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Latest plans for Hoo HIF development

Extensive plans on how a council wants to create new neighbourhoods, including a "green town", have been set out.

Medway Council is currently devising how it will spend £170 million from the government's Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) to support the construction of 10,600 homes on Hoo over 30 years.

Map showing the six neighbourhoods planned for the Hoo Peninsula as part of Medway Council's HIF project. Picture: Medway Council
Map showing the six neighbourhoods planned for the Hoo Peninsula as part of Medway Council's HIF project. Picture: Medway Council

The authority has unveiled a 116-page document, revolving around the building of six neighbourhoods by expanding the existing villages of Hoo St Werburgh, High Halstow and Chattenden.

The document predicts that by 2055, Hoo St Werburgh will be a "green town" taking inspiration from the garden cities' model and emphasising "green infrastructure".

This would involve creating a series of new linked community parks spanning a total of 300 hectares – the equivalent of two Regents' parks – as well as pedestrian and cycling links.

The plans also detail how "blue infrastructure" would see the creation of new water courses to help with drainage and new wetland habitats.

Some of the new services proposed include a healthy living centre, a new sports centre with a pool and gym, and an "improved" Walter Brice Centre, a base for rehabilitation in Tilley Close, Hoo.

Thousands of homes will be build over the coming decades
Thousands of homes will be build over the coming decades

The document also says there would be two new primary schools with two-form entry, and a new eight-form entry secondary school.

Chattenden Primary School could be relocated and expanded by one form; High Halstow Primary Academy could also be expanded by one form, as could Hoo St Werburgh Primary School . The expansion of Hundred of Hoo Primary Academy is currently underway.

The authority previously revealed plans for four community parklands, one of which is proposed to be created at the former Deangate Ridge Golf Club, which has been the subject of campaigns to shield it from future development.

The framework sets out how some of the land south of the new park could become "low density" housing.

It adds: "Deangate Ridge Sports Complex has the potential to be redeveloped for community purposes, while the site at the north-east corner of the Peninsula Way/Dux Court Road roundabout could be considered for employment uses that relate to the local agricultural industry."

The council has also decided to go forward with plans for a new, single platform rail station at Sharnal Street, delivering a battery-powered service to Gravesend.

Several different options for London-bound services were explored, but a connection to the rest of Medway was quickly dismissed because stakeholders, including Southeastern, concluded there was not enough demand.

Deangate Ridge Indoor Bowling Green
Deangate Ridge Indoor Bowling Green

The council's deadline for the proposed interventions to be in place is March 2025. Applications for the £86 million road and £63 million rail changes are expected to come forward next spring.

Last year, as part of the HIF plans, the council granted permission to itself for a new park between Chattenden and Vicarage Lane in Hoo, which will be called Cockham Community Parkland.

Cabinet members will be asked on Tuesday whether to open a seven-week consultation from Monday, August 15, which will also include a series of public exhibitions.

The report presented to councillors states: "The Local Plan is not yet sufficiently developed that it can be brought to cabinet.

"Homes England have granted the HIF monies on the basis that they ‘forward fund’ infrastructure that will facilitate housing within the timescale of this government funding cycle.

Cllr Alan Jarrett
Cllr Alan Jarrett

"As a result, the programme for delivery of the infrastructure to unlock that funding is a challenging one and one that cannot wait.

"It therefore needs to progress in advance of the publication and adoption of the Local Plan."

Council leader Cllr Alan Jarrett (Con) said: “Thanks to the hard work of our teams across the council we have developed a comprehensive long-term sustainable vision.

"Our aim has always been to put the right infrastructure in the right places to support the communities and protect the green spaces on the Peninsula for everyone to enjoy.

“We have been tasked by the government with delivering 1,675 homes a year, requiring us to find land for 28,475 homes over the next 17 years.

"We recognise that housing is an emotive issue for many people on the Peninsula, and elsewhere in Medway.

"We know there are concerns over new homes on the Peninsula and are confident the Hoo Development Framework will allay many of them and demonstrate our commitment to creating sustainable communities on Hoo.”

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