The St Mildred’s and St Margaret’s Area Conservation Society was formed in February 1972 after a handful of residents in Stour Street protested over a road scheme which threatened their homes. The scheme was dropped.
A few years later the society headed a partnership of city amenity societies opposed to the building of the Castle Street/Rosemary Lane multi-storey car park.
The main protagonist in all this was Audrey Bateman, who used to live off Stour Street. The car park did get built, of course, but apparently as a more discreet version of what was originally proposed (so a victory of sorts there).
Our society used to have ‘St Margaret’s’ in the name because the area the society covers is the quarter of the city centre roughly defined by the city wall and the river as far as the high street. But St Margaret’s Church was subsequently converted to The Canterbury Tales visitor centre, so it was felt appropriate to drop that from our title.
And over the years it was also felt we were striving to be more of a general community society rather than one specifically concerned with conservation, hence the change and simplification of our name.
(Click on image to enlarge)
At SMACS we feel that as a collective group, we are able to help our residents within the defined SMACS area with matters that affect them rather than having to handle issues alone, whether it is noise, vandalism, or planning etc.
(Click on Image to enlarge)
Audrey Bateman herself wrote much about this area and the city as a local historian. She was SMACS chairman from 1974-79 and became its life president. She moved on to Chestfield, then latterly Ashford and died in 2010, aged 85.
But we like to think her legacy, and those of her fellow founder members, lives on in what SMACS still tries to be.
We continue to keep an eye on planning matters. We also keep a watching brief on issues we think concern our members and those who live in the area, such as anti-social behaviour, litter and licensing extensions. And we are also interested in the wider city, with links to the Canterbury Society.
We also think there are many positives about this area (obviously, or we wouldn’t live here!). And we think it’s worth having a society such as ours to help unite members of our small community – a celebration, perhaps, of good neighbourliness. Our spring and autumn meetings, and other social events and occasional outings, are manifestations of that.
In short, we hope we’re helping to make the area a better place in which to live and be by guarding against excesses of bureaucracy, planning, licensing and behaviour while celebrating that which is good in our community.
Every 6 months we hold American Suppers where residents can come and hear guest speakers talk about local matters, and where residents can come and meet other residents. We also issue every 6 months a newsletter to explain issues that are, or will affect residents.
We feel that having a web site, it provides an opportunity for residents to understand what is happening, but also an opportunity for you to express any issue that you may have that can be brought up at the committee meetings.
(Click on image to enlarge)