Medway Council is one step closer to acquiring a high street shopping centre.
The council, which is on a journey to become more self-supporting and exploring ventures to benefit the local economy, is set to take over the lease of the Pentagon Centre in Chatham town centre.
Medway is fast becoming known as the new economic powerhouse for the south-east. Following the area’s significant transformation journey and the council’s ongoing 20-year regeneration programme, Medway is now the biggest regeneration zone within the Thames Gateway. Medway’s economy is now worth a staggering £5.17bn and it is one of the most promising growth areas in the south-east.
On Thursday, 21 February, Medway’s Full Council considered recommendations to acquire the Pentagon Shopping Centre in the town centre, with a view that it would provide an opportunity to contribute to the ongoing regeneration of Chatham.
Medway Council has recently invested £4million, secured from the Government’s Local Growth Fund through the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, to carry out major improvement works in Chatham town centre. The Chatham Placemaking project has helped transform the area into a thriving town centre, and the regeneration works contribute towards turning Chatham into Medway’s leading waterfront university city centre by 2035. The acquisition of the Pentagon Centre would also help mitigate against the kinds of development in the proposed city centre that would not enhance the area.
Medway’s Full Council has agreed to acquire the Pentagon Centre, as well as other included freehold properties, and up to £45million will be added to the Capital Programme to allow for the acquisition of the Pentagon Centre’s head leases, the fees and additional enabling works. This decision is anticipated to provide the council with the opportunity to generate an annual income of £1million that can be ploughed back to support council finances and services for local residents.
Leader of Medway Council, Cllr Alan Jarrett, said: “This presents a really exciting opportunity to bring forward more major improvements in what is expected to become Medway’s leading waterfront university city centre. Chatham has a rich naval heritage, with the historic dockyard attracting millions of visitors each year, and this investment is planned to further support our existing regeneration programme for the town.
“Chatham has benefitted from significant improvements in recent years including a new, modern waterfront bus station, enhanced public space and seating near the river walkway, and investment with Network Rail at Chatham railway station. We also have some other proposed major projects in the pipeline including new housing at sites we currently own in the town centre.
“We pride ourselves on being an innovative council and I believe this decision now gives us an opportunity to create a blue print for our thriving town. It will also help us to shape, invest in and improve what’s on offer in Chatham, be it for retail, leisure, business or residential. We are committed to making sustainable improvements which bring significant benefits to our residents."