House building in Medway. Medway Magna; why don’t you take a hike?

The picture at the top of this blog, the ‘header image’, (edit – this picture) show’s from Gillingham on the right, across the Great Lines to the War Memorial, across to Chathams Pentagon Centre, Mountbatton house and occassional block of flats, and way off into the distance Strood and Frinsbury. I took the picture standing about centre of Capstone Park, which is a beautiful stretch of green fields and woodland between Hempstead and Walderslade. Medway’s lungs? Perhaps a bit of overegging but it is a great place to walk and take the kids.

Capstone Park has been and probably still is under the developers beady eye. A consortium called the Medway Magna have indicated an interest in building something like 8000 houses over the fields. Walderslade and Hempstead would be joined by the proposed development.

Thankfully the opposition has been effective and influential to date. There are some people in power who do not want to give up this greenspace yet. As far as I know there are not any plans in the offing to send in the diggers. A threat does remain. House building targets for the South East are not about to go away. Thankfully (I think) another site in Medway may have now extended Capstone Park a stay of execution.

Chattenden Barracks. 1000 acres of land a few miles from Rochester. I think some of those blue hills on the horizon in the header image may well be Chattenden or close to it. The land has been occupied by The Royal School of Military Engineering since the 1960s’. The troops are being sent elsewhere and the land is have 5000 new houses built on it. This has been reported to be a good thing as the land is considered brown field or that which has previously been developed. I suppose that it’s only been so for the last 50 years is not considered a factor. There are I have read ancient woodlands and wildlife havens dotted in the area. What fate will become of these will I am sure be very care carefully considered.

So whilst it looks like Capstone has it’s repreive Chattenden gets it. There is some irony perhaps in that though the RSME has for some years been teaching soldiers how to find and defuse bombs it may be the housebuilders that eventually do the most damage.

As a postcript Rodney Chambers is getting a bit frustrated with goverment inspectors. The local development plan is under scrutiny and the word is the inspector is not happy. Mention has been made of the inbalance between homes built, the growth of industry, commerce and employment opportunities. If not satisfied the council may well be instructed to review it’s housebuilding aspirations. All very well building new communities but the conditions need to be right for these to be sustainable locally. A risk I see is these communities becoming dormitory enclaves that exist only to house the masses commuting into London every day.

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