Following the appalling decision by Medway Council’s planning committee to green-light development at Lodge Hill on the Hoo Peninsula, there is now a clear and present danger not just to Lodge Hill and, as a result, other potential sites for development on and around the Hoo Peninsula, but also nationally if Medway Council is allowed to drive a coach and horses through the regime which protects Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) such as Lodge Hill.
I am asking you to take five minutes of your time to help me convince the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, to call in this decision for further examination. The deadline is midnight on 25th September 2014.
Medway Council’s decision, announced on 4 September – two days after we successfully won the battle against the Mayor of London’s proposals to concrete over the Hoo Peninsula, will directly destroy 144 hectares of the SSSI, one of the largest losses of a SSSI since the Wildlife and Countryside Act came into force in 1981. The decision is in direct conflict with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
Lodge Hill is a protected site and one of the most important ones in the country for nightingales with around 84 pairs of nightingales present on the site. There has been a rapid decline in nightingale numbers, up to half of the population has been lost in the past two decades. Lodge Hill is one of those rare environments in which the birds are apparently thriving, though nobody, including the RSPB, is quite sure why.
It was therefore hugely disappointing when Medway Council’s planning committee decided to ignore expert advice and the strong views of local residents and ward councillors in approving the Outline Planning Application. Particularly galling is the fact that many of the councillors sitting on the committee that evening, none of whom were from the Hoo Peninsula, had already hypocritically stated their commitment to doing all they could to stop homes being built on land at Capstone Valley which does not enjoy the same level of environmental protection as Lodge Hill.
I believe the council’s decision is simply not credible and I intend to fight it.
But I need your help
I need you to join me and thousands of others in writing to the Secretary of State, asking him to ‘call in’ Medway Council’s decision. You can do so in your own words by directly emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively the RSPB has set up an online form which you can access by clicking here.
The future of our rural communities and the unique environment on the Hoo Peninsula is under threat. Join me and act now before it’s too late!