people place growth

Introduction by Councillor Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council

The last year has been an incredibly challenging time for us all, however, we have prioritised providing essential services to residents throughout the coronavirus pandemic, including supporting our most vulnerable residents.

Councillor Alan Jarrett

The last year has been an incredibly challenging time for us all, however, we have prioritised providing essential services to residents throughout the coronavirus pandemic, including supporting our most vulnerable residents.

 

We have also used technology and have been able to offer a number of services in a range of innovative ways, such as online, while restrictions were in place.

I have been incredibly proud of the way Medway’s communities have come together to support one another during the pandemic as well as the tireless hard work of council staff, key workers and our colleagues on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19), including our colleagues at Medway Maritime Hospital.

As government restrictions continue to be eased, and we begin to get back to doing the things we love, we are keen that as a council, we get back to business as normal, as soon as it is safe to do so.

Despite the ongoing financial challenges we face as a local authority we are committed to providing high-quality services for our residents which provide value for money.

Medway is resilient and we are committed to ensuring our local economy recovers from the pandemic, stronger than before.

In the budget for this financial year we have, once again, outlined our commitment to supporting Medway’s most vulnerable residents by investing over £9 million more in children and adults’ social care.

The additional investment will support our work to make further improvements to our Children’s Services and improve the quality of care for Medway’s children and young people. We also have an ambition for Medway to become a child-friendly city, putting young people at the heart of decision making to ensure their voices are heard.

Although our focus for the year ahead remains the fight against COVID-19, and recovery from the pandemic, it is vital that we continue to invest in Medway’s future.

We have an ambitious vision for Medway and we are committed to providing residents with new facilities and helping provide opportunities for businesses to grow.

Work on Medway’s major regeneration developments and improvement projects will also continue into this new financial year. Including work on the £170 million major development in Hoo, ensuring that the necessary transport and environmental infrastructure is in place before providing potential new homes on the peninsula. Our housing company, Medway Development Company (MDC) is continuing with plans to build apartments at Chatham Waterfront, deliver the Garrison Point, Chatham development on the former Whiffens Avenue car park and build affordable homes in the loading bay of the former Britton Farm Mall, Gillingham supermarket.

We are also continuing to deliver on Medway’s climate change agenda and are committed to reducing Medway’s carbon footprint and tackling climate change.

Medway is also preparing to bid for UK City of Culture 2025. Becoming City of Culture would create a legacy of opportunities for local people and bring significant economic benefits to the area.

Medway is a place we can all be proud of - it provides great opportunities to live, work, learn and visit and the Council Strategy sets out how we will continue to ensure Medway’s future remains a prosperous one.



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.


PEOPLE

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 schools

PLACE

Medway: A place to be proud of

 

A clean and green environment

Put Medway on the map

GROWTH

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 our 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

PEOPLE

Supporting residents to realise their potential

PLACE

Medway: A place to be proud of

GROWTH

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, and the voluntary sector to maximise resources and knowledge.

 

 

Child-friendly

 

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.


Benefit/solution

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.

Illustration of student and teacherOpportunity/challenge

 

The continued transfer of schools to academy trusts has an impact on the funds available for the core functions of maintained schools and our avenues to drive improvement. Funding is forecast to reduce dramatically over the next 4 years.


Benefit/solution

We continue to encourage schools to work in partnership with other schools in their locality to drive performance.

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.


Benefit/solution

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 85% by 2030, the number of adults with long-term and multiple health conditions and disabilities who are living longer is expected to increase.


Benefit/solution

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.

Fireworks iconOpportunity/challenge

 

Medway: UK City of Culture 2025


Benefit/solution

Our aspiration to be UK City of Culture in 2025 will create a legacy and sense of belonging; boosting local pride within our communities. Enhancing our cultural and creative offer, raising our creative ambitions and aspirations will improve health and wellbeing whilst supporting the economic regeneration that arts and culture bring.

New creative and stakeholder partnerships will increase business engagement, create new employment opportunities and, the provision of creative and cultural skills through schools, our college and our universities, will support our young people.

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.


Benefit/solution

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

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.


Benefit/solution

Our Homelessness Prevention Strategy was adopted in August 2017 and sets out a range of actions that demonstrate how we intend to intervene. A revised strategy is being developed.

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.


Benefit/solution

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 Medway 2035, 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.


Benefit/solution

We have been set a challenging housing target by central government and this fund, if successful, would help us achieve it.

We will use the funding to help transform the Hoo Peninsula, including significantly improving the roads and rail connections.

As well as delivering major road improvements along the Peninsula Way, including a new road connecting to the Wainscott bypass, we will use the HIF funds to build a new passenger rail station at Sharnal Street (connecting local communities to both to Strood and London), and to strengthen the Peninsula’s countryside and open spaces.

 

group of peopleOpportunity/challenge

 

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


Benefit/solution

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.

To date the IPM project has been awarded significant capital investment including £8.89 million funding through the Local Enterprise Partnership. In July 2019 we also agreed to add £14.5m to the capital programme to fund the construction of a landmark building on the site, to be funded from future business rates income.

Medway Development Company Limited (MDC) has been created to help meet our ambitious housing delivery targets. MDC provide consultancy, predominantly to the council, to turn land assets into viable residential schemes delivering regeneration and investment returns.

This will also support the delivery of our ambitious regeneration programme, such as the prestigious Chatham Waterfront site, which will be attract high profile development and maximise benefits for Medway. We have approved investment of £120 million in the first 12 sites identified for development, with MDC being commissioned to consider 2 further sites.

Planning permission has been granted to build in excess of 300 units at four initial sites:

  • White Road
  • Britton Farm
  • Whiffens Avenue
  • Chatham Waterfront.