Lodge Hill – CALLED IN a victory… for now. The battle continues…

Good news.  The proposed development at Lodge Hill has been called in and now cannot proceed without a public enquiry.

The by-election in Rochester and Strood last year gave myself and the Green Party a platform to fully inform the people of Medway and further afield about the importance of Lodge Hill as a Site of Special Scientific Importance (SSSI).  We additionally sought the advice of the RSPB to increase our knowledge of the site and saw first hand that in isolation it is of vital importance but when taken in the context of all the SSSIs on both sides of the Thames estuary right out to the north sea and including the Medway estuary it is of national and international importance.

 

In my letter to the Minister, Brandon Lewis (see below) I reminded him that myself, the UKIP candidate and the Conservative candidate had all vehemently opposed this development and that collectively we had over 81% of the vote in the by-election, an election where Lodge Hill was one of 2 main local issues, and that this represented a total rejection of the project by local people.

 

Although this is a major victory, we need to be aware that the Minister may simply be insuring that this matter does not create controversy prior to the General Election in May.  It is important that we continue to apply pressure to both Medway Council and the government to now confine this vile project to the scrap-heap.

The Medway Green Party backed by the Green Party nationally therefore call on Medway Council to abandon this project and ensure the protection of this site as a vital national and international site of scientific importance.  Medway should be celebrating and promoting our amazing environment.  The Hoo peninsula as a whole is of vital importance to all the people of the South East of England and we call on Medway Council to declare the entire peninsula an area of vital importance to Medway and a no go zone for developers.

In addition to joining others in highlighting the vital importance of the site environmentally, we have spoken out about the likely failure of this project in addressing Medway’s housing needs.  We’ve made the people of Medway realise that a project on this scale, not only is wrong for the proposed area but will likely expand the population of Medway by creating homes for people being priced out of London.  We think a project of this type may well make Medway’s housing problems worse.  Along with the Green Party’s national policy (to build 500,000 low rentable properties) we call on Medway Council to look primarily to build truly affordable rented housing for those in desperate need currently in hostels or temporary accommodaton or worse, preferrably by making use of empty housing stock sites and other total brownfield sites.

For now, let’s celebrate this important decision from the Minister and appreciate that he’s made the right decision.

As there’s a General Election brewing I don’t think it would be inappropriate for me to say that the best way to protect this site for all time is to vote for me – vote Green.  The voters know without doubt that unlike others in the race, I’ll never change my mind on this issue, or go with the flow – this is our world we’re campaigning to protect, not a political system.  We’ll always oppose this development and we will continue the fight until it is finally scrapped.

 

Clive Gregory – Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Rochester and Strood

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