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Levelling up investment bids worth £40 million approved by council

Multi-million pound investment bids to regenerate towns in Medway have been given the go ahead by councillors.

Medway Council's Conservative cabinet yesterday approved two bids for government funding for two major regeneration schemes in the Towns.

Stock picture
Stock picture

One of the bids includes £20m for a series of new walking and cycling routes in Gillingham and £20m for a major revamp of Medway's Innovation Park.

Medway Council's portfolio holder for economic growth, Cllr Jane Chitty (Con), said: "It is about employment, business and growing the opportunities there."

The Levelling-Up Fund is a new funding stream, which is designed to invest money into new infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK.

In the first round of funding, Medway Council secured £14.4million for cultural projects in Chatham, including The Brook Theatre; the Docking station and the Fitted Rigging House.

A second round of funding was announced in March 2022, which focuses on transport, regeneration and town centres. Two bids are being put forward.

A CGI picture of Medway's planned Innovation Park. Picture: Medway Council
A CGI picture of Medway's planned Innovation Park. Picture: Medway Council

One of the bids was created by Peel L&P for a 1.4km pedestrian and cycle route between Chatham Waters and Gillingham town centre, using a disused railway line.

Access would also be improved to Gillingham railway station, the town centre and open-up a greener travel option.

Cllr Adrian Gulvin (Con), Medway Council's portfolio holder for resources, said both business cases are "strong" as he expressed his positive optimism.

He added: "The greenway project for Gillingham could be really good because this is being done in New York.

"There is a stretch of railway in the New York subway system that became surplus."

Cllr Adrian Gulvin
Cllr Adrian Gulvin

"You can walk right across the rooftops from a long distance and is all green; street performers made a redundant industrial object into an active part of the community."

Cllr Rodney Chambers (Con), who is Medway Council's portfolio holder for regeneration, said: "From an active travel point of view it is fantastic."

He added: "I think it is absolutely brilliant and welcome that 100%."

The second bid at Innovation Park is to offer new commercial space, along with traditional office accommodation, including conferencing rooms.

The Levelling Up business case submission deadline is July 6 and a final decision will be made by the government thereafter.

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