Published: Friday, 18th March 2022

Medway has been awarded government funding to help shape the future design of its emerging city centre through a trailblazing new design programme. 

As part of the government’s plans to level up for communities across the country, Medway has been awarded £120,000 to help residents set their own standards for design in their local area, which could include architecture, building materials, standards for sustainability and street layout.

Under the proposals, we will produce a design code for the regeneration of the area’s emerging city centre, Chatham, with new development to reflect on local character while protecting the natural environment.  

Design codes are a collection of design principles that will guide local areas to deliver more beautiful, sustainable and liveable places and communities – such as specifying the use of local building materials or deciding the layout of streets.

We will work with local communities to produce a design code for the regeneration of Chatham.

Give local people power

Housing Minister Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP said: “We want to give local people, including those in Medway, power over what their neighbourhoods look like and make sure all new developments enhance their surroundings and preserve local character and identity.

“Whether that’s choosing red brick for new buildings in our industrial heartland cities or choosing to set standards for sustainability for newbuild homes, our Pathfinder Programme will help turn visions of greener, more beautiful homes and places into standards which developers adhere to.”

Engaging with local communities

Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “We are delighted to be one of just 25 areas the government has selected to take part in this exciting programme which will help us further shape the future design of our emerging city centre. We are seeing increased interest from developers in Chatham and the design code programme gives us the opportunity to proactively manage the possible impacts on the area’s heritage, landscapes and character. I am also pleased that we will be engaging with local communities to ensure they have their say on the design code.”  

The design codes produced by areas such as Medway, will then be used as examples that communities across the country can draw on to produce their own, with support from the Office for Place.

The Design Code Pathfinder Programme, in line with the missions set out in the Levelling Up White Paper, will empower communities to demand the creation of development they can be proud of, with many projects focusing on regeneration of neighbourhoods and town centres.

Last year we were awarded £14.4million from the government’s Levelling Up Fund which will be invested in three projects to further support the establishment of Chatham as Medway’s city centre The Docking Station, The Brook Theatre and The Fitted Rigging House, to support the area’s flourishing creative sector and provide further opportunities for economic growth.

Medway has also received just under £9.5million from the government’s Future High Streets Fund which will be invested in Chatham to improve housing opportunities with mixed commercial use, create more jobs and provide a vibrant town centre experience.

Our acquisition of the Pentagon Centre and Mountbatten House, alongside the Waterfront and Garrison Point developments, which will provide high-quality housing in the centre of Chatham demonstrate its commitment to ensuring Medway continues to thrive, supporting the economy, local businesses and jobs.

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