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Planning chief praises Medway's exciting developments

10 March 2017

The president of the largest planning institute in Europe has praised Medway for its efforts to regenerate the area and provide further opportunities for its residents.

Stephen Wilkinson of Royal Town Planning Institute visited regeneration sites across Medway on Thursday, 9 March. He was welcomed by local councillors and planning officers from Medway Council, who showed him development sites in Rochester, Chatham and Gillingham.

Rochester Riverside, which is connected to the historic heart of Rochester, is set to provide approximately 1,300 high-quality residential units, including affordable housing. President Stephen Wilkinson saw the 21-hectare site, which will benefit from open spaces and a riverside walk, new primary school, leisure facilities, office space, shops and restaurants.

The group also showed him the redevelopment of the former site of the Royal Dockyard. Chatham Maritime has a world recognised Historic Dockyard and a variety of community amenities including a marina, residential area, restaurants and leisure, office and retail space. There is also an education quarter with four universities and MidKent College providing for more than 11,000 students in Medway, and the residential area of St Mary’s Island also has community facilities. The commercial area of Chatham Docks, which is home to the University Technical College, will shortly have the first phase of high-quality waterfront residential development delivered. 

Gillingham Waterfront, where Berkeley Homes has transformed a former chemical works site, provides high-quality student accommodation, a hotel, restaurants and retail units, as well a residential area which offers affordable housing and extra care. Further development is planned for this area, which overlooks the marina, with more residential properties, a nursery, cafés and bars to come, as well as improved access to the river. The president also went to see Gillingham Football Club, which over the last 20 years has seen a complete overhaul and redevelopment of its Priestfield site and still remains the only Football League club in Kent.

Medway is delivering its exciting vision for the area

Stephen Wilkinson, President of the RTPI, said: “I have seen some great examples of how the planning team is working to deliver the exciting vision for the area. There is a focus on delivering sustainable development across the authority with regeneration projects delivered along the River Medway.”

Providing opportunities for residents

Cllr Jane Chitty, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Economic Growth and Regulation, said: “We were pleased to be able to show just a few of the exciting developments taking place across Medway. Work to regenerate the waterfront areas will provide new housing and opportunities for residents. This work will also benefit the local economy and businesses, which is vital to support Medway and its growing population.”