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Medway reveals placemaking plans

by Natalie Vincent Wed 5 September 2018, 10:39 am

Medway's residents and employers joined forces this summer to promote the area's ongoing development.

Image courtesy of Medway Council

Celebrating 20 years since being founded, local businesses hope to further boost the economy by launching a "place story" strategy.

Medway inhabitants, stakeholders and business owners were invited to have their say and identify key themes that make the area an attractive place in which to live and work.

These themes included Medway’s history, creative innovation and its waterside location.

With 2018 marking two decades since the founding of Medway, its regeneration that includes the development of residential, leisure and business projects, is expected to turn Medway into a large "waterfront city" and an economic powerhouse for the region.

Medway's military and maritime heritage of Chatham and historic dockyard, Rochester Cathedral, and the various castles and museums all attract strong crowds throughout the year and are part of the plans.

The river Medway also forms a key part of the area's regeneration. In July work began to transform Strood Waterfront, on the northwest bank of the river, to enable future development that includes 1,000 new homes.

Bill Ferris OBE, chief executive of The Historic Dockyard Chatham, said: "Medway is a place with a fantastic future, firmly grounded in the identity of its internationally important past.

"Working to an agreed identity that goes so much further than a logo but is about the very essence of [Medway] will be fundamental to the way the place goes on to develop and maintain its proud identity in the shadow of London."

Medway's economy is now worth £4.8 billion, with a growth rate ahead of the rest of the UK with a key attraction being its growing reputation as a diverse regeneration zone and its rural area.

Currently, around 14,000 businesses are based across Medway, and this is set to rise with the influx of technology and knowledge intensive firms.

Its four university campuses have around 12,000 students studying a range of academic and vocational learning courses, providing the area with a skilled workforce and employment opportunities.

Simon Cook, principal and chief executive of MidKent College, said: "The importance of Medway as a place to our students, employers and our college is essential. We all want our students to flourish and thrive and by raising our own ambitions and aspirations of Medway as a place we will help create a place where future generations are transformed."

Alan Jarrett, leader of Medway Council, added: "Medway has a strong story to tell, from its rich cultural history to its innovative business scene. The place branding initiative is hugely important. Together we can help shape Medway's future and put Medway on the map.

"We are all on an exciting journey and everyone has a role to play to tell Medway's story and prove that we are here to compete with some of the most renowned areas in the world."

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