In summer 2022, we consulted on the latest phase for our Community Parklands programme on the Hoo Peninsula. This focused on the proposals for the Hoo Wetlands Reserve and Lodge Hill Countryside site.

These proposals will ensure wildlife prospers, while providing more opportunities for local residents to enjoy these beautiful surroundings that Hoo is famous for.

View the proposals we shared during our consultation.

We have now submitted the planning application for Hoo Wetlands Reserve. This has followed 3 public consultations on the Community Parklands programme for the Hoo Peninsula (which has included the proposals at each development stage for Hoo Wetlands).

The addition of the Hoo Wetlands Reserve has been made possible thanks to Medway Council’s Future Hoo programme. At £170 million, the programme is one of the country’s largest forward-funding interventions to enable the delivery of large-scale sustainable development. The funding will significantly improve the Hoo Peninsula's transport connections and environmental infrastructure by having these in place first before any significant housing development takes place.

Biodiversity Net Gain

The 2021 Environment Act will require that every planning application in England will have a Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) of 10% (this is expected to be from November 2023). BNG is an approach which aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than beforehand.

We’re delighted to confirm that our Hoo Wetlands Reserve planning application achieved a huge BNG score of 44%. This means the project will significantly benefit the habitat and local environment around the Hoo Wetlands site, providing new wetlands and connecting important habitats for existing species to allow them to thrive.

This includes the following wildlife:

  • skylarks
  • cuckoos
  • water voles
  • visiting winter birds that use the estuary
  • bats
  • reptiles.

Community Parklands consultation: The results

Before we submitted the planning application for Hoo Wetlands, we ran our most recent consultation in June and July 2022.

This gave residents the chance to have their say on the latest proposals for Hoo Wetlands Reserve and Lodge Hill Countryside site.

The results from the consultation included the following:

  • 54% said more walking routes for exercise/pleasure be provided on the Hoo Peninsula
  • 87% said more natural habitats should be protected and enhanced on the Hoo Peninsula
  • 87% said it was very important for conservation and enhancement of natural habitats on the Hoo Peninsula
  • 69% were likely to visit Hoo Wetlands Reserve once work is complete
  • 64% were likely to visit Lodge Hill Countryside site once work is complete.

Hoo Wetlands Reserve: The lowdown

Where it is

The wetland is located between the settlement of Hoo St Werburgh to the west and Kingsnorth Power Station to the east.

The size

The wetland is 16 hectares and consists mainly of arable farmland.

The plan

Bringing Hoo Wetlands Reserve into management as a nature reserve will formalise pathways across the site to provide formal public access for the local community whilst also providing a larger, expanded area for wetland birds.

The benefits

Hoo Wetlands is one of 4 green space improvements on the Hoo Peninsula as part of our Future Hoo programme for Community Parklands.

The wetlands scheme will provide the following improvements:

  • new wetland habitats through conversion of existing arable farmland
  • protecting and growing natural habitats including species currently identified
  • enhance the function of the existing site hydrology to mitigate against future flood events in Hoo St Werburgh and the wider Hoo Estuary
  • interpret and reveal site history, including key features such as military structures (for example, Hoo Stop Line) and Saxon heritage
  • protect and enrich existing viewpoints across the site to the Hoo Estuary
  • provide sensitive and controlled public access, allowing visitors to exercise, learn about and enjoy the site while ensuring habitats are adequately protected and undisturbed.

With our planning application now submitted, the programme for Hoo Wetlands Reserve will see (subject to the application being approved) onsite work begin in early 2024.

View the Hoo Wetlands planning application.

Read our press release for more information about the Hoo Wetlands planning application