2006 News

December 2006

Bridges Land Purchased – The Trust has been working closely with SUSTRANS and Canterbury City Council to secure the purchase of the land along the Teynham embankment in Whitstable. The purchase of the land has now been completed in the name of SUSTRANS. Consequently all the land on which the bridges will stand, and the approaches to the bridges is now owned by Sustrans and Canterbury City Council. The scene is now set for several funding applications to be made for the bridges themselves.

Ecological Scoping Survey – An ecological scoping survey has recently been commissioned on behalf of the Trust covering the embankment from Teynham Road to the Sidings in Whitstable. The survey details the animal, insect and vegetation species found along the former railway track bed. No endangered species were found, nor were any traces of badgers found. A further survey of bats and reptiles will be required before any work can start. The results of the survey will be required when we approach possible funders. Another part of the greater jig saw puzzle is now in place (full details of the ecological scoping survey can be downloaded here).

Clowes Wood – The Forestry Commission has been busy in Clowes Wood cutting back the vegetation alongside the Crab and Winkle Way. The vegetation was especially bad at the entrance to Clowes Wood from Amery Court. The vegetation has been cut back to ground level for approximately two meters on either side of the path.

Heritage open days – As part of the heritage open days weekend a talk illustrated with photos was given on behalf of the Trust in the Goods Shed, Canterbury. Approximately 10 members of the public were in attendance. The venue was appropriate as it adjacent to Canterbury West station where trains departed on their route to Whitstable along the Crab & Winkle line.

June 2006

Whitstable bridge plans approved!

Whitstable Gazette Thursday 1st June 2006:

Crab and Winkle bridges agreed

by Liz Crudginton

A FORMER railway line that made engineering history almost 200 years ago is set to do so again. The Crab and Winkle Line from Whitstable to Canterbury was the site of the world’s oldest railway bridge which will now be replaced by bridges linking the line’s historic past to its future as a cyclepath. Campaigners believe the bridges, which were finally given planning permission this week, could help get the site recognized as a world heritage site.


They will span Teynham Road and Old Bridge Road and will be the first step in reconnecting the Crab and Winkle line to the harbour. The decision means officials from the trust in charge of the former railway can start applying for funding for the project and chairman Marcial Boo said be was delighted. “The council members wouldn’t have come out in support if they didn’t think the people of Whitstable wanted it,” he said.

The decision was made at a heated meeting of the council’s planning committee attended by several supporters and objectors. Almost 40 letters both for and against the scheme were sent to the council and the Crab and Winkle Line Trust also submitted a petition of more than 200 names in support of the application.


But families in Clare Road, who held a public meeting to discuss their concerns, argued that the bridges would be out of character and would damage wildlife. “The Crab and Winkle seeks to tick some of the boxes we all need to tick, for cleaner air and not jumping in the car all the time”. Susan Westerman, of Clare Road, spoke on behalf of her neighbours and pleaded with councillors to refuse permission. She said: “We already experience problems of anti-social behaviour. Making the route behind Clare Road more accessible could open up a whole new area for these problems to go. “What is the value of this proposal to Whitstable and Tankerton?”

But the project won support from Beatrice Shire, vice-chairman of cycling organisation Spokes and an organiser of walks for disabled people.


She said the £400,000 bridges would help provide a safe and convenient car-free route for everyone. And Robin Townsend, secretary of the Crab and Winkle Line Trust, said they would bring many benefits. “The Crab and Winkle seeks to tick some of the boxes we all need to tick, for cleaner air and not jumping in the car all the time,” he said. “It is part of a wider scheme in pursuance with the aims of the trust in promoting the site as a whole.”

Whitstable Times Thursday 1st June 2006:

Crab and Winkle Bridges Victory

Report by Max Blain

THE first railway bridge in the world is to be replaced as part of the Crab and Winkle Line footpath. It was demolished by the former Whitstable council in 1969. The six-mile route which runs between Canterbury West station and Whitstable harbour follows the path of the world’s first passenger railway which was built by George and Robert Stevenson in 1830. It was the third railway line to be built anywhere in the world.

Now members of the Crab and Winkle Line Trust have been granted permission to build two bridges across Teynham Road and Old Bridge Road so visitors can walk the length of the historic route.

The project will be funded in part by £25,000 from Tesco as part of the supermarket chain’s agreement with the city council when it wanted to build a superstore in Millstrood Road. So far the trust has raised a further £35,000 but it is still well short of its £400,000 target. The trust is hoping to attract more investment including lottery funding now that planning permission for the two bridges has been obtained.

Trust chairman Marcial Boo, of C1ifton Road, Whitstable, said: “We have 220 signatures of support for this project. I think the majority of the town is in favour, “Having planning permission will ensure we are taken seriously when we apply for funding” But some Clare Road residents have already started a counter-petition in an attempt to stop the
bridges being built. They are worried about the impact on their neighbourhood. Mr Boo said: “I can understand why some people would be worried but we won’t be pouring concrete outside their houses tomorrow. “This will not happen for two or three years. That should give us time to address any concerns people have. “We are doing this for the good of the town. If the bridges are built we will renovate some of the wasteland near Station Road. “It will also provide a safe way into Whitstable for anyone who doesn’t drive, including students, school children and cyclists. It should also act as another way of attracting tourists into the town.”

Dr Bruno Tran of Clare Road, said: “I think it’s a brilliant idea and I’m very much in favour of it. “It’s a bit shortsighted to say building the bridges will cause problems. “There will be some disruption but then we will have the benefit of a pedestrian route into town and to Canterbury as well.” City councillors gave the go ahead on Tuesday night for a 10m bridge over Teynham Road and 38m bridge over Old Bridge Road. Public consultation officially ends this Saturday. Some residents have already complained that the new bridges could attract vandals and would be an eyesore.

Easter 2006

Bridges – With the help of Lee Evans, Architects of Canterbury, we have submitted a planning application for the construction of two bridges in Whitstable to re-bridge the route at the site of the oldest railway bridge in the world. By the time of our AGM on 28 April, we may know whether the application is likely to succeed or not. If it does, 2006 -07 is likely to be an exciting year!

The Harbour – We have spent some time working with the Whitstable Harbour Board and Canterbury Council on their plans for the old goods shed there. We wanted space for an exhibition about the harbour’s links to the old train line. The Whitstable Improvement Trust are leading the plans from now on and we are working with them.

Station Road -Trustees John Burden and Robin Townsend recently met officers from Amicus Housing Association who manage the development at the Sidings. We discussed how the route of the C & W goes through the site. The Road has studs 4′ – 8 1/2″ apart indicating the original line and C & W signs are in place. The presently vacant 44M long plot to the North of the site is, subject to consultation, the route that follows the line and eventually to the Harbour. Also at the South end adjacent to the Sidings the Residents Association of Clare Road have exciting plans to landscape and provide a play area.

The University -The new director of estates is interested to work with us on the section to the north of the tunnel. Details will appear on our website.

Archbishop’s School - The school recognise the importance of the history on their land and have kindly allowed us to host visits to the south side of the tunnel. The research on the bats in the tunnel by the Kent Bat Group is going well.

Canterbury West – Some wonderful bike rack sculptures have been put up by the Goods Shed there and our replica of the Invicta engine is still proudly on display inside.