Council rejects Medway Valley master plan

A master plan, more than a decade in the making, to balance conservation in the Medway Valley Heritage Forest with a plan to increase accessibility was rejected by city council Tuesday night.

The road map for one of London’s natural gems, which proposed a number of paved trails and new bridges, was controversial, especially among some environmentalists who argued the accessible trails and bridges could upset the delicate ecological balance in the area -writes lfpress.com

“It appears that we’re saying people with disabilities are less deserving of public spaces,” said Coun. Maureen Cassidy, who spoke passionately in favour of the proposed plan.

“The message they will hear is that disabled people don’t have the same value as non-disabled, and the drive to be accessible might lead to ecological catastrophe.”

Despite a presentation from city planner John Fleming, who noted the bridges could be constructed in a way that doesn’t compromise the natural features in the Medway Valley, council voted 4-10 to defeat the plan.

Mayor Matt Brown, Coun. Jesse Helmer, Coun. Jared Zaifman joined Cassidy in backing the plan. Coun. Mo Salih was absent, and all others were opposed.

Coun. Squire railed against the plan, and ultimately offered a new motion to refer the matter back to staff with a direction to delete two bridges that cross the creek, one near Fanshawe Park Road and Wonderland Road, and one further south near Windermere Road.

He argued removing the bridges wouldn’t hinder Londoners with mobility challenges from accessing the space.

Several councillors, including staunch environmental advocate Anna Hopkins, argued that environmentally sensitive areas – a designation within the Medway Valley Heritage Forest – should not be seen as parks.

“It could be no further from the truth that by not supporting staff’s recommendation (for this master plan) that we’re not supporting accessibility,” she said. “We are stewards of the land. We have to protect our environment.”

But council also voted to reduce paved trails wherever possible, instead looking for less-invasive options.

An already-complex decision was made endlessly confusing when council, after nearly two hours of debate, voted more than a dozen times on various parts of the decision.At one point council voted to overturn portions of its own vote in order to break down Squire’s motion, and several new amendments, to allow for separate decisions on each.

The complicated process confused many onlookers in the public gallery, and angered even more, including members of the accessibility advisory committee who consulted on the plan.

Council received hundreds of letters on the project, included pleas to protect the environment and to make it possible for Londoners of all stages and abilities to access the area.

Staff was directed to report back on a number of pieces of the master plan, including the need for further public consultation.

Read more news of London on our site.

lfpress.com
Council MedwayValley
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in october
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
London area home sales fell 15.9 per cent in September from August because of a shortage of homes to sell, and that shortage of inventory helped push up prices by 20 per cent from a year ago, the head of the London St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR) said. In September, LSTAR reported 776 homes changed hands in London and St. Thomas, compared to a near-record August, when 923 homes were sold. By the numbers Homes sold in September: 776 (a drop of 6....
Society
Radical preacher Anjem Choudary, jailed for inviting support for the Islamic State group, has been released. The cleric was sentenced in 2016 to five-and-a-half years in prison. He led an extremist network linked to violent jihadists, including one of the killers of soldier Lee Rigby in 2013. Choudary, 51, has now served half of his sentence and will complete the rest under strict supervision. Police are preparing up to 25 measures to control him, the BBC...
Society
One of London's front-running mayoral candidates has already put 40 per cent more of his own money into his campaign than the $25,000 limit allowed by law, a move that could put him in jeopardy if he wins the top job, provincial and civic election officials say. One of London’s front-running mayoral candidates has already put 40 per cent more of his own money into his campaign than the $25,000 limit allowed by law, a move that could put him in jeopardy if...
Society
Nearly 150 County of Lambton paramedics are no longer responding to non-emergency calls amid ongoing negotiations for a new contract. Job action as of last Saturday means Lambton County paramedics won’t be doing non-urgent transfers between hospitals for the next while, or keeping ambulance stations as neat and tidy, a union spokesperson says. Nearly 150 Lambton Emergency Medical Services (EMS) paramedics represented by SEIU Healthcare Local 1 stopped resp...
Society
Clapham Junction has been named London’s worst mainline train station for disruption in a survey by leading consumer title Which? Fifty-seven per cent of trains have been late or cancelled at the south London interchange since the beginning of the year, their research found. Their study found King’s Cross was the second worst, with 51 per cent of trains delayed or cancelled, followed by Victoria (47 per cent), Stratford (44 per cent) and London Bridge (44...
Society
Tube drivers on the Piccadilly Line are set to hold fresh 24-hour strike action in a row over staffing and working conditions. The RMT Union has urged members to walk out at 12:00 BST on 7 November until noon the following day - writes bbc.com The union's general secretary Mick Cash said it had become "frustrated" with Tube bosses' handling of a "full raft of issues". Transport for London (TfL) said it was "disappointed" with the new strike. Drivers on the...
Society
The Tate and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) are calling for a premium to fund arts classes in England's schools. The major arts institutions say league tables and pressures on time and budgets are squeezing out important creative subjects - writes bbc.com Six thousand 11 to 18-year-olds have described how the subjects help build their confidence, in new research. The government says it is investing almost £500m in arts and music. Creative subjects hav...
Crime
Five teenagers have been jailed for fatally stabbing a man in an unprovoked attack as he returned home from an appointment with his pregnant partner. Daniel Frederick, 34, was knifed repeatedly by the group just yards from his home in Stoke Newington, Hackney. Three teenagers were convicted of murdering Mr Frederick while another two were found guilty of manslaughter. They were jailed at the Old Bailey for a combined total of at least 64 years. Judge Phili...
Society
Work at a building site near London's Olympic Park has stopped after complaints about "horrendous" smells. Nearby Mossbourne Academy said its students felt sick and local residents spoke of headaches because of smells coming from the site in Hackney Wick. The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) told Telford Homes to stop work last month until a new plan to "manage the site" was approved. The LLDC and Telford Homes claimed there was no health risk....