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Sailing club used by Medway and Gravesend Sea Scouts plea to halt plans for shallower lake

A sailing club fears losing its home if plans to fill parts of a lake go ahead.

Brett Aggregates’ plan to infill sections of Alpha Lake in Cliffe, which is used by Medway and Gravesend Sea Scouts, is being billed as “ecological enhancement” which would see the creation of a shallower lake dotted with islands.

Ideal for birds and invertebrates perhaps, but not so good for Blue Circle Sailing Club who fear the plan would result in the loss of their home of 60 years.

Families enjoyed an Olympic-themed event at Blue Circle Sailing Club in Cliffe
Families enjoyed an Olympic-themed event at Blue Circle Sailing Club in Cliffe

Blue Circle Sailing Club chairman David Crowhurst has written to object, saying the club has served the sailing community since 1956 and that the lake – listed as part of the South Thames Estuary and Marshes SSI – has been judged to be in good condition by English Nature.

“We are worried to be told our landlord is planning to accept tunnel spoils and similar materials to drastically shallow the lake over a period of years, the site then becoming a habitat for birds and invertebrates,” he wrote.

“The existing RSPB reserves close to us are a welcome feature but we do not see a compelling case for extending them when the alternative is to continue a human activity that promotes important skills and a healthy open-air life.”

He added: “We note that the Screening/Scoping Option request on behalf of Brett Aggregates makes no mention of the longstanding and continuing use of the lake by this club. That is a most regrettable oversight.”

He pointed out there were only five other inland water sailing clubs in Kent, and that the lake was the only one convenient to the Medway Towns.

Its loss would be “significantly harmful” he said, adding: “We shall resist it to the best of our abilities.”

Other objectors have written to Medway Council’s planning department, including Mr R A Colver, who said the lake was also used by the Medway and Gravesend Sea Scouts.

He called the loss of the lake “a disaster,” and said: “The material which Bretts wants to infill the lake should be used to reinforce much needed sea defences.

“It is folly to waste this material as an infill in this way.”

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