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Liberal Democrats protect land from development, as Medway Council agrees to 'Village Green' status

June 17, 2020 1:37 PM
By Medway Liberal Democrats/Viv Parker

coney banks, chatham, kentMedway Council have now confirmed that the Coney Banks, Daisy Banks, Barnfield and Bishops Hoath Wood have been given village green status which the area is protected from development for posterity. This is the result of a successful 9-year campaign on the part of local Liberal Democrat, Viv Parker, which started when the Daisy Banks were threatened with being sold and built on.

Obtaining village green status is a lengthy, complicated and often a hard fought legal process as most landowners do not want this designation on their land because it restricts what the land can be used for.

The village green comprises unimproved Downland meadow [very rare] which is full of less common wild flowers including orchids, 29 butterfly species, glow worms, crickets and some less common birds like linnets, whitethroats, tawny owls and sparrow hawks. The area is so important for wild life that the Kent Wildlife Trust have named it as one their local wildlife sites. Only 7% of Kent carries this designation and this site is one of 4 such sites in Medway, the others being the Darland Banks, The Great Lines and Capstone Woods. Alongside there is ancient woodland at Bishops Hoath Wood, there are 2 play areas and 2 football pitches with the entire area being well used by dog walkers, picnickers, the local majorettes and junior football clubs. The area is full of history dating from 5000 years ago to the Second World War when the area was used to train the Home Guard.

Future plans for the area include the introduction of livestock grazing to keep the scrub down and metalling some of the footpaths. The Council have produced a guide to the area marking out various walkways, entry points and car parking areas. Viv is pleased that her application has been approved successfully and said in response, "This development represents social justice in that people in one of the most depressed areas of Medway [Luton & Wayfield] will have access to a high quality wildlife and recreation area and hope that local schools will take advantage of this."

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