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Rural development

Much of Medway is rural, including large tracts of countryside on the Hoo peninsula, in the Medway valley, on Rainham marshes and around the urban area. Its villages make up just over 10 per cent of Medway’s population. The countryside contains many diverse landscapes, from salt marshes to the chalk hills of the North Downs. The area also has a number of key employment sites, such as Kingsnorth and Thamesport on the Isle of Grain.

Rural policy

Medway Council realises that it has a valuable asset in its rural area and wants to ensure that the area is cared for and its residents enjoy a good quality of life. The council is working with local people and its partner organisations on implementing a strategy for its rural area. This work is based around five key themes:

  • securing access to services;
  • supporting rural community life;
  • securing a strong local economy;
  • valuing Medway’s countryside;
  • integrating strategic plans with local needs.

The Cabinet approved the Rural Action Plan on 20 July 2004 to support policy and projects in rural Medway and building partnership working. The plan provides the council with a framework for securing the sustainable future of rural Medway and a basis to underpin project development. It supports activities on a range of issues, such as:

  • transport improvements;
  • provision for young people;
  • community facilities in villages;
  • promoting access to the countryside.

Work under way includes the development of a community transport scheme for rural Medway. A local partnership, the Halling Association, has been set up and has carried out a range of projects in Halling in recent years. In Hoo St Werburgh, the Hoo Partnership is also working on addressing local concerns.

Parish councils

There are 11 parish councils in Medway, covering the Hoo peninsula and the western part of the Medway valley. They deal with a number of local issues, such as the management of village play areas and are a useful contact point for local information.

Other useful organisations on rural issues

  • Action with Communities in Rural Kent is a voluntary organisation supporting rural communities across Kent and Medway. It can provide specialist advice on rural housing, transport, village halls, parish plans and a range of other rural projects.
  • Natural England is a national government body working to conserve and enhance the natural environment for its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of the people and the economic prosperity it brings. It provides policy guidance, advice and some funding to promote rural issues.

Further information and help on rural issues

This can be provided by the council's Rural Strategy Manager, whose work has a special focus on rural issues and whose role is to work on rural projects and policy in Medway.

 

For more information contact Rural Projects by telephone: 01634 331358 or by email: rural.projects@medway.gov.uk

Write to: Rural Projects, Medway Council, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TR