Nick Dewhirst (1949-2013)
As founder member and Chairman of the Whitstable Beach Campaign, Nick was hugely energetic and inspiring campaigner. He felt passionately that Whitstable’s unique undeveloped urban beach should be protected for the public to enjoy. Viewing it as an asset for the public, he sought to strengthen its protection against the threat of development. The Beach campaign, under Nick’s leadership, helped bring about changes in the Local Plan that designated the beach as a Public Open Space (2003) and gave it heightened protection under Article 4 of planning legislation.
Nick also headed the campaign to apply for a coastal footpath along the beach from Reeves Beach to The Sportsman Public House in 2004. His foresight was proven when, many years later, the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) was brought in with an aim of creating a national Coastal path to ensure public access to all beaches for the same reasons that motivated Nick to apply locally. The Beach Campaign’s application for this Public Right of Way is presently under consideration by Kent County Council. The timescale for when the Government’s initiative will cover Whitstable’s beaches has not yet been confirmed.
Through his work with the Whitstable Society and The Whitstable Improvement Trust, Nick provided support on many local projects and worked closely with Anne Wilkes, a fervent public rights of way campaigner, until her death recently.