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Chatham to become Medway's 'city centre'

The government has today (Monday) announced it will be handing over nearly £29 million to help Medway flourish.

The cash comes as part of a £442.2 million funding package to boost economic growth across areas including Kent and Medway.

Queues on the Medway City Estate

Medway Council called the news “excellent” and said the money will help to:

• Develop Chatham as Medway’s city centre.

• Take forward construction of 600 new homes at Strood Riverside with funding for flood defences.

• Respond to the needs of businesses with a one stop service for business and financial advice and support.

• Attract more businesses and jobs to Medway City Estate with improved traffic access.

• Boost trade in Strood town centre through traffic improvements.

Medway Council Leader Rodney Chambers said: “This is excellent news for Medway.

“The council has a long standing commitment to the regeneration of Medway. We have made great progress and this funding will allow us to do even more to create jobs and provide new homes for the people of Medway.

“It is also clear vindication of our decision to push for a Kent and Medway economic partnership to ensure the specific needs of Kent and Medway are recognised ”

Chatham high street last year - to be the centre of Medway?

The scheme for Medway City Estate includes infrastructure improvements to address getting to and from the estate and will look to include links to Chatham town centre.

Plans also includes enhancements for pedestrians and cyclists with new and improved routes, cycle parking, benches and better routes from Sun Pier to Chatham town centre via a riverside walk.

Chatham town centre itself will include accessibility improvements between the train station and high street, including a new civic square.

It will include walking and cycling routes, hard and soft landscaping, traffic management measures, new signs, and public art.

In Strood, it hopes the cash will be used to improve the traffic situation alongside pedestrian and cycle access to aid regeneration in the town.

The cash has been given to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) to boost economic growth across Kent, Medway, East Sussex and Essex.

The Kent and Medway Economic Partnership (KMEP) was set up in 2013 to act as a ‘building block’ of the SELEP.

Kent vice chair of SELEP and chairman of the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership Geoff Miles said: “Today’s funding announcement heralds intensive investment in transport improvements for the south east.

“In addition to major transport investment in Kent and Medway, the government has also confirmed funding for a Kent and Medway Growth Hub, which will provide innovative support services to help local businesses to expand and prosper.

“This is only the beginning of our ambitions: through SELEP and the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership we have bold further plans for economic growth in Kent & Medway and will be seeking further funding to make them a reality.”

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