STATEMENT FROM HIGHAM PARISH COUNCIL: NURALITE INDUSTRIAL ESTATE. Planning Reference 20190290

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

**FOR INFO – NURALITE INDUSTRIAL ESTATE – 20190290 Higham Parish Council Objection

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)
07713309829
sdelaney@thekmgroup.co.uk

Thank you for your continued support.

Higham Parish Council

 

 

A NEW YEAR MESSAGE from your Borough Councillor, Leslie Pearton

2020 – well what a year! Certainly 2020 has been a very challenging year! Covid brought lockdown in March which, for some, brought heartbreak, suffering and difficult times. But the tremendous community spirit from the people of Higham brought assistance, help and support.
The summer brought respite for many and a near to normal life. However, the dreaded second spike started to emerge from October and by the end of December the numbers of the community succumbing to the new variant increased rapidly as it swathed through the south east as a whole.
Once again, I would like to thank all those ‘heroes’, such as NHS staff, Care Workers, Police, Fire & Rescue, Prison Officers, School Teachers and Staff, Volunteers and all the Essential Business Workers
I would also like to reach out to those whose businesses have suffered or those who have not been so lucky and have suffered deeply.
We have had to learn a new way of life with masks, public hand sanitising and social distancing and new ways of carrying out our business and employment.
From a Parish point of view, we have been and still are being tested to the limit. We have seen successes this year such as the wonderful new play equipment installed on the Recreation Ground and assisting with the re-vamp of the Sports Courts. But, we must not forget the battle with the Lower Thames Crossing for the best interest of the village. Nor, the blight we are under with the threat of losing our green belt, which our neighbours living in Medway are succumbing to. 31st January was the last day to submit your views on the Gravesham Local Plan and the Parish Clerk was inundated with response letters which she collated and submitted to the Borough Council on your behalf. Hopefully, many of you also responded online.
Sadly, this brings me to another fight – to stop the Nuralite Development! So much work has been done behind the scenes by the residents most affected, the Parish Council and our Clerk in bombarding the Borough, County Councils, our local MP and Government Departments. This development, if permitted, WILL AFFECT the village as a whole, along with ALL ROUTES in and out of the village – not just for now or the next three years but for a long time in the future.
This has been a very, very busy period but we WILL fight these issues and will continue to FIGHT to keep our VILLAGE as a VILLAGE.
One thing I do know is the resilience and camaraderie that this village has and the ability to come together when needed. However, I will not finish on a negative note! I wish all the people of Higham and their families a better 2021 than 2020. 2021 may be difficult to start with now going into a second lockdown; Covid may not let up straight away and also Brexit will bring many challenges – BUT let us remain positive as a village community and work together to keep everyone well and safe from suffering as much as is possible.
I care about this village greatly and wish the people of Higham, whom I serve, hopefully a better and more prosperous New Year and thank you all in this difficult time.
Keep well – keep safe!
Your Borough Councillor
Leslie Pearton

**FOR INFO** FAQs – Gravesham Local Plan: Higham**

Why are they proposing to build so many new houses in Higham?
GBC CLAIM TO HAVE RUN OUT OF LAND, WHICH IS NOT GREEN BELT, AND/OR EXISTING
SITES IN GRAVESEND AND NORTHFLEET ARE DIFFICULT TO DEVELOP

How many additional homes do these proposals suggest for Higham?
1,810

What are the Parish Council doing about the proposal to build 1810
houses in the village?
THE PARISH COUNCIL WILL BE OBJECTING TO THE PROPOSALS.

How do I object to the Local Plan?

All of the information including a standard response that you can print, copy and sign as well as all of the details on how to submit your response can be found on our website in our ‘Gravesham Local Plan News and Info’ section here:

Higham Parish Council – Gravesham Local Plan News & Info

 

How will the roads, schools and doctors cope with the extra
people, cars etc?
THEY CANNOT, NOR CAN THE SEWERS AND OTHER INFRASTRUCTURE

Where do I find the details of these proposals?
THE PROPOSALS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE ON-LINE AT

Gravesham Local Plan Proposals and Documentation – Gravesham Borough Council

OR BY VISITING THE CIVIC CENTRE AND READING THEM THERE.

Which parts of the village are supposed to be developed – where
are the new  houses going to be built?
MAINLY BY FILLING IN BETWEEN THE THREE CRUTCHES, STROOD AND HIGHAM (CHAPTER FARM) BUT ALSO 40 HOUSES AT WALMERS AVENUE, 250 HOUSES BY FILLING IN
BETWEEN SCHOOL LANE AND TAYLORS LANE, 85 HOUSES BY BUILDING ON THE
RECREATION GROUND AND THE FIELD TO THE NORTH OF IT, 40 HOUSES BY
BUILDING ON BUCKLANDFARM YARD AND ADJOINING FIELD IN CHALK
ROAD, AND 10 HOUSES ON THE NARROWEST PART OF CANAL ROAD.

How do Gravesham Borough Council justify these sites?
GRAVESHAM ARE PROPOSING THAT HIGHAM AND LOWER HIGHAM BECOME ONE SETTLEMENT AND THEN THEY CAN DEVELOP THE FIELDS WHICH SEPARATE THESE PARTS OF THE VILLAGE.

THERE IS NO APPARENT JUSTIFICATION FOR THE CHAPTER FARM PROPOSALS (SEE ALSO http://www.savechapter.co.uk/_

My neighbour doesn’t have a computer and can’t get to the library  ow is she supposed to respond to the consultation?
GRAVESHAM ARE USING THE PANDEMIC TO MAKE IT VERY DIFFICULT FOR
PEOPLE TO ACCESS THE CONSULTATION.  WRITE TO YOUR BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
AND GRAVESHAM’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE COMPLAINING

Who decided how many new homes are needed and how do they
calculate the number?

GRAVESHAM ARE USING 2014 PROJECTIONS FROM THE GOVERNMENT WHICH OVERESTIMATED POPULATION GROWTH IN GRAVESHAM.  THEY
HAVE NOT USED THE LOWER 2019 PROJECTIONS

Have things like the Co-vid Pandemic (e.g., changes in shopping habits and working from home) been taken into account when developing a
Local Plan?
NO


IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION WHICH IS NOT ANSWERED HERE PLEASE EMAIL IT TO

clerk@higham-kent-pc.gov.uk

and we will do our best to answer.


Higham Parish Council

**FOR INFO & ACTION- Local Plan (Gravesham) Residents MUST respond before 30th December 2020**

Following the Regulation 18 (Stage 1) Consultation in 2018, Gravesham Borough Council (GBC) have considered the representations received and gathered additional information to inform the amount of housing, employment and retail development needed in the Borough to 2036.

GBC are seeking views on these issues and the options for determining where future development could take place to meet identified needs. GBC are also seeking views on the sites that it is proposed to allocate for housing and employment in addition to those already allocated in the Local Plan Core Strategy, and the updated policies in the Development Management Policies Document.

Gravesham Borough Council (GBC) is in the process of reviewing this document which guides housing and employment development in the whole Borough. It therefore has a potential impact for all of us living and working in Higham. As part of the Review GBC are required to consult with residents and other key individuals and organisations. One of its key assumptions is that by 2036, there will be a need for an extra 10,480 houses although the population of the Borough is only expected to increase from 106,900 to 109,500 in the same period – this is effectively 3 houses per new resident!

Where can I find details of the Consultation and associated plans and documents

A large number of documents, site plans showing potential development areas, draft policies that deal with issues arising from planning applications are available on the Borough Council website

https://localplan.gravesham.gov.uk/consult.ti/REG18S2/consultationHome

As we understand it paper copies of the documents are not available, but residents can access them online or can visit the Civic Centre in Gravesend. If you, or someone you know, cannot access via either of these methods you may like to write to the Chief Planning Officer and Chief Executive and say that GBC has a legal duty to provide the information in a manner/format in which you can use it.


What does this Consultation mean for Higham?
Our fields could be turned into housing estates under proposals by Gravesham Borough Council. Across Gravesham a staggering 3,790 houses are proposed which would swallow up 21 areas of precious Green Belt. This includes 1,810 houses in Higham across seven greenbelt sites including the recreation ground.

Local Plan – Promoted Sites for Development in Higham

Here is a quick reference list of the promoted sites for development that can accompany the pdf document above:

HIGHAM

  • GB05 Land Adjacent to Higham Station Higham commercial.
  • GB147 Canal Road, Higham 10 dwellings.
  • GBS-C Land at and adjoining Buckland Farm, Chalk Road, Higham Higham 40 dwellings. Buckland Farm Chalk Road adjoins housing which forms Green Belt boundary.
  • GBS-K Land to the north, east and west of Three Crutches. Higham/Shorne, Cobham & Luddesdown 1385 dwellings & commercial Greenbelt area filling in the gap between the A289 and Gravesham’s boundary with Medway. A small part of this area behind the pub is in Shorne. This is everything, wrapped around the existing ‘hamlet’ of Three Crutches, between the Wainscott Northern Bypass (A289) and the Gravesham’s boundary with Medway, including Rochester United’s football ground.
  • GBS-T Land between Lower Rochester Road, Hermitage Road and School Lane, Higham Higham 85 dwellings. Recreation Ground and adjoining field.
  • GBS-W Land between Taylors Lane and School Lane, to the north of High View, Higham. Higham 250 dwellings.  land north of High Field, between School Lane and Taylor’s Lane

TOTAL 1770 houses

HIGHAM/ SHORNE

  • GB80 Land west of Walmers Avenue, Higham Shorne, Cobham & Luddesdown 40 dwellings. This is in Green Belt and adjoins parish boundary (Walmers Avenue) and the existing houses in Higham but field is in Shorne.

TOTAL 40 houses

What are Higham Parish Council doing about the Consultation?

A number of potential sites in Higham have been identified for potential development and the Parish Council are working hard to look at the implications IF any of these sites were to be developed. Please remember, that these sites have only been identified as potential development sites. Gravesham Borough Council have, at this early stage, only been asked to put consider and forward sites in their Borough that have the potential for development.

Higham Parish Council is working on its response to the Consultation – we will be objecting to the proposed sites and making comments on the other questions. The Parish Council’s response will only count as one objection and we encourage everyone to have their say on the consultation – either by objecting or supporting the proposed development. You can respond to the questions and either post them or email them in.

 

 
The Gravesham Borough Council (GBC) Local Plan Consultation closes on 31st December 2020. Your Parish Council is supporting the CPRE “STOP THE GREEN BELT GRAB” campaign and has already posted a leaflet through your front door.

 

If you have not already responded, and wish to object to the proposals, the Parish Council is now providing you with the attached standard “Letter of Concern”. Simply complete the attached letter by printing your name, adding your address and then providing your signature and the date at the bottom of the letter. It is important to include ALL these details as incomplete letters may be ignored.

 

Every person over the age of 18 can sign a copy of this letter and so please ask every eligible person in your household to complete a copy of it, using photocopies if necessary. If you require extra copies of this letter for additional persons in your household you can collect these from the Village Greengrocers and Higham Post Office.In view of the current delays with Christmas postal deliveries, you may wish to deliver your completed letter into one of our “Drop Boxes” within the village atone of the following locations and we will deliver your responses personally to the Borough Council for you.

 

 24, Chilton Drive (near Gravesend Road-black box on top step)
 1, Taylors Lane (opposite parade of shops-in front porch)
 61, School Lane (near Railway Station-through front door)
 “Larkfield Gate”, Crutches Lane (Near Three Crutches-mail box on fence)
 Higham Post Office
 Village Greengrocers

 

Please be mindful of your elderly neighbours or anyone who may not be able to travel to a Drop Box location within Higham. If you can take their letter for them,this would be much appreciated.
We need as many objections as possible to really make an impact and raise ourconcerns to GBC. Please help us make a difference and prevent the proposedbuilding on the precious Greenbelt within our villages.

 

PLEASE NOTE!! In order for us to deliver your letter to GBC the final date to drop off your letters to a Drop Box is WEDNESDAY, 30TH DECEMBER 2020.

 

 
There is a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on our website for Higham residents:
 
Please alert your friends and neighbours to the consultation and encourage them to view the documents, respond to Gravesham Borough Council on the consultation and please look out for further information from the Parish Council.

More Information

For more information on the campaign named ‘Stop the Greenbelt Grab’ that has been organised by Gravesham Campaign for Rural England (CPRE), you can visit their website at

https://www.cpregravesham.org/

The website provides all of the details on how to help, donate and receive regular updates on how the campaign is progressing. Higham Parish Council also urge our parishioners to share this website too.


Thank your for your continued support.

Higham Parish Council 

**FOR INFO – Kent’s first Bee-friendly Bus Stop will ‘bee’ in Higham**

Over the last several months, Higham Parish Council has been working alongside Kent County Council (KCC) to jointly deliver a scheme on the main bus route in Higham on Gravesend Road at the Forge Lane Bus stop (Medway bound). Through the village precept, Higham Parish Council and the residents of Higham, funded 50% of this landmark project for Kent. The remainder was funded by grant donations from KCC.

The existing tired-looking shelter (see below) is to be replaced with a new one and work has started already. As well as providing bus users somewhere to sit and shelter form the elements, the roof of the shelter will be covered with sedum and wildflower that can attract bees and other species of pollinators to help with the plight of pollinators across the country.

The bus shelter plans form part of a KCC’s Plan Bee action plan which is actively seeking to reverse the “serious” decline of pollinators in the UK, including bees, moths and butterflies.

As you can see, work started at the end of November and is almost complete…

The Parish Council can’t wait for the new shelter to come into operation where it will not only benefit our parishioners, but also benefit important pollinators too.


Thank you for your continued support.

Higham Parish Council

FOR INFO: 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

**UPDATE** FOR INFO: Review of The Highway Code to improve road safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders

The Department of Transport recently opened a consultation seeking the UK’s views on proposed changes to The Highway Code to improve safety for vulnerable road users, particularly the groups of:

  • cyclists
  • pedestrians
  • horse riders

The main alterations to the code that were being proposed were:

  • introducing a hierarchy of road users which ensures that those road users who can do the greatest harm have the greatest responsibility to reduce the danger or threat they may pose to others
  • clarifying existing rules on pedestrian priority on pavements, to advise that drivers and riders should give way to pedestrians crossing or waiting to cross the road,
  • providing guidance on cyclist priority at junctions to advise drivers to give priority to cyclists at junctions when travelling straight ahead
  • establishing guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists and horse riders

Higham Parish Council urged parishioners to have their say in this consultation as cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders are well represented in the area and particularly as the activities mentioned are very popular in and around our village.

The consultation closed at

The Government are now in the process of analysing national feedback. Visit the Gov.uk page below again soon to download the outcome to this public feedback.

Gov.uk - Review of The Highway Code to improve road safety for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders


Higham Parish Council