Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Save Capstone Valley…AGAIN!

For the THIRD time, proposals to concrete over Capstone Valley are being consulted on despite opposition from the public and our Conservative controlled council.

Thanks to planning laws and rules imposed by the Labour Government, Medway Council is obliged by law to put development proposals to concrete over Capstone Valley out to “public consultation”. If they refuse to do so the developers will have the right to apply for planning permission and even commence building work.

With overwhelming support of local people, Medway’s Conservative Council has defeated these proposals twice already. Not only do they want to keep Capstone Valley as it is but they have already identified sufficient land for new homes without the need to concrete over Capstone. But this Labour Government seems determined to ruin one of our last remaining open spaces.

I have to say this is getting ridiculous. This is the third time in five years that the public have had to fight against developers concreting over Capstone Valley but every time local people reject them, another piece of legislation is passed favouring the developers.

Two years ago, along with my Conservative colleagues in Chatham, we organised a referendum to give local people a chance to comment. Over 95% said NO. See these links for the full story:




I will be encouraging everyone to make their views on Capstone known and if that fails I will be left with no other option than to lie down in front of the bulldozers!


Chris Irvine said…

I can't believe this has come up AGAIN! What part of no do these people and this government not understand? I'll tell you what though, I will there right beside if the bulldozers come, you can count on that! Capstone Valley is a valuable greenspace right in the heart of Medway and should be preserved at all costs!

John M Ward said…

Oh dear, here we go again!

I know from my own experience protecting all the green spaces in what was 'my' ward for eight long years just how hard we all have to keep fighting these attempts to build on our last remaining areas of green space. It can be done, but one can never let up.

It all started with John Prescott, and a big map on a board that the Medway Countryside Forum has tucked away somewhere that shows that over 90% of Medway's green spaces were under threat from years ago by this Labour government.

I know: I saw it at a meeting of the Forum held (funnily enough) at Capstone Country Park, in that place they have there. Medway Councillor Ted Baker was also there and can vouch for this.

Changing rules seems to be a never-ending occupation of the Labour gov't, especially in planning. I watched that going on for years, especially during the Prescott era.

Remember his obsession with concreting-over the south-east of England, and in taking control and influence away fom local people and their representatives, passing it all to unelected Regional Assemblies.

The current South East Plan is today's version of that policy, whereby Medway (and others) has to fit in with others' remotely-decided and dictated plans.

It is to the credit of the Conservative administration of Medway Council that they have consistently fought inappropriate developments such as the proposals for the Capstone Valley, taking the lead and never letting up.

May they continue to have success on this any future occasions; and may we (please!) have a change of national government really soon, so that such madness can be halted once and for all, and people's minds eased. there are more than enough stresses to living in Labour's Britain as it is!

Allan Sullivan said…

And so it goes on……
The sooner we get rid of this Labour Government and return planning controls to local councils the better. We Conservatives will not be put down!!

Alan Kennedy said…

As a regular visitor to Capstone Country Park for a number of years now I am shocked that we are once again going to have to Labour proposals to concrete over our greenbelt land. Capstone is a lovely place and this proposal must be resisted and I hope the Medway Conservatives make the right decision.

Sara Patterson said…

I fully support Tracey in her stance on this. My family have enjoyed Capstone country park for many years (too many than I care to think about) and we love the fact that we a little piece of the countryside right on our doorstep (we live in Luton). If we can help in any way we will and I would like to see more information on how we can help so I hope this can be posted on here in due course.

Good luck Tracey from the Pattersons!

David Brake said…

Yet again the issue of Capstone Valley is raised.

Yet again we the local residents are faced with having to live with the thought that the Capstone Valley might be concreted over.

Yet again we have to send a clear message to the Labour Government. The answer to any proposed housing development is still NO!

Yet again Tracey we say well done – Keep on fighting for what we all know to be right.

Simon said…

Sadly there are many laws which would criminalise you should you decide to lie down in front of the bulldozers.

In 1997 the Protection from Harassment Act was introduced into parliament. The purpose of obtaining injunctions under the act is “the criminalisation of civil disobedience”.

More ominous, though is legislation designed to restrict democratic rights, including the right to protest. In 2005 an amendment was added to the 1997 Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 4 (SOCPA) which was not debated in either chamber of Parliament. This can be used to ban protests of any kind. As in Latin America, the right to protest is being criminalised.

If you get really out of hand The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 allows for the declaration of a state of emergency and rule by decree.

Should you be run over by the bulldozer, just in case an investigation by a local coroner’s court starts posing difficult questions – then the Coroners and Justice Bill (2009) which is currently being drafted has the solution. It gives the government powers to suspend controversial inquests, hold them without a jury and when desired amend the Data Protection Act!

All this would be overseen by ACPO a Private Limited Company with no standing in law, unaccountable, unelected, powerful and not subject to FOI.

You might find ACPO directing The National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU) in your direction, a police team which has been established to coordinate the fight against “domestic extremists”. A NETCU manual advises officers on policing protests. You will also encounter Forward Intelligence Teams (FIT) who now routinely operate on all protests and demonstrations. FIT teams are charged with compiling information and taking photographs of demonstrators and those they associate with. They featured prominently in the Iain Tomlinson incident so watch out.

There is also a little known Police Unit which operates in the UK under the watchful eye of Tony McNulty MP. Set up in 2006, the Fixated Threat Assessment Centre consists of a dozen staff entirely dedicated to having people who have committed no crime locked up under the Mental Health Act, it longer requires a psychiatrist to section you, just a couple of tame Police Doctors. Very handy for inconvenient protestors.

Good luck with your protest. I'll come along and support you. Should you survive the protest and get elected I hope you will support the mass repeal of all the draconian and repressive laws which have been passed during the last 12 years.

Adrian Gulvin said…

Am sending this from Liverpool, looking out of my window I can see a vast area of the old docks which are crying out for redevelopment.
This government must be made to see that other parts of the country have to take part in economic growth, not just the South East. To just keep developing areas like the Capstone valley is not sustainable.
Keep up the good work

John M Ward said…

Just for information…

I am receiving contacts about this from individuals and (so far) one local organisation (who have no access to Facebook as it's blocked).

I have arranged with Capstone ward councillor Alan Jarrett to forward their details to him and let them know, so that he can ensure a co-ordinated, informed and consistent approach can be taken by all campaigners, helpers and supporters.

It's building!

Mark Turvey said…

Hi Tracey

I have just visited the Facebook group and saw the following posted on there and was wondering if you could confirm whether this post is factual?


In 2007 during the last row about Capstone Park the Conservatives were leading the campaign against the plans to build houses. I am not a Conservative member, but I met them at a street stall in Chatham and offered to help.

I have just called their office to check my facts and they have confirmed their campaign to save Capstone Park cost over £5000 and all of it came from volunteers and donations from their supporters.

What did the Labour Party do? Their local MP Jonathan Shaw put out a leaflet. And guess what? He charged the cost of printing it to the taxpayers!

Here is the link to his expense claim House of Commons website: http://mpsallowances.parliament.uk/mpslordsandoffices/hocallowances/allowances-by-mp/jonathan-shaw/Jonathan_Shaw_0708_CA.pdf

Scroll down to Page 13 on the pdf and you will find it. "City Press Rochester – 16,000 Capstone Valley Leaflets £624.00

Thank you.

Steve from Luton said…

If Jonathan Shaw wanted to print leaflets about Capstone Valley, then why didn’t he use the Minolta copier which he rented for 3 months in 2007 at a cost to the taxpayer of £293.75 ?

Simon said…

I didn't realise that we are paying for all those newsletters to be printed and delivered to us. I remember one which had something about ID cards or DNA in it using the catchphrase beloved of all Tyrants, "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" or something similar. Shame I didn't keep a copy, it would have gone well with his blacked out expenses list.

David Holland said…

If you look at his expenses, he also bought a "paper folding machine". He received a 50% discount from the supplier but claimed the full amount from the HoC Expense Office. Bloody disgrace. The sooner he goes the better.

Steve Doerr said…

Disappointed to see a local Conservative party opposing the right of private property owners to decide what happens to the land they own. If you want to stop development on a particular piece of land, buy the land! If you can't raise enough money to do so, then that shows that the development is more economically valuable than leaving the land as it is – market forces in action.

Sarah Chandler said…

I am a 13 year old girl and I walk my 2 dogs in Capstone Park nearly every single night. I think that Capstone Park is a lovely place full of nice greenery and shouldn't be torn down and replaced with houses. The developers of this idea obviously don't know who really will be affected, like me. My dogs are going to have to walk on the streets (already built too built up in medway) and wont have an off-lead and safe place to run around. If this plan is taken foward any further, then I will be truly annoyed. I honestly hope that Capstone Park is kept a clean, green space and isn't built on with horrible housing. If it is i might cry. I don't know about political stuff so erm, yeah. But, I hate you whoever came up with this idea.

Anonymous said…

SAVE CAPSTONE PARK Thats CRAZY!! read up on the word.. "The Earth shall pass away. There will be a new Heavens and a New Earth!! Forget Capstone Park, SAVE YOUSELF!! Get Jesus!

Anonymous said…

Mr/Ms/Mrs Anonymous who said it's crazy to save Capstone Park as the earth is going to pass away has not read the Bible in context, not taking the whole, but just a part without understanding. We are stewards of the earth, we have a responsibility to care for it, as we should care for each other. Part of caring for each other is anyway caring for our beautiful countryside for all to enjoy. As a boy I took great delight in walking all through the Capstone valley (long before it was a "park"). There were cherry orchards (I believe now gone) and hay fields and we picked blackberries in the late summer. My brother and I spent so many wonderful hours revelling in the country side on our door step. If this was allowed to be destroyed by greedy developers it would be a tragedy. Everything must be done to save this wonderful green space for the people of Medway and for the wildlife that lives there. We all need the Capstone Valley and I look forward to visiting there again. Thanks for reading this. Mark Bagott