Category Archives: Cooling

Rochester and Strood says No Estuary Airport!

Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, today joined local residents and campaigners at St James’ Church in Cooling to reveal the results of his No Estuary Airport ballot prior to making his submission to the Davies Aviation Commission. Over the past seven months, residents across the Rochester and Strood constituency have been asked for their opinion on whether or not they support the proposals to build a new hub airport in or around the Thames Estuary.

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The results are (wheeled) in… Rochester and Strood says No Estuary Airport!

The response has been extraordinarily good. Just under 8,000 residents took the time to have their say on the plans, and the answer has been a resounding ‘NO’ to proposals put forward for a Thames Estuary airport including by Boris Johnson and Foster+Partners. 92.6% of residents across the constituency do not support the proposals, with just 7.3% in favour. In Strood Rural and Peninsula wards, which would be most impacted by a new airport, the figure was even higher with 94.4% of all respondents saying ‘NO’, with just 5.5% supporting the plans.

Across the rest of the constituency, excluding Peninsula and Strood Rural wards, 87.8% of local residents oppose the plans, with 12.1% in favour.

Download full breakdown of results by ward – Click Here

WP_20130930_003Speaking prior to making his submission to the Davies Commission, Mark Reckless said:

“These proposals are, economically, completely unjustified. It is going to cost, perhaps, up to £100bn, and much of that will be government-guaranteed money, while all of the other proposals will be, in the main, privately funded. I just don’t believe it’s a credible proposal which merits further investigation. That’s what I said to Sir Howard Davies when I met him a week or so ago, and this ballot shows the strength of feeling against the proposals here in Rochester and Strood.

The jobs argument has completely failed. It would devastate West London to close Heathrow which would be necessary. Even Boris himself has now been pushing Stansted because he realises he hasn’t been able to gather enough support for this flight of fancy, pie in the sky proposal. I hope now we can rule this out once and for all. I would like to thank everyone who has been helping me with my campaign to do just that. Thank you all very much.”

View Mark’s submission to the Davies Aviation Commission – Click Here

Mark Reckless also accepted for submission to the Davies Commission a 1,800+ strong petition against the Thames Estuary Airport on behalf of the Friends of North Kent Marshes (FoNKM).

WP_20130930_035Speaking at the event, Gill Moore of FoNKM, said:

“We’re asking the Davies Commission to rule out all thoughts of a Thames Estuary Airport at the earliest opportunity and we hope he will be doing that in December. We’ve collected loads and loads of signatures alongside our MP, Mark Reckless, and we’re hoping against hope that the Davies Commission will take notice of it.”

V__AC86Mark was delighted to hand in the petition along with his own submission and the result of the constituency-wide ballot directly to Jillian Spindura at the office of the Davies Airport Commission who stated:

“Yours are the biggest and most comprehensive set of responses we have had opposing any airport proposal.”

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Filed under boris johnson, campaigns, conservatives, Cooling, Environment, estuary airport, Heathrow, hoo peninsula, isle of grain, Lord Foster, mark reckless, medway, medway council, No Estuary Airport, Referendum, rochester and strood, Thames Hub, youtube

MP hears concerns of older residents from rural Medway

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Older people from the Hoo Peninsula have told Mark Reckless that he must ensure that the needs of older people in rural communities in England are properly considered by all levels of government.

The call came at an event hosted by Karen Treacy of Age UK Medway at The Village Hall, Mallard Way, Lower Stoke, Rochester on 23rd August 2013 and was part of Age UK’s nationwide campaign “Later Life in Rural England” which aims to raise awareness of the challenges and opportunities faced by older people living in rural England.

Issues and concerns raised during the meeting included:-

  • Loneliness and isolation: several residents feel lonely and isolated and wish she had someone to talk to on a regular basis
  • Policing in the area: a few residents complained of trouble caused by youths in the area and lack of police on patrol to deal with it
  • Bus routes and services: there was a general concern from residents that there is no direct bus route to the main hospital and that many have to pay for taxis to attend appointments.  Buses run far less frequently than in town areas and residents feel that there should be more buses running more frequently
  • GPs: It was felt that there should be a medical centre similar to the Will Adams in Gillingham available to all residents
  • Sheltered accommodation and residential care: residents complained that most of the housing is now owned privately and costs are extortionate
  • Post office: there was concern that the local post office was moving to a less convenient location but Mark Reckless said that this was now not going ahead
  • District nurse:  A resident claimed that the local district nurse was being removed from Hoo and they now have to travel to Rochester to see a nurse
  • Oil heating : A resident asked what is the government going to do to cut costs

Mark Reckless MP said:

“I was delighted to meet with some of the older members of our community to listen to and discuss their concerns about living in the countryside.

There are many positive aspects of living in a rural environment – people in the countryside do tend to live longer. However, as we heard, there are also a number of issues which we need to continue working on such as rural transport, energy costs, and access to health services.

I would like to thank Age UK Medway for organising this very useful debate, and also all the residents who took the time to come along and share their views with me.”

John Norley, Chief Executive of Age UK Medway said:

“Life in rural parts of Medway can be tough for many older people with too many struggling to get to the shops and hospital because of lack of local bus services.

“The charity’s campaign “Later life in Rural England”, is calling for all levels of government to:

  • “rural proof” policy and services that may have an impact on rural areas and make older people a priority in this process
  • Take the “rural premium” and social value of services into account
  • Support community participation
  • Target social isolation in rural areas

To support the Later life in Rural England campaign or to find out more, please visit www.ageuk.org.uk/rural or contact Alice Woudhysen, Senior Campaigns Officer on alicewoudhuysen@agueuk.org.uk or 02030330516.

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MP urges residents to have their say on Lower Thames crossing

Lower Thames Crossing: the options - Click on map  to view full size

Lower Thames Crossing: the options – Click on map to view full size

Mark Reckless, local MP for Rochester and Strood, is urging residents in Medway to make their views known as part of the government consultation on a proposed new road crossing on the Thames to help alleviate congestion at the Dartford-Thurrock crossing.

This consultation is designed to gather views on the preferred location for additional road-based river crossing capacity in the Lower Thames area.

Responses to this consultation will form part of the evidence base that government will use to make a decision on where to locate a new crossing.

The location options considered are:

  • option A: at the site of the existing A282 Dartford-Thurrock crossing
  • option B: connecting the A2 with the A1089
  • option C: connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30
  • option C variant: connecting the M2 with the A13 and the M25 between junctions 29 and 30, and additionally widening the A229 between the M2 and the M20

Speaking of the consultation, Mark said:

“I am pleased that the government is committed to tackling congestion in the North Kent area, particularly when so many of the residents and businesses in my constituency are so reliant on the existing Dartford crossing.

However, a number of concerns have been raised with me with regards to the possible impact which any new crossing may have on our local environment. While none of the final options presented appear to be quite as ecologically destructive as those bizarrely supported by the Medway Labour group, I would strongly urge all residents to make sure that their voices are heard by contributing to the consultation.”

You can find out more through the consultation page or by attending one of the following public information events being held next month in the Lower Thames area:

  • Thursday 13 June, Dartford Library, Central Park, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1EU, from 2pm to 8pm
  • Saturday 15 June, Grays Library, Orsett Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 5DX, from 10am to 5pm
  • Monday 17 June, Chadwell Information Centre, Brentwood Road, Chadwell St Mary, Grays, Essex, RM16 4JP, from 2pm to 7pm
  • Thursday 20 June, Bluewater (Thames Walk at the entrance to the plaza), Greenhithe, Kent, DA9 9ST, from 10am to 9pm
  • Friday 21 June, Lakeside (level two near the customer service desk), West Thurrock Way, Grays, Essex, RM20 2ZP, from 10am to 10pm
  • Saturday 22 June, Gravesend Library, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 1BE, from 9am to 5pm
  • Monday 24 June, Basildon District Council, Basildon Centre (reception), St Martin’s Square, Basildon, Essex. SS14 1DL, from 11am to 5pm

Please respond to the consultation by 16 July.

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No Estuary Airport!

Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, and George Crozer, Friends of North Kent Marshes, introduce Mark’s No Estuary Airport Campaign.

For more information and to sign the online petition – Click Here

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Why we should oppose a Thames Estuary Airport

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Sign The Online Petition – Click Here

Many of us remember the No Airport at Cliffe campaign and how the Hoo Peninsula came together ten years ago to defeat the then government’s ‘Cliffe’ airport plan. There is no similar proposal from the government this time. However, an independent commission has been set up, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, to look at aviation capacity in the South-East.

Various people have suggested building an airport in the Thames Estuary area. The Mayor of London initially proposed an artificial ‘Boris’ Island north of the Isle of Sheppey, while architects Foster + Partners have proposed building over the north-east of the Hoo Peninsula and reclaimed land beyond.

010220133960None of these proposals appear credible to me. Cost estimates range from £70 billion to over £100 billion, around £50 per plane ticket. It is not clear why anyone would want to pay for this, when it would be so much cheaper to expand existing airports. Does the Mayor of London want to close Heathrow and move its 75,000 directly employed staff and 40,000 ancillary staff to Medway, or keep it open, with British Airways and other airlines saying that they would then refuse to move.

The Davies Commission will look at all the arguments and produce an interim report in late 2013 and a final report in 2015. These will not bind government but I would ask you to sign our petition and contact the Davies Commission to expose the weakness of arguments for a Thames Estuary airport.

Even Boris has now said that his desired new hub airport could instead be at Stansted. If £5 billion were spent on a Crossrail spur from Stansted to Stratford this would link Stansted to the City in 25 minutes, the West End (or Ebbsfleet) in 35 minutes and Heathrow in less than an hour. Gatwick are also now pushing to have a second runway.

We should use this opportunity with the Davies Commission to rule out environmentally devastating proposals for a Thames Estuary Airport once and for all.

Mark Reckless MP and volunteers from across the community will be visiting households across the Hoo Peninsula asking residents to sign his Parliamentary petition against the airport. You can show your support for the No Estuary Airport campaign now by completing the online petition form – click here.

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Get nominating for ‘Rural Oscars’

Celebrating rural Britain, the eighth annual Countryside Alliance Awards are now open to public nomination, and Mark Reckless is urging the local community to get nominating.

The Countryside Alliance Awards, nicknamed the ‘Rural Oscars’, were borne of a need to support and promote rural communities. They celebrate people going the extra mile to ensure that rural Britain’s food and farming industry, small businesses, traditional skills, forward-thinking enterprises and, most of all, its people, can flourish.

Mark Reckless MP commented:

“These Awards are an excellent way to promote the local businessmen and women who are working hard to keep rural Britain ticking. Our local produce is second to none and there are many community heroes and businesses worthy of national recognition, so please get involved and nominate today. Let’s see if we can bring a British title home and tell a positive story about Rochester and Strood.”

The Awards run across the following categories:

  1. Local food Award
  2. Daily Telegraph Village shop/Post Office award
  3. Enterprise Award
  4. Butcher Award
  5. Start-up Award *New* for 2012 – for businesses who have been trading less than 18 months.

Nomination are open online at www.countrysideallianceawards.org.uk until 29th October 2012.

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A Fantastic Display

From left: Alison Bucknall, Mark Reckless MP and The Mayor of Medway, Cllr Vaughan Hewitt

I was delighted to be one of the guests at the grand opening of the Friends of St James’ Church Flower Festival in Cooling last Friday.

Celebrating the life and times of Charles Dickens, the flower festival was a fantastic opportunity to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of perhaps our most revered author after Shakespeare.

Located in the idyllic village of Cooling on the Hoo Peninsula, St James Church was immortalised as the location where Pip meets the convict Magwitch in Great Expectations, which many see as Dickens’ greatest work.

The church itself dates back to the 13th century and, thanks to precious voluntary work done by the Friends of St James Church, led by their tireless Chairperson Alison Bucknall, the church remains in incredibly good condition and open to the public all year round.

I was honoured to be given a special tour of St James Church by John Marks who makes sure the church is open every day to visitors. The vestry, decorated with over 1000 cockle shells to represent St James, the church’s patron saint, is quite unique and is worth visiting on its own.

The church, regaled in a beautiful display of floral design, was quite remarkable and it was great to see so many from the local community and further afield coming together to commemorate the life of Charles Dickens and to enjoy this wonderful and historic building.

My thanks and best wishes to all of the volunteers who worked so hard to make this event such a success.

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