It has been 100 days since Medway Council’s new administration pledged to continue to provide the right support directly within the heart of Medway’s communities.
The Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Vince Maple, and the Cabinet have focused on a number of projects including developing a plan to best support residents affected by the cost-of-living crisis, improving the quality of private rented properties, increasing support for Medway’s small and medium businesses, and reaffirming the council’s commitment to the Armed Forces Community.
The Leader and Cabinet members have also been showing their support to communities across Medway, during Volunteers’ Week in June portfolio holders visited as many voluntary organisations and charities as possible to personally thank volunteers, they also attended Medway’s Armed Forces Day in Gillingham and the Leader of Medway Council spoke and attended Medway’s Pride event in Rochester.
This is just the start of our journey
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Vince Maple, said: “We have achieved a significant amount in our first 100 days. I am particularly proud of the support we have put in place for residents affected by rising costs as well as our support for local businesses.
“Unfortunately, like many other councils, our government support grant has been cut by 90 per cent since 2010, so we are having to carefully look at the council's finances. We remain committed to delivering services which meet our residents' needs and will be taking steps to make our finances more sustainable.
“This is the just the start of our journey; we are developing a number of other important projects, including improving residents’ access to greenspaces and the creation of a new Local Plan for Medway. One example of this is our ongoing consultation on Deangate Community Parkland. Despite the government’s deeply disappointing decision to withdraw the £170m programme of Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) support, we are committed to delivering environmental improvements on the Hoo Peninsula and I would encourage residents to have their say on this important project.
“We want residents to love where they live and be proud to live in Medway, and we will continue to do everything we can to support this. It was truly heartwarming to see communities coming together to support one another during recent emergencies, including the power outage in Wayfield. I am so proud to be the Leader of Medway Council and I am looking forward to continuing to work with residents, businesses and our partners to provide more for Medway and make it an even greater place to live, work, learn and visit.”
After Cabinet's approval in July, we issued a plan to tackle the cost-of-living crisis. The plan brings together all of the financial and practical support that is available for residents - from both ourselves and our partners - into one place to make it easier to access. Under the new plan, we will also be investing in technology to help identify residents who may be eligible for support at both a local and national level.
For more information, visit: Medway.gov.uk/HouseholdHelp
Supporting local businesses
As well as helping Medway residents, we are also committed to supporting local businesses.
In June, Cllr Vince Maple signed the Federation of Small Businesses Local Leadership Pledge to help small enterprises and people who are self-employed continue to grow their businesses and create new jobs.
This includes providing access to advice, support and training, engaging directly with businesses to gain their input and providing feedback on local opportunities and issues.
For more information, visit: Medway.gov.uk/Business
Private rented sector housing
We are currently exploring the possibility of introducing measures to help ensure private rented properties across Medway are up to a high standard. In July, Cabinet agreed for work to be carried out to assess if there is a need for selective or additional licensing the homes in the private rented sector in Medway.
The Housing Act 2004 gives local authorities powers to tackle poor property conditions in the private rented sector. This includes different types of landlord licensing schemes, such as licensing for houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs) and selective licensing which enables councils to address a range of issues including anti-social behaviour, poor quality housing and deprivation.
One Medway Charter
We have also joined seven other organisations in signing the historic One Medway Charter. It is the first time that the organisations - three universities at Medway, MidKent College, two NHS organisations, the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and ourselves - have come together with a shared vision and objectives. The organisations have pledged to work together and best use opportunities to address challenges in priority areas including businesses and the economy, education and skills, health and wellbeing, sustainability and the environment and arts and culture.
For more information about the One Medway Charter, visit: Medway.gov.uk/OneMedwayCharter
To stay up-to-date with our work, and what’s happening across Medway, look out for #OneMinuteMedway videos on our social media channels and visit: Medway.gov.uk/News