Medway1 launch provides showcase for council plans
by Maria Shahid Wed 19 April 2017, 5:20 pm
The 10th issue of Medway1 magazine was launched on 11 April at the BNP Paribas offices in the City of London.
Medway council leader Alan Jarrett spoke of the many initiatives that are taking place in Medway, and the plans for “lifting Chatham up, and making it a better place over time”.
"It’s a big challenge, but we are up for a challenge," he added.
Also speaking at the event was Richard Hicks, Medway Council’s director of regeneration, community and culture, who described Medway as the "gateway to Kent".
Hicks spoke of the significant programme of regeneration that the council would be taking forward.
“We think we have all of the key ingredients in place to be able to make that a success because we think we are a city in all but name.
“Our heritage is amazing, and provides the backstory, the sense of place, which Medway has in abundance.”
Hicks also highlighted Medway’s "stunning" natural environment: "We have six green flag accredited green spaces. We have the equivalent of 13 Hyde Parks under our direct management."
Connectivity was one of the two key drivers for the council’s regeneration plans he explained, highlighting investment that had gone into the stations at Rochester, Strood, Chatham, Gillingham and Rainham.
“You have a door to desk travel time of under an hour from Medway to London,” he said.
The other key driver is skills, Hicks added. "We are blessed with an abundance of universities here in Medway. We have four: the University of Kent, the University of Greenwich, the University of Creative Arts, and we have Canterbury Christ Church University: over 12,000 students study at university level. We have MidKent College – and £86 million of investment into those facilities, providing the largest Further Education college in the whole of the county”.
Hicks also spoke of the “new kid on the block”, the University Technical College, describing the students at the college as a ready talent pool that new businesses would be able to “tap into”.
He outlined the intiatives planned for Chatham: “£4 million worth of placemaking investment is going to be starting in Chatham shortly, which will make a real difference in terms of the sense of arrival from the train station down into our city centre”.
Hicks added that Kitchener Barracks in Chatham, a Lattis scheme, to convert the historic site into 300 homes had been awarded £14.4 million through the Home Building Fund recently.
Plans for a technology park Rochester airport had the potential to provide 13,000 high GVA jobs.
“We have 17,460 businesses in Medway. We have a faster rate of growth than anywhere else in the south-east. Medway’s economy is valued at £4.8 billion.
“This is a great time for people to think about investing in Medway in terms of the land values, in terms of the skills and in terms of the business growth.
“Medway has a rich heritage, and a great future, and we invite you to be part of that future,” concluded Hicks.
Read the latest issue of Medway1 here.
Vie images of the event here.