Medway Council’s response to Lodge Hill development ‘call in’

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Medway Council has today been informed of the decision of the Planning Minister Brandon Lewis to “call in” the planning application for Lodge Hill.

The Council’s Planning Committee considered the application in great detail in September 2014 and unanimously agreed to grant permission. However, because of the size and location of the development (if given the go ahead, a new community of 5,000 homes, three primary schools, a secondary school, medical facilities and leisure and retail space would be developed on the Hoo Peninsula with up to 5,000 jobs) it had to be referred to the Secretary of State for a final decision.

What a “call in” means is that the Minister can now take a little time to decide the application which is usually through a public inquiry where objectors have an opportunity to state their case.

Council Leader Cllr Rodney Chambers said: “We know that organisations such as the RSPB and Wildlife Trusts wrote to the Minister asking for the application to be called in and this will provide an opportunity for them to give their view.

“I would state however that we are already well aware of their views and these were carefully considered and are contained in the very detailed 162 page report reported to the Special Planning Committee in September 2014.

“Although the Council supports the application which provides new homes and jobs for local people, ultimately it is a Government planning application on a Government owned site so it is only right that Government comes to the final decision. We have done everything we can to properly assess the impact of this development and compensation land is being provided for the nightingales so they can continue to breed.”

Members at Planning Committee were keen that the Council maximises the benefits of the project and set down 83 detailed conditions a developer would have to comply with before the scheme can proceed as well as agreeing financial contributions required for highways and education, £1.35million for nature conservation and a completely new site of 304 hectares for nightingales.

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