Last Thursday evening Medway Council’s Planning Committee voted unanimously to approve the notorious Lodge Hill development on a SSSI, despite having received over 400 objections from local residents, conservation groups and the Government’s own environmental advisors, Natural England. Please ask Eric Pickles to call this decision in for public inquiry and a national decision, as it has major implications for wildlife site protection EVERYWHERE .
If this development goes ahead, not only do we lose one of the best homes – and only protected site – in the country for nightingales (which have declined by 90% in the last 40 years), but it undermines the Government’s own tests to prevent damaging development on every other nationally protected area around the country, and will give the likes of Bexley Council the idea that it is OK to trash locally important sites that enjoy even less robust protection than Lodge Hill is supposed to.
To send your own letter to Mr. Pickles, click here:
You will be given the chance to customise your letter. We suggest you point out that you are a frequent user of, or volunteer at, a local wildlife site or three, and are hugely concerned that if this development is allowed to go ahead, your own site(s) will become more vulnerable.
Last March Lodge Hill was designated as a protected area for the nightingales, its ancient woodland and rare grassland. Local people, the RSPB, Kent Wildlife Trust, Buglife, CPRE Protect Kent and a host of other organisations have fought to protect it from a damaging 5,000 house development. The Lodge Hill development will set a precedent for the whole of England, and will be one of the biggest destructions of our national protected sites for over 33 years. Eric Pickles, the Minister with overall responsibility for housing decisions, can ‘call in’ the application and make the decision himself, following a public inquiry. But he’ll only do so if he’s convinced that this development has a national impact and is nationally controversial. Please help convince him that this is the case.
(With thanks to the RSPB for much of the above text)