Controversial 5,000-home Medway application called in

Planning minister Brandon Lewis has called in a controversial planning application for 5,000 homes at a site in Kent identified as an important habitat for nightingales.

Nightingale: mixed-use Lodge Hill development comprises plans for 5,000 homes

A Department for Communities and Local Government statement confirmed today that the Defence Infrastructure Organisation's application for the development on a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) on the Hoo Peninsula would be called in.

Since Medway Council approved the Lodge Hill application in September 2014, campaign groups, including the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), had campaigned for the secretary of state to call in the application.

In December the government requested more information in order to decide on whether to do so. 

Today’s statement said: "Following a significant number of requests from local residents, Natural England, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and local MPs, ministers have confirmed that they will decide on this planning application".

Communities secretary Eric Pickles will not decide the application as he is a member of the RSPB.