Update Autumn 2017:
The group representing all the local areas etc had a meeting with Highways England and liitle new was said by HE other than that the message has been clearly heard re mitigation, ie if it has to happen at all, people want a much longer tunnel and no connection with the A226. They also hope to make contact with us again in advance of another formal consultation.
Update May 2017:
Sadly the Government has chosen the route that comes our way - which we tend to call "Option C", the original designation for the "East of Gravesend" route.
Just for confusion (!) this side of the Thames, the current Government idea for the route is sometimes known as the "Western Southern Link" or WSL.
The route emerges from a portal level with the Lower Higham Road between Castle lane and Church lane and heads approximately southwards towards Thong and the A2.
We continue the struggle in various ways - partly supporting other groups with a possible legal challenge, but also by engaging with Highways England to obtain, if the crossing is in fact built here, the best possible mitigation and notably:
1. A much longer tunnel - emerging well south of the A226 and
2. Dropping the idea of linking roads to/from the crossing from the A226.
OPTION C & PROPOSALS FOR A NEW THAMES CROSSING THROUGH CHALK - What we are doing - updated 11 March 2016
Lots of people had their say at the town protest
The Official Lower Thames Crossing Consultation Questionnaire can be accessed online from the link at the bottom of this page. For a booklet/guide by the Vicar giving advice to the parish on completing the Questionnaire, press below:
press here for guide (includes two detailed maps) download
Vicar's Notes on Current Strategy/Tactics:
Perhaps the most important thing everyone can do now is to encourage every single friend, neighbour, colleague and family member to respond to the consultation. If two people live in a house, please make two separate responses.
You can also add your name to a petition to the Government here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/120069
and another one (supporting Thurrock against Option C) here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/113715
Thanks for those who added their names to the KCC petition; the written and online responses have yet to be finally verified but easily exceed the 2,500 needed to create a response. Chalk residents were particularly prominent. (Thanks also to all who knocked on doors.)
However, these petitions are not in anyway a substitute for using the official Questionnaire from Highways England. (You can access this Questionnaire via the link at the very bottom of this page.) Petitions are a helpful supplement in this regard but a very poor substitute as the Questionnaire is the primary means by which the Government will judge public opinion from all sources on this issue.
An area meeting took place on 2 March for the three Gravesham Neighbourhood Forums at St John's Catholic Comprehensive School. The meeting was recorded for YouTube and you can view the meeting here Forum Meeting. Although Highways Agency leader Martin Potts was present and giving some answers, his answers were mostly long-winded, evasive and, like the Consultation itself, somewhat misleading (it is alleged!).
Leslie Hills (Borough Councillor) and I arranged a meeting for Chalk on 3 March - 7pm in the Church, chaired by Community Warden, Steve Gray. This replaced the regular community meeting that would have been held in the Parish Hall at the same time; the meeting focused on the Lower Thames Crossing and Option C. A booklet with slides from the meeting is available here: Meeting Booklet. An updated Guide to answering the Questionnaire was also made available (see above - just below photos - for Guide download).
Guided walks are planned for Sundays 6 and 13 March to show some of the Option C route - "Funnel the Tunnel" - all welcome. Our guide is Christoph Bull (Chalk Local Historian) and we start at 2.30pm from the junction of Castle Lane and Lower Higham Road, Chalk. The event is free – no need to book but donations may be given to help in the campaign against option C. More information is available from: Christoph Bull 07702287147.
The simple 4-page leaflet/letter for the parish we have put together is still available: Press Here for the 4-Page Leaflet/Letter (updated 12 Feb '16) Download This leaflet gives basic information on the situation, detailed maps of the routes, basic advice on points to make in responding to the Consultation and encourages everyone to take part in the Consultation.
Posters to go in windows are available in church and the Parish Hall or download a poster by pressing here.
We are networking with Adam Holloway MP and folk from the other villages and the collective view is to oppose Option C in all its forms rather than trying to play Highways England's game of a choice between the western link to Thong/A2 or the eastern one to Shorne/M2. (A small group of us had a private meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport on 23 February; the Secretary of State seemed to be receptive to the issues we raised and he confirmed that, the decision in due course will be for him and that Option A is definitely still on the table.) Other websites etc that are good for information etc include:
www.no-ltc.org.uk www.facebook.com/groups/Abridge2far abridge2far.co.uk
Printed versions of the official questionnaire so that those not online can take part in the consultation are available at Chalk Church, the Parish Hall (the Hall is always open weekday mornings in term time) and the Vicarage (2A Vicarage Lane - best to phone 01474 567906 just to make sure we're in.) It would be lovely if they all went and added to the cause. ("Fight the good fight !").
The online version of the Consultation can be accessed using the link at the very bottom of this page.
I hope that helps explain where we are and what is happening. If anyone thinks there are gaps/has ideas, please feel free to suggest things. I will try to use this church website to keep people informed so check here for updates.
For videos of Meridian ITV news items about the proposed Lower Thames Crossing, please click on the links below.
Please remember that this is not yet a Government decision - we will need to make a concerted effort in the new (Jan- March 2016) consultation to continue to oppose all forms of Option C. When we know more we will advise you further.
Press Here for Meridian ITV News Item (A good overview of the issue & Option C)
Press here for Meridian ITV News Item (Local feeling and the Consultation)
(TV items courtesy of Meridian ITV News.)
I have produced a Guide to the Questionnaire for the Parish which should help with completing the official questionnaire. The prototypes were handed out at church and a slightly adapted version for general use is now available to download (click on "Press Here for Guide Download" near the top of this page. I can provide a small number of printed versions but there are cost implications for a blanket coverage! press here for guide (includes two detailed maps) download
Press here for a link to the Consultation site where you can make your response.