Published: 14:20, 30 June 2021
| Updated: 15:55, 30 June 2021
Campaigners against a development at a former recreation centre are taking their fight to parliament.
A petition has been launched in response to plans which people say could endanger the Deangate site at Dux Court Road, Hoo, which includes a former golf club and sports complex.
KMTV reported on the campaign
The proposals form part of Medway Council's initial vision for how it will spend £170 million from the government's Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) which centres around building 12,000 homes, a new railway station, and making Hoo St Werburgh a rural town.
A petition will be presented in parliament by MP Kelly Tolhurst who says she will be making the case against the plans at the end of July.
The petition also urges the government to step in to ensure Deangate is developed as an asset for the local community such as a country park.
Although the Deangate Community Partnership successfully petitioned to have the land designated as an Asset of Community Value, this expires in April 2023.
Within the council's consultation document published at the end of last year, a relief road is proposed to pass through a southern section of Deangate linking Upchat roundabout to the Main Road Hoo roundabout.
The petition also opposes plans for a flyover from the A289 Hasted Road, linking it to Higham Road, which campaigners say will affect people living in Wainscott.
They also argue the plans would destroy wildlife, including the protected site at Lodge Hill, Chattenden, the UK's most important home for nightingales.
George Crozer campaigned against the closure of Deangate Ridge Golf Club in 2018 and is the chairman of Deangate Community Partnership as well as High Halstow Parish Council.
Speaking about the response from residents since the petition launched last weekend, he said: "They're really surprised, people say, 'What road through Deangate?' and 'What's this about a flyover, where is the flyover?'
"They know that there's a Local Plan on its way, I don't think a lot of people know what it is – and they all have heard of the £170 million for the HIF bid, but I think that's about it.
"The more people get informed it becomes a really emotive subject and certainly Deangate – because it's owned by the council which is owned by the people – for the council to shut it down and want to develop it, it's just something that's not very palatable.
"As a Peninsula we can take more houses, each of the villages can take a few of the houses; we don't want to double the size of Hoo, we don't want to double the size of High Halstow, but we understand we need houses there."
Speaking about the plans for the HIF development, Cllr Ron Sands (Ind), said: "In my estimation, a town will have a police station, it will have banks, it would have a shopping centre, it will have proper medical care, but there's none of that in the plan, all of it is houses.
"We do need a new road, we do need some housing, but we don't need 12,000 houses."
Another petition signed by around 3,000 people calling for the protection of the land was presented to Medway Council earlier this year.
The local authority responded by saying the future use of the land will form part of its emerging Local Plan which is expected to be published in draft in September, and responses to the consultation which ran earlier this year are being analysed.
Medway Council was contacted but didn't provide a comment.
To find out more about the current petition – which can only be signed by paper – click here. The deadline is Friday, July 16.