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Medway Council's development arm apologises for 'unfortunate' Chatham second homes advert at Garrison Point development

A council-run construction company has apologised for an advertisement which encouraged people to buy second homes in a town centre.

An advert from Medway Council's construction arm, Medway Development Company (MDC), appeared on Facebook this week for its Garrison Point development which is currently under construction on the old Whiffens Avenue car park in Chatham.

A CGI of how Garrison Point will look once complete. Photo: MDC
A CGI of how Garrison Point will look once complete. Photo: MDC

The advert – which has now been taken down – said: "Looking to purchase your second home in Chatham?

"Discover a brand-new development with exceptional specifications, excellent transport links to London and local amenities on your doorstep. Also benefit from 0% stamp duty!"

It went on to say two-bedroom apartments with parking are available from £294,000.

There were bemused reactions to the post on the satirical Facebook group, Medway Misérables.

"They're not even pretending they're made for locals haha", one read, while another added: "They want a Brixton on Medway. All hipster and the like."

Medway Labour Group accused MDC of being out of touch.

Cllr Naushabah Khan (Lab), the group's housing spokesman, said: “At a time when so many households across Medway are concerned about making their mortgage payments or struggling with rent, to see the council’s development company specifically marketing their new build properties as second homes is completely out of touch.

"I call on Medway Development Company to withdraw this advert and focus on playing their part in tackling the housing crisis here in Medway.”

Cllr Adrian Gulvin has apologised for the ad's unfortunate wording
Cllr Adrian Gulvin has apologised for the ad's unfortunate wording

Company director, Cllr Adrian Gulvin (Con), said: "I am very sorry if this unfortunate wording has caused any upset.

"It is not our intention at all to provide second homes, we want to provide homes for people and to regenerate the centre of Chatham."

The cabinet member told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the council wouldn't encourage planning permission being given for holiday lets, and MDC would like to target people buying their first homes or looking to downsize.

He added 90% of the development - which consists of 115 apartments of one and two bedrooms - have now been sold and the first resident moved in two weeks ago.

The scaffolding is still up and works are still ongoing, but 10 flats are now occupied, with half of those sold going to people who are from Medway or north Kent.

First time buyers are also able to take advantage of a scheme which can give them a discount of 30% through the government's First Homes scheme.

The company is also completing another development of 175 apartments – called Chatham Waterfront – next to Globe Lane and the town's bus station.

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