Published: Tuesday, 13th June 2023

Medway Council is calling on Homes England and DLUHC to continue to back the £170m Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) programme to deliver new infrastructure on the Hoo Peninsula.

The council is urging Homes England, the national agency responsible for ‘making homes happen’, to ensure it remains committed to delivering the HIF project in partnership, after it became known there was a risk of the government’s housing agency withdrawing its support.   

Withdrawal of HIF funding would have serious implications for Medway’s ability to meet the Government’s requirement for 28,500 new homes across Medway by 2040 and for the future of the peninsula as a sustainable, well-supported garden community.  

It would risk the millions of pounds of investment not going ahead in new infrastructure, including roads on and around the Hoo Peninsula, public transport improvements, access to green spaces and employment opportunities.   

In March 2023, the council put forward a detailed plan of how the scheme could be delivered within the £170m budget originally agreed in 2019, and first proposed in 2017, against a global backdrop of rising construction costs and high inflation experienced by capital projects, including many Government schemes, up and down the country.   

Councillor Vince Maple, Leader of the recently elected Labour and Co-operative administration at Medway Council, said: “The HIF funding underpins the aspirations of the council to deliver the full potential of sustainable growth on the peninsula as part of our vision for the whole of Medway.    

“We need Homes England to be pragmatic, work in partnership with us and explore all the options that would enable the provision of critical new infrastructure ahead of new homes and jobs.   

“Critically, stopping the HIF project would not stop new homes coming. It will stop the vital roads, public transport and public access to green spaces that current residents have been clamouring for. It will also jeopardise crucial new jobs coming to Medway. Importantly, the HIF funding unlocks other contributions from developers to support the delivery of vital infrastructure such as new schools, healthcare and community facilities.  

“It is vital that new homes are built in the right locations, alongside places to work and learn, with the right roads and community infrastructure to sustain Medway’s economic and social prosperity of which the Housing Infrastructure Fund is the backbone.”  

The council has written to the Chairman and Chief Executive of Homes England requesting an urgent meeting, as well as to the Minister responsible for HIF in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities who are driving the need for the delivery of sustainable communities across the nation.

The final decision on the future of the HIF funding will be taken by Rt Hon Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. 

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