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An extraordinary leaflet published by UKIP alleges Medway Council's deputy planning chair tore up the rule book by prejudging the planning application for the Chattenden and Lodge Hill SSSI. It also claims the government flouted rules by promising it would not 'call in' the application even before the planning committee met and prior to the lodging of any of the objections, when it was impossible to know what those objections might be. (13/Oct/2014)
Last month Medway Council approved plans for a new town of 5,000 houses in the middle of a bird sanctuary at Lodge Hill. Chattenden, Hoo, High Halstow and Cliffe Woods could, with this become almost one conurbation. However, the decision still had to be approved by government.

Mark Reckless, the RSPB and many local residents petitioned the government to 'call in" the decision and have it reconsidered by a planning Inspector. This is justified because the country's whole system for protecting the environment will be undermined if building is allowed in this Site of Special Scientific Interest that is home to the UK'S largest nightingale colony.

It appears however that Conservatives in government have secretly told Medway's Conservative council that Lodge Hill already has the green light.

Strood Rural Councillor Peter Rodberg recalls that on Monday 29th September Alan Jarrett, Deputy Leader of Medway informed a closed meeting of Conservative councillors that the
TORY STITCH-UP ON LODGE HILL
government had agreed to support Lodge Hill and wouid not 'call in' the planning permission. Councillor Rodberg said:

"To approve 5,000 houses at Lodge Hill and talk about shifting the nightingales to Essex is ridiculous. After they told us government and council had reached a secret deal. I recall that Peter Hicks. Deputy Chair of Planning and a Strood Rural Councillor then said we should all keep this quiet until after the election. That was the last straw for me."

Councillor Rodberg has now given up on the Conservatives and is Joining UKJP to fight Lodge Hill. Peninsula Councillor Chris Irvlne has also left the Conservatives stating that the Lodge Hill decision was a "death sentence for our communities",

Medway Council has failed to agree a Local Plan and their Lodge Hill decision may be overturned by the courts. This means that other applications to develop our countryside are at greater risk of being approved. Landowners have submitted bids for where they would like to cash in by concreting over our green fields.

(13/Oct/2014)