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Government to inject £34.2m into nine Kent projects including Ashford International signalling and Dartford town centre

By Chris Price

The Government is to inject £34.2 million into nine projects across Kent to help create jobs.

A transformation of Dartford town centre will receive £4.3 million while upgrades to signalling at Ashford International will be given £4.8 million under the growth deal awarded to the county.

A training centre for engineering and design professionals will be given £6.1 million to support an investment of nearly £15 million by Canterbury Christ Church University.

A regeneration scheme for Dartford town centre will receive £4.3 million

A regeneration scheme for Dartford town centre will receive £4.3 million

The money has been announced after a bid submitted last year by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), a body set up to identify important economic projects in the region.

The Government has announced today it will spend £102 million on schemes across Kent, Essex and East Sussex including:

  • Dartford town centre transformation (£4.3m)
  • Ashford International Rail Connectivity Project (£4.8m)
  • Fort Halstead redevelopment, Sevenoaks (£1.5m)
  • Rochester Airport Technology Park (£3.7m)
  • Strood Civic Centre Flood Mitigation Works (£3.5m)
  • A2500 Lower Road Improvement, Sheppey (£1.3m)
  • Kent and Medway Engineering, Design, Growth & Enterprise Hub, Canterbury (£6.1m)
  • Leigh Flood Storage Area, Tonbridge (£4.6m)
  • A2 off-slip at Canterbury (£4.4m)

The cash injection is expected to deliver 6,129 new homes and create or safeguard 30,785 jobs across the South East.

It is also hoped it will help secure another £141 million of private sector investment across the region.

Some £4.8 million will be spent on upgrades to signalling at Ashford International Station

Some £4.8 million will be spent on upgrades to signalling at Ashford International Station

The cash means SELEP has attracted £590.8 million of government cash to the area since 2014, which is expected to deliver 78,000 jobs and 29,000 homes, plus £960 million of private sector investment over the next five years.

Previous projects to receive funding have included improvements to Junction 4 of the M20, Tonbridge and Sittingbourne town centre’s regeneration, improvements to Maidstone’s gyratory system and the Rathmore Road link at Gravesend station.

SELEP chairman Christian Brodie said: “This growth deal settlement is a huge boost for the economy in Kent and Medway.

“We have secured funding to channel significant investment into the projects, which are of highest priority to our businesses and local areas.”

Rochester Airport Technology Hub will receive £3.7 million

Rochester Airport Technology Hub will receive £3.7 million

Geoff Miles, SELEP vice chair and chair of the Kent & Medway Economic Partnership, said: “This investment enables us to drive forward our shared growth agenda delivering economic growth, new jobs, facilitating housing, improving connectivity and boosting skills.

“The additional funding that will be leveraged into the South East as a result of these investments is testament to the continued success of our area.”

The £3.5 million for improvements to flood defences in Strood will allow its brownfield former civic centre site to be turned into 325 homes.

Meanwhile, the £3.7 million for a Rochester Airport Technology Park will be put towards building access roads, water and electricity infrastructure.

Medway Council’s leader Cllr Alan Jarrett said: “This is brilliant news for Medway.

"This funding will help us to move forward with important projects that are going to be vital for Medway’s growth and economic success in years to come.”

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