RSPB Comment re 150m buffer zone between Deangate and Chattenden Woods & Lodge Hill SSSI01/07/2021
Just to clarify the RSPB position; we have been consistent in our advice to Medway Council that a 400m buffer is the only secure and sustainable way to safeguard the nightingale population at the Chattenden Woods & Lodge Hill SSSI. We do not believe that lesser distances are consistent with the evidence based on cat roaming distances, and we remain unconvinced of the efficacy of alternative mitigation measures such as fencing or cat covenants. We believe that building substantial numbers of new houses within less than 400m of the boundary of the SSSI will create a significant and permanent predation problem for the UK’s most important population of nightingales – a problem that can and should be avoided. We will be extremely disappointed if this advice is ignored.
RSPB South East Conservation Manager.
Thank you to all those who have added there names to Our petition to Medway Council to reject plans to build a relief road on Deangate Ridge Golf and Sports Complex and retain Deangate Ridge Golf and Sports Complex as an asset such as a Country Park and sport facility was submitted on the 22nd April 2021.
We have received this acknowledgement from Medway Council :-
Dear Richard Hicks
Nearly three years on and the fate of Deangate Ridge Golf Club and Sports Facility is very much in the minds of local people.
We are now approaching the end of the third year of the closure of the golf course and we can see the revenue deriving from the sports field and running track are diminishing despite the numbers of people actually using both. The main site is being used as a country park and the sports facility for organised and private recreational sport.
We are suspicious of Medway’s intentions toward the facility for the following primary reasons.
- Medway HIF project team are proposing to build a new spur relief road through part of the site.
- As you are aware part of the old course and the wood adjacent to the sports facility form part of the Lodge Hill SSSI for Nightingale. We believe there has also been an ecological survey undertaken which has not been released.
- The planning consent for temporary change of use is valid until 31 October 2021 for first floor of clubhouse building to office use and temporary use of former golf course car park for parking of associated office workers cars; minibuses; grounds maintenance equipment / vehicles and storage of 17 Shipping containers. No alternative sites have been announced or discussed in cabinet today.
- In 2018 The Cabinet announced it would undertake an assessment of the siting for a new sports facility. This today has not materialised.
- In 1019/20 The cabinet announce a £150,000 study to ascertain the value of the whole site.
As you are aware the Deangate community partnership are nominees of an Asset of Community Value registered by Medway Council for Deangate Ridge Golf & Sports Complex, Duxcourt Road, Hoo, Rochester the reasons for listing are registered as “The Council considered that the application and supporting evidence demonstrates that the use of Deangate Ridge Golf and Sports Complex furthers the social wellbeing and social interest of the local community current use of the remainder of the land is not an ancillary use. The evidence shows that the area plays a role in the community, providing an area for recreation. Accordingly the group has demonstrated that the land furthers the social wellbeing and social interests of the local community.”
You will also be aware that The government will create a new £150 million Community Ownership Fund to help ensure that communities across the UK can continue to benefit from the local facilities and amenities that are most important to them. From the summer, community groups will be able to bid for up to £250,000 matched funding to help them to buy local assets to run as community-owned businesses. In exceptional cases up to £1 million of matched funding will be available to help establish a community-owned sports club or buy a sports ground at risk of loss from the community. This will help ensure that important parts of the social fabric – like pubs, sports clubs, theatres and post office buildings – can continue to play a central role in towns and villages across the UK.
The Deangate Community Partnership is keen to take advantage of this fund and would welcome open discussions with you on the future for Deangate and request a virtual meeting where we can discuss the progress made so far and expand on aspirations.face
On behalf of
Deangate Community Partnership
Deangate Ridge Golf and Sports complex wax formally closed in 2018 by Medway Council. The Deangate Community Partnership was formed at that time to fight to keep it open. That fight was lost but the group succeeded having the whole site registered as an Asset of Community Value under the Localism act. The site is now still partially open for users of the running track, football and for walkers to use unsupervised.
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New proposals are being brought forward following the Council’s successful Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) bid to now develop the site. Initially this will include a new spur road being driven through the western end of the old golf course to easy traffic congestion. The Council also talk of Parkland Living at Deangate with a view to developing the site for housing.
Deangate Community Partnership are firmly against these proposals and are petitioning the Council to keep Deangate open as a country park and retain and improve facilities. If you would like to add your weight to the Save Deangate petition please follow the link. Save Deangate Petition