05 Apr

Let’s move to Whitstable, Kent: pockets of peace on the gentrified seaside

The town still manages to balance quite-posh delis with men’s outfitters from the age of Perry ComoWhat’s going for it? I’m an old hand at Whitstable. Not as old as some of the seadogs nursing pints in the Neptune. But I’ve been coming here since the days when, if fortune smiled, you might spy the elderly Peter Cushing – then the town’s starriest resident – pottering along the high street. What a difference 30 years makes. My latest trip confirms that Whitstable has reached stage four of gentrification. We’ve had the Shabby Artists stage, the Cute Vintage Shop stage, the Actually Quite Posh Delis Have Opened stage. Now some serious money has arrived: The Building Of Fancy New Houses That Look As If Their Owners Have Watched Too Many Episodes Of Grand Designs stage. This lot aren’t content with discreet renovations of weatherboarded fishermen’s cottages. They want swagger. They want bling. I hope it’s not the town’s downfall. The place still, just, manages to balance quite-posh delis with men’s outfitters from the age of Perry Como, and its community is still as strong as they come. Its working harbour, graced by a gravel processing plant, is still wonderfully unpretty. Long may it continue.The case against… On the threshold of change. Already too cutesy for some. Holiday and weekend homes have brought hefty cultural change. Continue reading…

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