Deal Maritime forces pensioner out of home say Protesters
- Mrs Kathleen Thomson, from Deal, who is in her eighties, has had her windows blocked in by neighbours,The Deal Maritime Museum over a planning permission dispute.
- Residents say that she has been denied access to the rear of her property and her country garden cottage has been removed Her garden wall was knocked down and her gate smashed with a sledge hammer right in front of her.
- Such is the distress this has caused Mrs Thomson, she has been forced out.
"Judith Dore, curator of the St George's Road museum, said the fence was built to protect the property and its artifacts on the advice of police.
Martin Catt, the pensioner's son-in-law, said: "She has lost two stone in weight since this all started and we've now paid to put her in a residential home for two weeks while we start a petition to send the Charities Commission.
"She's suffering and if we took her back there, like we have before, she's almost hysterical with the stress of it."
The dispute started in 2008 when issues about access and land rental flared up after Mrs Thomson objected to a protective covering that the museum began building over one of the boat artefacts in the yard.
According to Mrs Dore, the neighbour had rented a portion of the museum's land for a peppercorn rent of £4 per year.
This was an agreement between previous owners of her house and the museum.
But the trustees were alerted that it would not be allowed by the Charities Commission and that the agreement should never have been made in the first place.
After consulting solicitors, the land was reclaimed in January 2010."
Protesters have now formed a Facebook Group against Deal Maritime Museum, and I have just received a message from them:
"STOP PRESS!!!! STOP EVERYTHING!!! Friday 3:30pm, Deal Town Hall, We will be presenting the petition to Charlie Elphicke MP who is going to anounce a direct hands on approach!!!! I know what's coming, but can't say - but it will be good"
Update: 1/7/10 The story has made it into the Sun today (a day after it came out on Now Public)
Kathleen took up gardening after her second husband Alex died five years ago, and had filled the courtyard with flowers. Daughter Joanne, 51, said: "Mum used to love pottering in her garden and she'd have friends in the kitchen. The museum made her feel like a prisoner in her own home."
The museum said it needed the courtyard to display two historic cannons and gave her notice last year.
Treasurer Bernard Dore said: "The museum must protect its property from vandalism and theft. No door is closed but we have no choice following the advice we've been given."
In the 'Best of Deal and Dover' website, it states that the Museum is in a 'conservation area'.
Run by volunteers, the Museum is hidden on what has been described as a back street (just like the British Museum!). It is located in the Conservation Area, just off the High Street in the town centre, between the Town Hall and St George’s Church in Deal, Kent.
Deal Maritime and Local History Museum is a fascinating collection that gives a real insight into the daily lives of Deal people and their relationship with the sea.
Deal Maritime and Local History Museum has a local history gallery dedicated to Deal’s local families, industries and the artistic and social life of the town.
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