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Creative businesses drive to revamp buildings

Wed 5 December 2012, 6:32 pm

Hundreds of thousands of pounds are set to be spent upgrading empty commercial properties with the aim of creating three new clusters for creative new businesses and artists in Medway.

Project Recreate already has £400,000 in approved financing from the European Regional Development Fund and is bidding for a further £350,000 for the scheme, which will see a significant investment on the main road between Chatham and Rochester High Streets.

It plans to create three new business, exhibition and teaching spaces from empty commercial premises - one of them the Sun Wharf building at Rochester Riverside.

Medway Council said the new business spaces were expected to be open by autumn 2013 and could help up to 55 entrepreneurs, artists, and designers set up shop.

Councillor Jane Chitty, the authority’s strategic development and economic growth lead, said Medway’s combination of existing successful creative businesses and leading local universities meant there was huge potential for growth.

“By investing in this stretch of the High Street, which in recent years has already seen a range of new businesses and restaurants, we aim to create a lively and exciting space for shoppers that has its own unique identity will form a natural link between the independent retailers in Rochester and the national high street stores in Chatham,” she said.

“It’s another example of our work to invest and promote our high streets by thinking innovatively and positively, and I’m excited to see it get underway.”

The funding will be used to equip the buildings with studio, performance and showcasing spaces as well as digital media facilities, seminar spaces and study rooms.

As well as the European Regional Development Fund, the project is financed by the Arts Council and the government’s High Street Innovation Fund.

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