Public Sector Focus

03.09.19

Medway’s blueprint for transformation

Source: PSE: Aug/Sep 19

Cllr Adrian Gulvin, Medway Council’s portfolio holder for resources, outlines why the local authority in the south-east has invested £35m in a town centre shopping centre.

Medway is currently undergoing a significant transformation thanks to our monumental 20-year regeneration programme, and has become the biggest regeneration zone within the Thames Gateway due to our innovative and commercial way of thinking. 

We took over the lease of the Pentagon Shopping Centre in Chatham town centre on Friday, 26 April, 2019 for £34.8m. The centre is in the heart of the high street and is home to well-known shops, bespoke stores and a supermarket chain. Acquiring the shopping centre not only supports our ongoing regeneration programme which will provide growth for all, but it will also help our high streets thrive. It will provide us with the opportunity to generate an annual income of £1m which will be reinvested to support council finances and services for local residents. 

Our investment in commercial property in the town centre demonstrates our commitment to shaping the future of our town centres to boost the local economy and provide more opportunities for local residents. It also gives the council an opportunity to create a blueprint for its thriving town. Medway is already home to more than 14,000 businesses and is fast becoming known as the new economic powerhouse for the south-east with an economy worth £5.17bn. 

We’re working hard to build a successful future for our residents and we’ve invested heavily in projects to improve our towns. This includes securing £4m from the government’s Local Growth Fund through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, which has been invested in Chatham town centre for major improvement works. Our Chatham Placemaking Project has transformed the area and the works support our vision to turn Chatham into Medway’s leading waterfront university city centre by 2035. The transformation work has already started to attract new businesses to the area and we’re looking forward to watching it flourish. 

This is a very exciting time for Medway, with a number of investment projects underway which will all help further improve the area for residents. We have also recently submitted an expression of interest to the government’s Future High Streets Fund which aims to further transform town centres. The bid could unlock £14m which would be invested into Chatham town centre to further economic growth, increase housing, create more jobs and provide a vibrant town centre experience. 

Two proposals for town centre developments in Chatham and Gillingham were unanimously agreed by the council’s planning committee earlier this year. Chatham Waterfront’s Globe Lane car park will provide 175 new apartments, as well as commercial space on the ground floor for businesses such as cafes and restaurants. 

The development, being delivered by Medway Development Company, supports the ongoing work to regenerate and revitalise Chatham. The new homes provide another opportunity for residents to enjoy waterfront living – the apartments will sit next to the River Medway with views across Chatham, Rochester and Strood. The site will be in a fantastic location in the heart of Chatham and near the high street, with shops, two theatres and pubs on the doorstep. 

The new apartments at Chatham Waterfront will also be walking distance from Chatham railway station, which is on the high-speed line into London, and also next to the modern Waterfront bus station, providing lots of options for commuters. The new development will also provide some parking for its residents, including electric charging points, as well as bicycle storage facilities. 

Britton Farm, behind Gillingham High Street, will also be developed to provide new opportunities for Medway residents and businesses. The Planning Committee has also agreed for the open-air car park to be transformed into 44 apartments. There are also plans, subject to planning permission, to redevelop the vacant building for commercial use. It is proposed to convert the former supermarket into office space.  

It is an incredibly exciting time and we’re extremely proud to showcase that Medway is a great place to live, work, learn and visit.

For more information

Tw: @medway_council

W: medway.gov.uk

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