Published: Tuesday, 19th July 2022

Putting the right infrastructure in the right places.

The draft framework for the sustainable design of the communities on the Hoo Peninsula as they grow over the coming decades will be considered by Medway Council’s Cabinet when it meets on 26 July.  

The Hoo Development Framework provides a high-level strategic overview of potential development on the peninsula.

Looking forward over the next 30 years, the Hoo Development Framework focuses on how the area could potentially grow and change with over 10,000 new homes.

Medway Council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve a seven-week programme of consultation on the document, giving residents, businesses and stakeholders the opportunity to provide their views. 
The Hoo Development Framework sets out a vision for sustainable communities in the future on the Hoo Peninsula. It also seeks to answer questions from residents, businesses and stakeholders about what the future of the peninsula could look like. 

Putting the right infrastructure in the right places

Cllr Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council, said: “Thanks to the hard work of our teams across the council we have developed a comprehensive long-term sustainable vision. Our aim has always been to put the right infrastructure in the right places to support the communities and protect the greenspaces on the peninsula for everyone to enjoy.

“We have been tasked by the Government with delivering 1,675 homes a year, requiring us to find land for 28,475 homes over the next 17 years. We recognise that housing is an emotive issue for many people on the peninsula, and elsewhere in Medway. We know there are concerns over new homes on the peninsula and are confident the Hoo Development Framework will allay many of them and demonstrate our commitment to creating sustainable communities on Hoo.”

The Hoo Development Framework has benefitted from detailed work undertaken by Medway Council into where the critically important investments in education, healthcare, arts, leisure and sports facilities need to be made across Medway, including Hoo. In addition to the Future Hoo £170m strategic investment in roads, rail and environmental strategy, Medway Council has also reviewed how the new facilities and services priorities for Hoo will be funded through contributions from developers and house builders, or in partnership with Government.

Results of second phase of consultation and design freeze on Future Hoo

The detailed results of the second round of consultation and programme of public events in January 2022 on how Medway Council should spend the HIF investment have also been published for consideration by Cabinet next week. It reached out to a total of 24,500 households, with each invited to give their views. 
In terms of the proposed £86m investment in new roads, the residents were very supportive about the removal of the Wainscott Flyover, which was proposed at the start of the Future Hoo project. The team worked closely with residents to provide an acceptable solution at Sans Pareil Roundabout.
The consultation highlighted Hoo residents were eager to ensure the operation of six proposed road schemes on the peninsula would help collectively reduce congestion, improve access and be able to cater for future development on the peninsula. 

The Future Hoo team considered different options for the design and operation of key junctions and new roads. It has now completed a design freeze on the road programme to ensure these aims can be delivered and ensure a strategic approach to infrastructure is delivered, rather than piecemeal improvements.

Residents also raised the issue of the need for good public transport options, especially the provision of local bus services. As a result, Medway Council will continue to engage with local transport operators, with the potential to fund services via financial contributions from house builders or commercial developers. Future Hoo will incorporate the necessary infrastructure required for a bus interchange as part of the design of the new railway station and improve transport connections for the local community. 

When asked about the proposals to enhance the environment of Hoo, residents were very supportive of the proposals to provide more green safe spaces to the public. There was also support for plans to improve access for horse-riders, dog-walkers, walkers, and cyclists, and at the same time protect the area’s environment, biodiversity, and wildlife. While residents did raise concerns about the potential impact that the building of new homes could have on the environment, it is anticipated that the project would deliver new public access to an estimated 280 hectares (692 acres) of land on the peninsula.

Building on the planning permission granted recently for Cockham Community Parkland, further recent consultation is currently under way on proposals for two community parkland proposals at Hoo Wetland Reserve and Lodge Hill Countryside Site. 
When asked about the £63m rail proposals there was further positive feedback on the design of the proposed railway station and a new service. Many residents were eager for more information on train timetables, the service and impact on the area’s freight operations. 

Following the consideration of different options for the design and operation of the rail scheme, the Future Hoo team has completed a design freeze on the rail scheme. The proposal is for an initial service operating between the new station and Gravesend, with the opportunity to upgrade as development on the peninsula progresses. 

'We will continue to engage with the community'

Cllr Alan Jarrett added: “The consultation results demonstrate there is growing understanding of, and support for, Future Hoo and the changes we have made, especially those relating to the proposed phasing of new roads.

“We will continue to engage with the community on Hoo about the changes we’ve made to earlier plans and the wider benefits that the project will bring.”

If approved by Cabinet, the public consultation on the Hoo Development Framework will run between 15 August and 30 September, with a series of public exhibitions being undertaken during September. 

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