Predatory development and plans to build on our green spaces have caused deep stress and anxiety, particularly out on the Hoo Peninsula which is one of the most beautiful parts of North Kent. While some development is necessary the numbers proposed around Hoo and Lodge Hill are absurd. To ensure any development is sustainable we need to look at how we can best develop the brownfield sites we already have, for instance Kingsnorth has huge capacity rather than turning Hoo into a town, while the Isle of Grain has been crying out for development for years.
I will continue to oppose applications for development based on many of the issues raised by residents. Such issues include the impact on local public services, in particular the availability of school places and access to GP surgeries.
Along with Cllr Phil Filmer and the RSPB, I will be fighting against any development on Lodge Hill and against possible future development of Deangate Ridge Golf Course following the fight to keep it open. I have escalated these matters with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. In the Minister’s response he made it clear that while these sites might be part of the Council’s Local Plan considerations, it is important for residents to participate in the Plan’s consultation and make their views known about how they wish to see our community green spaces used in future.
Again, it is important to stress the importance of mine and the Council’s work towards formulating Medway’s Local Plan. Without such, we remain highly vulnerable to predatory applications such as the one previously proposed by Gladmans in Cliffe Woods. Having our Local Plan in place will enable the Council to identify where practical development can happen and what infrastructure is necessary to make it sustainable.
While we have to accept that some development needs to happen and some parts of our local villages might have to expand, this should not be at the cost of disturbing the balance of our rural and urban infrastructures. I am continuing to work with colleagues both locally and in Westminster to help ensure we can continue to enjoy our villages, natural habitats and green spaces for generations to come.
I encourage everyone to engage with the current consultation and make your feelings known on how you want our rural and natural environments to look: https://www.medway.gov.uk/info/200149/planning_policy/519/future_medway_local_plan/3