Dartford & Gravesham
The Dartford & Gravesham districts are intersected by the A2 and high-speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link, and are home to Bluewater shopping centre and Ebbsfleet International Station
The area to the north of the A2 forms part of the Thames Gateway, incorporating over 12 miles of Thames waterfront. This river side is a built environment interspersed with the natural areas of the Dartford, Swanscombe, Shorne and Higham marshes. The land to the south of the A2 is primarily rural, which has a high agricultural, landscape and conservation value. The many individual villages, woodland and downland make up the distinctive heritage landscape character associated with North West Kent. 78% of Gravesham sits within the Metropolitan Green Belt, and 24% forms part of the North Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Chairman: Alex Hills
- Lower Thames Crossing (NSIP) – Kent and Essex County Councils lobbied for another Thames Crossing downstream of Gravesend. The site selection for ‘Option C’ was made by the government in 2016 and the project included in the Roads Infrastructure Plan. If this goes ahead, it will substantially impact the remaining open countryside and residents way of life in North Kent between Gravesend and Medway. Our view is that freight transport through Kent needs to be looked at strategically, including current crossings, rather than addressing the symptoms with substantial civil engineering projects (‘by pass’ traffic management) . You can find out more about this issue in the separate article below.
- The borough Local Plans are under review and current government targets will mean many new houses will be built within the boroughs. The Dartford plan is currently (June 2022) before the Planning Inspectorate, Gravesham’s borough Plan will call for 3,000 new houses on the green belt and will be reviewed by 2023. New greenfield and Greenbelt sites proposed for housing development are now a hot topic. Residents together with CPRE support have ensured maximum publicity in the local press and continue to press for proper use of brown field sites and alternatives to re-classifying green belt as building land.
- The ‘London Resort’ (NSIP – London Resort Company Holdings Ltd) threatens the SSSI on the Swanscombe Peninsula. This ‘nebulous’ theme park proposal has achieved NSIP status (and attracted government funding), but failed to define either it’s environmental impact or produce a detailed design in the 9 years since it obtained that status. The DCO was finally withdrawn in May 2022 after years of delay and obfuscation, however the parent company is still trading and thought to be selling new investments in the project. The government has failed to clarify (remove) the NSIP status of the project. CPRE with other interested conservation groups have been highlighting the lack of clear assessment of the project’s impacts through the consultation process. This project’s status has impinged on Ebbsfleet Garden City, due to the uncertainties it has created and the lack of clear plans provided.
- The new Ebbsfleet Garden City (15,000 houses) is a massive development which will utilise brown field sites as well as greenfield in Dartford and Gravesend – but the importance of sustainability and environmental protection in the decision-making process is critical. We monitor new development proposals for the ‘City’ as they arise. Although the build through rates for this project have been extremely slow (20 years from plan to first completions), there is significant danger of urban sprawl as further plots become absorbed by it.