Published: 14:20, 23 August 2021
| Updated: 14:22, 23 August 2021
Local authority chiefs have set out initial plans into spending millions more pounds on revamping a town centre.
Medway Council proposes to acquire an undisclosed number of properties in Chatham for more residential and commercial space.
Bosses say they are unable to confirm where it is looking to purchase or how many possible locations could be bought after being awarded £9.5 million in government funding under a scheme called the Future High Street Fund.
The council submitted its bid for the cash setting out possible options to the Ministry for Homes, Communities and Local Government (MCHLG) which it must now follow in order to receive the money.
The £9.5m is now included in the council's capital spending plan which is being discussed at Tuesday's cabinet meeting.
A breakdown sets out early ideas for the Chatham regeneration.
But papers do not go into further specific details about exactly what each scheme would involve or which buildings it is considering buying.
The council is also setting aside more than £2.4m for "property acquisition and delivery" for investment into a "ground floor anchor for the high street".
This could potentially be the former Debenhams which has been vacant since the department store closed in January last year.
Public documents on the agenda for the cabinet meeting warn if the council does not agree with the spending plan agreed and approved by the government it "would breach the funding agreement and could result in funds being returned".
But an exempt report will be considered by councillors behind closed doors later in the meeting due to commercial sensitivity surrounding discussions to purchase specific sites.
Councillors will set out their ambitions to acquire property and draw up plans to redevelop the town centre to drive economic growth, visitor numbers and ensures future sustainability, papers say.
Money is being invested towards converting commercial buildings into usable assets as steps are taken to regenerate the district in the Towns.
A council report says: "The aim is to renew and reshape town centres and high streets in a way that drives growth, improves visitor experience and ensures future sustainability.
"This is intended to improve and provide additional workspace and public realm improvements in Chatham town centre.
"This report sets out a proposal to acquire property in Chatham town centre using money from the Future High Street Fund (FHSF), which if approved, would utilise vacant brownfield sites in Chatham and increase the provision of much-needed residential and commercial space."
The paper adds it continues to add to the authority's climate change ambitions to redevelop underused or empty brownfield sites.
A final decision will be made by the Conservative cabinet during a hybrid meeting at Chatham's Gun Wharf on August 24 from 3pm.
It comes as the Chatham Waterfront scheme, also led by the administration, has nearly had its groundworks completed for 175 homes and public space on the banks of the River Medway. It will also include restaurants and cafes.