Sadly another Fatality on Peninsula Way.

I write to offer prayers and sympathy after the tragic death of a Chattenden man at Four Elms Hill, another death on a road that Medway Council readily admit is at its capacity.

It is important to remember that we the residents of the Hoo Peninsula have constantly echoed our feelings that the A228 is simply not designed to accommodate the amount of traffic now using it and simply how dangerous the road is becoming each day. With further commercial expansion at Kingsnorth and Grain, and with Medway Council’s plan to ‘unlock the potential of the peninsula’ by building another possible 12,000 houses and with very little positive information on infrastructure to accommodate such plans.

How many times will residents be cut off using the main road to the peninsula in times of an emergency?

Too often will the police stand by and let HGVs attempt a small B-road through Cooling and High Halstow, blocking it at a time thousands of people are attempting to get home, resulting in people spending hours in their cars, some with your babies and children, some being senior citizens, some even being forced to walk home or sleep in their cars.

How are emergency vehicles meant to cope with this gridlock? Babies won’t wait for a traffic free night to be born. Heart attacks and other serious illnesses can happen at any time. Experience has shown many times that the Peninsula becomes parallelised when incidents happen on our one and only road. Why after years of promises  is there no protocol to inform large distribution companies on the peninsula to delay HGVs leaving depot? Why no signage warning HGVs no access to the Peninsula before they try to come on through unaccommodating roads? Do we need more or better enforcement of the speed limit on Peninsula way?

I have asked for a meeting with Kent Police to make sure they understand how isolated residents feel when our main road is blocked, and when lorries gridlock the only other option, the B-road at Cooling. Is it time for width and weight restrictions on that B-road? What if any protocol is in place for emergency services to access and leave the Peninsula when the main roads are blocked due to an emergency? I will spend today and the next couple of days trying to get answers to these questions. Not least why Medway will not divulge plans for improvements.


Hoo Peninsula AONB

So, the first shots in the battle to have our Hoo Peninsula recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) by way of my motion to Medway Council was defeated despite fabulous support from Medway Labour Group with wonderful statements from Cllr Vince Maple (Labour leader) and Cllr. Simon Curry, and support from Cllr Mick Pendergast our other Peninsula independent Cllr. The  conservative group voted against the motion, but as I said, just the first shots in our battle.

I have also been working hard on a ‘Peninsula Planning Forum‘ to bring a combined discussion to planning and associated matters that affect us all on the Hoo Peninsula Bringing together Parish Councils and Peninsula stake holder groups to respond to Planning applications in a professional way will mean a collective united voice and begin to give rural residents a real voice. In this time of the seeming overwhelming changes to our villages, I believe we would be stronger and more confident with one voice.

The primary aims of the Peninsula Planning Forum are to provide:

A united response to planning applications that affect the Hoo Peninsula.

A vision for the principles of land use on the Hoo Peninsula 

Analysis of proposed Medway Council Planning Policy for these areas.

Recommendations for sustainable growth  informed by environmental, social and economic drivers.

I have written to Stake holders and  Parish councillors to ask for their views and support.  It is even more important during this Covid emergency and with the restrictions it brings, that a connection and on-going interaction and debate is continued, albeit virtually.

With the approaching Remembrance Sunday when we fall silent in tribute to the fallen of the two world wars and other conflicts, can I gently and respectfully remind all to wear a poppy with pride and give what you can to the British Legion Appeal in memory of those who gave all.

Whilst we remember the fallen, just take a minute or two to also think about those wounded in the service of our country, be it physically or mentally, and for the sacrifices they made that allow us the freedom that we all enjoy.

Ron Sands