The audacity of nope
We can't go on like this
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Medway feels at something of an impasse. An impasse I’m not entirely sure we can bridge, at least not anytime soon.
It’s about development, as so much of what I write tends to be.
I’m going to try to not moan about NIMBYs in this essay, as I often beat that drum, and I’d like to try and find some common ground with those who may have a different perspective than myself.
Attempting to build anything in Medway is incredibly difficult.
I realise this will feel at odds with a perception that exists that Medway is being concreted over with houses, with no infrastructure to support them. Our area is being flooded by rich people moving down from London, while local people have no chance of living in these homes.
It’s not the reality, of course. At least not the full picture. But there is some truth in it.
There’s a certain type of home that is regularly filled with newcomers from London and elsewhere. These are usually the fancy flats at Chatham Waters or Rochester Riverside. But those are a minority of people moving into Medway. Indeed, most moves to a new property in Medway come from within Medway itself.
The infrastructure point is the hardest to refute. Many developments are built without appropriate provision. Entire clusters are houses are built to be car-dependent with little improvement to the surrounding road network. New GPs don’t materialise with each new build, and the tiny sums of money assigned to them for new property are quickly swallowed up in a creaking local health provision.
There is quite a lot of development occurring in Medway, particularly for housing. If you live in Hoo, you are likely far more aware of that than someone in Rochester. All areas are being touched by development, but not equally. That inequality likely fuels much of the anger.
For residents of Hoo, Rainham, and certain parts of Chatham, development seems to be happening all around.
So how do we square that development with my earlier claim that it’s difficult to build here?
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