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Central government awards major funding boost for Medway

Nearly £200 million of investment has been secured for an area described as the ‘new economic powerhouse’ for the south-east.

Medway, which is now the biggest regeneration zone within the Thames Gateway, is all set for another new major regeneration programme which will unlock thousands of new homes and create fabulous growth opportunities for the area.

On Friday, 1 November 2019, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced that Medway Council had been successful in its bid to secure £170million for major infrastructure developments on the Hoo Peninsula. 

The Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) is a government capital grant programme of up to £5.5billion which will help deliver a potential of 600,000 new homes across England.

Medway Council’s comprehensive bid focused on significantly improving road and rail connections in and around the peninsula. It was essential for the council to ensure that the necessary infrastructure could be put in place for its residents before preparing plans to develop 10,600 new homes on the Hoo Peninsula.

Local authorities are required by the government to set a Local Plan to identify how an area could evolve and meet the demand for housing, as well as provide job opportunities and infrastructure for a growing population. The plans for the peninsula will be included as an option in Medway’s emerging Local Plan.

Medway Council and Network Rail will work together and use the HIF funding to explore the opportunities for upgrades to rail infrastructure, and train service proposals, to improve connections for the Hoo Peninsula to neighbouring boroughs and beyond. In addition, £85.7million will be used to make vital improvements to Medway’s roads, including the A228 and A289, as well as a new relief road to help ease local congestion. 

With residents at the heart of the council’s plans, £14.35million of the funding will be used to provide investment country parks on the Hoo Peninsula to benefit local wildlife as well as opportunities to open up the River for residents to enjoy.

These exciting regeneration plans, will unlock the potential of the Peninsula. Medway’s plans, which were supported by South East Local Enterprise Partnership and the Hoo Consortium, could deliver sustainable growth, improve infrastructure for Medway residents and provide opportunities to deliver new homes.

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Medway is one of the shortlisted authorities to have successfully secured funding through the Housing Infrastructure Fund. It was a highly competitive bidding process and Medway’s success is an endorsement of our track record of delivery. Providing opportunities for Medway residents remains one of the council’s top priorities and ensuring we continue to meet the needs of our residents was a huge consideration at each step of the bidding process.

“The HIF bid will enable us to significantly improve transport links and it also gives us the opportunity of providing our residents with a choice of new homes on the Hoo Peninsula. This great news will now allow us to press ahead to finalise our draft Local Plan setting out the future planned development of Medway to 2035.

“Medway is on an exciting journey and the area has already seen huge transformation. We will continue to explore new opportunities to ensure we provide sustainable growth, help the economy grow and lay the foundations for future generations as we establish Medway as a great place to live, work, learn and visit.”