people place growth

Introduction by Councillor Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council

I am pleased to introduce our Council Strategy for the year 2022 to 2023. The coming year sees us determined to concentrate our resources to not only provide our residents with value for money, but to help people reach their potential and be proud of where they live with a focus on providing Growth for All.

Councillor Alan Jarrett

I am pleased to introduce our Council Strategy for the year 2022-23. The coming year sees us determined to concentrate our resources to not only provide our residents with value for money, but to help people reach their potential and be proud of where they live with a focus on providing Growth for All.


Medway’s economy continues to grow, despite the challenging times throughout the pandemic, and this is down to the resilience and commitment of our local businesses. We too are committed to driving growth in Medway and pushing forward with our regeneration ambitions to further economic growth.

Over the last 2 years we have played a leading role in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) and continued to support Medway businesses throughout the challenging times by distributing more than £114 million of government grants. We also continued to provide essential services to support our residents and reopen other facilities when it was safe to do so. Our income generating services, including parking and leisure, are recovering quickly and this will enable us to invest back into our services. Medway is coming back stronger than before and we are also focusing efforts on helping our high streets thrive once again.

We have high ambitions for Medway and are committed to providing sustainable improvements to provide a bright future for our residents and businesses, as well as helping the next generation flourish.

Children are at the heart of our decision making and, at the Budget setting meeting in February 2022, I outlined our commitment to Medway’s children and young people by investing an additional £6.1million in Children’s Services for the year ahead. The additional investment strengthens Medway’s commitment to improving this vital service and will also be invested in areas such as training for foster carers to ensure that children and young people who find themselves in the care system are given the help and protection they need and deserve.

An extra £121,000 has also been allocated to further support our aspiration to become a Child-Friendly City, providing further opportunities for Medway’s children and young people. The funding will be used to enhance the successful drop-in football programme by including a whole range of sports, as well as provide more opportunities to support children and young people’s creative development and on an exciting reading campaign.

There is a lot for Medway residents to look forward to in 2022 and beyond, including more than 40 festivals and events. We are looking forward to celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this summer and we have a fantastic line-up of events. Our events programme will showcase the very best of Medway as a festival city and as one of the most exciting places to visit in the south-east. We will also be commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the successful military campaign to retake the Falkland Islands, and remembering those who died in that conflict.

Climate change is also an important topic in Medway and we must all work together as a community to tackle its challenge. We are continuing to work hard to reach our target of net zero carbon in Medway by 2050 and are committed to doing all we can to combat climate change. However, we cannot do it alone. There are a number of small things everyone can do in their daily lives which would make such a big difference including recycling correctly, walking, cycling or using public transport more often and turning the tap off when you brush your teeth. We are pleased to be working with a number of community groups and have broader plans for this year.

Our exciting regeneration projects will continue this year across Medway and we have successfully bid for millions of pounds worth of government funding to make noticeable improvements for residents to enjoy, particularly in Chatham town centre. The funding supports our ambition of Chatham becoming Medway’s city centre and will help provide further opportunities for economic growth.

It is no secret that Medway has a challenging housing target, set by central government. Our plans for providing new homes also consider the necessary infrastructure to best meet residents’ needs. The council’s own housing company - Medway Development Company - is also helping to provide high-quality housing as well as retail and business opportunities. This further demonstrates our commitment to ensuring Medway continues to thrive by providing jobs and helping to boost the area’s economy.

Medway is proving an ever-popular place to live, work, learn and visit. We have a strong student community, attract five million visitors each year, have 14,000 businesses strengthening the economy and are home to 280,000 residents.

Medway is a place we can be proud of, and the Council Strategy sets out what we are doing to ensure Medway remains one of the best places to live, work, learn and visit in the south-east, now and in the future. 

Our vision

Our vision, Medway: Waterfront university city, connecting innovation, people and place; driving growth for all


Our priorities

We believe that concentrating our resources in these areas will lead to a better quality of life across Medway.


Supporting residents to realise their potential 

Healthy and active communities

Resilient families

Older and disabled people living independently in their homes

All children achieving their potential in education


Medway: A place to be proud of


A clean and green environment

Put Medway on the map


Maximising regeneration and economic growth - growth for all

A strong diversified economy

Residents with jobs and skills

Preventing homelessness

Delivering new homes to meet the needs of Medway's residents

Getting around Medway

Our vision and priorities, as set out in this strategy, will be delivered by the Council Plan and other key strategies including the Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy, Local Plan and Medway 2035.

What we want to achieve


Supporting residents to realise their potential


Medway: A place to be proud of


Maximising regeneration and economic growth - growth for all

Our values

Our values underpin everything we do. They guide our behaviour, decisions and choices in the way we design and deliver our services. 

Our core values: child-friendly, climate change, financial resilience, digital, creative, communities


Financial resilience


We will deliver efficient and effective services for Medway residents, businesses, and visitors. We will ensure that robust financial systems and processes are in place to manage financial risks and opportunities, and to secure a stable financial position that enables us to operate for the foreseeable future.


Digital enablement


We will use digital as an enabler of everything we do by transforming the way we provide services, the way we work and the way we communicate. We will reach out to residents and businesses who lack the skills, infrastructure, and confidence to go online by providing them with support and assistance.


Creativity and innovation


We will create a culture of creativity and innovation establishing a legacy of local pride, improving diversity and inclusion, and identifying new ways of providing services around the needs of our residents.


Tackle climate change


We will take action to tackle the local and global threat of climate change, both internally and in partnership with local organisations and residents, and to minimise its environmental impact by cutting carbon, waste, and pollution.



Working together to empower communities


We will work together and in partnership with everyone that has an impact on the lives of our residents and businesses. We will strengthen collaboration between members of our communities, businesses, universities and the voluntary sector to maximise resources and knowledge.





We will improve the lives of children by ensuring their voices, needs, priorities and rights are an integral part of our strategies, policies, programmes and decisions.

Key facts

As a unitary authority we provide all of the council services in Medway.


Smart Medway


Opportunities and challenges

Understanding local, regional and national challenges and putting in place innovative solutions ensures a resilient and sustainable Medway.

Illustration of moneyOpportunity/challenge


Our funding is changing as a result of continued reductions in central government funding.


As the balance of funding shifts away from government grants and towards greater reliance on local taxation, this presents local authorities with both a challenge and an opportunity. More homes and inward investment by business can increase the council’s tax base, but also brings with it increased demand for services and infrastructure.

Disabled iconOpportunity/challenge


Changes in legislation, extending our responsibilities for children with special needs and disability (SEND) to 25 years old, has increased the number of children with Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) in place and the number of children entitled to Special Educational Needs (SEN) transport. This represents a significant funding pressure.


We have reviewed our SEN Transport policy and established a portfolio holder-led task group to manage demand and reduce unit costs to mitigate this pressure.

We will work with schools and academies to facilitate a more inclusive culture that keeps children with SEND in mainstream education.

Elderly coupleOpportunity/challenge


As well as an ageing population, with the number of people over 85 projected to increase by 61% from 2020 to 2035, the number of adults with long-term and multiple health conditions and disabilities who are living longer is expected to increase.


Our strategic approach continues to focus on supporting people to live independently for as long as possible. In recent years we have developed additional community-based provision such as Home First, to support people back home when discharged from hospital, and additional Extra Care schemes, a community based alternative to residential care. Joint strategies and commissioning plans with the NHS have been developed to ensure we continue to develop the right type of provision to meet future needs.

Domestic abuse illustrationOpportunity/challenge


Continuing to improve our services for children and families in Medway in light of increasing demand and challenges in recruiting and retaining social work practitioners.


Invest in and support our staff and managers to deliver quality work, and develop strong partnerships to improve outcomes for children and families.

Domestic abuse illustrationOpportunity/challenge


Changes in legislation - the Adult Social Care Charging Reform. The government has set out its new plan for adult social care reform in England. This included a lifetime cap on the amount anyone in England will need to spend on their personal care, alongside a more generous means-test for local authority financial support.   

This will require Adult Social Care to carry out Care Act and Financial Assessments for everyone who currently pays privately for their care. From October 2023, anyone assessed by a local council as having eligible care and support needs, either new entrants or existing social care users, will begin to progress towards the cap. Costs accrued before October 2023 will not count towards the cap.


We have introduced a working group to implement this new approach to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. We will liaise with other local councils, the National Association of Financial Assessment Officers and SE ADASS to ensure there is a consistent approach.


Domestic abuse illustrationOpportunity/challenge


Changes in legislation, the government is committed to a wide-ranging and ambitious reform of the adult social care system that protects people from unpredictable costs, offers more choice and control over care received, offers outstanding quality, and is accessible to those who need it. A sustainable care market is fundamental to underpinning this ambition.

It is acknowledged that some local councils are promoting efficient and effective operation of care markets, with sustainable rates of care and ambitious market position statements. However, a significant number of local councils are paying residential and domiciliary care providers less than it costs to deliver the care received. This is undermining their markets, creating unfairness, affecting sustainability and, at times, leading to poorer quality outcomes.

We do not know if the funding provided will be adequate to cover costs.


We have introduced a working group to manage this change and will work with providers and partners to ensure we capture all the necessary and relevant information to meet requirements.


homeless person sleepingOpportunity/challenge


Changes in legislation and demographic growth in the area are increasing pressure on the provision of support and accommodation for people who may be homeless, in particular the net migration flow to Medway from London has increased in recent years.


Our Homelessness Prevention Strategy was revised in 2019 to include specific reference to additional resources, and legislative requirements, following the introduction of the government’s Rough Sleeping Strategy. This has been supplemented by further requirements and funding, for people who are homeless as a result of domestic abuse, to ensure we meet the aims of the Domestic Abuse Act.

Both of these provide additional accommodation and support resources and have a focus on ensuring that we work effectively with people who move into Medway, as well as those already resident, and these complement our existing range of interventions provided by our wider Housing Services. Regular feedback is provided to government advisers on the challenges faced by Medway and our response in meeting these.

group of peopleOpportunity/challenge


Medway is the largest conurbation in the south east, outside London. The population of around 280,000 is predicted to grow further increasing the demand on public services. Demographic growth in the area is increasing pressure on housing, employment and effective infrastructure including flood protection, roads, health and water capacity.


We are transforming the way we work to make sure that we deliver services in a way that meets the changing needs of our residents. We are delivering more services online, working with communities to help them to do more for themselves, and exploring new and innovative ways of delivering services.

Our extensive regeneration programme, as outlined in the Medway 2035 strategy, and continuing as a key theme of the Medway 2037 strategy refresh, ensures the tremendous pace of regeneration in Medway continues. Our Infrastructure Delivery Plan identifies the services needed to deliver sustainable and successful growth. Our Local Transport Plan includes our plans for improving transport by tackling congestion, improving public transport services and improving journeys to school and work.

Illustration of buildingsOpportunity/challenge


A £170 million Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) to unlock sustainable development potential on the Hoo Peninsula. The fund is a government capital grant programme to help deliver homes across England.


The council secured £170 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund in order to be best placed to play its part in meeting the anticipated growth of Medway’s population.

Medway's successful bid focused on significantly improving the Hoo Peninsula's environmental infrastructure and transport connections.

The HIF project recognises that the Hoo Peninsula is a distinctive place, with important areas for wildlife, and limited services and infrastructure. Medway Council is engaging with the public to make sure development takes place in the most appropriate places, and that it is sensitive to the environment and supported by the necessary infrastructure.


group of peopleOpportunity/challenge


Kick starting growth through alternative delivery models and providing the right infrastructure for residents and businesses to thrive.


Innovation Park Medway (IPM) is an important opportunity to help shape the economic future of Medway. Our ambitions for the IPM are to:

  • attract high value businesses
  • improve the number and quality of jobs
  • retain and increase the local skills base
  • strengthen links between educational institutions
  • establish the IPM as a preferred destination and partner for local business
  • promote Medway’s brand and image.

Medway Development Company (MDC) Ltd. is wholly owned by Medway Council and its purpose is to undertake development activity to deliver high-quality residential developments to support wider regeneration initiatives and deliver investment returns.

The council has approved £120 million to fund the development programme and to date, planning permission has been achieved for over 500 homes. The White Road scheme has been completed, with 20 affordable modular homes successfully delivered. A further 341 homes are in construction at the Garrison Point and Chatham Waterfront sites and these exciting schemes are progressing towards completion.

Further sites are earmarked for development, including the Mountbatten House building, that will be converted into new high-quality residential apartments and the Britton Farm Mall site in Gillingham that will deliver 44 affordable homes.

The company is also involved with a number of corporate projects, including the recently completed Kent and Medway Partnership Trust (KMPT) NHS facility at Britton Farm, that sits alongside a new Skills and Employment Hub, also project managed by MDC.