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Tourism chief defends ‘picturesque’ Sheppey

Sheerness High Street
Sheerness High Street

A champion of tourism on the Island has defended Sheerness after it was ridiculed in a new book.

Cr*p Towns Returns, due out 10 years after the original Cr*p Towns, mentions Sheerness among its 100 worst places to live in the UK.

It is one of only two Kent places to feature alongside Medway.

The book’s website states: “Surrounded by a bleak landscape of mudflats, electricity pylons and waterlogged fields, it is hard to believe that this used to be a holiday destination for working class Londoners.

“Sheerness has managed to avoid becoming a clone town, but this is only because few retailers have bothered to open branches in an area blighted with badly-built housing, obese locals and a wealth of unoccupied industrial units.”

It likens the surroundings to, “one of the less scenic industrial towns of Siberia”.

The website suggests that when Sheppey was captured by enemy navy in the Anglo-Dutch war in 1667, the invaders left after a few days because they, “simply couldn’t stand being in Sheerness another moment longer”.

Finally, it adds: “The town once contained a complex of attractive Georgian naval buildings, but these were largely demolished in the 1960s to make way for a container port.”

Heather Thomas-Pugh, chairman of Sheppey Tourism Alliance and secretary of the Town Team, set up to improve the high street, stood up for the Island and Sheerness.

She said: “Sheppey is very picturesque. It is a microcosm of England. We have 20 miles of beaches. We have hills, vales, marshes. We have industry, we have a port.

“Unfortunately our architectural heritage was ruined in the 1960s and 70s when there were certain local councillors who made it their aim in life to pull down all our beautiful buildings.

“As a result of that we have got some pretty rough buildings but I think there is the support in the community to improve our area.

“The Sheerness Town Team is working hard to improve the town so there are lots of things going on that people don’t see.”

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