CPRE Gravesham chairman Alex Hills lifts his head from a busy workload and shares his thoughts
There have now been two meetings of the Gravesham and Dartford Cycling Forum since its formation and it is making good progress on achieving CPRE aims.
I landed the job of chairman by default, which I was not keen on initially, but it has enabled me to help promote the benefits of commuter cycling, access different cycling groups’ knowledge, help make cyclists’ voices heard and develop useful contacts.
There is now a move to form an umbrella group for cycling forums to tackle wider issues such as access to train travel.
I would urge all CPRE branches to engage with their local cycling forum if they have one. If there is no cycling forum, help set one up as it will be worth the effort.
The tram project is making progress – the battle is now on to find the funding.
Highways England (HE) has now dropped any pretence of the planned Lower Thames Crossing being anything other than a Green Belt grab for growth, with all mention of reducing congestion at Dartford being dropped.
Some improvements have been made to the design – but I think HE had always intended to do these anyway.
The LTC and Gravesham Borough Council (GBC) plans to build 2,000 houses in the Green Belt are very much linked due to the need for a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA).
My view is that the growth it is said will be created by the crossing should be included in the Highways England Strategic Environmental Assessment, but I would like further advice before pushing the point.
The council announced plans to consult on building 2,000 houses in the Green Belt to accommodate a lack of houses being built by developers and a massive increase in migration from abroad. Both points are totally wrong.
The umbrella action group Gravesham Rural Residents Group, of which CPRE is a member, has been partially reactivated. After a social media and letter-writing campaign by the group, the cabinet papers on the Green Belt review were withdrawn.
A long list of questions has been sent to the council… we await response.
Monday, December 4, 2017