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Public consultation for Medway Council Local Plan proposals extended

By Clare Freeman

Medway needs more houses, schools, roads and businesses – but where will they go? That’s the question people are being asked as the council seeks views as it draws up its Local Plan.

Today, the public consultation was extended again, giving people until 5pm on May 30 to have their say.

From creating a new town at Lodge Hill to regenerating Medway City Estate and Chatham Docks, there are plenty of possibilities for how Medway will look.

The former Lodge Hill army camp, Lodge Hill Lane, Chattenden
The former Lodge Hill army camp, Lodge Hill Lane, Chattenden

As part of the public consultation, the council has produced four development options which will manage the population growth while also providing homes, jobs and services.

The four options are:

  • Regeneration of brownfield sites including redevelopment of Medway City Estate and Chatham Docks
  • Suburban expansion around Rainham, Capstone and Strood and a rural town development on the Hoo Peninsula plus homes in Rainham and Capstone
  • A mix of urban regeneration and a rural town on the Hoo Peninsula
  • The development of 3,000 homes with supporting infrastructure at on the former Army site at Lodge Hill by 2035 and after that another 2,000.

As one of the largest urban areas in the South East, Medway’s population is more than 276,000, about the size of Brighton and Hove, and is expected to grow.

The population is predicted to reach 330,200 people in 2035 making Medway around the same size as Nottingham today.

The council needs to find enough land for up to 30,000 new homes of which 25% will be affordable housing. There is also need for employment and retail land, infrastructure investment and community services and facilities, while protecting the natural, built and historic environment.

The plans include four additional secondary schools and 12 junior schools.

The council is obliged by central government to create a local plan to set out how the area will develop up until 2035.

Before a final decision there are many stages of consultation and assessment and, if it is given the go ahead by a planning inspector, it should come into play in 2019.

Cllr Jane Chitty, portfolio holder for planning, economic growth and regulation, said: “The new local plan is set to reflect the hopes and aspirations of local people. We want residents to be proud of where they live, and the local plan is key to that, planning for a sustainable, exciting and prosperous future.

“This is all about planning for new and enhanced services and facilities, new schools and roads, opportunities for businesses creating more jobs for the area, and developing sites for affordable homes for our growing population.

“While the local plan is something we have a duty to deliver, it’s very much an exciting opportunity for us to work with local people to create the best possible version of Medway. With everyone’s input Medway can become an even more valued place to live, work, visit and learn.”

Medway Council’s leader Cllr Alan Jarrett said: “This is a really important opportunity for Medway residents to have their views heard about the various proposals. We understand this is a sensitive topic for some local people, so it’s key that everyone gets involved at this early stage, attends up coming events to find out more and understand the scale of what the council is obliged to achieve.

“Regeneration is at the core of Medway’s growth plans and its vision for how the area should look and function by 2035.

"We’re committed to providing renewed urban areas with high quality services and developments along the waterfront and in town centres that bring jobs, homes and services to Medway’s communities.”

Visit medway.gov.uk/futuremedway to have your say.

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