Sadly this planning application was never going to produce a clear cut outcome for our village as it was widely known that the applicant would have gone to appeal had permission been refused.

Our past experience of contentious planning applications going to appeal is that this process does not always produce the right decision as far as our village is concerned and may have resulted in a permission being granted with NO planning conditions attached. The planning process only allows a right of appeal for the applicant.

Although we are extremely disappointed with this outcome we note that the written decision now issued by Gravesham Borough Council advises that further consultation with Higham Parish Council is to take place and that permission has been granted subject to “planning conditions and informatives” being applied.

Your Parish Council will keep you updated regarding progress with this issue on both our website and Facebook pages but we understand that this process could take quite some time.

Linda Carnall, Clerk to Higham Parish Council


Please find below a copy of Higham Parish Council’s objection letter relating to the Nuralite Development within Shone and Higham parishes.

NURALITE – 20190290 – OBJECTION – Click this link

The Parish Council objected:
A) on traffic grounds as:
  • the studies relating to existing use were old and traffic volumes had increased.
  • the rural roads through the parish are narrow, without pavements and used by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders as well as vehicular traffic.
  • a lot of traffic going to the industrial sites in Canal Road currently go through the village and asked that the traffic be required to use the Lower Rochester Road
  • the large number of vehicle movements proposed to import material to cap and make safe the asbestos tip
  • the provision of a mini roundabout and the removal of the specimen tree at the junction of Chequers Street and Lower Rochester Road in inappropriate with the area’s status as a Conservation Area
B) on the size of the new development, while the applicant has a statutory right due to the age of the Nuralite works to replace the existing floor space on the existing built up site. However:
  • the new buildings are substantially larger
  • not all the existing buildings are used so the useable floor space proposed is 288% of the current useable area
  • the new buildings are not on the same site as the current ones.
C) on the impact on the environment, landscape and ecology:
  • the site is in the Green Belt so its redevelopment at a higher level is a visual intrusion
  • the site supports the adjoining Site of Special Scientific Interest and the Thames Estuary and Marshes Special Protection Area (which includes the Canal) and is close to the Ramsar site which also benefit from insects and other flora and fauna living on it
  • security flood lighting would be instructive and incompatible.
The Supplemental Objection relates to a further traffic study issued on 24 November 2020 (and now correctly filed) which indicated that they estimate that once the development is complete, about 500 vehicles a day would drive through the middle of Higham rather than taking the ‘long way round’ to get to the A289 and the Medway towns.
Extract from Supplemental Report – PLANNING CONDITIONS
Please see my summary of the Supplemental report.  I have extracted the long list of conditions and annotated them as the [easiest!] way of summarising them:

Councillor David Martin, Higham Parish Council

Message from your Borough & Parish Cllr Leslie Pearton
“I was extremely saddened at the decision taken by The Regulatory Board last Wednesday to grant permission to the Nuralite Development. I would like to personally thank all those in their efforts and endeavours who helped try to get this Application refused.
I would also like to thank my Parishioners for all their sentiments of support they have give me via social media. I promised to serve the people in the Parish of Higham as both Parish and Borough Councillor and I will do my utmost to follow up on this wrongful decision to get this decision either overturned or at the very least to reach the best possible solution for our village.
Unfortunately, my fight and hours of time to try to defeat this application did not prove successful, but not for the want of trying. BUT REST ASSURED, THE FIGHT IS NOT OVER!
I am currently pursuing lines to prove that the decision was reached against correct procedure for Probity in Planning. I will say no more than that other than I may have a good case and reasonable fact to put forward but I do not wish to be too confident at this stage!
A reporter from the Kent Messenger group, Sean Delaney, sent this note to Bryan Sweetland (KCC Councillor representing Gravesham) requesting Higham residents to get in touch with the newspaper directly if they wish to comment on the re-development of Nuralite:
“I’m intending to follow up on this story for next week’s Gravesend and Medway Messengers and would be keen to speak to anyone aggrieved by this decision, particularly Higham residents.”
Contact details:
Sean Delaney (Reporter)

Thank you for your continued support.

Higham Parish Council




Lower Thames Crossing Development Consent Order Update
As you may be aware, on Friday 20th November, we received an email from Communities Engagement Team informing Higham Parish Council of HE’s intention to withdraw their Development Consent Order (DCO) in effect the planning application for the new crossing scheme. The DCO has been withdrawn and Higham Parish Council have received a further update from HE on LTC as follows:

“Following my email last week about the withdrawal of our Development Consent Order application, we’ve now had further dialogue with the Planning Inspectorate about their expectations around our application.

The fundamentals of the Lower Thames Crossing, including its objectives and location, will remain the same but we will further develop some technical information related to some elements of the scheme before we resubmit our application next year.

The feedback from the Planning Inspectorate includes requests for:

  • Further information on the impact of the project on traffic during the construction phase. We recognise that Local Authorities are keen to find out more information about our construction traffic appraisals and will be engaging with them on these issues.
  • Further assessments about how an existing jetty on the River Thames near the northern tunnel entrance construction site could potentially be used during the construction phase. The operation of the jetty could, if used, impact river traffic. We will be developing Navigational Impact Assessment and engaging with stakeholders on this topic.
  • More details on our approach for managing materials and waste, including how the different contractors will coordinate the reusing, recycling or disposal of waste.
  • An enhanced Habitats Regulations Assessment to provide a more detailed explanation of our approach to assessment of potential effects on European designated sites where we have indicated there would be no likely significant effects as a result of the construction and operation of the new road alone, or in combination with other projects.
  • More detail on our approach to the long-term management of the project’s proposed environmental mitigation. 

The Planning Inspectorate has also shared some feedback from Local Authorities on our approach to consultation.

We’ve held a record-breaking programme of consultation, the most comprehensive ever undertaken for a UK road project with almost 300 days spent in consultation and nearly 90,000 responses received. We provided a significant level of detail on all aspects of the project in a wide range of formats to aid peoples understanding of our proposals.

We will consider this feedback carefully as we refine key areas of our submission ahead of resubmitting our application for a Development Consent Order.

For a project of the size and complexity of the Lower Thames Crossing, it is reasonable for the Planning Inspectorate to ask for further information, and we are doing everything we can to resubmit our application at the earliest opportunity. “

Highways England must now revisit their planning application and revisit these areas before the new application can be submitted. At this stage Higham Parish Council are not aware of the timetable for this, but we will, as ever, keep you posted on our FB page and website. 

In the meantime, you may wish to take a look at the following websites

  • You can also find out more about the application process, including how and at what stage you can get involved, on the Planning Inspectorate website – link here

Higham Parish Council

FOR INFO – Latest News from Highways England – Lower Thames Crossing

Take a look at Highways England’s new autumn community video newsletter. Highways England have produced  this video at the end of over four years of consultation as they prepare their planning application.

Watch the video here:

Read the latest news on the crossing and consultation here:

Thank your for your continued support.

Higham Parish Council