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'Lib Dems candidate for Princes Park by-election wants to protect Medway's green spaces'

August 6, 2021 9:37 AM
By Medway Liberal Democrats - Alan Wells/John Castle

Riverside country parkLocal Liberal Democrats have vigorously [successfully ] campaigned to protect Medway's environment and recently have opposed developments on orchards located in Lower Rainham and rural land in Capstone Valley.

We want to protect these spaces as a vital local asset for everyone and call on the Council to improve environmental standards in our towns. Adopting a coherent, credible Local Plan would help protect the surrounding environment against developments of this nature, by building on 'brown build' sites as opposed to destroying Green Belt sites.

John Castle, Lib Dems candidate for the upcoming Princes Park by-election said " We recognise the need for new housing, but it must be in the right location, where there is a good provision of infrastructure. Concentrating developments in areas with good bus and rail links and provide decent cycling and pedestrian walks will reduce car usage.

Recent proposed developments will have a devastating impact and drastically change the face of our rural areas. A Local Development Plan must protect our environment against such developments, giving clear guidance on where to build sufficient housing to meet government targets and simultaneously improving the quality and quantity of new residential development that will stimulate regeneration in our town centres.

Liberal Democrats want to preserve open spaces around our towns, giving the local community space for leisure and recreation, without causing harm to Medway's most sensitive wildlife habitats and species. We would improve the connectivity of habitats to provide robust ecological networks and provide new allotments on 'brown build' sites to provide for an increased population. Medway's parks and green are vital resources for us all, bringing our communities together and benefitting our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

During lockdown in Medway, it's been tremendous to see families getting outdoors together, around our towns' countryside, and when able, exercising with friends. People around Medway and Kent are talking about what they've seen in their local area or done in their gardens. Making space for and living with nature is possible; it's been great to see and hear people recognising the benefits for their mental health and wellbeing; taking more exercise and enjoying the wildlife within the built environment. This should become our new normal.

Liberal Democrats want to secure the provision of Medway's green infrastructure, fully supporting adaptation to climate change, improving flood management and prevention, and improving urban air quality as well as providing other important benefits which underpin sustainable economic growth.

We recognise that there has been local environmental progress, with Coney Banks being given 'village green' status in Horsted Valley, and the planting of over 13,000 trees in our area, and the creation of an urban forest which represents a serious innovation taking place in Medway. However, for all the progress that has been made, there is still undoubtedly more to be done.

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

John Castle - Princes Park Candidate

John is an experienced campaigner for Medway Liberal Democrats. John has a strong understanding of social justice and campaigned to reinstate a mental health unit in Medway. He is also actively campaigning on a number of issues, including the environment, homelessness issues and campaigning on air quality issues.

John has been a member of the Liberal Democrats since 2011 and has held several positions and is currently the Chair. John has stood for council twice previously in 2015 and 2019.

QUOTE:

"I know first hand that traffic related issues getting in and out of the ward can be a daily challenge for residents. These traffic issues contribute to the air quality issues seen across Medway. I know that the Council can do better on air quality. I believe in and campaign for the protection of greenspaces. The Conservatives are also letting developers have the whip hand. It's time to improve Medway, better is possible."

  • Lived in Medway for the last 15 years, having grown up in Banbury, Oxfordshire

  • Studied computer science at Coventry University, leading to a 25 year career as a software engineer

  • Passionate about music, playing guitar and bass as a hobby. He is a keen traveller and enjoys visiting new countries