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Upset at 'flyover' which is part of £170m Hoo Peninsula redevelopment

Hundreds of residents feel they have "had the wool pulled over their eyes" over major plans to improve road and rail links.

A booklet sent out in mid-December shows a "road" connecting slip roads as part the Wainscott bypass improvements to support a massive housing scheme on the Hoo Peninsula.

Map showing the location of the proposed flyover at Wainscott
Map showing the location of the proposed flyover at Wainscott

But in a 64-page consultation document published online, it shows as an "overbridge" which they say would overshadow homes in Wainscott and disrupt their lives.

Homeowners and protestors describe the flyover as a "monstrosity" which would cause unnecessary noise, pollution and be used as a rat run.

Other concerns include drops in property prices and loss of rural land.

The development on the peninsula follows the awarding of a £170 million government Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) grant to Medway Council.

Debbie Hughes, of Higham Road, said: "We have been kept in the dark, had the wool pulled over our eyes.

Campaigner Sharron Atkins with her leaflet
Campaigner Sharron Atkins with her leaflet

"We are in a nice country lane surrounded by prime agricultural land. This would be a monstrosity if it went ahead.

"The consultation and leaflet documents are misleading and are not showing the true picture of what this is going to look like.

"I know we can't have a public meeting at the moment but we need a model to see what we can expect. At the moment it is very confusing."

Sharron Atkins, of Grant Road, has leafleted 500 households to lobby support.

She said: "The 'new road' is actually an elevated flyover, which will blight the houses of around 300 people.

Flyover could be built near the Jeal family home
Flyover could be built near the Jeal family home

The 'improvements' to Islingham Farm Road will be the removal of green spaces of family walking areas.

"The devaluation of these houses will have a knock-on effect to the whole of Wainscott, which already lags behind parts of Medway in house price stability.

"Also, the widened new road that will join the flyover to Hoo will become a rat run as drivers use it to cut a very small corner."

The commercial director added: "The concept of consultancy seems to have been thrown out.

"None of the Higham/Islingham Farm residents got a leaflet before Christmas and they are the ones most affected. The new version is only being promoted on an online version and not everyone has seen that. "

Residents Sally and Rob Jeal
Residents Sally and Rob Jeal

Sally and Rob Jeal have brought up their seven children in Islingham Farm Road.

Rob, 54, said: "We moved here because it is a pocket of tranquillity. We look out onto the fields and we became part of village life after moving from Croydon."

The couple, who have lived there for 25 years, were surprised only to hear about the revised plans on social media.

Rob said: "It's going to be horrendous. I'm looking outside at a 150-year-old oak tree and now I could have a concrete flyover in my back garden."

Dad Phil Robinson is fearful of walking his young family over a stretch with HGVs passing by, many to the Amazon depot at Kingsnorth Industrial Estate.

Medway Council's Chatham headquarters
Medway Council's Chatham headquarters

The 45-year-old said: "This has been ill-thought out and ill-communicated. It would cause massive disruption for very little gain.

"We moved here for the outlook on to the fields and for safety and now that could all go. There would be an increase of HGV traffic on residential roads."

The council's proposal is for two slip roads, with the London-bound one initially going over the A289 before it joins the dual carriageway.

The Medway-bound carriageway has an off-slip. In the proposal they both join at Higham Road - which is an existing bridge.

The HIF leaflet summarises the road proposals and the more detailed HIF brochure sets out the road proposals in more detail, including plan showing the various components of the Higham Road junction.

'It's going to be horrendous. I'm looking outside at a 150-year-old oak tree and now I could have a concrete flyover in my back garden...'

Overall proposals include a new road linking the A289 to the A228, improvements to the junctions along the Peninsula Way and a new rail passenger service connecting to London and stations across Medway.

Modifications planned for the A289 include providing new slip roads to Higham Road, plus widening and improvements to Islingham Farm Road and Woodfield Way.

It would mean drivers on the A289 could leave at this junction to access Hoo rather than continue onto the Four Elms Roundabout, and, when travelling towards the M2/A2 they would be able to use the new road rather than continue to the Four Elms Roundabout.

There is also a proposed new relief road from Upchat Roundabout on Woodfield Way, connecting to an improved Main Road, Hoo junction and new slip roads on the A289 from Islingham Farm Road.

Council leader Cllr Alan Jarrett (Con) didn't directly address the residents' concerns.

Medway Council leader Alan Jarrett
Medway Council leader Alan Jarrett

He said: “The public now has an opportunity to give their feedback on the planned improvement works.

"We understand how important it is to provide residents with new routes to good growth and the substantial funding we have received will enable us to significantly improve transport links before potential new homes are developed.

"We are committed to ensuring the right transport links and facilities are put in place before new homes are provided to meet local demand and the government’s challenging housing target."

Details of the plans, can be seen here. The consultation ends on March 7.

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