Interview: Robin Cooper at Medway Council
Fri 13 February 2015, 12:39 pm
Following the publication of issue #7 of Medway1 magazine, the regeneration publication for Medway, Kent, the council's director of regeneration, community and culture discussed his aims and ambitions with Sitematch.
Robin Cooper, Medway Council's director of regeneration, community and culture
Which projects are you most proud of being involved in?
The regeneration of Medway, which is very much ongoing.
What three developments or enhancements would most benefit Medway?
Investment in new railway stations to capitalise on High Speed 1 services of 32 minutes to London. This is now happening.
Selecting a new developer to build 1,350 units at Rochester Riverside, which are now out to market.
Investment in homes and jobs in Chatham town centre.
Which three developments outside Medway do you most admire and why?
Ebbsfleet Garden City – which is now ready for take off.
High Speed 1 – though it is in Medway as well, of course.
Also, the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury is a magnificent piece of cultural architecture.
What was your first impression of Medway when you started out working there?
A place that has lived through some tough times and wants to change and succeed.
What things have surprised you about working in the region?
How relatively few people know how quickly they can reach London.
The feeling that the vast majority of people want things to be better and understand the regeneration agenda.
What makes developers good partners?
Quite simply because we can’t deliver regeneration without them.
When people find out you work in Medway, what are the most common things they ask?
Where exactly is that? We are trying to change that by raising our profile nationally.
If you could change one thing about working in Medway, what would it be?
Skills. With our new universities, MidKent College and University Technical College, there are great opportunities to learn skills, but there is still much more to do.
Which three people have inspired you the most – either at work or in your personal life?
Bradley Wiggins – inspirational cyclist.
Dave Swarbrick – great fiddle player.
And Barbara my wife – but not in that order of course, before she reads it!
If you could visit any country in the world, where would you go and why?
Probably the Galapagos – a very special place.
Which book, film, piece of music or sporting occasion has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
The London Olympics because it was simply great and because I cycled there from Olympia in Greece.
When did your most memorable meeting take place and what made it so special?
Meeting the Queen – she is a remarkable woman.
What is your favourite gadget and why?
My super efficient bike pump.
What is your biggest professional achievement?
Attracting significant investment into Medway.
Finally, you recently attended Sitematch London at The Shard. How did you find it?
[It] set out to be a dating site for those in the development industry, matching people to sites, and from our point of view it did just that. It was very well organised, a real buzz, a great location and we had some really positive conversations.
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