81% ‘Overwhelming Rejection’ means Lodge Hill Development Must Be Scrapped

Green Party general election candidate, Clive Gregory, has called on decision-makers to abandon the Lodge Hill housing scheme in light of “overwhelming rejection” by local people.

Clive Gregory, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Rochester and Strood has written to the Leader of Medway Crsz_p1030717 (1)ouncil, Rodney Chambers, and Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis (who replaces Eric Pickles as the minister with responsibility for passing final judgement on the Lodge Hill planning application) calling for the proposal to be totally rejected.

In his letters to the Head of Medway Council and the Minister, Clive Gregory says:

“The recent by-election in Rochester and Strood constituency saw Lodge Hill as one of two main local issues, the other being Medway Maritime hospital.  For the first time the real facts and issues about Lodge Hill were widely and fully debated and this issue was key to the way many voted.  Three party candidates were strongly opposed to the development at Lodge Hill, namely; Mark Reckless, the UKIP candidate and now MP, Kelly Tolhurst, the Conservative candidate and myself, Green Party candidate. All three stood with the policy of rejecting (or at least calling-in) the proposed development at Lodge Hill.  When considered as a percentage of the votes, that is 42.1%, 34.8% and 4.2% respectively – a total of 81.1% of all votes cast.

“Given this overwhelming rejection of the proposal by a now fully informed local people, can the Leader of Medway Council and the Minister of State for Housing and Planning please give me their assurance that this ridiculous proposal be, not just called in but totally rejected.  I don’t need to remind you of the site’s special scientific importance, which should have, in itself, been enough to reject the proposal”.

Mr Gregory has also questioned the nature of the consultation, suggesting that decisions taken by Medway Council’s planning department have been less than democratic. He says:

“It was interesting to note during the debate that, despite Medway Council’s claim that full consultation was entered into, just how few people were aware of the main issues. For the first time in Medway, a fully democratic debate was allowed.  I use the term allowed deliberately, as it has now being brought to my attention that less than fully democratic means were employed to enable the Council to pass the motion approving the development; we’ll be investigating further on this”.

The Green Party, who have been consistently campaigning against the Lodge Hill development for the last 18 months, in contrast with the other two parties who waited until the by-election to speak out, are aiming to protect the whole of the Hoo Peninsula.  Clive Gregory says:

“We believe that the environmental impact will be devastating and that the peninsula that Lodge Hill edges onto, in its entirety, is a special environment that needs to be protected from development of all kinds.  We will be working even more closely with national and local environmental protection and pressure groups to ensure its protection in the months and years ahead”.

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