A major regeneration project that will breathe new life into the area around Chatham railway station and improve links between the station, the town centre and the bus station is set to begin.
Medway Council successfully secured £700,000 from the government’s Local Growth Fund through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) to contribute towards the £1.4m upgrade, with Network Rail match-funding the windfall through its National Station Improvement Programme.
The upgrades include a complete remodelling and makeover of the station forecourt and roads around the station, resurfacing of pavements and walkways, new taxi and drop-off bays and new public art.
The improvement works, which form part of Medway Council’s Chatham placemaking initiative, will enhance connectivity between the town’s key transport and commercial centres and also improve passenger experience through investments in in public spaces around the station.
The wider £4m Chatham placemaking initiative, now nearing its completion, has seen regeneration projects at New Cut Junction, St John’s Square, Military Square and Military Road.
The station improvements are set to begin next week with work due to finish in the spring next year. The railway station will remain open throughout the work and train services will be unaffected.
Cllr Rodney Chambers, Medway Council’s portfolio holder for strategic regeneration, added: “This project will make it easier for residents and visitors to access the station and will continue to improve the links between the station and Chatham town centre.
“These works will enhance the Chatham placemaking project to create an easier journey for pedestrians and cyclists from the railway station to the waterfront bus station and town centre.
“There has been huge investment in Chatham which is attracting more businesses and shops to the High Street.”
John Halsall, managing director of Network Rail south east, said: “With passenger numbers on the railway continuing to grow, it’s vital we continue to invest in improvements which make travelling by train simpler and more pleasant.
“We’re proud to be working with Medway Council and Southeastern on this fantastic project which will improve the station area, boost links with local public transport and help support economic growth in Chatham and the Medway towns.”
David Wornham, passenger services director at Southeastern, said: “We’re always trying to do more to improve the experience of our passengers at Chatham and this investment will result in better journeys for everyone who uses the station.”
Christian Brodie, Chair of SELEP, added: “We are pleased to have been able to support this project. The train station is often the first impression visitors have of a town and making clear connections between this gateway, the bus station and town centre is a really important link for the wider regeneration of the whole area.
“It’s good to see real examples of the local community benefitting from the support of the Local Growth Fund secured by SELEP and our partners at Medway Council. We can already see these improvements to the public space will be instigators for further private investment into the town centre.”