HIGHAM PARISH COUNCIL
Lower Thames Crossing
Update 2 [ 6 February 2011 ]
BRIEF REPORT ON THE LOWER THAMES CROSSING MEETING OF 2 FEBRUARY 2011.
The Gravesham Rural Neighbourhood Forum Meeting on 2nd February 2011 was held at Higham Memorial Hall and dealt with the case for and against a new Lower Thames Crossing.
In excess of 500 people heard Paul Carter, Leader of Kent County Council, outline details from the recent Growth without Gridlock Report which included plans for a new Lower Thames Crossing to the east of Gravesend.
An alternative viewpoint of how the situation could be managed without the need for a new crossing was put forward by Richard Knox Johnston, Chairman of Protect Kent, part of the Council for the Protection of Rural England.
Cllr. Mike Snelling, in his capacity as Leader of Gravesham Borough Council, confirmed his Council’s opposition to these crossing proposals.
The evening concluded with a question and answer session from the floor which confirmed the overwhelming opposition of all those present to the current proposals.
Public Meeting 7pm to 9pm
What has been announced? At the end of January 2010, Kent County Council leader Paul Carter revealed his vision for a £1billion privately funded road, crossing the Thames, east of Gravesend and linking with the M11 to ease traffic jams at the Dartford Crossing.This was outlined in his vision for 21st Century Kent. This is a visionary document drawing on a year’s consultation. Overall, it provides an exciting blueprint for the county’s future. As part of this project, KCC commissioned Sir Terry Farrell to produce a wide-ranging spatial vision for Kent, making clear its ambitions for the future. To turn this vision into action, further detailed work will be developed with District and Borough Councils, Medway Council, and with local businesses and communities.
What is the view of our local representatives?
MP Adam Holloway said “I would be against a Lower Thames Crossing that is routed to the east of Gravesham but what was announced is only a vision. There is a need for the regeneration of Kent but any new Thames Crossing must be in incorporated in the existing transport corridor”
Higham Parish Council Chairman, Jennifer Papadopulos said “I am very surprised at the sudden announcement by Paul Carter stating that his preference for a new Thames Crossing should be east of Gravesend. There was absolutely no advance warning”.
Gravesham Borough Council Leader, Mike Snelling said: "Although we accept entirely the need for more capacity across the river, we’ve never accepted that this should go through this most beautiful part of the countryside. Gravesham Borough Council will oppose that totally as our land is precious to us."
What can the Parish Council do? Higham Parish Council support both Gravesham Borough Council and MP Adam Holloway’s opposition to the stated preferred option for the crossing. With regards to reducing traffic jams at the Dartford Crossing, we also support the idea of abolishing the existing tolls as the crossing has now paid for itself.
Your Parish Council will remain ever vigilant and even if it’s many years time before these plans take any shape, we will keep you informed and will continue to act in the best interests of the village.
We must remember that this is currently only a ‘vision’ and detailed plans at this stage are not available, no local consultation has taken place and a Lower Thames Crossing is not currently funded. So there is a long way to go. There are other options for a crossing and the most economical option would be to use an existing transport corridor.
You can email us with any comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured below is a copy of the letter from Mr Adam Holloway, MP for Gravesham to Cllr. Jennifer Papadopulos, Chairman of Higham Parish Council. Cllr. Papadopulos wants to share the contents of this letter with Parishioners.