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Medway starts new bid for city status

Rodney Chambers
Rodney Chambers

Medway's bid for City status will be kick started today.

The Making of Medway conference at Chatham Maritime is expected to call for a concentrated campaign to win the recognition from the Queen in 2012.

More than 200 people are attending the day-long conference including leading architects, designers and regeneration chiefs.

Cllr Rodney Chambers, Leader of Medway Council, said: "It’s the perfect backdrop for us to outline our intention to bid for city status in 2012, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year.

"We believe we have the strongest possible case.

"Medway has all the key city credentials and a lot more besides."

These include a population of 255,000 (making us the biggest conurbation in the south-east outside London), four universities, a famous cathedral, a world-famous historic dockyard, a £6 billion programme of regeneration and a great river setting.

He said: "We are a city in all but name."

Only one City is expected to be name in 2012 - the Queen's Jubilee Year.

As well as Medway's many regeneration projects, the size of its higher and further education offers, and its expansion to a planned 300,000 population, 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the Royal Engineers in Medway and the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens.

Speakers at today's conference include Sir Terry Farrell (international architect), Dianne Taylor (Pro Vice-Chancellor, University for the Creative Arts), Nicky Webb (marketing guru), Phil Payne (Newcastle Gateshead Initiative), Steve Neal (Land Securities), Very Rev Adrian Newman, Dean of Rochester Cathedral, and Medway Council's Cllr Jane Chitty, (strategic development and economic growth portfolio) and Robin Cooper (regeneration director).

The conference will see the launch of 20 Spaces, 5 Towns, 1 City – a brochure showing how investment in Medway’s public open space will be central to the area’s regeneration programme. It sets out the 20 areas of Medway that will benefit most.

Dianne Taylor, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean at UCA, said: "It’s an opportunity to reflect on the journey to date and collectively respond to the inspirational accomplishments of the cities of Liverpool and Newcastle, learning from their innovative and creative approaches to successful regeneration."

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