to enter the tunnel at their own risk. A charge of £5.00 per person will be payable. For details please contact the trust via email Places are limited. Thanks to Kent Bat Group for allowing us to visit.



The Trust is willing to give illustrated talks to clubs and societies regarding the history of the Crab & Winkle Line. This was very well received by the members, and was followed by a question and answers session. The charge for the talk is fifty pounds plus travel expenses depending on distance travelled. Please let meetings organisers know that we are available.


Diary for next year

Although no dates have been fixed for next year we hope to represent the Trust at Whitstable Harbour days, and also during Heritage open days. Watch out in the press for details and our future newsletters. Members help to man the stall would be appreciated.


Web page

The Trust’s web page is currently under review in order to bring it more up todate. Further information will be added to the site shortly. Should any member have good digital photos of the line during the seasons, which could be used on the web site please let us know. They may be forwarded via email to:


Vattenfall Windfarm

Vattenfall, the owners of the off shore windfarm north of Whitstable, currently have an application submitted to add a further 17 wind turbines to the 31 that already exist. The Trust has made contact with the company and we wish to work with them in order to promote their sustainable and our sustainable shared transport route.


Christmas/New Year 2013

The committee would like to take the opportunity to wish all our members a very Happy Christmas and New Year, with good health for 2013.



Land Purchased

The Trust has secured the land along the Clare Road embankment by agreeing to purchase the freehold from SUSTRANS. This opens the way forward for the Trust to push forward with the project for the sustainable transport route linking the Invicta Way to the Harbour area. The Trustees have issued instructions for an ecology report to be prepared which is required as part of the planning approval. The survey will be conducted over a period during the next few months.
The Trustees will be looking at ways to maximise the potential of the land being purchased to see whether we are able to achieve any added value. The land purchase does have covenants In favour of previous land owners so that they can benefit from any potential up lift in the value of the land. We are grateful to SUSTRANS for allowing us to purchase the land at an advantageous price and securing it for the benefit of the local community.

Planning Permission

The clock continues to tick on our planning permission for the bridges and the Clare Road embankment. Your Trustees are currently looking at ways to secure the planning permission. We are also looking at ways to reduce the cost of the bridges which could entail a completely new design. This would mean a new planning application preceded by new local consultation. In an era of austerity we need to look at ways of making our project affordable to ourselves and attractive to possible funders.

The Crab & Winkle Quilters

The first exhibition of the Crab & Winkle Quilters quilts, wall hangings and miniatures will be held at Littlebourne War Memorial Hall, High Street Littlebourne CT3 1ST on Saturday 2nd June 10.00 to 17.00, and Sunday 3rd June 10.00 to 16.00. There will be a raffle of a quilt, tombola, sales table and light refreshments. Entrance £2.50, children free. There is disabled parking and all parking is free. Proceeds to Special Needs Advisory & Activities Project. Contact: Marion Fox 01227 455697.


Our AGM is to be held on Friday 25th May commencing @ 19.30 in Blean Village Hall Tyler Hill Road Blean Canterbury CT2 9JA. The hall is situated a short distance from the Crab & Winkle Way at Blean Church. Car parking is available at the hall. The hall is only 100 metres from the Tyler Hill road bus stop in Blean using Triangle services 4 from Canterbury and 6 from Whitstable. Services run every 30 minutes during the evening. The Chairman will present his annual report, as will the secretary and the treasurer. The accounts will also be presented. This is an opportunity for members to hear what the Trust has done during the past year and learn about our latest news. Please come along and show your support for our wonderful project.


The Trust remain concerned about the condition and the safeguarding of the Beverley Arch which is Grade 2 Listed and have been informed by David Kincaid, Conservation & Countryside Team Leader of Planning & Regeneration at Canterbury City Council, owners of the Arch, that limited repairs to the brick Arch plus blocking off the ‘tunnel’ to prevent children (and others) getting stuck are to be carried out. Serco is considering some sort of railings set back 300 mm’s behind the exposed brick Arch so that the railings would be hidden in the shadows. JRB


This picture shows the current state of the northern portal of the Tyler Hill tunnel, after the trees the tree felling.


Owing to the rising cost of postage and stationary, the Trust has made the decision this will be the final hard copy of the newsletter to be routinely posted to all members. In future, the newsletter will be viewable on the Trust’s website:-

If you do not have internet access but would still like to receive your hard copy of the newsletter by post, please contact either Secretary, Robin Townsend on 01227 831546 or John Burden on 01227 769566.


With thanks to Keith Spencer, the Crab & Winkle is now on Facebook “Friends of the Crab and Winkle Line”.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards

As part of their work to achieving an award under the Duke of Edinburgh’s award Scheme, Joe and David have spent a total of 26 weeks clearing vegetation along the old railway line north of the University. They completed their assignment in February and are currently undertaking A level exams. The Trust thanks them for their efforts, and wishing them well in their exams and at University in the Autumn.

Ecology report

The Trust has issued instructions to Lloyd Bore Ltd to prepare an ecology report on the Clare Road embankment. The report will take some time to prepare. The Trustees will consider the report when it is presented and a copy will be sent to the planning department as required under the planning consent.

Heritage Open Days

The Trust will be offering a guided walk as part of Heritage Open Days on Sunday 9th September. The walk will start at Canterbury West Station, on to North Lane, a viewing of the southern tunnel portal from the footpath. The walk will then continue up University Hill to Eliot College to view the plaque and ending at the northern tunnel portal. The walk start @ 10.00 and is expected to take about one and a half hours.

Whitstable Harbour Open Day

The Trust will be manning our stall at the Whitstable Harbour open days this summer. Watch out for details in the local press.

Crab & Winkle Line Trust ticket insert

The Trust has commissioned a card to resemble a train ticket to attract increased interest and membership. A copy of the ticket is included in this mailing. We hope that members will approve of this initiative to give the Trust a higher profile in the community.







2011 News

Green Lung Campaign loses Crab and Winkle Way Fight (from The Whitstable Times)


Page 19 of Whitstable times 23rd June 2011


Front Page of Whitstable times 17th March 2011

by Nerissa Blower

Crab and Winkle given Green Light

Split council finally agrees to controvensial bridges plan

THE Crab and Winkle footpath and cycle way is to get its multimillion-pound “missing link.”

Planners agreed on Tuesday to allow cycle charity Sustrans and the Crab and Winkle Line Trust to build two bridges over the main London to Ramsgate railway and across Old Bridge Road and Teynham Road.

These will mean that for the first time since the 1960s walkers will be able to use the link all the way from Canterbury to Whitstable Harbour without having to leave the path and cross busy roads.

But the decision was touch and go when members of the city council’s planning committee saw designs for the new bridges.

Five objected: Councillors Julia Seath, Jenny Samper, Ian Thomas, Evelyn Bisset and Ida Linfield.

Liberal Democrat Ms Linfield, who normally supports the Crab and Winkle Line, said: “I went to the meeting thinking I was going to vote for it but actually the bridges are huge.

“When I saw the first plans in 2008 they showed modern lightweight bridges but the updates show the bridge as solid and overbearing in nature.

“The bridges are too big, overbearing and will be a hotspot for graffiti. They will be very detrimental to the life of residents. The people living in bungalows will have a whopping great bridge next to them.”

But councillors were split and 10 eventually pushed the controversial plans through.

Lib Dem councillor Nick Eden-Green said: “There will be some overlooking of the immediate housing but you have to balance out the overall benefit to the community.

“The advantage is that it will promote alternative transport and it will open up a route for locals and cyclists.

“We want to encourage tourism in the district. There are a lot of cycle tourists in east Kent. They book expensive hotels so this is a good way to get people to spend more money in the area.”

Planning officer Nicola Hughes said: “The need for safety clearance across roads and railway would result in the bridges being quite prominent, higher than the existing ground levels of the former embankments.”

Marcial Boo, chairman of the Trust, said: “This has been a long time coming but it is a great step forward. The Crab and Winkle Way is a piece of Whitstable’s history. This will not only help us celebrate our past but will benefit current and future residents.”

The 12-mile Canterbury and Whitstable railway line – later dubbed the Crab and Winkle line because of its initials – was opened in May 1830 to link Canterbury with Whitstable Harbour.

Sustrans is part-funding the Whitstable scheme with £500,000 from the Big Lottery Fund.

There were originally 42 letters of support, including a 679-name petition, and 24 objections.


Whitstable Bridges (from 2010 News)

The planning applications for the new bridges in Whitstable was submitted in August and subsequently validated. The consultation period ends on the 26th November and we hope that the planning application will be considered by the planning committee in January 2011. At the time of going to press we are unable to ascertain whether this will be the case. Please keep a watch on the local press for up dates on the progress of our application. We shall of course be ensuring that we have the maximum of three speakers to have their three minute spot to speak in support of this flag ship project, which has wide support in Whitstable and the area as a whole.

2010 News


Whitstable Bridges

The planning applications for the new bridges in Whitstable was submitted in August and subsequently validated. The consultation period ends on the 26th November and we hope that the planning application will be considered by the planning committee in January 2011. At the time of going to press we are unable to ascertain whether this will be the case. Please keep a watch on the local press for up dates on the progress of our application. We shall of course be ensuring that we have the maximum of three speakers to have their three minute spot to speak in support of this flag ship project, which has wide support in Whitstable and the area as a whole.


Representatives of the Trust attend meetings on the Trust’s behalf to push forward the bridges project. The committee is made up of representatives of Kent County Council, the project leaders, Canterbury City Council, Sustrans, and ourselves.

Crab & Winkle Way

An extra short section of the existing Crab & Winkle Way has been tarmaced on the down ward slope from Blean Church to Blean Bottom, a section in Clowes Wood and also towards South Street. Our grateful thanks to Kent Highways for making this improvement.

New Leaflet

Some two years ago we had 30000 leaflets printed. The stock has almost been used up and we shall have to consider a reprint during 2011.


One of the best kept secrets of the Crab & Winkle Line is the above mentioned footpath arch, located at the southern end of the embankment at the Hanover Place end of Beverley Meadow, Canterbury. Only the upper sections of the arch are visible from Beverley Meadow and from the cycle path running towards the West Railway Station from Beaconsfield Road. There is virtually nothing written in railway documents about this important structure.

The Trust had been concerned about the condition of the arch for some time and on the 14th December 2009 applied to English Heritage to consider it for listing.

On the 1st September 2010, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport awarded it Grade 2 listed status for the following reasons:-

• Historical interest: Although a round-headed brick railway bridge of modest architectural quality it has strong historical significance as a pre-1840 railway structure of the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway, which had George Stephenson as its major engineer.
• Intactness: Although buried nearly to the top of the arch since the 1960’s the arch survives substantially intact, possibly with original buttresses, although the parapet is missing.
• Railway Transport interest: It is now the only remaining substantially intact railway bridge of the Canterbury and Whitstable railway, the only surviving substantially intact pre-1830 railway bridge in Kent and probably the south eastern counties. There are only a handful of pre-1830 railway bridges surviving nationally.
• Group Value: It is situated fairly near the Tyler Hill Tunnel (grade 2*), the only other substantially intact surviving building of the Canterbury and Whitstable Railway, and Canterbury West Station (Grade 2) of 1854 and it is set within an original railway embankment. The whole of the former Canterbury and Whitstable Railway is a designated conservation area.

The Trust is negotiating with the owners, Canterbury City Council to afford protection to this important structure.



New bridges planning application submitted

The new planning application for the revised bridges design has now been submitted to the planning department of Canterbury City Council. The previous planning approval for the bridges in Whitstable expired in May 2010.

The new design is for simplified design of bridges which will be less costly to construct and cheaper to maintain.

SUSTRANS have been assisting the Trust with the preparation of this new planning application and we are most grateful for their assistance.

The preparatory work has involved a complete redesign and considerable local consultation.

Should planning approval be received this will be another part of the jigsaw to put in place to extend the Crab & Winkle Way towards the centre of Whitstable and Whitstable Harbour. This will give us all a safe traffic free and safe route to walk or cycle.

Now we need your support please by signifying your approval of the planning application. Kindly write to the planning department of Canterbury City Council, Military Road, Canterbury CT1 1YW with your comments of agreement. Alternatively comments may be made via the Canterbury City Council planning portal. Please ensure you quote planning reference: CA/10/01293.



Whitstable Bridges

The plans for the new bridges are now in the public domain and we expect the planning application to be submitted very shortly. Public consultation started at the Horsebridge centre recently followed by two weeks in Whitstable library. The initial comments are being studied to take into account local feelings before the final planning application is made. Watch out for details in the press and voice your support for the project when the matter is in the hands of the planners. Meanwhile we are looking at funding opportunities to cover the substantial shortfall in meeting the costs of this project. These have increased considerably since our original planning application was submitted even though the new bridge design is much more simple. The implementation of the Clare Road embankment planning permission is conditional on the granting of planning permission for the bridges. Your committee members distributed 390 letters of consultation to local residents. Don’t forget to write a letter of support to the planning department once the plans have been submitted. Every letter of support will count in our favour.


The condition of the Bogshole Bridge, the 1st or 2nd railway bridge in the world and in private ownership has been of some concern for some time and in June 2009, the Trust applied to English Heritage to assess if it could receive Listed Building status, thereby protecting it from further decay. English Heritage presented its conclusions in November and regretfully did not recommend it for designation.

The reasons for this decision are and to quote:-

• Although the original Bogshole Railway Bridge was in use by 1830, the original bridge was constructed of wooden girders on brick abutment walls. These timbers were replaced and the abutments strengthened in the 1840’s for the South Eastern Railway before the bridge was completely rebuilt in brick in 1862.
• Bogshole Railway Bridge is a standardized 1860 brick railway bridge of which large numbers were built nationally.
• It is not a particularly intact example of an 1860’s railway bridge as much of the parapet is missing.

The Trust appealed to the English Heritage Listing Review Officer because of the bridges historic interest but the original decision was upheld. For information, the Trust has applied to English Heritage to assess the Beverley Farm Footpath Arch at Beverley Meadow, Canterbury. They have expressed interest and we await their decision.

Connect 2

The Trust is represented on this committee comprising on the interested parties in the Crab & Winkle Way extension, Viking Trail, and Oyster Trail extension. A new route to Reculver is being looked at to complete the around Thanet circular trail. Details of the connecting route from Tankerton Slopes to Hampton should be published in the near future.

Plans for two new ‘Crab and Winkle’ bridges for Whitstable to be unveiled this month

Issued on: Monday 1 March, 2010 from the Sustrans Website

What: Plans for two ‘Crab and Winkle’ bridges to be unveiled in Whitstable

Where: The Horsebridge Centre, 11 Horsebridge Road, Whitstable CT5 1AF

When: Friday 12 March 12-5pm, Sat 13 March 9am-1pm

The Consultation Document for the Two new Bridges can be found here

The designs for two new bridges for Whitstable will go on display later this month at the Horsebridge Centre so that local people can give their views on them. The proposed bridges will go over Old Bridge Road and over Teynham Road and are being shown to the public before planning permission is sought. The bridges will be part of a newly created route for pedestrians and cyclists between the existing Crab and Winkle Way at All Saints Close and the seafront. At the public exhibition, drawings and plans will be on display and members of the steering group for the project will be available to discuss it.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has been working in partnership with Kent County Council, Canterbury City Council and The Crab & Winkle Line Trust to create this high quality route as part of a multi-million pound project which will complete a greenway and promenade along a 12 mile stretch of the Kent coast and will be an extensive walking and cycling scheme which will extend the existing route to Canterbury – the Crab and Winkle Way, complete the circular Viking Coastal Trail and create the coastal route between Whitstable and Reculver – the Oyster Bay Trail. It will also provide a quality traffic free facility for locals to get to work and school in a sustainable way which benefits their health and the environment.

Simon Pratt, Regional Director of Sustrans, said, “This will be the first time people can come and see the new bridge plans so we hope they take this opportunity to come and talk to the project team and give us their feedback. These bridges are for Whitstable so it’s important for the local people to see the proposed designs and have a say.”

Ruth Goudie, Partnership Officer, Kent Highway Services, said, “We are pleased that this project is moving forward and we hope that as many people as possible will give us their views on the bridges so we can get this route created and people in Whitstable can really start using it.”

After the exhibition, the designs will then go on display at Whitstable Library from Monday 15 March until the closing date for feedback which is the 26th March. Original planning permission for these two bridges was given in 2006 but has since expired. At this time Canterbury City Council considered that the construction of these bridges was acceptable in principle, in planning terms. Following detailed surveys and discussions with key stakeholders, the bridge designs have also changed since the 2006 application and will require the submission of a new planning application.

Sustrans is part funding the Whitstable scheme with £500,000 from the Big Lottery Fund. The charity won £50m in ‘The People’s Millions’, the UK’s largest lottery competition, in 2007 with a national TV vote to create new walking and cycling routes on a national scale showing that communities across the UK support investment in creating these networks for pedestrians and cyclists.


Planning permission confirmed to revive part of Whitstable’s Crab and Winkle Way

Issued on: Wednesday 3 February 2010 from the Sustrans Website

Whitstable became a step closer to getting a planned new route aimed at pedestrians and cyclists last night at The Guildhall in Canterbury when Council Members approved final details and gave full planning permission, under delegated powers, to enable sustainable transport charity Sustrans and The Crab and Winkle Line Trust to create a new shared use pathway and improve the neglected railway embankment extending from All Saints Close to Northwood Road – along the old Crab and Winkle Way.

The surrounding environment will also be improved with thousands of new tree and shrub plantings which will enhance and maintain a green corridor for local wildlife. The two sections of path will be connected by two newly designed bridges spanning Teynham Road, Old Bridge Road and the Railway line. These bridges are currently being designed and will be subject to a planning application in the near future.

David Young, Project Coordinator, Sustrans South East, said, “We are delighted with last night’s outcome as this will help complete a virtually traffic-free walking and cycling route on the Crab and Winkle Way from Canterbury to Whitstable and the coast. We will be shortly lodging a planning application for new bridges spanning Old Bridge Road, the Railway Line and Teynham Road. Whitstable residents will have an opportunity to review the new bridge designs and comment and have input prior to the planning application being lodged with Canterbury Planning Department and a public exhibition of the Bridge designs is being planned for Feb/March”.

The multi-million pound project from Kent County Council, Canterbury City Council, Sustrans and The Crab and Winkle Line Trust, will complete a greenway and promenade along a 12 mile stretch and will be an extensive walking and cycling scheme which will link extend the existing route to Canterbury – the Crab and Winkle Way, complete the circular Viking Coastal Trail and create the coastal route between Whitstable and Reculver – the Oyster Bay Trail. It will also provide a quality traffic free facility for locals to get to work and school in a sustainable way which benefits their health and the environment.

Cllr Nick Chard, Cabinet Member for Highways, Kent County Council said, “The county council is keen to encourage residents who are cycling and walking for good health. This new route makes good use of the old Crab and Winkle Way. It will help residents and visitors alike to discover more of our special Kent countryside.”

Sustrans is part funding the Whitstable scheme with £500,000 from the Big Lottery Fund. The charity won £50m in ‘The People’s Millions’, the UK’s largest lottery competition, in 2007 with a national TV vote to create new walking and cycling routes on a national scale showing that communities across the UK support investment in creating these networks for pedestrians and cyclists.

Sustrans’ Regional Director South East, Simon Pratt said, “We are very pleased to be able to improve this land for local residents and to make it accessible for all. It is only one part of this scheme but a vital part of the wider aim to complete the historic Crab and Winkle Way and make it easier for people in Whitstable to make everyday journeys by foot or by bike.”

Marcial Boo, Chair, The Crab and Winkle Line Trust, said, “This has been a long time coming but is a great step forward – the Crab and Winkle Way is a piece of Whitstable’s history and this will not only help us celebrate our past but will benefit the current and future residents of our town.”

Steve Fawke, Chair, SPOKES East Kent Cycle Campaign said, “I am delighted with the success of this application and I’m looking forward to the great benefits this will bring to residents, visitors and the environment. I also see this as a wonderful example that I hope will be copied in many more places.”

2009 News

November 2009 Newsletter

Clare Road Embankment

Planning permission has finally been granted for the dual use path along the embankment, subject to conditions. It has taken two years since our planning application was submitted to arrive at this stage. The Trust would like to record our thanks to our partners SUSTRANS and Kent Highways who have worked extremely hard to overcome numerous objections to the scheme. SUSTRANS are currently ironing out the problems in order that the conditions of the planning approval can be formally agreed. The Trust hopes that the conditions will be approved at the December planning committee meeting.

Whitstable Bridges

The planning approval for the bridges project lapsed earlier this year. SUSTRANS are working with Kent Highways to prepare a new planning application for a revised bridges scheme. The new plans will be for simpler bridges that will be cheaper to build and to maintain. We anticipate that a planning application will be submitted to Canterbury City Council early in the new year. Your support for this application will be appreciated in due course. Once this has been approved the whole project can move forward.

Southern Tunnel Portal

Heritage Open Days allowed the opportunity for a few of our members to view the newly renovated southern portal. No entry into the tunnel itself was allowed as the bats are now in residence. However the finished product is impressive and it most likely looks the same as it did when the tunnel was first opened in 1830. We hope to be able to welcome you to the site on one of the Heritage Open Days in September 2010, subject to the approval of the new owner to whom we extend our thanks for allowing this year’s visit.

New Leaflet

Our new leaflet is now available from committee members or from dispensers at Whitstable or Canterbury West Stations. New dispensers have been provided at both locations to accommodate the new format leaflet.

The Crab & Winkle Way

In August a lady cyclist was involved in a crash with a car at the junction with the Tyler Hall Road. Members are reminded that cars have priority at this crossing. May we also remind members that this is a dual use pathway and consideration must be given to walkers. Speeding is not condoned.

Connect 2

The Trust is represented on this committee comprising on the interested parties in the Crab & Winkle Way extension, Viking Trail, and Oyster Trail extension. The bridge proposed on the Viking Trail over the main Herne Bay to Margate railway has been dropped. A new route to Reculver is being looked at to complete the around Thanet circular trail.

Crab and Winkle plan can go ahead, councillors decide

(extract from the Whitstable Times online)

A CONTROVERSIAL cycle path has finally been approved – two years after it was first proposed. Councillors voted through plans to extend the Crab and Winkle path from All Saints Close to Northwood Road at a meeting last night (Tuesday) after a mammoth two-hour debate. More than 30 supporters and objectors filled the public gallery of the Guildhall in Canterbury to hear and applaud the eight speakers who made impassioned pleas both for and against the plan. Opponent Mark Dickerson said: “Lets not forget this is a conservation area with a blanket tree preservation order. Since when did conservation mean ripping out the environment we are trying to preserve? Whitstable is shouting loud and clear. We don’t want this path to follow this destructive route. Let’s have a plan that truly celebrates and commemorates the railway heritage instead of building all over it.”

The Rev Paul Wilson slammed the plans as misguided and mishandled and said the application was not valid because the correct forms had not been completed when it was lodged. And amateur historian Bob Winter said more surveys and work were needed and a new application should be submitted. He added: “Let’s open the door marked peace and not the one marked strife.”

Tony Ledger, spokesman for the Whitstable Green Lung Association, said the area needed to be protected because of its importance to wildlife. He criticised the council’s report as “biased” and demanded an independent review of the case. But Ruth Goudie, from Kent Highway Services, said the route had already been included in the local plan and a raft of council policies. And it was backed by county council officials because it would link the Canterbury to Whitstable route and a proposed coastal path. She said: “We have given a lot of support financially to the applicant in the process of this application. “It has the potential to be nationally recognised.” And the Rev Canon Chris Byers, a board member of the Whitstable Society and Whitstable Improvement Trust, said a lot of people in the town were excited by the scheme. “The vast majority of people in Whitstable long for this route to be there,” he said. “I bear the wounds of the person who chaired the public meeting when the Green Lung first appeared with its cry that we were going to tarmac over the green lung of Whitstable. “It seemed nonsense and yet it was apparent the plans being brought forward then were awful and didn’t meet the needs of residents. Since then people have listened to one another and the business of building up trust has improved.

“We are in with a real chance of giving this lovely old line, which was crucial to Whitstable in the 19th century, the chance to play a part in a greener future.” David Young, Sustrans co-ordinator for the south east, said the scheme was a once in a lifetime opportunity. He admitted there were issues of overlooking to address but said a new application for the bridges providing the final link to the path would be prepared. Lawyer Janet Taylor dismissed claims the plans were not valid and councillors debated issues including the potential for increased crime and fears over cyclists and pedestrians sharing the path. Whitstable councillors argued the bridges – already granted planning permission that has now expired – should be in place before any work on the path extension started and suggested deferring the scheme to consider the bridges at the same time. But Cllr Nick Eden Green said: “There has been a huge amount of debate over this. If it was for 200 houses I could understand the heat generated. “It concerns me that people have got so worked up. Deferring would merely prolong what is an even longer agony. “Let’s keep in mind this has been a long-held ambition of KCC and CCC and is part of our cycling and health strategies.”

The plan was agreed by nine votes to three.


Why the planning application is good for the Green Lung

The landscape report and tree surveys (which form part of the planning application) highlight how the extension is GOOD for the Green Lung. Such positives include:

  • 13% of the present trees, shrubs and scrub are considered moderate quality only; the remaining 87% low quality or worse. 25% is dead or dying.
  • The area is unmanaged and becoming overrun by scrub and brambles; trees are being swamped by ivy and bindweed. If left, the natural decline in the trees plus man made damage will lead to the deterioration of the site and potentially its loss.
  • The proposed path will be managed by our Local Authorities with the vegetation maintained to promote healthy growth.
  • All vegetation lost to the path construction will be replaced and there will be in-filled planting to reduce overlooking. The proposal is to plant 257 heavy trees (maple, ash and oak), 487 light trees (birch, ash, holly, cherry, etc) plus 2,812 shrubs and bushes (dogwood, hazel, hawthorn, blackthorn, etc).
  • There is no evidence of roosting bats – but the line is important for bat foraging and commuting. The new path should not be detrimental to such activity. In fact, it may contribute to the diversity of habitat and increase flying insects and food for bats.
  • The reptile survey makes interesting, if specialist, reading. The proposed hibernaculum seems very reptile and insect friendly.
  • The path will not be floodlit. The plans propose low density lights, designed to minimise spill, with columns every 40 metres or so.

Further details can be found in the summary report by clicking here.




Dear friend of the Crab and Winkle Line,

Your urgent action is needed to extend the line in Whitstable

18 months ago, we submitted a planning application to the council to extend the route of the Crab and Winkle Line over the railway line and Teynham and Old Bridge Roads in Whitstable, down behind Clare and Station Roads, through to Harbour Street and the sea. Some local residents were concerned that the environment would be damaged, and the council asked us to survey the trees and plants, and the lizards, bats and other animals in the disused and overgrown land behind Clare Road.

We’ve now completed all these surveys, showing that:
• there’ll be no damage to existing wildlife;
• there’s no need to cut down any trees with preservation orders;
• there’ll be sympathetic, improved planting to screen houses and gardens.

Over 500 local people have signed our petition in support of the extended line. It will provide traffic-free, step-free access from one side of the railway line to another, helping children get to the Community College, and families walk their children to the primary schools on the sea-side of the railway. It will help all those with mobility problems get around town without a car, provide a community resource for everyone in the town to enjoy this green lung, and it will be the perfect way for visitors to enter the town.

The council is now consulting on the application, which you can see in council offices in Harbour Street, Whitstable during office hours. Last time there were a few dozen letters of opposition. It is ESSENTIAL that the council also hears from people who support the proposal too. PLEASE WRITE. Letters can be sent to Nicola Hughes, Planning Officer, Canterbury City Council, Military Road, Canterbury, Kent CT1 1YW. Please quote reference CA/07/01442/WHI. Please say how you think the line would benefit the community, whether you’d use it, who else would, and that you support the proposal. The council must receive your letter by 5th June.

Without your help – by writing a letter to the council in support – officers and councillors may only hear from those opposed to the plan. An extension of a popular and well-used footpath and cycle path through to the sea would be a massive asset to the town, and something that will last for and be enjoyed by many generations. We could all be proud of having helped make it happen. Without your help, it won’t.

Trustees would be happy to talk to you about what else you can do to support the Crab and Winkle Line Trust. You can contact us at THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

Yours faithfully,

Marcial Boo, Chairman, and Trustees
The Crab and Winkle Line Trust