Last night Kelly Tolhurst, MP for Rochester and Strood, warmly welcomed the regeneration, culture and environment overview and scrutiny committee’s decision to refer the closure of Deangate back to cabinet for reconsideration.
Kelly and Cllr Phil Filmer have been lobbying against this decision and have been encouraged by the 4,000 residents who have signed petitions, the hundreds who also attended the meeting last night, and particularly the six petitioners who gave evidence to the committee.
The Rochester and Strood MP has lobbied the Council repeatedly and has recently escalated the matter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. In the Minister’s response he made it clear that while Deangate 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 this site used in future.
The public consultation for the next stage of the Local Plan will be published this Friday, 16th March.
Following the referral of Deangate back to cabinet, Kelly said:
“This is a great result for our campaign, and is testament to the hard work of the community in fighting to protect our natural environment.
“I am pleased that the Councillors have referred this matter back to Cabinet again, and I hope that the Cabinet will now recognise the fierce objection there has been from the community.
“Along with Cllr Phil Filmer, we will continue with this campaign and for the community to have a say in the future of Deangate, and I echo the Secretary of State’s view that all residents should respond to the Local Plan consultation once it opens later this month.
“I now look forward to the outcome of the next Cabinet meeting and will also be seeking further advice on what can now be done to proceed with this campaign. I will continue to keep resident’s updated as much as I can, but please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you require any further assistance.”
If the decision is upheld, Deangate Ridge will close its doors to the public on March 31. The date of the cabinet meeting to discuss the matter is currently unknown.