Medway Council Strategy | Medway Council
Aerial photo of Chatham Dockside and St Mary's Island

Introduction by Councillor Alan Jarrett, Leader of Medway Council

Providing Medway residents and businesses with support and opportunities to grow remains a key priority. We are dedicated to ensuring residents have opportunities to reach their full potential and the 14,000 local businesses continue to benefit from Medway’s growing economy.

Councillor Alan Jarrett

Providing Medway residents and businesses with support and opportunities to grow remains a key priority. We are dedicated to ensuring residents have opportunities to reach their full potential and the 14,000 local businesses continue to benefit from Medway’s growing economy.


Despite the ongoing financial challenges we face as a local authority, we strive to continue providing high-quality services, as well as value for money.

Our transformation programme has made it easier for residents to deal with council services online. We have improved the online support we provide and more services are available on our website, from reporting a problem to paying council tax quickly and securely.

School classroomThe population is growing and we have responded to this by investing tens of millions of pounds in Medway’s schools to provide more places. Medway provides an excellent choice of schools for children of all ages and abilities. It is also home to four universities and other higher educational centres, giving people the opportunity to develop their skills.

To meet the local demand for new homes, as well as central government’s challenging housing target, we are working closely with developers on plans to achieve this. Medway’s residents have a great choice of new accommodation, including affordable options to choose from and in fantastic locations. We are also working hard to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place to support new housing developments.

Medway’s ongoing, monumental regeneration programme is set to benefit future generations and provide growth for all, as well as help Medway’s town centres thrive. Our aspiration is for Medway to become a leading waterfront university city by 2035.

We also remain dedicated to providing the best possible support to our most vulnerable residents and we work closely with partner agencies to ensure specialist advice and support is available to help people live independently.

Medway has a lot to offer both its residents and visitors, from the award winning parks to the free events and festivals. We are also fortunate to have two theatres, a wealth of leisure facilities and a choice of places to eat and drink, including many set alongside Medway’s waterfront.

Medway is a place we can all be proud of - it provides great opportunities to live, work, learn and visit, and we are committed to ensuring Medway’s future remains prosperous.



Our vision

our vision medway

 

 

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

 

This council’s 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


Ways of working

By working in the following ways we will continue to deliver services that meet our communities’ expectations and manage our resources effectively. 

illustration of money

 

 

 

Giving value
for money

 

 

We are committed to delivering efficient and effective services for Medway residents, businesses and visitors.

 

 

 

 

 

illustration of computer

 

 

Finding the best digital innovation and using it to meet residents' needs

 

We are committed to transforming the way we provide services, the way we operate and the way we interact with residents.

We will take advantage of the opportunities provided by digital technology to make it quicker and easier for customers to access our services.

handshake illustration

 

 

 

Working in partnership where this benefits our residents

 

We cannot achieve our vision for Medway on our own. We will continue to work with partners to deliver the services that matter most to our communities. 

 

 

 

 


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 four 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 keep 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 the council intends to intervene. A revised strategy is being developed for 2019/20.

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 £170million 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 would 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 and to 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 Council 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 the council’s ambitious regeneration programme, such as the prestigious Chatham Waterfront site, which will attract high profile development and maximise benefits for Medway. The council has approved investment of £120 million in the first 12 sites identified for development, with MDC being commissioned to consider two further sites. Planning permission has been granted to build in excess of 300 units at four initial sites, White Road, Britton Farm, Whiffens Avenue and Chatham Waterfront. Work has started on two of the four sites, with the other two due to start by Autumn 2019.