High Street Heritage Action Zone Open Space

As part of our commitment to ensuring community voices were heard, GJG Consultancy ran a virtual Open Space meeting in October 2020 to discuss the new High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ). The event was open to anyone who lives, works, visits, or has an interest in the Sun Hill to Star Hill area (previously known as the Chatham Intra).

Aim of the Open Space

The aim of the Open Space was to discuss the HSHAZ and how it will address the decline of the High Street and establish the area as a visitor destination rich in culture and heritage.

The discussions held at the Open Space event will set the agenda for future community consultations. This will help to shape how the HSHAZ best delivers for the area.

The area that the HAZ covers has been known by different names over the years. The Open Space started a conversation around what the most appropriate name should be.

Following the discussion, GJG Consultancy produced a report drawing together the shared aspirations for the HSHAZ.

Next steps

The Open Space event was only the first step. The community will continue to have opportunities to be involved over the 4-year programme. 

A cultural consortium was formed after the Open Space event made up of arts organisations, community groups, local businesses, and residents from the local area.

Working with us, the cultural consortium is responsible for using available grant funding from Historic England and The Arts Council. The funding will create an arts and culture offering that will encourage people to enjoy their local High Street, as well as set a long-term vision for what arts and culture might look like there.

The programme of art and cultural offerings over the next few years is to be designed and commissioned by the community and for the community, celebrating the High Street in whatever way the community sees fit.

Setting up the consortium

GJG Consultancy held 3 meetings to help set up the consortium.

At these meetings, the group worked to create a vision for:

  • what the future of culture on the High Street might look like
  • how the consortium will be run
  • how we consult with everybody needed to make sure we accurately represent the community.

Collectively, we supported writing the grant application with ideas and information so that there can be funds available to deliver our ambitions.

In addition to the cultural consortium, the Open Space event identified a series of other themes where further consultation can inform and develop the project.

GJG helped to set up working groups for these themes. They will be supporting the development of a set of terms of reference for each group, developing a vision for each theme, and understanding how it will feed into and develop the action plan.

View the initial findings from the workshops.

Get involved

If you have any questions relating to the project or would like to get involved, please contact the project team by emailing HAZ@medway.gov.uk