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Medway Liberal Democrats say they want to protect Capstone Valley from development

May 22, 2020 10:33 AM
By Medway Liberal Democrats - Alan Wells
Medway Liberal Democrats have submitted responses to the council, outlining why we are against the proposed development to build 450 housing units on Capstone Valley. Hailed as Medway's green lung, an area of outstanding natural beauty and valued landscape would be destroyed, having a detrimental impact on the local bio-diversity and habitats.
Vivienne Parker, Chairperson for Medway Liberal Democrats said "Capstone Valley is an important wildlife corridor bringing the countryside into the centre of our towns. It is also an important arable area and building here sends the message that houses are more important than food at a time in the current climate when food imports are likely to be badly affected by Brexit".
While we accept the need for additional housing, particularly affordable housing, it must be in the right places. Medway is rich in brownfield areas and these are the sites that need to be rejuvenated for housing as there is a good provision of infrastructure, especially public transport links. The Capstone Valley development does not take into account that without alternative transport options, local car journeys would increase and congestion would impact upon the highway network surrounding the area.
We acknowledge the developmental pressures that face the Medway Towns and the need for new housing, but the proposals to build new housing stock on Capstone Park would open the floodgates to develop parcels of open, green land across Medway.
The Medway Green Belt of land around Capstone, Darland and the Coney Banks are a vital asset for everyone and in these challenging times, having access to an open rural environment is much valued by Medway's urban population for recreation and a means to escape from the towns.
By not adopting a coherent, credible Local Plan which gives clear guidance on where to build sufficient housing to meet government targets, the council is ignoring instruction to develop 'brown build' sites as opposed to Green Belt sites. Developers and local authorities must gain an accurate understanding of the strong local opposition to these types of housing developments and find solutions that address the challenges.
We are calling on the council to refrain from any activities which could facilitate a development of this kind and to adopt instead a plan to help protect Medway's environment and simultaneously improve the quality and quantity of new residential developments to stimulate regeneration in our town centres.
Additional notes for Editors:
The revised National Planning Policy Framework sets out government's planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.