People are to be encouraged to have their say on how Chatham town centre should look in the future.
Medway Council’s cabinet has voted to launch a consultation on new guidelines builders and businesses have to abide by in relation to the designing of buildings and shopfronts.
It also decides what types of developments fit within the area, promoting ones that benefit residents and preventing those that don’t.
It also considers transport links, greenery and it gives suggestions of what sorts of materials buildings should be made of to better match the existing ones.
Surveys have been done to find out what residents think are the important characteristics of Chatham which should be reflected in what is called the “design code”.
The findings said future developments should highlight the town’s naval heritage, focus on quality and be in keeping with the low-rise character.
They should also create routes into the town centre that are more welcoming and easy to use and deliver wider community benefits.
Locals also said it should make more of its assets, both historical and natural, and needs more trees and greenery.
In response to this, the drafted plan outlines ways to improve travel, particularly on foot and by bike, and ways to make the most of Chatham’s historical significance.
It also set out priorities for redevelopment, including targeting disused or derelict properties first to improve the overall quality of Chatham’s centre, as well as focusing attention on improving connections between it and the rest of Medway.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting, Cllr Simon Curry (Lab), portfolio holder for climate change and strategic regeneration, said: “It’s always sad to hear the difficult stuff we have to deal with, the budgetary constraints we’re under, but we still have to plan for the future.
“We still have to think about what we want Medway to be in 10 years time, in 20 years time, and in 50 years time.
“We’ve got a fantastic coast and countryside, but we’ve also got our town centres which are struggling.
“What we’re trying to do is address that problem by looking at how they’re designed for the future and how to design them to become centres for our community.”
Medway was awarded £120,000 from the Department of Levelling up, Housing and Communities in 2022 to produce a design code and design code process.
The consultation will last for six weeks, starting in November, where residents will be able to have their say on the proposals made by the council, but a date has not yet been announced.
A survey will be provided on the Medway Council website and physical versions will be provided at all of the Town’s libraries.