Councillor on Medway Council: Letter to Medway News

John Ward

Medway News
12 New Road

13th February 2006

Dear Sir

The Future of No. 20 The Ridgeway

I was pleased to read Nicola Jordan's article on the subject of the proposed mental rehabilitation hostel at 20 The Ridgeway in last Friday's Medway News. Well done to Ms Jordan for squeezing what has become a rather complex subject into a manageable and readable article!

However, there are three major points that your readers will want to be aware of when looking at this whole business, especially when it comes to other projects by the local NHS Trusts as they unfold...

One: it is not good for the patients from Newhaven Lodge to move to The Ridgeway. It is unsuitable for all sorts of reasons, and it takes them away from the medical facilities they need to have on hand. We have the testimony of the former head of the unit in question (Newhaven Lodge), also an experienced nurse in The Ridgeway who has worked with this kind of client group before, and can state with absolute certainty that it would be detrimental to the patients' interests to move them to this location.

Two: the sheer cost of this exercise, especially when NHS Trusts' financial difficulties are so much in the news. It is the height of irresponsibility to squander more than a million pounds of public money on retaining an expensive plot of land, demolishing the valuable property on it, nd spending a further 850,000 on building a new facility, one that doesn't even fit comfortably on that site. The proper way to proceed would be to sell the property as is (worth a good two-thirds of a million pounds) and build a new facility on a more suitable (and cheaper) site, saving a small forune in the process.

Three: the underhand way this was dealt with, in secrecy, with what has to be intentional deception over the purpose of the new facility, as well as a number of distortions and concealments that the Ridgeway Action Group and I have fully documented, some obtained under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

These briefly outlined matters are of great significance, and although I have only touched on them here, it is worth stating again that the residents and I have extensive documentary proof of all of this and much more besides.

It is only right that Medway residents are allowed to know what is being done in their communities and with their tax money, so I hope that this letter helps to do precisely that.

Yours faithfully

John M Ward — one of the three Councillors for Rochester South and Horsted