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  • medway 5 point plan
    Article: Jan 26, 2022
    By Stuart Bourne for Medway Liberal Democrats

    Medway Liberal Democrats are shocked but unsurprised by Council Leader Alan Jarrett's comments at January's full council meeting. He failed to mention the climate emergency in his speech, when pressed on its absence, he said 'Putting [climate change measures] in place, it's not like flipping a switch, it's going to be a long process.' This is another example of this Conservative administration not giving the climate emergency the priority it needs.

  • Gallery: Jan 23, 2022
  • City Status
    Article: Jan 17, 2022
    By Alan Wells for Medway Liberal Democrats

    Medway Council acknowledged in October that they required more time to consider the draft Local Plan, taking the decision to defer the submission of plan. The Council now faces time constraints to publish the Local Plan and whether the Plan meets legal requirements, and positively prepared and consistent with national policy.

    Liberal Democrats now say that time is running out for the Local Plan. We say that preparing a plan with further work, even before it can progress to Regulation 19 consultation, and stand up to examination in public, is now a matter of urgency.

    John Castle, Chair of Medway Liberal Democrats said " There is now a need and urgency to bring the plan forward. Time is now running on progressing the Local Plan. The public should never have been presented with an incomplete plan - which includes plans to redevelop Chatham Docks, decide how to spend the £170 million HIF (Housing Infrastructure Fund) for rail and road improvements to support 12,000 homes on the Hoo Peninsula."

    "The Council has throughout this process failed on promises about timescales, and now faces the prospect of not been able to deliver on a very tight timescale presented by Government and to have one in place by the end of 2023. The next council meeting is in January, it would go out to consultation for eight weeks after that, and then go to examination in public which can take up to a year or longer"

    "The Council's position on the Local Plan is that of continued delays with not only January looking unlikely, but April starting to look in doubt as well, and risks leaving insufficient time to get through Regulation 19 and examination in public before the deadline for the government to impose a plan passes."

  • HIF - Second Round
    Article: Jan 17, 2022
    By Alan Wells for Medway Liberal Democrats

    Liberal Democrats believe that there is a strong case for re-introducing a rail passenger service to Grain on the Hoo Peninsula. Currently, travel time from the Peninsula to Medway's urban areas and beyond is only accessible by car, contributing to pollution and road congestion. Why not offer the opportunity for those who live in the nearby villages to board and leave the trains local to where they live by the extension of passenger services to Grain and the villages in-between.

    The Council's planned interchange option at Gravesend to link to locations across Medway, which we have criticised, calls into question the sustainability of the development if there is an over reliance on cars. The absence of the Higham Curve, preventing a train service covering Hoo and the rest of the Medway Towns, shows a lack of ambition meaning that a service extension to Thamesport and Grain being written off.

    It would make greater sense if instead of terminating at Gravesend, the line was routed and connected to the Southbound track utilising open land to the South of the track. Passengers could interchange at Higham Station to travel Westbound towards London and the train service could continue to the Medway towns

    We have recommended that the loop near Cooling includes a station. The trains will stop there, adding a station would allow the nearby villages of Cooling, Cliffe and Cliffe Woods to board and alight there. We are in favour of the HIF and the railway scheme but with a rail link to the Medway Towns directly. If there is no direct rail link between Hoo and the Medway Towns, the likelihood is people are just going to keep on using their cars.

    The current proposal for a bimodal, diesel link between Hoo and Northfleet is not compatible with the objectives of a rail link or the climate emergency declared by Medway Council. The line should be electrified and allow direct connections to London and the Medway Towns.

  • HIF - Second Round
    Article: Jan 17, 2022
    By Alan Wells for Medway Liberal Democrats

    Liberal Democrats found the Council's handling of the 'HIF, New Routes to Growth consultation' flawed and we found parts of the consultation not fit for purpose after highlighting a list of serious issues. The consultation appears to have been rushed due to the need to allocate money to a deadline. In particular the consultants for the railway section changed since previous rounds and we understand that cost saving was a factor in this decision.

  • HIF - Second Round
    Article: Jan 17, 2022
    By Alan Wells for Medway Liberal Democrats

    Liberal Democrats are calling on the Council to retain and protect the whole of Deangate Ridge, stressing its importance to the social wellbeing and social interest of the local community.

    Deangate is a natural area next to to Lodge Hill which is the only protected SSSI site in the country for breeding Nightingales; designated after a national campaign led by the RSPB and the local community. Retention of Deangate free from development, roads and traffic would further protect and enhance the rich biodiversity of Lodge Hill.

    The Council's planned spur "relief" road from a new roundabout on Peninsula Way, is not needed and if went ahead would effectively destroy the western end of Deangate and split it in two. Medway Council will not release the traffic assessment to justify the road. It is clearly linked to proposals to develop Deangate with luxury housing, described in the plan as "Parkland living".

    John Castle, Chair of Medway Liberal Democrats said "We have proposed that specific plans should be drawn up, using money allocated to the environment budget in the Housing Infrastructure Fund, for a Country Park at Deangate. This would act as a buffer to Lodge Hill, which is the only protected SSSI site in the country for breeding Nightingales, and would be a continuation of a green wildlife corridor connecting the two. A Country Park at Deangate would protect and enhance the rich biodiversity of Lodge Hill, as well as Deangate itself.

    Deangate belongs to the people of the Hoo Peninsula, and we feel that Deangate's future should be at the heart of any future development in Hoo. That is why we are calling for the scrapping of the pointless relief road through Deangate, and instead use the land to create a Deangate country park. A park that will not only protect the wildlife to the north, but will be a green oasis for the growing community in Hoo.

    Liberal Democrats believe a section of Deangate could be allocated for the provision of allotments to local residents where need is identified. The popularity of allotments is currently again very popular, and we believe there is currently a waiting list for allotments in Medway."

    'Deangate already acts as a Country Park with residents demonstrating the need to protect the whole Deangate Ridge Golf Club and Sports Complex as an asset, by their continued and extensive use of the site for recreation. Deangate Ridge Community Partnership succeeded in registered as an Asset of Community Value ("ACV") a recognition of its importance to the social wellbeing and social interest of the local community' - KM Online quote

    Liberal Democrats want to stress that we are not opposed to the Hoo development, but the area of Deangate clearly shows that it plays a vital role in the community, providing an essential wildlife sanctuary and an area for public recreation acting as a treasured green lung for local residents.

    ENDS

  • National Holocaust Day 27th Jan 2022
    Article: Jan 13, 2022
    By Alan Wells/Paul O'neil for Medway liberal democrats

    Thursday 27th January 2022 marks the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp, every year on that day Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) takes place, a day that will give an opportunity for people from our towns and across the country to reflect on the tragic events of the Holocaust and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

  • SPLASHES3
    Article: Jan 12, 2022
    By Stuart Bourne for Medway Liberal Democrats

    Medway Liberal Democrats are pleased that the demolition has finally begun on the Splashes leisure centre in Rainham after a large delay. Though it is sad to see a place that has given so many happy memories to a lot of Medway residents, the demolition is the first stage of Medway Councils new project to replace Splashes with a new leisure pool after the original building was found to be unsafe.

  • A229 Bluebell Hill
    Article: Nov 24, 2021
    By Alan Wells for Medway Liberal Democrats

    Medway Council is failing, as shown in the draft local plan to deliver sustainable transport solutions for Medway. Medway Liberal Democrats say that the Local Plan in an attempt to provide services and support for extra homes at Frindsbury and Hoo is almost entirely made up from unsustainable transport projects.

  • Rochester HS
    Article: Nov 24, 2021
    By Alan Wells for Medway Liberal Democrats

    *pic by Alan Wells

    Small Business Saturday 2021 is on 4th December, and local Liberal Democrats recognise that this is an excellent opportunity to promote small businesses and to celebrate the contribution smaller businesses make to Medway's economy. We believe that Small Businesses are the heart and soul of Medway's high streets, it is only by supporting our local independent businesses that we can also help our local high streets to thrive.