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Update 5/5/15: Shepway Council Finally relented and dropped all charges. They had to be content to give the chairman of Folkestone Town Sprucers a mild verbal rebuke.


Drop the threat of criminal charges against the Folkestone Town Sprucer for trying to clear up Westbourne Gardens.

Why is this important?

The Folkestone Town Sprucer is under attack by Shepway District Council. Sprucer Peter Phillips and his team of volunteers are an independent community-based initiative that litter-picks, removes graffiti, repairs minor infrastructure, cleans litter-bins and signs, plus 101 other chores to help restore civic pride. Peter is arguably Folkestone’s most popular public figure.

In an attempt to clear rubbish and a jungle of fly-tipping, needles and rampant overgrowth from Westbourne Gardens, a once elegant tree-lined park, the Sprucer team has been stopped in its tracks by threatened prosecution from SDC. The allegation: that trees have been lopped without permit in a conservation area – cutting that was necessary to get at the layers of rubbish dumped beneath the trees.

Facing a possible £20,000 fine, Sprucer organiser David Taylor has already been interviewed under caution by SDC officers. Sprucer Peter Phillips faces a similar interview on May 12. Had they known the green square was in a conservation area, both would have sought leave to cut, although it takes six weeks for a permit to be issued, if it’s issued at all.

This petition calls on SDC to immediately halt the witch-hunt, apologise to the team, grant a permit and work with the Sprucer to restore Westbourne Gardens to its original charm - a task that SDC has flunked by failing over many years to compel the owners, would-be developers, to clean-up the park, designated as an inviolate green space. Why has taken the intervention of the Folkestone Town Sprucer to focus SDC and the owners on tackling this appalling public eyesore?


2015-05-05 09:47:28 +0100

Petition is successful with 686 signatures

2015-04-10 22:00:51 +0100

COUNCIL SEES SENSE: The following email from Shepway District Council was received on 09/04/15. Excellent that common sense has prevailed. But we'll keep the petition going until the entire affair has been resolved and Sprucer Peter Phillips and his team are allowed to complete the job at Westbourne Gardens within the regulations applying to this conservation zone.

Dear Mr Peter Phillips

Having considered the evidence gathered so far regarding the works that have taken place, the Council no longer require you to attend the Council offices for an interview as requested.

Yours Sincerely
John Macauley MRTPI
Planning Enforcement Officer

2015-04-07 21:50:20 +0100

500 signatures reached

2015-04-06 18:57:45 +0100

100 signatures reached

2015-04-06 16:38:45 +0100

50 signatures reached

2015-04-06 15:53:51 +0100

25 signatures reached

2015-04-06 15:38:14 +0100

10 signatures reached