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Campaigners against plans for 1,250 homes in Pump Lane, Rainham, hold a protest picnic

People packed cakes, crisps and 'say no to the housing development' posters for a picnic protest.

Campaigners against plans to build 1,250 homes in green-space off Pump Lane, Rainham, organised the community action.

The group is opposing the proposal submitted by AC Goatham and Sons for a housing estate, primary school, 60-bed extra care facility, a 80-bed care home, a village hall and green including a children’s play area.

Around 60 people went to the orchard between Pump Lane and Lower Bloors Lane to protest against housing development plans. Picture: Steve Crispe. (14405227)
Around 60 people went to the orchard between Pump Lane and Lower Bloors Lane to protest against housing development plans. Picture: Steve Crispe. (14405227)

There were 60 people, meeting, making friends and enjoying the scenery at the protest spot, which was surrounded by orchards and shrubbery.

Picnic organiser and working mum, Sara Spellman, said: "I thought this would be a really good way of getting everyone together to protest but also to appreciate the orchards.

"Everyone who has come along has been really happy, everyone has brought their own picnics, and has talked to each other.

Organiser Sara Spellman with son Sam Benett. Picture: Steve Crispe. (14405223)
Organiser Sara Spellman with son Sam Benett. Picture: Steve Crispe. (14405223)

"It's a community coming together and that's brilliant in itself.

"We've had about 60 people here.

"We also had lots of councillors and the local MP came along.

Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti was not impressed at the housing development plans. Picture: Steve Crispe. (14405233)
Gillingham and Rainham MP Rehman Chishti was not impressed at the housing development plans. Picture: Steve Crispe. (14405233)

"We've set up a committee to see how we can move forward with our protesting and just to make sure our argument against the developers is water-tight.

"The next stages are just more protests and hopefully we can do something a bit more visible, potentially to highlight the traffic problems on the Lower Rainham Road.

One councillor who attended was Mark Prenter (Lab), who represents the neighbouring Twydall ward.

Campaign banners lined the picnic spot at the orchard between Pump Lane and Lower Bloors Lane.Picture: Steve Crispe (14405230)
Campaign banners lined the picnic spot at the orchard between Pump Lane and Lower Bloors Lane.Picture: Steve Crispe (14405230)

He said: "I got here about an hour ago it had a really good community spirit to it.

"There was lots of cakes

"It's really good to see lots of people from different wards, this is Rainham North but there were people from Twydall, and lots of different people coming together.

"People are getting off social media and actually talking face to face, which is good in this day and age.

Orchard between Pump Lane and Lower Bloors Lane..Protest picnic..Picture: Steve Crispe. (14405239)
Orchard between Pump Lane and Lower Bloors Lane..Protest picnic..Picture: Steve Crispe. (14405239)

"It has been a really happy, spirited day."

Cllr Prenter believes the campaign group has done enough to stop the proposal being accepted by Medway Council planning committee.

He said: "The wealth of protest is huge, nearly 3,000 people have made objections on the official Medway Council site.

"As you can see there are lots of protest banners in the Pump Lane area."

One of the main reasons people are against the proposal is it will remove green space and damage wildlife habitat.

Leon Roskilly, who lives in Iversgate Close, Rainham, said: "I enjoy the wildlife of the area.

Orchard between Pump Lane and Lower Bloors Lane..Protest picnic..Picture: Steve Crispe. (14405157)
Orchard between Pump Lane and Lower Bloors Lane..Protest picnic..Picture: Steve Crispe. (14405157)

"I've got hedgehogs and foxes visiting my garden and bats flying in the evening.

"We're going to lose all that. I manage my garden for wildlife but one garden itself can't support very much.

"But we need nature in the area to support the wildlife, which supports us at the end of the day.

Gates, homes and shops have protest banners.Picture: Steve Crispe. (14405159)
Gates, homes and shops have protest banners.Picture: Steve Crispe. (14405159)

"When we get rid of the space for wildlife, we get rid of the space for ourselves."

Previously, those opposing the plans attended a meeting at Holy Trinity Church Hall.

Medway Council planning committee will decide on whether to grant planning permission by the end of September.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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