iFAQ: Peninsula national park?

Following recent debates over the amount of development on the peninsula area of Medway, Cllr Ron Sands has proposed that the area should be designated a National Park. An interesting idea, we decided to email a range of political voices – other councillors, former councillors for the area, and other parties – to gauge their support for the idea.

Cllr Sands has recently proposed the designation of the Peninsula as a National Park. Do you believe this would be a positive development for the area?

As usual, we told all of them that we would publish their responses unedited. You can find them below in the order they were received.

We fully support Cllr Sands proposal and feel that this will be extremely positive for the Peninsula and Medway as a whole.  Medway Green Party feel that rather than exploit the Peninsula, which is rich in biodiversity it should be preserved, especially now that the council has declared a Climate Emergency.  We feel that Medway Council should be 100% behind Cllr Sands’ proposal and should go a step further by ensuring safe access between all of our Nature Reserves and Country Parks to include cycle routes, walking routes, accessible routes and bus routes.  “Why would we want to repeat the mistakes of the last century, for example spending millions of pounds on highway infrastructure, to turn a stunningly beautiful part of our area into sprawling car dependant suburbs, when the Hoo Peninsula should be declared a National Park.” An excerpt from Medway Green Party’s response to Medway Council’s Local Plan consultation. Our full response can be found here.
Medway Green Party

Thanks for the coverage. http://ronsands.co.uk/should-the-peninsula-be-a-national-park
Cllr Ron Sands, Independent, Peninsula

The Penisula has wonderful historic villages and countryside including government-designated SSSI sites (Sites of Special Scientific Interest)  which Medway Council and predatory housing developers wish to destroy in the name of profit. The Peninsula is the green lung of Medway countryside which everyone living in Medway, Kent and Britain should enjoy and is the reason why we are asking everyone to support Cllr Ron Sands in his proposal that the Peninsula be designated a National Park.
The many villages of Hoo Peninsula are reached by the Peninsula Highway A228 and bordered by the Rivers Medway and Thames and protected by Estuary and Marshes SSS1 to ensure they can be enjoyed by everyone and those visiting the isolated but beautiful small beaches at Grain and Allhallows. 
Say Goodbye to Peninsula Green Fields   The people living on the Peninsula are welcoming and very proud to ensure residents and visitors driving along the Peninsula Highway A228 will continue to be greeted by green fields with cows and sheep and cornfields waving in the wind. Medway Council wants to destroy this landscape with plans to turn Hoo Village into a ‘rural town’ and spend 170 million pounds on a new railway line, a new road and promote the building of 12,000 new houses by private predatory developers who will just walk away after scarring local farmland and landscapes. No account is being taken of climate change which is likely to increase the risk of flooding on the Peninsula. The many existing underground springs and clay soil on the Peninsula make the land unsuitable for development. Yes we all agree there is a severe housing crisis caused by the government not building homes to meet the needs of an increasing population but this proposed high level of  capital grant money from Government to Medway Council to support the Local Plan would surely be better-directed at the urgent regeneration of Chatham and Gillingham and the very many abandoned sites in Medway begging to be used for housing instead of rubbish sites and collecting weeds.   
Ever-Increasing Levels of Pollution –  Medway Council  Does Not Care Air Pollution Is Harming the Health of Residents or Visitors.
Medway Council does not care that in excess of 2,000 new homes already built on the Peninsula are generating 14 thousand additional car journeys per day without taking into account the substantial increase in HGVs and van traffic from new commercial developments at Kingsnorth approved by Medway Council.  The additional Nitrogen Dioxide from these vehicles is injuring the health of residents and is contrary to the legal requirements set out in the Four Elms Air Quality Management Area (AQMA). Medway Council is also ‘silent’ and burying their heads in the sand over 12,000 new houses proposed under the Local Plan to be built on the Peninsula by 2035 that will produce 84,000 polluting NEW CAR JOURNEYS PER DAY. The Peninsula Highway currently looks like the M25 at all times of the day now and residents are not being told the dangers of current increasing levels of Nitrogen Dioxide measured at Four Elms AQMA which is injuring the health of parents and their children.
Please Visit and Enjoy the Hoo Peninsula  Please visit and walk the Peninsula Saxon Way footpath and enjoy the River Medway and the Thames SSSI protected shorelines and visit the remote  Grain and Allhallows beaches.  Please also visit our many villages and our wonderful old churches.  The Medway Local Plan intends to destroy the Peninsula and the Peninsula unique countryside in the name of profit and I would ask everyone to support the Peninsula becoming a National Park as proposed by Cllr Ron Sands for our children and future generations of Medway and Britain to enjoy. 
The UKIP manifesto would protect the Peninsula and the health of residents and visitors so I am looking forward to the reigns of power being taken away from those currently in charge of Medway Council.
Roy Freshwater, former Peninsula councillor, UKIP

I think designation of the whole peninsula would be extremely unlikely, however designations like Ramsar for specific parts of the peninsula are absolutely appropriate.
Cllr Vince Maple, Medway Labour Leader

We received no response to this question from Medway Conservative councillors for the Peninsula, Strood Rural, or the leadership of the party. We also received no response from independent Peninsula councillor Mick Pendergast.

Here we go again: The Political Medway is a volunteer run website attempting to cover politics in Medway from an independent point of view. As we approach yet another General Election, there’s lots of things we’d like to cover, but we only have a finite amount of resources. If you appreciate what we do, please consider making a one-off or monthly contribution via our Ko-fi page. The more money raised, the more coverage we can provide, so every little bit really does help. Thanks.

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