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Whitstable author C.J. Stone priced out of town's rental market

An author and retired postman fears his time in Whitstable “may be coming to an end” because he has been priced out of the rental market.

Chris Stone - known by his pen name C.J. Stone - says it is a “crime” he cannot spend the last years of his life in the town.

He has looked at various properties but says he is “too old” to get a mortgage and has to rely on his state pension.

“The area has become very popular - especially with Londoners as they are being driven out,” the 66-year-old said. “I went to Liverpool this weekend and you can buy a house for £50,000.”

Mr Stone - who retired last year - has now started looking at properties in Scotland, Liverpool and Wales as there is “nothing” in the south east.

He first moved to the town in 1984 and has always rented - most recently sharing with friends in Essex Street.

They have decided to move but have “kindly” given Mr Stone a year to find somewhere else.

Chris Stone fears his time in Whitstable "may be coming to an end". Picture: Gerry Warren
Chris Stone fears his time in Whitstable "may be coming to an end". Picture: Gerry Warren

He said: “I’ve given my life to this town. I brought my son up here, made many life long friends here, saw jobs come and go.

“I was a postman for 15 years. I know every inch of it: every street, every patch of ground, every alley, every footpath.

“Meanwhile there are flats and houses springing up in every corner of the town. None of them are for me.

“It seems a crime that I can’t see out my last days here.”

Mr Stone, who this year saved the 121-year-old Whitstable Carnival from extinction and transformed it into a Victorian-themed extravaganza, is calling for more council housing.

“We need affordable housing to be built for people in vulnerable conditions,” he said.

“There is a lack of council house building in the town - as shown by the monstrosity on the seafront which is full of luxury property, holiday homes and Airbnbs.

“It does concern me and I am now in a position where I am occupied in looking for places.

“I have got to organise the carnival, I am currently writing a book and I am having to look for somewhere to live. It adds to the anxiety of not knowing where you are going to end up.”

Figures by Halifax show in Whitstable the average house price in 2009 was £236,196, whereas this year it was £384,916 - a growth of just under £150,000 - which has had a knock-on effect on the rental market.

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