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Objectors face defeat on 200 homes bid in Hoo

By Jade Edwards

Plans for hundreds of new homes in Medway will be discussed by councillors on Wednesday night, as pressure increases to meet housing targets.

A developer wants to build 232 homes in land off of Ratcliffe Highway, at the junction with Bells Lane, Hoo – but the application has led to hundreds of letters of objection.

Despite concerns about increased traffic and lack of parking, officers have recommended that the blueprints are approved.

The site is part of the disused BAE sports ground, been closed since 2014. There is a bowling green at the top of the site and a Grade II listed Second World War pillbox just outside.

Bellway Homes wants to build 179 houses and 53 flats in six blocks on the land with 529 car parking spaces.

Of these, 29 will be allocated for the bowls club, 312 will be parking for residents, 66 car ports, 29 garage spaces, three disabled, 30 unallocated and 52 visitor spaces. A children’s play area would also be created.

The council has received 427 letters of objection and has received a petition with 106 signatures, objecting to the plans.

Concerns include congestion, existing infrastructure already being at breaking point, loss of countryside and lack of parking in Hoo.

The parish council has also objected to the plans. In a letter to Medway Council it said: “This proposal is just the latest application that has turned this small semi-rural village into what is rapidly becoming the rural town.

“It does not have the required infrastructure such as public transport, employment, over-stretched GP services and extra pressure on our already failing waste water services.

“The particular development has included three-storey buildings which will overlook homes already in the area. They would also destroy the look and feel of Deangate ridgeway.”

Councillors will discuss the plans at a planning committee meeting at Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, on Wednesday, from 6.30pm.

Medway could be forced to accept hundreds more houses every year under government plans to address what it says is the chronic shortage of affordable homes.

The new targets have been condemned by environmental groups and Medway Green Party which have complained bitterly that they will put even more pressure on Kent’s countryside.

Medway Council leader Cllr Alan Jarrett
Medway Council leader Cllr Alan Jarrett

Medway’s council leader Cllr Alan Jarrett said the present targets were already a real stretch, adding: “Increasing this will cause significant difficulties for the local authority.”

Under the government’s plans, Medway would have build 1,665 homes each year, compared to the present target of between 730 and 1,410 – an increase of 23%.

This Wednesday, councillors will also discuss plans to build 90 homes in Station Road, Rainham. They would be a mix of two, three and four bedroom houses on two and three storeys.

An application to build homes on the site was rejected by councillors in July 2014 but the decision was overturned after a public inquiry in December 2015. The new application is recommended for approval.

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