A new public open space on the Hoo Peninsula
View of field at Cockham Farm
We have secured central government Housing Infrastructure Funding (HIF) to support possible future growth on the Hoo Peninsula. Part of this funding will enable the establishment of a Strategic Environmental Management Scheme (SEMS), which will deliver a network of new public open spaces. These spaces are designed to provide recreational space for local residents and reduce pressure on more sensitive existing habitats around the Hoo Peninsula.
Cockham Community Parkland is the first of these new spaces to be brought forward. We consulted the public on thoughts on the emerging proposals in summer 2020. We then submitted a planning application for the conversion of farmland into a new parkland running between Chattenden and Hoo St. Werburgh. This planning application was approved in July 2021.
The proposed site for Cockham Community Parkland forms part of Cockham Farm. A series of fields currently used for crop growing will be re-purposed to create the parkland. The fields lie to the south of Hoo St Werburgh and the east of Chattenden. The eastern edge of the park will meet Vicarage Lane. The Saxon Shore Way (upper route) runs along part of the northern site boundary.
The proposed new parkland
In summary, the new parkland will create a large public open space offering a range of benefits for the local community and wildlife.
Features would include:
- providing safe and attractive routes connecting Main Road to Vicarage Lane for dog walkers, walkers and cyclists
- creating new wildflower meadows, hedges and wooded areas where wildlife can flourish
- creating a new orchard and key visitor facilities
- providing space for informal picnics, play and interpretation
- offering outstanding views of the estuary, the river and Medway.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has meant that we were unable to meet people face to face to speak about the consultation. Instead we delivered leaflets to over 5,000 homes around the proposed parkland to raise awareness of the consultation.
We invited residents to complete an online questionnaire and virtual meetings were held with councillors.
The consultation ran for 6 weeks from 27 July to 7 September 2020 and we received 237 responses. We used the feedback from the consultation to inform the design of the scheme and this has been presented in the planning application submission.
Consultation feedback showed support for the proposed developments.
Responses showed the residents would like:
- facilities within the parkland to be as natural as possible
- litter and dog waste bins along routes and at key points of parkland
- information signage on local wildlife.
Feedback on the proposed car parking showed a need for a change in design and location for the 2 small carparks. It also raised concerns regarding security and potential anti-social behaviour.
What happens next
The proposed timeline for the project is below:
1. July to September 2020: 6-week public consultation (completed)
2. October to November 2020: Complete design of parkland (completed)
3. December 2020: planning application submission (completed)
4. January to summer 2021: planning application determination (completed).
5. 2022: Parkland construction (provisional)
6. 2024: Parkland open to the public (provisional)
For more information email email@example.com.